baf82e59b14f796c41ddc109f65f66a5Do everything without kvetching or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure children of God, without defect in the midst of a twisted and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky,  as you hold on to the Word of Life.  Philippians 2:14-16 (Complete Jewish Bible)dont8174_knQBbaWn_f

Webster defines kvetching as  continuously complaining.  Wikipedia defines it as needlessly whining or complaining. I would dare say that kvetching could loosely be translated into bitching.

It’s time to stop kvetching about the work it will take to get into shape. It’s Bot2tTqIgAATVpl.jpg-largetime to stop complaining about how you look and feel. It’s time to stop bitching about giving up the foods that are making you gain weight. It’s time to do something.

Kvetching, complaining, and bitching not only make us feel worse about ourselves but it wears on those who love us.

For a moment, I want you to imagine how you would feel if you heard someone talking about your daughter or best friend like you talk to and about yourself. Would you be willing to stand there and listen? Not me! I’d be spittin’ and fighting’ mad! And I definitely would not hold my tongue!!!!

Yet, we spend hours kvetching, complaining, and bitching about ourselves while the Holy Spirit, our spouse, our daughters, and our best friends listen. And those around us are afraid to say anything at all because they know that we will respond in anger and frustration.

I truly believe that as you and I get into the best shape of our lives that we will shine like stars because not only will we look good but we will be pleasant to be around!

I mean no offense with the language I’ve used in this post. I’ve used this word because I honestly cannot think of another word that truly defines how we talk about ourselves.  But if you want a few synonyms, here they are:

  • blue
  • complaining
  • crabby
  • disaffected
  • discontented
  • disgruntled
  • displeased
  • disquieted
  • dissatisfied
  • disturbed
  • exasperated
  • fed up
  • fretful
  • griping
  • kvetching
  • malcontented
  • miserable
  • perturbed
  • picky
  • restless
  • ungratified
  • upset
  • vexed

womaningoldposterHank and I went to see Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds yesterday. As always, the movies that are based on true stories are the best and this was no exception.

I’ve seen several movies about the lives that Hitler took.  I’ve read about those who escaped before being sent to concentration camps. And I’ve heard about stolen works of art and/or destroyed by Hitler’s army. But the movie yesterday caused me to think about another aspect of that horrendous war and that is the musical instruments that were destroyed and/or stolen.

Hitler had one goal – and that was to destroy the lives of his victims. And if he could not take their lives then he would steal their passion. And in this aspect, Hitler is very much like Satan himself.  I remind you that Jesus said, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.(John 10:10)

While Hitler may have focused on the Jews, it seems that Satan has the resources to focus on each and every one of us. It is his ultimate goal to destroy us. And if he can’t destroy us then he is more than willing to steal our passion.

Webster defines passion as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

I can tell you that I am passionate about diet, fitness, health, and wellness. I can spend hours reading about what  should or should not be eaten. And I can spend just that much time in the gym! I love to read “fitspiration” quotes on Pinterest. (I know that’s not a word in the real world but it is a pinterest word….)

But what about you? What are you passionate about? What do you read about? What do you browse on pinterest? What is it that you dream about? If you could put your life on pause and do anything you wanted to do, what would it be?

And, let me ask you another question? Are you physically strong enough to do it? Are you healthy enough to go where you want to go? Is it possible that your lack of strength and excess weight would get in the way of fulfilling your passion? Maybe a better question is this: Are you using your weight as an excuse for not pursuing your passions in life?

Jesus said that he came to “so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”  And John writes, “….I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

I’m thinking that life in its fullest measure is a life that lived  in  relationship with God the Father, good health, and filled with passion. I’m just sayin………..


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29 years ago today….

Photo on 4-19-15 at 11.16 AMHank and I got married. And during those 29 years, I’ve had a miracle baby, suffered though miscarriages, had two cancer scares, been hit with a tire iron, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, dealt with depression, gone through menopause, and crashed my bike.

This body has been though a heck of a lot!

And this morning, Hank told me that after 29 years of marriage, he still thinks I’m hot! He went on to say that he  believed that my body is better than it’s ever been.

(You should know that 29 years later Hank is wearing bifocals so he can’t see all the wear and tear!)

Throughout the years I’ve gone through cycles of weight gain and loss. I’ve had times where I worked out regularly and times where workouts were shelved while I tried to adjust to the changes that life has thrown at me. I’ve also had times of eating really well —- and those times where I fed my heartaches and depression comfort foods rather than fueling my body.

But you know what? Now, 29 years later, I weigh about the same as I did then. I am still wearing my original wedding band. But there’s more to this story. I’m physically stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m more comfortable in  my own skin than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned to love the body that I live in while working hard to make it stronger. I’ve learned that health and well-being should be my focus and that the look that I want will be an added benefit.

29 years later…. I’m a better me!

And that better me is a better wife than I’ve ever been which gives me the best marriage yet!

During my last few posts, I’ve talked about some of my struggles with depression. I may have left you with the impression that my depression was cured with diet and exercise alone. But that’s not the truth.

From my perspective, depression is more than am inherited chemical imbalance or the hormonal changes that accompany menopause. At it’s core it is a soul issue.

My bouts of depression were fueled by years of built up disappointment. This disappointment began early in life  when I’d hope that my parents wouldn’t fist fight. Or I’d hope that my real father would come and whisk me away from the chaos that swirled around me. And then my hopes turned into unrealistic daydreams.

I remember daydreaming that Elvis Presley would be driving down Highway 54 in Fayetteville and his car would break down. In my daydream, he would come to our little fishing cabin on the lake and ask to use the phone and then he would fall in love with my mom and take us home with him.

I outgrew those daydreams but I never outgrew hoping for a better life.

As I got older, I began to make my hopes much more spiritual by attaching a scripture to them. My disappointment would grow exponentially when God did not perform as I had hoped He would.

As an adult, I decided that God wasn’t too concerned with what I really wanted to I would want what He wanted. And what He obviously wanted was for me to be the perfect pastor’s wife in a church in Gallup, New Mexico. If my only hope was what I thought He wanted then I’d never be disappointed again.

Scripture states:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 

Isn’t that the best definition of depression you’ve ever read? My heart was sick with disappointment. There came a time that along with the anti-depressants, the dietary changes, and daily exercise that I had to deal with my sick heart. I had to do some serious forgiving…..

I had to forgive my mom for the chaos that swirled around my childhood. I had to forgive my biological father for only being a sperm donor.  I had to forgive Hank for not giving me everything I wanted. I had to forgive God for not performing as I expected.

And I had to forgive myself….. You see, I had decided that I was the common denominator for things not working out as I expected them to. I wasn’t good enough to be loved and protected by a father. I didn’t deserve the nice things in life. And even God couldn’t trust me to build His church in Gallup.

I had to stop looking at everyone and everything around me and do some soul searching. It was at that time that I decided rather than focusing on being Bert’s daughter, Hank’s wife, Hannah’s mom, or the Stronghold’s pastor, that I would simply be God’s daughter. And all I would expect from Him is what I’ve seen Hank do for Hannah.

That’s where the second part of that scripture comes into reality:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 

If you are dealing with depression, may I suggest that you see a doctor who can help you with the medications you may need along with making the dietary changes and adding daily exercise to your life. And will you consider taking it a step farther and seek out someone who can help you deal with the heart issues? I don’t want you to have a sick heart anymore…….

 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. John 14:27

NCI5_POTATOTonight we had mashed sweet potatoes and they were delicious! Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & diced
  • Zest & juice of 1/2 navel orange
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • salt
  1. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. When water is boiling, add sweet potatoes.
  3. Cover & cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. When potatoes are tender, drain the water and return potatoes to pot.
  5. Mash potatoes to desired consistency.
  6. Add the juice & zest of 1/1 navel orange.
  7. Add the coconut oil and stir to combine.
  8. Salt to taste.

I served this with chicken and lima beans…..

Oh! And don’t waste the rest of that orange – serve it with the meal!

Recipe borrowed from Oxygen Magazine.

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Mayo Clinic: Exercise eases symptoms of depression and anxiety

exercise-and-depressionDepression symptoms often improve with exercise. Here are some realistic tips to help you get started and stay motivated. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Managing Depression:

When you have anxiety or depression, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference.

Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood.

The links between anxiety, depression and exercise aren’t entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of anxiety or depression and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you’re feeling better.

How does exercise help depression and anxiety?

Regular exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:

  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
    Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

Is a structured exercise program the only option?

Some research shows that physical activity such as regular walking — not just formal exercise programs — may help improve mood. Physical activity and exercise are not the same thing, but both are beneficial to your health.

Physical activity is any activity that contracts muscles and expends energy and can include work or household or leisure activities.

Exercise is a planned, structured and repetitive body movement done to improve or maintain physical fitness.
The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym. But exercise includes a wide range of activities that boost your activity level to help you feel better.

Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can physical activity such as gardening, washing your car, walking around the block or engaging in other less intense activities. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving can help improve your mood.

You don’t have to do all your exercise or other physical activity at once. Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther away from work to fit in a short walk. Or, if you live close to your job, consider biking to work.

How much is enough?

Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling.

The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term — another good reason to focus on finding activities that you enjoy.

How do I get started — and stay motivated?

Starting and sticking with an exercise routine or regular physical activity can be a challenge. These steps can help:

  • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of physical activities you’re most likely to do, and think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. For instance, would you be more likely to do some gardening in the evening, start your day with a jog, or go for a bike ride or play basketball with your children after school? Do what you enjoy to help you stick with it.
    Get your mental health provider’s support. Talk to your doctor or other mental health provider for guidance and support. Discuss an exercise program or physical activity routine and how it fits into your overall treatment plan.
  • Set reasonable goals. Your mission doesn’t have to be walking for an hour five days a week. Think realistically about what you may be able to do and begin gradually. Tailor your plan to your own needs and abilities rather than trying to meet unrealistic guidelines that you’re unlikely to meet.
    Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. If exercise is just another “should” in your life that you don’t think you’re living up to, you’ll associate it with failure. Rather, look at your exercise or physical activity schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication — as one of the tools to help you get better.
  • Analyze your barriers. Figure out what’s stopping you from being physically active or exercising. If you feel self-conscious, for instance, you may want to exercise at home. If you stick to goals better with a partner, find a friend to work out with or who enjoys the same physical activities that you do. If you don’t have money to spend on exercise gear, do something that’s cost-free, such as regular walking. If you think about what’s stopping you from being physically active or exercising, you can probably find an alternative solution.
  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain an exercise routine and might as well quit. Just try again the next day. Stick with it.

Do I need to see my doctor?

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s safe for you. Talk to your doctor to find out which activities, how much exercise and what intensity level is OK for you. Your doctor will consider any medications you take and your health conditions. He or she may also have helpful advice about getting started and staying motivated.

If you exercise regularly but anxiety or depression symptoms still interfere with your daily living, see your doctor or other mental health provider. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression, but they aren’t a substitute for psychotherapy or medications.

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Several years ago I went through a very, very difficult time. Some of you may remember bits and pieces of it but for the rest of you, I’ll give you a brief summary:

Flat dab in the middle of my menopause, we discovered that someone was stealing money from the men and women in our church and, as a result of that, the church began to shrink each week. It seemed as if everything that I had given my life to was dying right in front of my eyes AND I was having hot flashes along with various other symptoms of menopause. It was horrible and I was absolutely hopeless.

At that time, my son-in-law who happens to be a psych-nurse suggested that I consider going back on antidepressants. Like many others, he believes that anti-depressants can be used to get you through difficult times and then you can be weaned off of them to live life. And I knew that too because I had used them in the past.

And it worked for me! I believe that those little pills helped me though some of the most difficult times in my life —- But there was one area of life in which they worked against me. Not only did I gain weight while on them, I also had a difficult time losing it. And for awhile, I had to balance out which was the lesser of two evils – depression or weight gain.

I can’t say that I was content with the weight gain but it was a whole lot easier to handle with those little pills.

Eventually things got better for me emotionally – or maybe I just got stronger. Last fall, I followed my son-in-laws advice and began to wean myself from the anti-depressants. Not only did I lose the weight I’d gained but I I had also gained a whole new perspective on life.

While I know that there are going to potholes in the road of life, I believe that I’ve learned how to navigate my way around or through them. When it seems as if life is crashing in on me, I go to the gym and workout my frustration instead of wallowing in it. I’ve learned that too much sugar works as a depressant in me and that exercise is a calorie burning antidepressant.  A tired body sleeps well but a depressed mind spends the night rehearsing all that’s not working in life.

I’m not telling you to wean yourself from those little pills known as antidepressants but I am telling you to start adding some exercise to your day and to begin paying attention to how your diet makes you feel emotionally. I would suggest that you google “sugar and depression” to better understand the link between diet and depression. And, as you begin to notice that life is looking better and better, talk to your doctor about making any changes in the medications you take.