Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Power of Fruit

Fruit – something good to me and for me. Yes, this wonderful and powerful food item we seldom think about has been right under our noses for centuries, or millenniums. Sure, we may nibble here or there on fruit, if it’s served to us, but many of us don’t eat fruit on a regular basis, as in everyday.

A friend of mine once encouraged me to read a small, paperback book entitled “Healing Fruits & juices From the Bible” by Brian Edwards. At $1.95, it was well worth it; enough to change my life. Are you ready for a new, healthier you? Read on.

Fruits are naturally low in fat, contain no cholesterol and have plenty of fiber. Get a load of the power of fiber: it wards off cancer, diabetes, heart disease and controls cholesterol. Who wouldn’t consume as much of it as possible? There’s more. Did you know that in order for your body to successfully eliminate garbage and poisons, your blood cells need to be free of fat and synthetic chemicals from junk food? Fruit delivers your blood from such enemies by cleansing and fortifying it, paving the way for the oxygen, vitamins and minerals it needs to fight disease, maintain your health and boost your energy. Life is in the blood – use the power.

Let’s look at the benefits of some particular fruits, starting with apples; the healing power is amazing. They contain the soluble fiber, pectin, which forms into jelly-like substance in the digestive tract. This substance then attracts enemies such as cholesterol and eliminates them from our bodies. Some major benefits are low cholesterol, which helps maintain normal blood pressure; low blood sugar; and a decreased appetite, which helps control overeating. If you experience nausea from eating certain types of apples, as I do, eat pears instead. They also contain a healthy amount of pectin, along with lots of potassium, which helps keep the lid on high blood pressure. Speaking of potassium, it’s married to the banana. Eat plenty, and give high blood pressure a swift, and maybe even fatal kick.

In addition to pectin, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits contain the power of vitamin C. Heart disease is warded off by vitamin C. It gives a deathblow to cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines, and it gives the immune system a boost. My mother made me take vitamin C each day during high school. Guess what? The common cold and I were practically strangers. You probably need another testimony: a British friend of mine, Pauline, worked with me in Chicago for two years; I don’t remember one common cold attacking her body during this time. Her secret weapon was a glass of orange juice every morning. Of course, fresh squeezed orange juice is even better. Hurry, get to the store and stock up.

Even more power for the immune system is found in melons, which are rich in beta-carotene and good for preventing cancer and heart disease. Add to this a super dosage of fiber, and I’m convinced to eat more melons. Mangoes, papayas, peaches and apricots also boast the benefits of beta-carotene, along with others.

Last, but not lease, berries are our friends, as they provide sweetness and weight loss power! Raspberries and blackberries are richly blessed with insoluble fiber, which regulates the digestive system, particularly potassium, and it has been proven that blueberries and blackberries are good for treating diarrhea.

Of course, there are other ways to help maintain a healthy life, like eating vegetables and grains and exercising regularly. Those topics deserve articles of their own. In this one, I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage daily of this precious, natural gift. Start today and experience the power – eat fruit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take YOUR Time

My article below was featured on May 2010. You can still find it! Search on the News page under the Women category. If it blesses you, will you please take a moment and comment about how? Don't forget to pass on the goodies! Thank you & God bless.

Many of us are in a constant state of busyness. “There’s never enough time in the day.” “I’m always tired.” “I need a vacation.” If you find yourself speaking such words on a regular basis, you need a “time for me” break. And another one. And another one. The point is, time for yourself should be taken on a regular basis, not after you have suffered a nervous breakdown, fainted from not eating right or simply shut down under the mental weight of stress.

Don’t fall into the guilty trap of feeling that you must work all the time. Your body was designed to handle an impressive amount of intelligence and physical activity, but it was also designed to rest. The harmony of these three create a lovely symphony of your life – one composed specifically for you. Wouldn’t you at least like to hear it?

Let’s begin writing your lyrics:
1.Write down these five areas of your life: mental stimulation, physical fitness, emotional stability, spirituality and fun. Rate the wellness of each category from 1-10, 10 representing excellent, 5, fair and 1, poor. Be honest, and your results will speak for themselves.

2.For each category, write five things you could do to maintain wellness – or sanity – in that area of your life.

3.Get a calendar and decide the days of the month you will accomplish one item from each category. Record your decisions on the calendar, and place the calendar somewhere where you have to see it every day.

From month to month, vary the items you select to do in each category. You may find that you have time for more than one item per category in a given month. You will also discover which things really work for you and which things you only thought would work for you. You can eliminate or add to your original list as you make such discoveries.

The key here is not to focus on accomplishing all of the things you think you need to do each month. Rather, it is to continually do something towards the goal of “taking time for me” each month. Plan for the month, but focus on the week so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you don’t follow your plan this week, so what? Move on, and plan to take time for yourself next week. Write down these activities for yourself in your organizer just as you would an appointment. In fact, write them down first, and then plan appointments and other obligations around them. Place items on your list that you enjoy doing. It’s all about you. Soon you may find yourself doing these things – taking time for you – automatically. You will hum your symphony without even realizing it. It will be the background music – the peace – of your life.

3 Steps to Personal Space Freedom

The article below by Vanessa Burke was featured on May 2010. You can still find it under their Women's category on the News page. If it blesses you, will you please take a moment to comment and tell me about it? And be sure to pass the goodies along! Thanks in advance.

Do you come home and still feel as if you are at work? Do you see clutter everywhere? Do you have to search for peace in your home? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to get personal!

How, you ask? By creating your very own “personal space” in your home (and daring anyone to go near it). Everyone needs a break, not only from work, but from other people – yourself included if you cannot seem to stop talking or if your brain is a non-stop machine – even from life in general. There are enough pressures in an average person’s day to cause mental and emotional damage, sometimes leading to physical challenges as well. Creating a place solely for yourself is a great escape to peace. Try these three steps to personal space freedom:

Step One:

Prepare for the creation of your space. Just start by asking yourself what you like to get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few example questions:

What’s my favorite color?

What types of publications do I like to read? (Books, magazines, newspapers, etc.)

What relaxes me, and where do I feel most relaxed in the home?

You will need to assess how much space you have to work with. A corner in your bedroom or even your kitchen may suffice, or if you have it, an entire room. Only place items in your space that you love (at the very least, that you like). Scatter things about that bring pleasant memories to mind; hang inspirational phrases in bold colors on the walls or wherever you will see them; and think about what you will need while you are there so you don’t have to keep getting up (e.g. your favorite CDs, paper, pens, eye patches if you simply need to sleep in your space for a quick power nap).

Step Two:

Explain the importance of your personal space to everyone in the home. You also need to get their commitment to respect it as yours and yours alone, and to commit to allowing you time alone when you are there (whether they can physically see you or not). OK. Now, this last request may be a challenge if you have little people, as in 1-6 year olds. This may take an extra commitment from another to strap them down somewhere while you relax (just kidding!) Seriously, figure out what works in your home. Your kids may surprise you and allow you the space and time away from them for a few minutes a day, especially if they know it will make Mommy a much happier person, which results in a happier, fun household for all. Tell them how it will benefit them – extra play time, a special treat, extra bonus points earned towards rewards, etc.

Step Three:

Commit to actually going to your personal space on a very regular basis. Daily is ideal, but let’s face it, we don’t live in a perfect world, so that might not be realistic. Even if you only have 10 minutes, just go. It could make the difference in a peaceful evening with your family or an extra charge of creativity you need for a home project or even for a work assignment. You could just day dream in your space. The point is to relax and to refresh. It’s about being personal.

God Gives you What you NEED Despite What you Ask

So many times in life, we ask God for what we THINK we need. Well, He is sovereign, all knowing, wise beyond anything we could ever grasp, and knows EXACTLY what we NEED despite what we ask Him for. Here's a testimony I have to share. I hope it blesses you. If so, can you comment and tell me about it? Feel free to email it on! Share the blessings!

Here's the scoop: my laptop crashed a while back so I had been borrowing laptops since then to get work done & communicate. Well, the latest borrowed one had to be returned this past Wednesday 6/23/10. I knew this on last week and wrote it in as a prayer request in my prayer book, as well as shared it with others for prayer. Mind you, my prayer request was for a laptop - I've been blessed to be given one before so I figured God could do it again! My thinking was that certainly I needed a laptop because that's how I could access the Internet for free from home by picking up free wireless networks (what I've been doing since I dropped Comcast over 6 months ago). Once I dropped Comcast I also picked up Clear ISP service, BUT I got Clear's remote connector thinking that it would work both remotely with a laptop and also at home on my home computer. Well, it did not work in my home location on my laptop or on my home computer! My address was not in the coverage area, although not even 1/4 mile up the street on the corner, it worked fine! Twice while doing work for clients, I literally had to race up to the corner with laptop in my front car seat just to get on the net with my remote clear connector when the free ones would not work!

Occasionally I would try the Clear connector on my home computer but it never worked. I figured maybe one day the coverage area would expand. Fast forward to this week. With laptop gone on Wed night 6/23, the next day, I was planning how I would go to my sister's place the following day and hang out all day to use her laptop to get Internet work done. Well, before I retired for the night, I thought, "Oh what the heck, let me just try the clear on the home computer again." I fully expected it not to work, and to my extreme delight, IT WORKED! For the very first time! I had tried it countless times before. God, You are funny and wonderful and awesome all rolled into one. I couldn't believe it. I quickly got on and applied for this job with the city of Atlanta that had been sent to me about a week ago. So, God provided me with WHAT I NEEDED - Internet access! I thought I needed a laptop for that, but the underlying thing was the Internet connection. He provided that with NO additional funds from my pocket. I have already been paying for the clear remote - only $32/month. Now I have a remote Internet connection that also works on my home computer! Praise You Lord! Praise You Lord! Praise You Lord! This might seem like nothing to you, but as a freelance writer without the Internet I couldn't eat :-).

And get this, this morning, the ad agency I have been temping for (only done 4 days within 2 weeks so far) called and asked if I could proofread a job from home by 10 a.m.! If my clear had not begun to work JUST LAST NIGHT I would have had to say no! But I was able to say, "Yes sir, I can handle that for you!" Oh, God. Again, He is funny, awesome and wonderful and amazing all in one. And so RIGHT on time.

In your prayers, ask Him to bless you with what you NEED, even if you don't know exactly what that is. Selah.

How to Choose Best Over Good

The article below by Vanessa Burke is featured on in the Life and Faith category of the News page, 06/2010.

Do you find yourself late for most appointments and meetings? Are most of your mornings rushed? Do you often not write down your schedule and subsequently forget many things you need to do? If you answered yes to any of these, you need margin in your life. Simply put, margin is the difference between what you have and what you need. Recently my Bible study group learned principles of having margin from a lesson by Craig Groeschel. Since studying this life changing topic, God has shown me what life is typically like with no margin and how life can be with margin.
As you go about making daily decisions, whether to go here or there, participate in something or not, allow your kids to do this and that, what are the questions you ask yourself? Like many of us, you determine that if it’s a good thing, you should go for it. I challenge you to look at it a different way. Consider I Corinthians 6:12 (Amplified): “Everything is permissible for me—allowable and lawful; but not all things are helpful—good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things…” Many things you do and activities you get involved in are good to do, but are they the best things to do?
One Saturday morning I had a ministry leadership training class at church. However, the night before, I decided to watch a movie … and then another one, both very long, and it was quite late when I finished. I finally convinced myself to go to bed, and because I realized I didn’t have much time to sleep, I set my clock for just enough time to get dressed before I would have to walk out the door. Naturally, the next morning I was very tired, so I cut the alarm clock off and fell back asleep … “Oh my God! I’ve overslept!” I lamented as I realized I had about 30 minutes before I needed to walk out the door.
Class was due to begin at 9:15 a.m. At 9:12 I screeched into a parking spot, hastily gathered my things, slammed the door shut and began running into the church. “Oh my, where are my keys?” I thought as I was running. “Did I blindly throw them into my purse?” I managed to run fast enough and arrive panting at the door of class at exactly 9:15. After getting the last of the coffee, now lukewarm, I stumbled to a seat in the back and checked my purse. No keys. Great.

This domino turmoil began when I failed to build in margin for the day. I should have stopped at one movie; set the clock for more than enough time to get prepared in the morning; and planned to arrive at least 15 minutes before class began. Had I done this, I would have gotten enough sleep, leisurely gotten dressed and arrived early to class, relaxed. Most likely I would not have locked my keys in the car. What’s the lesson? I had no margin. Because of poor planning, the difference between what I needed and what I had was negative. As a result, the day was a bit crazy and somewhat frustrating.
Such can be the days in which you build no margin. They are stressful, and stress can take on mental, physical and spiritual consequences. Just ask Martha when Jesus came to visit Mary and her (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was obviously stressed as she was distracted with many preparations. In fact, she was so stressed that she complained to Jesus about Mary just sitting. However, Jesus made it clear that it was in fact Mary who was doing what was best. I’m certain whatever Martha was preparing in the kitchen was necessary and good. My goodness, Jesus Himself was in the house! Why wouldn’t she take care to prepare what was necessary for Him? However, what was best at that moment was for her to spend time with Jesus first. Mary got that. In my example above, had I built in margin to spend time in God’s word before going to class that morning, the clock would have been set earlier, I would have gained wisdom and knowledge for that day, and I would have been spiritually prepared and relaxed for come what may.
Let’s look at the other side of the coin. The very next weekend, I had some free time on my hands. I remembered that I had agreed to attend a dance recital of my son’s oldest friend on that Sunday at 3 p.m. It was a good thing to support. However, after remembering the margin principles I had learned, I asked myself, “In light of everything I need to do, is this decision wise? Is it the best way to spend my time?” The answers compelled me to cancel plans to attend the recital.

That weekend I cleaned, organized and got some much needed relaxation. I had previously planned to attend the 12:30 p.m. service on Sunday and go straight to the recital afterwards, but with plans changed, I went to the 8:30 a.m. service instead. With about 7-8 hours of sleep, I awoke earlier than my clock did. I was tempted to pray while still lying in bed – yeah right – but remembered that trick never worked good, so I sat up, turned on the light and proceeded to pray. I began by telling God how much I adored Him. Within the next few moments the words of a song about adoring God came pouring out of my spirit! I couldn’t find a pen fast enough.

On the way to church I picked up one of my Bible study members. During the drive, my passenger revealed to me that on this particular morning, she had taken my challenge from our last Bible study to get up early in the morning and spend time with God, instead of leaving it to chance during the day. She had one of the most wonderful times she could remember praising the Lord that morning. As we excitedly talked about our great God, I missed my exit on the highway! Well, the alternate route added about 10 minutes more to our commute, but because I had built in margin, we were still able to arrive with seven minutes to spare before service began.

After church, I prayed with a young lady at the altar whose countenance was visibly lifted when we were done. I knew it was one of those divine appointments. Later I was treated to breakfast and heard an incredible testimony that I can’t wait to write about. What a beautiful day in the Lord. In fact, the entire weekend was not only beautiful but productive and full of blessings – because I had margin. All it took was me deciding what was best over what was good, and then planning my schedule so that all things could be done on time, with enough extra time built in if things didn’t go as planned.

Having an incredibly busy schedule doesn’t make you important. But it sure can make you crazy with no time for yourself or your family, a disaster in the making. Developing a schedule with margin will allow you to live a better quality of life. You will have time to help those in need; time to really stop and listen to your children; time to be interrupted; time to spend with people you love; time to rest, relax and reflect; and ample, quality time with God.

In addition to scheduling margin, there are other areas of life where margin should be created, including resisting temptation. With an appropriate amount of margin, you will establish practices that maintain a certain distance from the temptation. You can’t walk on hot coals thinking you won’t get burnt if you never get close enough to even see the smoke.

Another way of defining margin is: the amount available beyond what’s necessary. This definition immediately reminds me of the concepts I learned about financial margin. What does that look like? In a nutshell, it means having money left over at the end of the month. With financial margin you are able to help those in need; do some of the things in life you enjoy doing; give to causes and organizations you believe in without stress; and instead of anxiety over your obligations, you can have financial rest and peace. How do you get financial margin? Very simple: earn more or spend less. Instead of allowing society to dictate what you purchase, use wisdom and establish a budget. You can live without many things you buy.

Without margin, you are rushed, late and often overwhelmed with life. With it, you are relaxed, you use wisdom, and you are prepared for most if not all things that come your way. Now, I could get used to a life like that. Couldn’t you? Give your life a huge lift today. Develop margin.