Category Archives: personal stories

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!

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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.

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How to make nutrient rich choices everyday!

I want to reward myself with something to eat or drink. I know I told you not to reward yourself with food but it still tempting, isn’t it?

It’s a hot summer day and I’m hot and tired from my day of running errands. I want a rich cold sweet coffee drink from Starbucks!

I stand in line for a few minutes trying to make up my mind. I decide on an Iced White Chocolate Mocha, my mouth starts to water just thinking about it.

The line is really long so I have some time to think. I notice the price…3.75!!! Just for a drink!

 

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I leave the line. I’m not sure I want to spend that much money on a drink.

Maybe I should buy a snack instead. I like to chew my calories not drink them.

Then some words come to mind…”Today’s little step is to always make fruit part of your snack.” Hmm seems like good advice!

I notice a chopped fruit salad. It looks so colorful, sweet and juicy.

It’s also about the same price as the drink.

 

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I pay for the fruit salad and walk by the Starbucks line up.

This time I reward myself with nutrient rich food!

But I must confess that I don’t always make the best choice!

The Iced White Chocolate Mocha would have been empty calories. That drink contains little or no essential vitamins or minerals. It provides very little value to my body. The only nutrient worth noting is the 2 % milk; it’s 25 % of the daily amount of calcium.

It has 330 calories and 15 grams of fat!

Yikes!

Those extra calories would have gone straight into extra fat on my body!

 

The fruit salad on the other hand is nutrient rich. The fruit salad is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories.

Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates.

The fruit salad has only 109 calories and 0 grams of fat!

There is 5.2 grams of fibre so that will help me feel full longer and it also means a lot of chewing too!

The fruit salad has lots of Vitamin A and C .

Let’s do a quick review….

Nutrient rich foods provide more nutrients than calories.

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Fat-free milk

  • Whole-grain products

Empty calorie foods contain more calories than nutrients.

  • Chips

  • Cookies

  • Pastries

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

    Not sure about you, but when I read that list of empty calorie foods…they all sound yummy.  Those are my temptations.

Make nutrient rich choices most of the time and your body will benefit!

Let’s make sure we have nutrient foods readily available in our homes.

When we buy a snack let’s make it a good one!

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Remember our core verse, “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: Choose nutrient rich foods most often and limit empty calories.

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Happy Spring

I love spring!  It’s my favourite time of the year!

Our snow finally disappears and everything comes to life.

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spring beauty

I took some pictures when we were at the cottage this weekend.

I am always excited when I see tiny shoots breaking through.

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Tiny shoots breaking through

I am reminded of a verse my Mom quotes this time of year.

“When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground”. Psalm 104:30

English Standard Version

We have a little brook right beside us.

 It’s so relaxing to hear the water trickling over the rocks.

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little brook

We enjoyed a long weekend at the cottage.

We spent time with family and friends enjoying God’s wonderful creation.

I love to look at the lake.

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cottage view

TODAY’S little STEP:  Enjoy this  delightful spring weather and stop for a minute to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation! It’s a wonderful gift!

4 SUPRISINGLY SIMPLE STEPS TO BE DIET FREE FOR LIFE!

Diets don’t work for long. No one wants to live a life of deprivation. Little lifestyle changes made the difference for me!

I’ve lost 20% of my body weight and have kept it off for 7 years!

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BEFORE

 

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AFTER

I know your battles my friend because they’re mine too.

I’m five feet tall with a petite frame and I gain weight easily.

I love to cook and bake and eat good tasting food.

I eat when I’m stressed and sad,

to reward myself and to celebrate with others.

I’ve tried lots of diets and programs.

I want to give you hope that you can make little changes just like I did! These lifestyle changes are now a part of my daily habits, which I can keep doing for the rest of my life.

Here’s an outline of the first 4 camps up the Mountain of Health and Well-being.

For those of you who have been part of our climbing team from the start take a look back and see how far you have come!

You’ve done a good job of climbing.

If you’ve had a few falls that’s O.K. There is no condemnation here.

Just pick the camp that is right for you and get climbing again.

If you are new to this blog…yahoo, so glad you are here! Start out at Base Camp today!

 Click on the link and you’ll get the information for that little step!

BASE CAMP

Nutrition: Switch to a smaller plate or bowl at each meal or snack.

Exercise: 10 minutes of exercise a day. You can break it up into two 5 minute sessions.

Mental: Repeat this healthy self-talk statement-‘I am a beautiful beloved daughter of the King. I am making small changes to be healthy. Taking care of me is important’.

Spiritual: Learn a Bible verse like this one, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you”.” Isaiah 41:13

Stay at Base Camp for 4 weeks. Once these steps are habits then climb to Camp #2.

CAMP #2

Nutrition: Drink water in place of other beverages. Continue with the smaller plate or bowl.

Exercise: 15 minutes of exercise per day, break it into 5 minute periods if you need to

Mental: Become aware of your inner critic and negative self-talk. Repeat this healthy self-talk statement daily.  ‘I am a beautiful beloved daughter of the King!  I am making small changes to be healthy.  Taking care of me is important’.

Spiritual: Pray and share your concerns with Jesus.  Memorize a verse.  Here’s a good one.  “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths.  My hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4,5b

Stay for 4 weeks. Move back to Base Camp whenever you feel it is necessary.

Once these steps become habits move to Camp #3. 

CAMP # 3

Nutrition: Add 1 serving of vegetables (½ cup cooked or 1 cup of leafy) to 1 meal. Continue using a smaller plate at each meal or snack. Drink water as your main beverage.

Exercise: Add 5 minutes of exercise for a total of 20 minutes per day. You can divide it into 2-10 minute sessions or even 4-5 minute sessions on a crazy day.

Mental: Recognize that you have an inner critic. Identify a lie and replace it with a truth statement.

Spiritual: Pray and access Jesus’ power. Choose a verse to memorize. Here is a good one. “Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power”. Ephesians 6:10

CAMP # 4

Nutrition: Add 1 serving of fruit – 1 small piece of fruit or ½ cup of cut fruit to 1 meal. Continue using a smaller plate. Drink water as your main beverage.

Exercise: Continue with 20 minutes of exercise daily. Add incidental exercise to your day. Examples are: take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot, walk during commercials.

Mental: Identify 2 lies you say to yourself. Replace those lies with truth statements.

Spiritual: Pray and access Jesus’ power. Choose a verse to memorize. Here’s a good one.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13”

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TODAY’S little STEP: Pick the camp that is right for you and join us in the climb up the Mountain of Health and Well-being! Start today!

Every mountain is climbed one step at a time!

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What does everyday grace look like?

What does everyday grace look like? Do you give grace when the waitress gets your order wrong? Do you give grace when someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you give grace when you receive poor service?

Grace is underserved favor. It’s a term that is used a lot in Christian circles. We talk about God’s grace for us. But when we need to give underserved favor to someone else, it’s hard. When someone doesn’t deserve our kindness, it’s much harder to give.

I’ve been praying and asking God to help me give grace to others. I should know that if I pray that kind of prayer – a test will be given to see if I really mean it.

Yikes! God did give me a test! I didn’t do very well. I think I got a C.

On Friday I went to my hairdresser. We have good discussions about God and she is learning about God’s love. I went in for a root touch up. However, when I returned from the sink I was shocked to see that my hair was much darker than I expected!

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I was disappointed because I’m not really a risk taker when it comes to my hair. I like the change to be subtle, a change that only my family and close friends would notice. I chatted with my hairdresser as she styled it and she assured me that the darkness would fade. She told me I could come in on Tuesday if I didn’t like it and she would do something.

I went home with my dark hair. But every time I looked in the mirror I was surprised and I said, “it’s so dark”. My husband and children were very supportive and that helped.

I thought about my new hair color a lot those first 2 days. I thought about it too much. I was sure everyone who looked at me would notice the big change. (surprisingly hardly anyone noticed or commented) Guess I’m not that important after all. Tee hee!

I was pretty sure that I would call on Tuesday and complain. I would get her to do something to lighten it up. It was within my rights as a paying customer to get better service and she told me to call if I didn’t like it. My family said it would be ok to go back and complain.

But God reminded me that I wanted to learn grace. This was my opportunity to give undeserved favor to my hairdresser. This was my test, could I do it?

On Monday morning I read my devotional book by Oswald Chambers. There was one paragraph that seemed to written just for me.

“Is my life exhibiting the essence of the sweetness of the Son of God, or just the basic irritation of myself? No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, ‘Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.’ The moment you obey the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity.”

Wow, this was my opportunity to exhibit the sweetness of God or just focus on myself and my wants.

This was my test, could I give grace? Could I be obedient?

I decided to keep my darker colour. I wanted to have a different reaction than other customers; I wanted my Christianity to make my response different. So I gave her grace – undeserved favor, she didn’t even know. But I do and so does God!

When I look in the mirror it will be a prompt. I will thank God for His grace for me and I will thank Him for teaching me. I think I will smile too at my Heavenly Father’s sense of humor.

TODAY’S little STEP: Be sensitive to God’s leading in your life. Watch for opportunities to display everyday grace to the people you come in contact with. But, be careful. You may get a test real soon!

Just for your information the darkness did fade and I really have grown to like the new colour.

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Surprisingly simple decisions for your best health!

My eyes open and I’m making decisions: Should I hit the snooze button?

Will I wear the pink top with blue jeans? Make coffee or pick it up?

Who will take the kids to swimming?

What to have for dinner?

Today I will make approximately 35,000 decisions, and so will you!  Wow, I’m tired before the day begins. (If you are the mother of young children that number is probably doubled!) Many of those decisions won’t even take much thought.

But, I’ve learned that life is about stopping for a minute before I make a decision. That gives me just enough time to think and then make the healthiest choice.

 

As we climb up the Mountain of Health and Well-being, it is essential that we take one little step forward, make one healthy decision at a time. We don’t have to think about later today or tomorrow or next week, just right now and this choice.

All those little steps make a difference. Mountains are climbed one step at a time!

Right now you are reading this blog post! Yeah! That’s a good decision, a good little step forward. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Last week I shared Cecile’s success story. Cecile made lots of little decisions, lots of little steps that led to her success.

I want to challenge you today. Whenever you have to make a decision, STOP for just a minute and really THINK about it. Then, MAKE that decision a healthy one.   It’s like the Fireman’s statement, stop,drop and roll. Ours is stop, think and make!

Decisions

Cecile has success because she takes these healthy little steps every day. You might recognize them as the little steps of Base Camp and Camp #2. You can click on the link and it will give you more information on that choice. Here are some decisions, or little steps Cecile makes and you can too!

Use a smaller plate

Choose fruit as a snack

Pick water to drink

Move your body everyday in a fun way

Read your Bible and learn a verse

Pray and ask God for help

Say no thank you to dessert

Choose chicken or fish

Take healthy snacks in the car

Keep a positive attitude and repeat healthy self-talk statements

Talk with an accountability partner

Opt for carrots and celery sticks for evening snack

Keep tempting foods out of your house

TODAY’S little STEP: Whenever you have to make a decision, STOP for just a minute and really THINK about it. Then, MAKE that decision a healthy one. Take one little step forward with each healthy choice. Every mountain is climbed one step at a time!

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