February 28, 2011

February 2011



Love (is the key) RECAP
So, we spent all this month thinking, memorizing scripture, and focusing on L-O-V-E.  Beautiful.  So I thought I'd say, good job!  I pray you learned to love on God, yourself, your neighbors/friends and even your enemies a bit more this month!  Please leave a comment with any thoughts or experiences you had over the past four weeks!  We also finished our 6 Gracious Basics this month, here they are:

6 Basic "Gracious Essentials":

1. Humility | Colossians 3:12-13
2. Gratitude | Ephesians 5:15
3. Self-Control | Proverbs 25:11
4. Tame Tongue | Proverbs 16:24, 25:15
5. Forgiveness | Matthew 6:14
6. Love | Romans 12:9-10


Eat Right RECAP
I have now finished the entire 28 days, with daily messages in my inbox - and though I think some of the basics are really good, I didn't agree with everything they were saying... (they discourage eating 5-6 small meals and encourage 3 full meals daily, while I see their concern eating more often can mean more calories, I know that "grazing" on the healthful foods they are encouraging all to eat keeps your metabolism revved up and burning more fat...there was also a lot of emphasis on cutting out most dairy and meats, and though I personally tend to stay on the slighter side with those food groups, I don't think it's wrong, but they over-emphasized it, in my opinion).  Soon, I'll post a bit more on what I think is a good balanced way of living healthy!
I also challenged myself to workout out the Jillian Michael's 6 Week 6-Pack for six full weeks.  Well I got about half way through before getting the flu and then all my children getting horrible colds for a week and a half, and then ear infections!  I'm still trying to regain my strength...it's been a bit crazy around here.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to the second half of my challenge.  But I'm already decided that I'm ready for some healthy lifestyle changes!  Ready to be energetic, and not sick anymore!!


New SSMT verse tomorrow!... (don't forget to record in your spiral and leave a comment on BETH MOORE's blog).  I challenge you to write as many of your verses, from memory, in the comments below!

February 23, 2011

What's Really in Your Bottled Water?


Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been doing some research to find out what is really in your bottled water.  Surprisingly most water bottle companies don't answer the two most important questions, "Where does the water come from?" and "Is it purified, and how?"

They recommend filtered tap water as your best bet for real pure water.  
Top three best in transparency (showing the facts and info about their water)
1.  Gerber Pure Purified Water
2.  Nestle Pure Life Purified Water
3.  Penta-Ultra Purified Water


Check out the full PDF report here and learn a little more about what's really in your bottled water!

February 21, 2011

LOVE your enemies


Love your enemies, yes!  No, I'm not talking about cupcakes and chocolate.  But wouldn't it be nice if that was what the Bible meant!  Most of us don't have real "enemies" these days.  Typically we just have those few "difficult personalities" (and "diet thwarting sweets") to deal with, whether in the family, workplace, or church.  The best thing to do whenever we are trying to change our old thought patterns, go against our nature and become more like Christ is to stand on His word.  So please take 2 minutes and read the next 5 verses, and let them really sink into your heart today:
"You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer,for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. " - Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message, emphasis added).
"Live out your God-created identity."  Don't let ANYTHING get in your way of that, not even a stubborn personality.  "Live generously and graciously toward others..."and how do we do that?  "...the way God lives toward you."
Think about (or study) the way God thinks of you, I know that He loves you so much He sent His ONLY Son to die for you, so you could be with Him for eternity (John 3:16).  I know that His thoughts about you are so numerous, you could count every star in the sky, every grain of sand on the earth, and He still thinks about you more (Psalm 139:17-18).  Even before you were born, He knew you, He formed you (Psalm 139:13-16).  He thinks you're good (Genesis 1:27, 31).
Whew!  That's a lot to live up to, and not easy to do, but I believe if we are just willing to try, slowly we will become more like Christ.  And hey, it may even get easier to love our enemies with practice (chocolates and all)! =)
Love you ladies (and you male readers too)! Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you again and again!

February 20, 2011

Eat Right Week 4


So far we've talked about eating a salad before your dinner; fruit with breakfast, lunch and dinner; mixing in beans, kale, more colorful veggies and drinking lots of water each day! Now let's finish up our month of "eating right" with...

EAT RIGHT WEEK 4: Whole Grains and Nuts/Seeds!

Your Action Plan (Whole Grains): Make sure you get most of your nutrition and calorie needs met by non-starchy vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds and not on whole grains. If you eat grains, make sure it’s whole grains which is found in the bulk aisle and not in packaged foods. If you buy packaged foods with whole grain, make sure it says 100% whole grain.


Your Action Plan (Nuts/Seeds): Even though raw nuts are seeds are a health food, they should still be eaten in limited quantity. If you are trying to lose weight, do not exceed one (for women) or two (for men) ounce of raw nuts and seeds daily. (Nuts and seeds are about 175 calories per ounce.) *Eat Right America

February 15, 2011

Encouraging Words from Beth...


Today is our new Scripture Memory Verse day (go here to find the details about the SSMT)!  My fourth verse is from the book of Romans (just like my previous verse):
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." - Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Here are a few words from Beth Moore's Blog for our encouragement:
"Hey, you Scripture-memory buffs! I pray that your verses are bearing fruit and that they’re right there on the tip of your tongue when you’re tempted to say something the polar opposite of God’s will. That’s one of many things I like about memory work. It’s seems out of place to use the same mouth that has been spouting Scripture to spout off a bunch of trash. That doesn’t mean we never do it but it does mean we’re likely to feel miserable over it and think twice the next time...
I bet some of you feel the same way I’ve felt over the last week: too much on your plate. Looking at all of it in one big heap on your desk or your calendar can be demoralizing. Thursday I had one of those days when you can hardly make it to your car after work without bursting into tears. On the way home I felt like God was telling me to humble myself and get the word out that I needed prayer and by the next day I felt a world better. (Some nights you just go to bed early out of love for the people who live with you.) A couple of other things have really helped me today. They seem elementary but, if so, why don’t we ever seem to learn them once and for all? Here’s what they are: Remembering to…
1)   TAKE ONE THING AT A TIME! God’s grace really is sufficient and He really does meet all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. As much as we want to see all that manna heaped up in a mountain of provision a week in advance alongside those upcoming demands, His promise in Philippians 4:19 is to meet each one AT THE TIME WE NEED IT. Thank You, Lord. If we could learn to live in this present moment with this present provision, oh, man, life would be so much less stressful, wouldn’t it?
2)   SAY NO. I have managed to get that most distasteful word for the people-pleasure out of my mouth two times today to people I really, really, really didn’t want to say no to. People I love a ton. People I want very much to please. But the fact is, I don’t have a single other yes in my pocket right now. Not one. For this moment, I am completely bereft of extra yeses. Anybody else? So it’s got to be no. Help us, Lord. We need so much help to say yes to no." - Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries Blog.
What is your new verse?  If you haven't started yet, don't be afraid to jump on board today!  This is such an awesome opportunity to keep our minds on Christ, fill our spirits, stand in our armor each day and be a part of something bigger by joining with women all around the WORLD!

February 14, 2011

Eat Right Week 3 | SSMT


Part of loving yourself is not just pampering your feet, and of course filling up your spirit, but also taking care of your body...

Eat Right Week 3: Keep eating your salad, fruit, veggies, and drinking water!  Also add into the mix BEANS and KALE daily!

Your Action Plan (Beans): (from EatRightAmerica.com) Easiest way to add beans is to open a can of unsalted beans and add them to a salad, or use a low-sodium canned soups that is made with plenty of beans. Or, you can cook dried beans in water and some seasonings and cook them on a low flame for an hour to make soft. The easiest way to make beans is to just add the dried beans directly to your soups. If you have trouble digesting beans, chew them well and start with smaller beans such as adzuki, lentils, mung beans and peas. Adding fennel or cumin also can help prevent gas.

Bean Benefits:

  • Protects against heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer
  • Associated with enhancing longevity
  • Reduces sugar cravings
  • Rich in fiber; feel full longer
  • Very economical

Your Action Plan (Kale): (from EatRightAmerica.com) 
Try kale or any of the greens in this list that you have never tried. For you to experience the greatest health and weight loss benefits, nutrient-dense greens (such as one provided in the list) have to be an essential part of your eating.

No.Food ItemANDI Score
1.Kale (cooked)1000
2.Mustard, Turnip, Collard Greens (cooked)1000
3.Watercress (raw)1000
4.Bok Choy/Baby Bok choy (cooked) 824
5.Spinach (raw) 739
6.Broccoli Rabe (cooked)715
7.Chinese or Napa Cabbage (cooked)704
8.Brussels Sprouts (raw)672
9.Swiss Chard (cooked)670
10.Arugula (raw) 559
11.Cabbage481



Don't forget: SSMT new verse tomorrow, pick out your scripture and post a comment on the SSMT blog tomorrow!

LOVE yourself | Happy Valentines Day!


This whole month we are talking about LOVE, but now it is time to make a little for yourself.  You can try and do all these (and other) sweet treats for yourself in one day, or throughout the week.  Just make some time for yourself, be pampered, sit by a fire, read a book, sing a song, get childcare to make sure it happens if you need to!
Start off your morning with a warm shower.  But before you get started grab a glass of vinegar.  After you shampoo your hair, give it a nice cleanse by slowly pouring the vinegar from scalp to ends.  Let soak for a few minutes as you soap up.  Then rinse the vinegar out and put a few drops of jojoba oil or deep hair conditioner into your hands and massage from scalp to ends as well.  The more time you can leave in the better, whether that is five minutes while you shave and then exfoliate your feet, or if you're going to be in the house all day - just put your hair up and wash out the oil before bed.
Use a moisturizer or sunless tanner after the shower for a smooth, softness or glow.  Then, if you have a minute, clip and trim your nails and toenails.
Make yourself a nice hot cup of coffee or tea (for those of us who can't stand to drink coffee), and take a few minutes throughout your day to read a little out of a book you love (something that doesn't get you all worked up like say the newspaper), or do some deep-breathing techniques.  If you can afford it and can get away, schedule a massage or professional pedicure on your way home from work to really add to the sweetness.
Before you head to bed, wash out any hair conditioner/oil that may be left.  If you haven't had the chance to get a mani/pedi already, you can give yourself a really nice at home manicure/pedicure (2 minute, 5 minute, or 35 minute)!  Now before bed, lather your feet (and hands if you wish) with some really thick lotion (i.e., Kiss My Face Almost Butter) and slip into some soft, plush socks for the night (even though I hate sleeping with socks on, I try to do this every once in awhile).  You will wake up feeling so pampered (and soft)!
Take time for yourself, because you are worth it!  HaPPY VaLENTINE'S DaY!!!

And remember...
"Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God." - Proverbs 31:30 (Message)

February 12, 2011

Valentine Recipe


The girls and I decided to try a few new treats out this week, Cinnamon-Apple Crisps and Fruity Nutty Chocolate Valentine, which was a sweet treat, and makes a good Valentine gift too!


The cinnamon-apple crisps didn't quite "crisp," I sliced two apples, dashed with lemon juice and sprinkled with cinnamon.  Then I baked them for about 35 minutes total, probably 15 at 275 and then 10 at 300 and 10 more at 350.  I obviously didn't really follow a recipe, and I was just trying things out.  So, let me know if you have any ideas please! =)


The fruity nutty chocolate valentine was just melted dark chocolate with crushed walnuts, and orange-craisins mixed in.  Sooo yummy!  Follow the link to get the full instructions.

Have a fun holiday weekend and remember to show each other a little LOVE!!

February 11, 2011

Amazon Sale on Baby Wipes



Here is what you do:
  • Go to Amazon Mom and register/login. When you become an Amazon Mom member, you receive an additional 15% discount on top of the standard 15% discount when you sign up for Subscribe & Save delivery. You’ll also receive FREE 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime.
  • Next, choose the wipes you want, then click on ‘Subscribe & Save’ (on the right side of the page).  You’ll grab an extra 30% off your order (with FREE 2 day shipping)!  You can cancel at ANY TIME!  Either cancel once you've received your item, some people use that as their reminder, or once the product has shipped you can cancel the subscription if you don't want them to automatically reship your item.
  • Last but not least, enter coupon code MOMWIPES and you get another 10% off! (Good until 3/6/11)
  • Thanks Combat Clippers!
  • PS. Pampers Sensitive Wipes gets a 3 on the Cosmetics Database Scale (0 = best, 10 = worst).  Pretty good for a regular,  easy to find brand of wipes!

February 10, 2011

Limited Time | NIV Bible Offline!


Check out this blog post from YouVersion about a limited time offer to download the entire Bible (NIV) so that it is available even without internet connection!  This is good for iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Android, but this will only last from February 12 - March 1st for 400 hours, in honor of this year being the 400th year that the King James Version has been in print for all of us to read the Word of God for ourselves!  Follow the instructions on their blog.


Don't have a smart phone?  Don't feel left out, you can check out their awesome Bible Reading Plans on your desktop, like this 5-day Love and Marriage Bible Reading Plan, which my husband and I are starting today - GREAT way to say "I Love You" this Valentine's Day!

February 8, 2011

Free Amazon Music


Amazon has thousands of free MP3s HERE.  Check them out, some of them are great for Valentine's Day coming up!

Enter this code at checkout before Valentine's day and get a $2 MP3 Amazon credit: VDAYMP3S

February 7, 2011

LOVE Your Neighbor


We are finishing up our Six Essentials to being a Gracious Woman today which is the one year anniversary of the start of my blog!

"Love is the motivation of Grace"
 
This is the phrase that I wrote down over one year ago during the Pink Impact (Gateway woman's night), where I heard Debbie Morris speak on being a gracious woman.  I just love it!  Motives have been on my mind a lot as of late.  Why do I want to get in shape?  Why do I want to meet the goals that I have... why do I even have the goals that I have?!  Well, I'm still working on that....but one thing I do know - love is the motivation of grace!
God pretty much wrapped everything up about love in these two verses:
"Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:10 (NLT)
"Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
LOVE will motivate, encourage and help us become women of grace!  Previously when studying God's word, I learn more when I get to the heart of the issue.  For example, to keep my words in check - I have to watch what I pour into my heart, since I say the things I think about and think about the things that I ponder in my heart.  Living a life of grace comes from living a life of love.

Last week I gave you 7 scriptures to look at (one for each of your 7-day quiet times), that were all focused on love.  As a continuation to one of the verses, let's look at 1 John 4:20-21 (NLT):
"If someone says, 'I love you God,' but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?  And He has given us this command: those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters."
I love how the Message Bible states verse 21:
"The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both."
I love it..."Christ is blunt...You've got to love both."  We each have circles of influence and relationships that no one else has.  We need to learn to really show the people in our lives God's love and let Him love them through our words and actions.  Not just because we are more blessed when we do, but also because it is a command!!

SO!  Let's make this our challenge during the week before Valentine's day: take the time and effort to go out of your way and share God's love with your "Christian brothers and sisters," and your "neighbors" who don't already know God!  Get creative, and listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.  Someone may need a batch of cookies more than you could have ever known, but God knows!  He knows what each person needs - so let's let Him use us!!!

"Don't just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate was is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is right.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." - Romans 12:9-10 (NLT and my memory verse!)

Valentine's Day Ideas | Eat Right Week 2



This is the second of four weeks implementing small changes in what we eat to make us healthier!  Last week you tried to eat a salad with your dinner and fruit 3 times a day!  Congratulations for starting!  I hope you will try and continue those new habits from now on in your life.  I am not a HUGE salad lover, so I am also trying to make a green/fruit smoothie in the morning to help get in extra helpings!

Eat Right Week 2: Drink More Water!  And Eat More Veggies - the more colors, the more variety of nutrients.

Your Action Plan: Increase the amount of vegetables you eat, in addition to your daily salad:
  • Have plenty of raw vegetables with healthy home-made or store-bought salad dressings or dips (e.g. hummus, salsa, etc.), before lunch and dinner.
  • Easy way to add vegetables: Add frozen vegetables (e.g. spinach) to any low-sodium store bought soup.
  • Have a steamed green vegetable at dinner and add variety with non-green vegetable options: eggplant, peppers, onions and mushrooms.* From the Eat Right America website.
  • Try to drink a full 8-10oz glass of water when you first wake up, before breakfast.  Fill up a 32oz bottle and take it with you EVERYWHERE!  Try and drink 2-3 of those bottles, work up to it if you have to.  Then sleep with a glass by your bed.
  • As a rule, for every glass of non-H2O drink, add another glass of water to your day.
Enjoy your salads, veggies, fruit and water and be excited to feel healthy on the inside and out!  Go here to sign up and start getting emails with more details, meal plans and recipes for all of these steps and more!



Valentine's Day Ideas
Valentine's day is just a week away!  I love getting crafty with little cards and gifts, but also creative with my toddlers!  So here are a few places I enjoy getting ideas to celebrate this Valentine's day:

February 2, 2011

LOVE


Yesterday all us Siesta Scripture Memory Team girls picked a new verse to memorize!  Mine is:
"Don't just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." - Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)
Since we are talking and thinking all month about LOVE I thought we ought to look at it in all different ways!  I mentioned the Eat Right America 28 day challenge a few days ago, well I thought that taking it a bit slower might be helpful and in this way we are showing our physical bodies a little love.  So each week this month I'll let you know of just two small changes you can make in your life to eat healthier.  I want to really absorb and apply these ideas into my life and I think taking smaller steps will help!


Eat Right Week One: Eat a salad with your dinner AND eat 3 fruits a day (think: 1 with breakfast and as a sweet dessert after lunch and dinner).


Of course most importantly, we need to focus on LOVE from the inside: loving God, ourselves and those around us. Try and spend a little time each day this week thanking God for your blessings (even if they are hard to see).  I encourage you to challenge yourself to spend a little time each day with Jesus.  Just start with these next 7 days and then go from there.  I prefer my quiet time in the morning to start my day off, other people like lunch breaks, or just before bed.  Find what works for you and try writing out your prayers and reading a few verses from the Bible.  Maybe just really meditate on your SSMT (or any) verse and ask God to bring you understanding.  When God begins to show us His love and we begin to grasp it, it will pour out with ease to those around us.

Try reading some of these verses on LOVE:
John 3:16-17
Romans 12:9-10
Matthew 22:37-40
1 John 4:16-19
John 15:9-12
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Luke 6:32-36

"And do everything with love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14
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