A Healthy New Year – It has NOTHING to do with the scale…

by Cari Schaeffer20140428_144615

I find the cliché of New Years resolutions to ring hollow for most. They are made with the best of intentions and typically focus solely on weight loss as The Path to define oneself as “healthy”. Well, let me tweak your perspective just a little.

What is health? It is defined as “soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.” Hmmmm…is that the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word health? Or is your focus narrow and solely limited to one’s pant size? To be healthy should mean that our life is balanced in every aspect. Whether it’s financial, spiritual, physical, mental, social, or relational – strive for balance which will lead to health.

I can assure you – there are plenty of skinny people who are not healthy. The scale does not measure one’s health, only one’s weight. Rather than allow the scale to dictate my self-image, I base that on how I feel in my own skin and how my clothes fit my body. I choose not to obsess over the scale, so I only weigh myself maybe twice a year. Yes, you read that right. I am an American woman and I don’t weigh myself every day. I DO exist and I walk among you…bathroom scales

When determining your level of Whole Health, start with your finances. Debt equals slavery. Don’t fall into the trap. Being financially healthy is very simple – spend less than you make and save some of what you earn for unforeseen emergencies because they WILL happen. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll be fine. How much do you have saved for an emergency? How well do you stick to a budget? If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to make one. There are numerous resources for that – one that I highly recommend is http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/ . There are a lot of free resources that are exceptionally user-friendly on her site. Her tools will help you get on the right path to living a financially healthy lifestyle.

How spiritually healthy are you? How often do you spend time in prayer, in God’s Word, or in God’s house? This is an area none of us will ever be perfect in, but striving for excellence is certainly attainable. Determine to go to church each week, have a conversation with God every day, read at least a chapter in the Bible every day and then…do it.

Physical health starts with physical activity. You don’t have to train for a marathon or do intense cardio for an hour six days a week in order to attain health. How about starting with parking as far out as you can rather than waiting for the nearest spot to open up the next time you shop? Even at the gym, have you ever noticed all of the closest parking spots are taken? Personally, it makes me snicker – that is a true contradiction. Besides, parking farther out will lessen the chance of getting dents in your car doors. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, drink two more glasses of water today than you did yesterday, and say no to soda. They’re small steps, but steps in the right direction. It’s something to build on.

Mental, social, and relational health are intertwined, in my opinion. If you are healthy mentally, you are more likely to be healthy socially and have healthy relationships with those around you. I am sure you have an idea of what it means to be healthy mentally. You know when a friendship is not working or a habit/pattern you follow is unhealthy. I find, for women, at least – it’s difficult to say one little word to others, but not to ourselves. That word is “no”. It is all right to say no, even if what you say no to is a GOOD thing. Not every good thing is YOUR good thing. Remember, balance is the key.

Keep your priorities straight and in the proper order. Free time is a GOOD thing. Your schedule does not need to be packed in order to be fruitful. Jesus Himself said no and also took time out to re-charge. Shouldn’t we follow His example? The answer to that question is YES! There are actually squares on my calendar that are blank…and they’ll stay that way.

I sincerely hope that all of you have a Happy New Year filled with health and balance!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing prompt: Write a paragraph about this photo.summer

A Healthy Month of January-Revisited

By Jennifer Hallmark.

It’s been almost abathroom scales month since I posted about my effort to experience better health in 2015. I’d decided to take a month at a time and make adjustments and see what worked and what didn’t. I looked at each area of health: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It’s been an interesting time and now for the results…

Physical

Exercise I decided to try working out five days a week, 3 days of low-impact aerobics and two days of riding the exercise bike.

Positive-I stuck to the plan and feel better physically.

Negative-The bike riding bothered my back a little. I’m going to try one more month to see if it continues.

Diet I decided to cut back on sugar and follow a plan of eating healthy.

Positive-I’ve traded sweet tea for hot tea with honey.

Negative-I thought I knew enough about healthy food to just try to eat healthy. I drew up no written plan. The month was extremely stressful and I tend to eat when stressed. So predictably, I failed to eat healthy and lost no weight.

Mental

I would try a four-day work week and take more time to rest.

Positive-I made more time for myself and stuck somewhat to a four-day work week. I feel more rested.

Negative-I still have trouble unwinding at times and use work as a stress relief, which leads to me being tired.

puzzleEmotional

I would try four things for emotional health: Read a feel-good book or watch an inspirational movie; work a jigsaw puzzle; be accountable to a friend; and get out of the house more.

Positive-I’ve read a good bit and watched a couple of movies. I set up my jigsaw puzzle. I talked a couple of times to a friend about a couple of stressful situations I’m dealing with.

Negative-It’s cold and I haven’t gotten out of the house more. I need to relax when I am out and enjoy myself.

Spiritual

I would continue my daily devotion time, listen to music and journal, fellowship with other Christians, be a blessing, and enjoy nature.

Postive-I love my devotion time. Music and journaling are good for me. I’ve tried to be a blessing to family and friends.

Negative-I could still use more fellowship with Christians. It’s cold and I haven’t been out much.

question mark

So how does this all add up? How will I approach February?

(1) I’m going to follow a written plan for healthy eating.

(2) I need to turn to God in my stress and fellowship more with my family and friends.

(3) I need to realize it’s going to be cold in winter and just make myself get out more anyway. 🙂

How about you? Do you have any suggestions to help me out as I approach February?

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt: I couldn’t believe my eyes. The scales screamed the same number as when I’d started a month ago. How could it? My clothes fit better. I picked up the scale and…

 

 

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Karen Jurgens

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Today we welcome Karen Jurgens, blogger and writer, to 3 Questions Wednesday. Also Karen will be joining us as the newest member of the Writing Prompts Crew.  Please make her feel at home. 🙂

Hi Karen! Glad you’ve dropped by. First, we want to know which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Karen: As a former English teacher, I have taught many of the classics over the years. The author I keep coming back to is Charles Dickens. His descriptions of the Victorian Era are wonderful, and I love to lose myself in that time period. His gift of character development makes them all come alive, and I feel as though they are old friends whom I love to visit again and again.

I love to read Charles Dickens stories! He does write great characters. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Karen: It would have to be Estella in Great Expectations. Poor Pip falls in love with her from their first encounter, and he mistakenly believes that Miss Havisham has destined them to marry. I mourn that Estella ruined both of their lives by throwing away true love. Her cruel treatment of Pip’s tender heart and her ultimate rejection of him drive me repeatedly to the tissue box.

I agree. Now let’s talk about you. What project are you currently working on?

Karen: My current WIP is a memoir to minister to all Christians and seekers of Christ. It chronicles my God-given dreams and other supernatural encounters with Him, as well as other stories from family members down through the generations. When people read them, I hope they will be encouraged and uplifted as they seek their own answers from heaven. I plan to use this book as a springboard for a speaking ministry to testify to God’s power and glory.

Karen Jurgens has been a high school English and French teacher all her life. She has recently retired and is beginning a ministry to encourage others going through life’s trials. Her current WIP is about her own powerful testimony. You can follow her blog at www.KarenJurgens.com.

Begin the New Year with a Daniel Fast

 By Karen Jurgens

Girl Cleaning Chalkboard

First things first. Especially for a new 2015.

Isn’t it wonderful to begin all over again with a clean slate? Most of us join in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions of some form or fashion. Whether it’s exercising, eating a healthier diet, or focusing better on the important things, we can all identify. It’s like cleaning out that cluttered closet and organizing those messy drawers. Lots of work, but boy, so worth the effort.

Anything we change will produce a new and different result. And isn’t that what we’re all really after–a better body inside and out and a better life in general?

But wait…how about our spirits? Don’t they need cleansing and renewing too? Let’s consider getting off to a fresh start with a Daniel Fast.

newlifenny-Header-Forward

The first time I heard a minister invite the congregation to participate in a church-wide fast, I thrilled to the idea, only I had no idea how to do it. I had only heard of water and juice fasts where you drink but eat no food for a certain number of days. So how did this one work?

The Bible gives some guidelines in Daniel.

“In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth…” (10:2-3a, NAS).

No meat, no tasty food—which I interpret as any type of sugary concoctions like desserts—and no wine. Since I don’t imbibe alcohol, this personally means for me no meats and no sweets. Easy to remember.

And the spiritual cleansing? That comes through prayer and humbling yourself before God. The denial of pleasant foods reminds us that we are petitioning God during these days, as well as expecting answers from Him. This is a precious time, set aside to worship our God and seek His face.

What will be your result? Unlike Daniel, you may not have a personal visitation from Gabriel, but your spirit will be in tune with God. He will certainly answer your prayers and supplications that you lay at His feet. God has given me dreams, opened doors that were shut, healed my body, blessed my family, and so much more. Like Daniel, we can expect to receive great things from God.

Interested in finding out more about the do’s and don’ts? Here’s the list (courtesy of fastdown1.wordpress.com).

fasting

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast:                   

All fruits

All vegetables

All whole grains

All nuts and seeds

All legumes

All quality oils

Beverages limited to water

Foods to Avoid:

All meat and animal products

All dairy products

All sweeteners.

All leavened bread

All refined and processed foods products

All deep fried foods

All solid fats

(Want more information? Visit HERE  for the specific details.)

Are you ready? I wish you a healthy 2015, full of God’s grace and answered prayers.

prayer4“Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, that passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NAS).

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt:

The ladies at the Bible study chatted as they arranged their books and papers in preparation for their new semester.

Chloe, a young mother of newborn twins, opened her Bible to the book of Daniel. “I hear that our leader has a surprise this month.”

Sherry, a mom to teenagers, passed a bag of pretzels across the table, munching on a handful. “Really? I hope it involves something yummy.”

The ladies giggled, sipping their coffee.

Just then their leader, Margaret, entered the room. “Welcome to 2015, ladies. How would you all like to be part of a Daniel Fast for the New Year?

The women looked at one another, eyes questioning, silent. Margaret recognized their hesitancy before she continued. “Has anyone ever fasted before? Could you tell us a little about your experience? “

You raise your hand and respond…

photos courtesy of Corbisimages and Newlifenny