Category Archives: personal stories

Time-perspective, priorities, people!

Is life overwhelming? Feeling like life is hard?

I’m still adjusting to the new normal with the recent loss of a well-loved friend.

My friend’s health deteriorated quickly and within 21 days she passed.

This kind of shocking loss puts life into perspective.

Priorities change.

Irritations lose their power.

Stuff loses its appeal.

Careers lose their supremacy.

Tasks and to-do lists can wait.

 

What really matters in life? PEOPLE and GOD!

My friend Gwen always had time to talk to people.

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She was never in too much of a hurry. I want to be more like Gwen.

I HAVE the time to stop and chat with an acquaintance.

For coffee shop visits with good friends.

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Telephone calls and long texts are WORTH the time.

There IS time for interruptions. Interruptions involve people.

When my kids were small I had a good quote on the fridge.

“The interruptions are the job”!

There IS time for long conversations, even late at night.

Time to share a joke or a good memory.

Time to write a note of encouragement.

Time, one of our most valued commodities, needs to be spent on – PEOPLE!

With this recent loss came fear.

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Fear that I too may lose those I love most.

With God’s help I am not letting fear be immobilizing.

Instead it is a fear that moves me to action!

Oh, the people I love are so precious!

This fear moves me to the action of loving my people well.

Hugs and kisses are given and received everyday.

The value of dinner preparation and the time spent around the table laughing and talking is priceless!

Acts of service done in love speak volumes.

Kind and loving words reach deep into hearts.

Memories are made and cherished everyday.

Texting keeps me in regular contact with family and friends.

Time spent with people is worth every second.

I don’t want time to dim the intensity of these feelings!

I want to live a life of no regrets! I want to love people well!

I want to live each day as a precious gift from God.

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I want to make today count!

I want to honor my Great God with good choices.

I want to spend time reading the Bible and praying.

Learning how to live life like Jesus did.

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When doubts come about the premature passing of my friend, I remember the verses that I feel were written just for me.

I have them as the wallpaper on my phone so I see them throughout my day.

“Hold fast to the hope you profess for He who promised is faithful. Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Hebrews 10:23, 3:2.

I know Jesus has proven Himself trustworthy so many times in my life.

When I think about Jesus and His perfect plans,

based on His love,

that gets my thinking back on the right track.

TODAY’S little STEP: Make today count! Take the time to love your people well. Honor God! Life is a precious gift!

If you would like to know about my good God, please send me a message. I would be happy to tell you how you can be part of God’s family.

Or click on this link http://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/steps-to-life/and read about the steps to developing a personal relationship with Jesus and spending forever in Heaven!

 

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Can I trust God when life is hard?

Is life rough right now? Are you being asked to do really hard things? Or maybe you are watching someone you love go through tough times?

Last week I told you about my good friend who is gravely ill. She is still in ICU. She has made progress in some areas and a few steps back in others.

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Trusting God when things don’t make any sense is one of the hardest things for me to do.

I want there to be a sense of order.

I want to understand what the purpose is.

I want the hard things to stop. I want the people I love to have no trouble in life.

The ‘I want’ statements all come down to this – I want to be in control!

But I am not. God is!

This weekend I searched my Bible for answers.

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I know that might sound like a smug, pious statement. But it’s not.

It’s where we should go when we don’t know what to do!

It’s where I go to find out what God says.

It’s where I go to find out how to respond to hard things.

When you really search, you find answers! I found words I didn’t even know were in the Bible.

God tells me to “Hold fast to the hope you profess for He who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23.

I speak and write about hope. Now is the time for me to hold tight to that hope.

Right now when things don’t seem to make any sense – God is faithful.

He has proven Himself trustworthy many times.

I need to remember times when I saw God at work.

Times when with hindsight I caught a glimpse of God’s purpose. Times when the only hope I had came from God.

God tells me to “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” Hebrews 3:2.

Wow. I didn’t know that was a verse in the Bible.

I thought it was a line from a song.

When my crazy thoughts go down the worst-case scenario path I need to capture them.

I need to focus my thoughts on Jesus.

When I do, I get the perspective I need.

Jesus loves me. Jesus is in control.

Jesus wants me to grow to be more like Him.

Jesus has a plan.

Jesus loves everyone!

God reminds me to “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again. Rejoice” Philippians 4:4.

God wants me to praise Him even when things are hard. That’s not easy to do.

But I thought I would give it a try and I thought about my friend in ICU and what I could be thankful for.

I can thank God for caring Doctors and Nurses and good medications   I can thank Him for members of her family who care and advocate for her.

I can thank Him for all the people who are praying for her. I can thank Him that my friend knows and loves Jesus.

I can thank Him that He is in control and that He has a plan.

I was pleasantly surprised that with the right attitude I really could find things to praise God for.

It helped me realize that God is present in all of this.

I wrestled in prayer.

I wept.

I realized I can relinquish the control into His hands.

God says to me, “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; who says to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’ ”. Isaiah 41:13.

I have fear.

Fear about the uncertain future for my friend.

Fear about her suffering and pain.

Fear about my role in her illness and how I will help her.

But God reminds me that He holds my hand. That I don’t need to fear because He promises to help!

That’s the best kind of help.

God’s words have power.

These words feel like they were just for me.

But it is my hope and prayer that they touch you and your life too!

Trusting God?

I’m learning and growing and I want to encourage you to do the same!

Today’s little step: Fix your thoughts on Jesus! You will get the perspective and the presence you need for life.

Don’t take your health for granted!

Do you take your good health for granted?

I sure did. But this week I was forced to stop and watch as my best friends’ health deteriorated.

She went to the hospital for assistance with an ongoing heart issue. But it wasn’t that simple.

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Within a few days they found serious health issues. She ended up in the Intensive Care Unit. She is still there.

Each day I pray for God to give her peace, to give the Doctors wisdom and to give her back to us.

When I visited, my friend said, “you never know what a day will hold.”

It made me realize how much I take for granted.

When I left I vowed I would savor the simple joys of health and life.

Waking up after a restful sleep.

Getting a hug and a kiss goodbye.

Cooking a big dinner for family. Washing the dishes. Going for a long walk.

Watching the sunset.

Raking the sand on my beach.

Feeding the chickadees, from my hand!

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Simple things, simple joys but so sweet when I thought of losing them to poor health.

Seeing a friends’ health deteriorate has made me aware of my health choices.

I know I can’t prevent all health issues and my friend couldn’t either.

But I want to invest in my health.

It’s a precious gift that I want to appreciate and keep.

I have a renewed zeal to help you make healthy choices too my friend!

Let’s make today count. Let’s make today the day we take little steps to health.

Here’s what I am learning about healthy choices for my body, mind and spirit.

Good food fuels my body and fights disease.

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The junk food I crave when I’m stressed is losing its appeal. Especially when I know it doesn’t help my body.

In fact it harms it.

I’m working on choosing vegetables and fruit more often.

Exercise makes my heart and lungs work and it makes them stronger.

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I’m finding that a half hour walk burns off lots of stress and some calories too. I always feel better after a good walk.

I am generally an optimistic person but my mind can go with the worst case scenario.

Especially when I think of my friend and all her interrelated health issues.

I have to take control of my thoughts.

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So I watch for the good and for the little improvements. I need hope to help me cope.

My spirit? It was troubled.

I poured out my heart to God in my prayers.

I have a growing peace.

Peace because God is teaching me to trust Him. Trust Him because He is on His throne.

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He is in control. He loves my friend more than I do.  I love her dearly.  I miss our phone calls and visits.

He is a good God.

God has proven Himself trustworthy many times and He will again.

I am learning to praise Him when things are hard and this is hard.

I’m not sure what is happening in your life?

But I hope you savor the little joys of health and life. Don’t wait until a health crisis makes you aware.

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Remember our core verse and don’t get weary of doing the little things you know will make a difference in your health.

“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up”. Galatians 6:9 New Living Translation

 

Today’s little step: Take one little step to health today. Every little step makes a difference!

Here are some links for little steps to health that you can start today!

Stop that stinkin thinkin!

Why drink water? 7 surprising benefits!

How to access God’s promises, presence and power!

10 tips to sneak exercise into everyday!

1 SURPISINGLY SIMPLE SECRET TO LOSING WEIGHT

 

Reflections from a brand new empty nester!

Our nest is empty. But my heart and mind are full.

Full of memories.

Full of laughter and tears.

Full of God’s goodness and grace.

Full of hopes and dreams.

Here are some reflections of a brand new empty nester.

For the last month Katie has been sorting through all her stuff. We’ve been making lists, shopping and packing. I loved being part of that process. It reminded me of the ‘nesting’ feeling I had when I was pregnant. I wanted Katie’s new nest to be well set up.

She packed the car and we made a couple of quick trips to her new place to clean and get organized.

Then she and her Dad packed the trailer.

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Our nest was looking pretty empty.

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On April 2 we moved her into a 3-bedroom main floor apartment in a house.

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I did the Mom things I wanted to do. I cleaned and organized cupboards and set up the kitchen. I ironed and hung curtains. A house looks lived in when there are curtains on the windows.

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Katie and her Dad moved furniture, fixed some things and hung pictures. She even set up a fun music room.

Now she can play those drums as loud as she wants!

There was a lovely welcome sign crafted by Katie’s 5-year-old neighbor and a basket of treats, all from the Camp Director and his family.

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After some kind words of thanks from Katie and two long lingering hugs – we were on our way.

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We’ve dropped Katie off at Galilean dozens of times but this one was different.

This was her new home.

We were leaving her.

The little chickie had a new nest!

 

It was a quiet ride home, each of us with our own reflective thoughts. We were emotionally fragile.

There were lots of long sighs.

Tears were very near the surface and some did break the surface.

Yet at the same time there was a sense of accomplishment!

For the last 28 years we had deferred to the needs, wants, and schedules of our two children.

We were done with day-to-day parenting.

By God’s grace we had raised two children who were making good choices in life.

What a blessing from God!

The first week of the empty nest we didn’t feel like celebrating.

There was a mix of emotions. We let the sad feelings come.

I guess we did some letting go of the old way of life. It’s too big of a change to not acknowledge it.

At the same time there were feelings of excitement too, Don and I are on our own again.

We feel like honeymooners, but with years of experience loving each other! That’s a very good thing!

This second week of the empty nest we feel more like celebrating. We’re planning a special dinner date.

We are anticipating lots of time at our cottage.

We are setting some new goals and dreaming about this new stage of life!

As I hugged Katie goodbye I said,

‘we are both at a new stage of life. We are ready for adventure and excited to see how our Great God uses us in His ministry.’

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TODAY’S little STEP: Embrace every stage of life. Everyday is a gift from God. Live with no regret!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A success story-weight loss strategies too!

Ready to give up on this healthy living idea?  Frustrated because it seems to be taking too long?  Read Cecile’s story and be encouraged!

My friend lost 141 pounds and went from a size 24 to 12-14! Cecile, was a faithful member of the support group I led. She also attended Weight Watchers in the summer months. Her health journey has taken over 7 years. Cecile is still on her journey to health and well being.

Cecile has had great success and I’m really excited to interview her.

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  1. When did you realize you needed to make some changes?  I realized I wasn’t taking good care of myself and I didn’t like how I felt about myself. I used to say to myself, “what’s the use? I’m doomed to be fat.”

  2. What do you think led to your weight gain? I never thought I would gain weight. It just happened over the years. Like a lot of women I ate for emotional reasons.

  3. What was your light bulb moment when you decided to lose weight? When I walked my back and hips really hurt. My Mom, (who was very loving and helpful during my life) had Alzheimer’s Disease and needed to be in a wheelchair and I didn’t ever want to be in a wheelchair. I wanted to be able to walk and take care of myself.

  4. Were you part of a support and accountability group? Yes, I had prayed and asked God for a Christian weight loss group. When Dixie invited me to join the group I was very happy. How did it help you? It was good because we exercised together and we studied the Bible, and other good books. We shared our needs and supported each other. When I left the meeting I felt good and ready to keep working.

  5. What were the most important changes you made to be healthier? I have a small plate that I use to help me with my portions.  I am getting better at saying, “no thank you” when dessert is served. I don’t feel bad about saying no.I exercise everyday.If I am hungry in the early evening I eat carrots and celery sticks.I don’t eat anything after 8 o’clock at night; I shut the kitchen light off!I had high cholesterol and so I changed the food I ate and lowered my cholesterol.I realize that God’s grace has brought me to the place I am at today!

  6. What would you say is the most important factor in your weight loss?Changed eating habits? Exercise? Changed thinking? All of them! I eat a lot less food. I like to eat 6 small meals a day. I take snacks with me in the car so I’m not tempted to eat fast food. When I choose food I think about whether it is good for me and my husband teases me because I’m always reading the labels. I exercise everyday. I also changed my thinking- now I have a positive outlook on life. I’m very thankful. There is lots to live for! God helps me everyday to appreciate my life.

  7. What keeps you motivated when you get discouraged or have a slip up? I pick myself up, talk to somebody and I often exercise. I also read my Bible and God encourages me. I have a friend that says, “keep looking up!” I read Dixie’s blog and it encourages me to keep taking little steps.

  8. Are there any foods you outright avoid and do not have in your house? I don’t have any hot chocolate, or ice cream and no chocolate bars!

  9. When it comes to eating well what are your top recommendations?  Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Eat mostly fish and chicken. Drink at least 5 glasses of water a day.

  10. What is your favourite form of exercise? I like to do exercise DVDs, I have a treadmill, and in the summer I like to walk outside. I like to try new things. This winter I went cross country skiing and skating. I signed up for a Zumba class and I loved it!

  11. Do you include weight training? Yes I use 3 and 5 pound weights and a resistance band. Why? I know that tones my body and helps me lose inches.

  12. What was the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your weight loss journey? Admitting that I needed to change and get healthy.

  13. How important has your family’s support been? My husband, son and daughter are proud of the healthy changes I have made.  I just attended a family reunion and every one commented on the changes I have made. They were happy for me. It encouraged them that they could make some changes to be healthy too.

  14. Do you have a favourite verse?  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! Philippians 4:13

Thanks Cecile for sharing some of your health journey. If you were to give some last advice to anyone who is struggling to get healthy what would you say? You are at a very important place in your life. Keep taking little steps. God will never give up on you!

No matter how slow the weight loss is don’t give up! You are worth it. You are special in God’s eyes!

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I hope Cecile’s story encourages you my friend!

If you have found this helpful please share it with your friends!

 

 

 

 

How God gave me an attitude adjustment!

Do you need an attitude adjustment? I did! Three little girls from Uganda helped me realize that.

Our Church hosted the African Children’s Choir from Uganda. We had three beautiful little girls and their fun choir leader stay with us. I learned so much from our time together.

Especially when a 2-day visit turned into 6 days! I learned about Uganda and what life is like there. I learned some words in Luganda.

But the most important thing I learned was that I had a bad attitude and it needed to change.

I’m very task oriented and I always have a to-do list on the go. I had my own plans for that week but God changed all of them.

God wanted me to spend my precious time on His little ones.

I planned for a 2-night stay. I was excited as I cleaned my house, changed the beds and bought groceries. Then we got word that it would be 3 nights instead.

My heart attitude wasn’t good. I thought about all the tasks I wouldn’t get done.

Then our little guests arrived and thanked us for everything. They thanked us after every meal, every car ride and every task done for them. The thanks were often given with a hug.

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African Children’s Choir guests

It was a pleasure to serve them because they appreciated it so much!

Then God brought this verse to my mind. ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:40

This was my assignment from the God of the Universe.

He wanted me to care for these little ones.

I could do it begrudgingly or enter into it and give it my all.

Once I realized that this was my short-term mission trip I focused on the girls and their choir leader.

They were more important than anything on my to-do list!

It was pleasure to serve the girls and share our home. We had a picnic in the park and ate chicken nuggets and French fries from MacDonald’s, a rare treat for them.

We read books, made craft projects and played games and learned some good jokes. The choir leader cooked us all a delicious African supper.

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Bedtime stories!

I had so much fun reading the little girls a bedtime story and tucking them in each night!

We took them to our cottage. As we drove I tried to explain that we had another little house, which we lived in for part of year. I felt ridiculously blessed!

It was an evening of fun food, swimming, playing games and a campfire complete with marshmallows.

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Cold water!

I watched the girls run and play and get louder and louder throughout the evening. That was when I knew they were really comfortable and were being healthy noisy little girls!

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Everyone likes marshmallows!

By the end of the 6 days I had 3 little girls and their chaperone tucked into a special spot in my heart. I was blessed by serving them. I will reminisce about their thankfulness, their smiles and their lovely voices. They will be in my prayers.

I will always remember that week in September when God asked me to put aside my plans and brought me a special assignment. God sent 3 little girls to give me an attitude adjustment.

Just like the little girls I hope to be thankful to all the people who help and serve me.

I will remember that people are always more important than my to-do list!

TODAY’S little STEP: Be open to special assignments that God sends your way. When you accept the assignment you will be blessed!

If the African Children’s Choir comes to your city be sure to go see them!

If you have enjoyed reading this please share it with your friends.

My secret strategy? A daily food budget.

I’m not on a diet!

But I spend my calories carefully.

I have a daily food budget!

It’s part of the lifestyle I have that really helps me eat healthy and keep the weight off.

One of the best things I learned from my time with Weight Watchers was the point system.

I was given 18 points that I could spend on food throughout my day.

I treated myself to a carrot muffin and medium coffee with double cream like I usually did.

Then I looked it up in my little book. It cost me 12 points! Not a good choice! I didn’t do that again!

I learned from Weight Watchers to make smart choices. I now have a food budget that I keep in mind. It’s something I have been working on for a few years.

When I stay within my budget I maintain my current weight.

Remember it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

We want to spend our food budget calories well! We want to make the best choices throughout our day.

We want to choose nutrient rich foods with a mix of low and high calories.

Here’s how my food budget gets spent throughout my day.

I’m really hungry at breakfast time so I spend more calories then. I have ½ cup each of blueberries and raspberries topped with ¼ cup of homemade granola, with milk or Greek yogurt. Then I also have ½ cup of Fibre 1 bran cereal that I like to eat dry. Weird I know. But it stays crunchy, and milk just turns it to mush. Blah.

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Doesn’t that look delicious?

Lunch is easy for me to have nutrient rich foods with lower calories. I have a full plate of fresh cut up veggies with hummus and crackers and cheese.

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The other thing I avoid that really helps…. I don’t drink high calorie beverages, like pop and sweetened coffee. It’s not worth it for me. I want to chew my calories.

I drink lots of water, which helps to fill me up and keeps me well hydrated.

I try to have fruit for my snacks.

Then I can eat a regular dinner with meat, veggies and potatoes or rice, but on the smaller luncheon plate. I usually have a small dessert after dinner with a cup of tea.

When I know I am going out for ice cream with the kids I cut back on my calorie-spending at dinner. I save some of my calories to spend on the ice cream.

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I will have a bigger salad and regular portion of protein and very little of the carbohydrate.

Every once in awhile I have a really high calorie-spending day, like when I go out to eat twice in one day. Or when we celebrate my birthday and my daughter’s, which are 2 days apart. Those days do happen. Remember it’s a lifestyle not a diet!

For the next 2 days I try to make lots of high nutrient and low calorie food choices, lots of vegetables, fruit and protein.

That’s how my food budget works.

So how can you create your own food budget?

For a few days write down everything you put in your mouth. Then check out the calories and the nutrients of the foods you regularly eat.

I suggest you check out some sites that list the calories and nutrients of the foods you may eat.

Some of these sites also give you an idea of how many calories you should eat based on your current weight.

I leave that up to you to decide. Use that number to help you understand how many calories you should spend but don’t get caught up in the diet mode again. It’s only to give you an idea of what your food budget should be.

Then look over your list and see which foods you should add or remove from your daily food budget. Trade some empty high calorie foods for nutrient rich low calorie foods. Like me, you will probably be surprised at how much some of your favorite treats cost.

TODAY’S little STEP: Give the food budget idea a try! It works for me.

If you have found this helpful please share it with your friends!