Twenty Years of Freedom From Addiction

by Tammy Trail

I’m sure many  significant events happened within the last twenty years. I’ve been racking my brain for a source of inspiration for the topic of this month’s blog. How can I bring something to print that has not been thought of by my fellow blog mates (who are all awesome!)?

A dear friend of mine recently asked me to write down the testimony of my struggle to quit smoking. She has another friend who is struggling, too. I realized this year in November will be twenty years smoke free for both my husband and me.

I suppose any bad habit is hard to break. We all struggle with something. My husband had only smoked for a handful of years, and he seemed to have an easier time of it the first time we attempted to quit. I had been a die hard smoke stack since the age of 15! Of course, I had adults in my life that told me I would regret starting. It would take years off my life, I would ruin my health. None of that mattered to a hardheaded teenager who thought she could quit at any time, and who didn’t appreciate good advice.

My first attempt to stop smoking was when I became pregnant with my daughter, Amanda. Cold Turkey–that was the way to do it! Oh my, what I put my poor husband through. It was so hard when you spend your workday in an office full of smokers! I would literally cry until my husband relented and bought a pack of cigarettes.

Then we tried hypnosis. It worked for awhile. I was even able to ignore those folks at work. But for some reason, I began to crave a cigarette on Thursday evenings after work. I know, it was very strange. This battle was real. I loved to smoke. I gained pleasure from it. There was no reason for small talk in a social setting while holding a cigarette and hiding behind the veil of smoke. So, eventually I was right back where I started.

Fast forward to a year after my son, Sean, was born. Cigarette prices were going up. While we struggled with meeting our financial obligations and putting a meal on the table, there was always money for our habit. Tim and I had rededicated our lives to the Lord and started attending a small full gospel church. We were learning so much, and the people were so patient with us. I’m sure they could smell our smoke-laced clothes before we even hit the door. Our beloved pastor could teach for hours, and Tim and I would try and satisfy our nicotine cravings with one last cigarette while we pulled the car into the church parking lot.

So, we decided to try and quit once again. This time we used the patch. Those nicotine-laced sticky adhesives on our upper arms seemed to work, but my, were they expensive. One Saturday afternoon, a few days into wearing the patch, I attended a church sponsored event on prayer.

While praying, I heard a voice in my spirit tell me, “Daughter, you don’t need that patch anymore.” Not knowing what to do with that, I left the patch on, and didn’t change it Sunday morning before church.

Our service usually began with prayer requests. A well meaning member of the congregation knew Tim and I were trying to quit smoking. She felt we needed to go up to the altar for prayer. This was very new to us, since we had only recently gone through re-dedication.  Accepting prayer, the laying on of hands–the very act of humility–was a huge step of faith for us. Remembering the words spoken to me the day before and thirsting for all of what the Lord may have in store for us, we went forward.

Loving hands were placed on shoulders, on our head, in the small of my back and at my elbows. I recall the pastor placing his hands on our heads, he spoke  loud and clear, “in the name of Jesus Christ, I proclaim the addiction to nicotine be lifted off of these bodies and claim healing.” If, there were any other words spoken, I don’t remember them. I just felt free. My husband and I have not even looked at a cigarette since that day.

I know it’s hard to quit a bad habit. I feel like cigarettes are the most difficult, because it is socially acceptable. I think cigarettes are just as addicting as hard drugs. If you struggle with an addiction, please seek help.

Matthew 11:28-30, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

CLICK TO TWEET: Hard to quit an addiction to cigarettes. Twenty years of #freedom from addiction. #smokefree

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WORLD DIABETES DAY

Today is World Diabetes Day. To educate a little about diabetes and football, I’m sharing a post from my son’s devotional book – First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up published by Harvest House Publishers.

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photo by Sean O’Toole

Jake is a type 1 diabetic who pushed hard, fighting against diabetes highs and lows to climb to the pinnacle of football success and play in the NFL.

This month, National Diabetes Awareness Month, Jake is giving $1 from each AUTOGRAPHED copy of his book sold to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.) 

First and Goal is filled with short anecdotes and stories about overcoming and faith. Below is a devotional story, the first one in Jake’s book where he shares his diagnosis story. This A-Z football devotional is filled with short inspirational clips of his life, faith walk, and journey into the NFL.

Audible  – When the quarterback changes the play at the line of scrimmage, based on the defensive formation, he calls an audible, which is a better-suited play.

01f5b5aca74f53007313ae467f0f98784ea4d3f3edBeginning my freshman year in high school, through hard work, dedication, and by the grace of God I’d earned a starting spot as an offensive tackle on our football team. Standing at 6 feet 5 and weighing in as a 240-pound 14-year-old, I was one of the team’s biggest players. With early interest from college scouts, I ran full steam ahead, thinking I had life all figured out.

By the time the season had ended, I’d dropped 40 pounds and suffered from constant fatigue. The drastic weight loss confused me, my parents, and the coaches. I ate like a ravenous wolf and worked out constantly, hoping to gain weight. Instead, I shed pounds like a German shepherd sheds fur.

An unseen offense had launched a full-scale attack against my body. First, relentless hunger and weight loss. Then, the thirst. I guzzled gallons of Gatorade and water. My constant bathroom breaks annoyed my teachers and had me worried.

At the doctor’s office I expected a prescription for a bladder infection. Instead, I got rocked by the hardest hit I’d ever taken: a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 ).

Diabetes meant a major lifestyle change. My endocrinologist assured me I could still play football—but only if I did everything by the book. I had to call my own audible. This disease forced me onto my own personal line of scrimmage, where I had to come up with a new game plan and change my mind-set. Controlling my blood sugar meant huge dietary adjustments. I had to act as my own pancreas, injecting proper amounts of insulin each time I consumed carbs in order to maintain healthy sugar levels.

Support from family, friends, and coaches carried me through difficult moments, along with a peaceful reassurance that God cared about my plans, hopes, and dreams. Have you been there? Believed you had your game plan all figured out, only to take a hit from an unexpected challenge? Have faith and listen to the audible God is calling. Trust that He has plans for you—good plans for a future and greater plans than you can ever imagine.

Houston JDRF Ad 3Want a copy of First and Goal autographed to you or a special someone? $1 from the sale goes to support the JDRF. Click here Great motivational devotional for anyone. 

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12016186_10156044039905635_176705038_oWRITING PROMPT: Know a diabetic? Type 1 or Type 2? Think of a character with high goals and dreams. Bam! They get hit with a diabetes diagnosis. How do they react. Also, if you use a diabetic character in your writing make sure you do some research into the differences between type one and type two. Type 1 diabetes has no cure. It’s an autoimmune disease. It means you are completely insulin dependent. Type 2 is curable.

Jake Byrne grew up in Rogers, Arkansas. A type 1 diabetic since the age of fourteen, he has since been proactive combating the disease and mentoring diabetic youth. He played football for the University of Wisconsin as a tight end, and went on to compete in the NFL. Originally an undrafted free agent who signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012, he has also been a Houston Texan, Kansas City Chief, and San Diego Charger. Jake lives in Dallas with his wife, Emma, and two four-legged kids: Duke the Dogo Argentino and Yeti the Great Dane.

Jake blogs at www.typewon.net. He can be reached through the following social media:

Facebook Page (Type Won): www.facebook.com/typewon1

Twitter: @sugarfreejb82

Instagram: Jakebyrne81

Email: typewonquestions@gmail.com

Coffee or Tea, Linda Yezak?

by Linda Yezak

LindasCupoJoeCoffee or tea, she asked me. Me. Queen of the coffee memes.

But it’s a fair question, since my reputation as a coffeeholic is highly exaggerated. Truth of the matter is that I have two to three cups of coffee max, I don’t drink it all day–iced or not–and I have been known to down a decaf.

There. The truth is out.

I’m not fancy with my coffee. I have ground my beans myself, but only when I received bags of beans as gifts. I like flavored coffees, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a flavored mix or flavored cream, or dissolving instant cocoa in a hot cup of Folgers.

In other words, I’m not a coffee snob. Starbucks is a special treat, Folgers is my regular blend, and instant comes in handy.

still-life-892489_1280I have enough Irish in me to also enjoy afternoon tea in the cooler seasons or when I’m sick. I’m not fancy about it either. Lipton suits me fine. Celestial Seasonings, Bigelow. I like spiced, peppermint, chai, and lemon zinger. Honey lemon, too, especially when I have a sore throat. Whether coffee or tea, plain is good, flavored is better.

What I love more than either coffee or tea–or Coke, for that matter–is having one of my caffeine choices with a friend, preferably in a wonderfully chic shoppe, having a conversation elevated above laundry and cooking. Writing is my topic of choice, of course. Over the years, as I’ve attended conferences here and there, I’ve discovered my favorite part is rising early and seeing who is also an early bird in search of caffeine. I’ve had some wonderful conversations with fellow authors who have enjoyed various degrees of success, marketing whizzes who were generous with their tips, fellow editors with whom to swap stories about some of the fun things we find in our clients’ manuscripts.

coffee-cup-866786_1280And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Plain is good, flavored is better. I can have my morning coffee, sitting in my chair and watching the sun rise, same as I do every day. The plain is wonderful. I love it. But flavor it with the sweetness and spice of like-minded company, and it’s even better.

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

Linda’s Prompt:  What about you? If you could have a cup of your caffeine of choice anywhere in the world, with whomever you wished, where would you be and with whom?

Linda croppedAbout Linda Yezak — Over twenty years ago, after a decade of life as a “single-again,” author Linda Yezak rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. Linda’s novels are heart-warming hallmarks of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

Linda’s award winning novel, Give the Lady a Ride, is part of a collection of contemporary, faith-based romances, featuring authors Susan May Warren, Tamara Leigh, Lynnette Bonner, Lesley Ann McDaniel, and Jan Thompson. This 99c set, Much Ado About Love, is available for a limited time on Kindle.

http://dld.bz/MuchAdoAboutLove

Connect with Linda on these sites:

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GivetheLadyaRide

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Goodreads: http://dld.bz/dSPmg

777 Peppermint Place: http://lindayezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

The Great Debate

cup-of-coffee-coffee-17731301-1680-1050By Jennifer Hallmark

Hello, all! This month on the Writing Prompts blog, we’re putting our two cents into the great debate. No, not the Presidential debate. The other one that has been around for as long as I can remember. Tea or coffee? Join us every Monday and Friday as we put our spin on these delectable beverages.

My beverage of choice is tea, hot, warm or cold, with milk or without. At Starbucks, I usually order an English breakfast tea latte with soy milk and a shot of vanilla. At home, hot decaf tea with honey hits the spot every time. And in the South, who doesn’t like sweet tea?hot tea

What a great day it was when I also learned that tea is healthy for me. Tea is full of flavonoids and has antimicrobial qualities. Who knew? According to WebMD:

  • Green tea has a high concentration of ECGC, which help against cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
  • Black tea (my favorite) has the highest concentration of caffeine and may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Oolong tea has been found to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  • Pu-erh tea can help with weight loss and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Herbal teas also have benefits.

  • Chamomile tea can help reduce complications from diabetes and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
  • Echinacea fights the common cold.
  • Hibiscus can lower blood pressure.
  • Rooibos (red tea) has cancer-fighting qualities.sweet tea

Of course, you want to limit the sugar and any milk or creamers to increase the health
benefits. So whether you like a nice cup of Chamomile tea before bed or a large glass of iced sweet tea with your lunch, tea is good and good for you. So as we say in the South: Give me a sweet tea with a slice of lemon.

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

Writing Prompt: Jan pushed her key into the door, unlocking it and glanced once over her shoulder. She hated opening the Java Hut so early in the morning while darkness still covered the ill-lit area. She shut the door quickly behind her and reached for the light switch. Nothing happened. Suddenly…

Delicious, Low-Fat Mexican Casserole

owfi & Mothers Day 006By Janet K. Brown

We love Mexican food & to keep my weight down, I’m always mindful of keeping it light. I make this Mexican casserole all the time. It’s easy to fix, too, an extra bonus. It’s low-fat and delicious. Serve the casserole with pinto beans and a dinner salad for a complete meal. I often fix it to take for funerals or to shut-ins.

 

Mexican Casserole

Ingredients:

93% lean ground beef

½ onion, chopped

98% fat-free cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

2 cups 2% Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese

28 Multi grain Tostidas chips

 

Directions:

Brown meat and onion in a skillet coated with cooking spray.

Add soup and tomatoes

Simmer for 15 minutes

Spray 6-inch x 12-inch pan with cooking spray.

Crush and scatter chips on the bottom of the pan.

Spread meat mixture over chips.

Sprinkle cheese over meat mixture.

Cook in a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Freezes well to serve later.

Enjoy!

 

Janet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. Writing became her second career after worthretiring from medical coding.

Worth Her Weight is the author’s first inspirational women’s fiction, but it makes a perfect companion to her previously released, Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Both books encompass her passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word.

Worth Her Weight marks Brown’s third book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

Janet and her husband love to travel in their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.

Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books.

Find her at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com

on Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx

on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

E-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net