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?
Graceis 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!
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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My friend lost 141 pounds and went from a size 24 to 14-16! 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 up the Mountain of Health and Well Being.
Cecile has had great success and I’m really excited to interview her.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I hope Cecile’s story encourages you my friend!
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We don’t like to wait. We like drive through banking, fast food that arrives at the front door and online shopping. Waiting seems inconvenient and unnecessary. What are you waiting for?
My last wait involved international customs. My husband, Don picked the line. However, we soon noticed that our line wasn’t moving very fast; in fact it wasn’t moving at all!
We watched as the red Toyota truck beside us in the next line cleared customs and then we counted as ten more vehicles moved through; while we continued to sit back in our original spot. We sat in that line for thirty-five minutes waiting for five vehicles to clear customs! Don won’t pick the line any more; he gave the job to me!
What are you waiting for today? The long awaited child, test results, a promotion, a home, a restored relationship?
David in the book of Psalms poured out his heart to God; he knew what it was like to wait.
David was waiting to live with his family again.
Waiting for his reputation to be restored.
Waiting to no longer be pursued by an angry King that wanted to murder him.
David said, “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31: 14
Waiting was part of God’s plan for David’s life and may be for yours.
Relying on God during the waiting involves a conscious decision to leave the matter in God’s hands. God can be trusted with all the details; the plans are His to work out.
When you’re forced to wait (and you will be from time to time) forced to wait for something enormously important or something inconsequential.
Remember David’s words, “You are my God. My times are in your hands.” Say them aloud, often, and as a prayer of surrender. Relinquish the details into God’s hands and you will feel His love and care.
I hope this little devotional encourages you, my friend. Sometimes we just need to change things up a bit!
I eat when I’m under stress and when I’m hurt because of relationships. I can’t resist the temptation to eat to make me feel better. Food is a fast fix for pain, stress, hurt or frustration for many of us. Feeling hopeless in the battle? Jesus brings hope to your struggle. He brings the power you need!
Last weeks’ little step was to keep a record of what caused you to turn to food. We call these triggers. What were your triggers? Relational stress is one of mine.
We can’t avoid the stress in our lives. Those triggers will always be part of life. The good news is that we can change our response.
On this journey up the Mountain of Health and Well-being we are lead by our Gentle Guide-Jesus./gods-winning-formula-for-health-and-well-being/. Jesus loves us and He cares about all the details of our lives. He knows we want to have a healthier lifestyle. He knows about the power that food has over us and He offers hope and His power. That’s what we need girlfriend!
Ever wonder if Jesus can understand the power food has in our lives. In Luke 4 we learn that Jesus hadn’t eaten for 40 days and nights.
He would have been extremely hungry and His resistance would have been really low. Guess He does know what it’s like, girlfriend!
I’m guessing none of us has done a 40-day fast lately!
Satan used this low time to tempt Jesus. Satan told Jesus to change some stones into bread, so Jesus could eat right away.
But, Jesus didn’t use His divine power for Himself. He resisted the temptation by quoting a verse from the Old Testament.
Satan is no match for the powerful truth of God’s word!
So we are going to follow Jesus’ lead. When we want to choose food for reasons other than hunger, we’ll claim the same power as Jesus did!
We can’t avoid the stress in our lives. Those triggers will always be part of life. The good news is that we can change our response. We are going to claim the same power as Jesus. God’s good words!
We need some good power verses! Verses we can put on our phones and computer screens! Verses we can learn and remember! God’s words have power!
Here are some good verses to choose from, but I encourage you to find a verse that is best for you.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Psalm 28:7
But He (Jesus) said to me, “ My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
TODAY’S little STEP: Find a power verse to claim as yours! When your triggers come say your verse, say it out loud, say it often! Leave the food and go do something else.
My power verse is “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might”. Micah 3:8
Ever felt like you were totally alone when it comes to getting healthy and hopefully losing some unwanted pounds? Confused about what diet to try next or what new book to buy? Tired of failing? Too discouraged to even try again? This is the right time to make some lifestyle changes!
Getting healthy can feel like climbing a mountain. Please join us as we symbolically climb the Mountain of Health and Well-being! We borrow mountain climbing tools, strategies and jargon. Here’s an overview of our climbing plan. For regular readers it will show you how far you have come!
We start at Base Camp at the bottom of the Mountain of Health and Well-being. We initiate and practice 4 small lifestyle changes. Little changes are easier to do, healthier, and easier to blend in to your lifestyle.
Every mountain is climbed one little step at a time!
The mountain climbing equipment you will receive are:
a backpack, which represents the nutrition focus
hiking boots, which signify the exercise component
a helmet, which symbolizes the mental focus
safety ropes, which denote the spiritual connection
#4 Safety ropes-pray and ask Jesus for His help. Choose a verse to memorize. Here’s one: “Isaiah 41:13 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.”essential-steps-to-access-gods-power/
4 little steps that anyone can do! No need to wait! Start climbing today!
Our climbing team is lead by Our Guide, Jesus. He cares about all the details of our lives. Jesus loves us. Whatever size or shape or weight we are. He knows our struggles, our burdens and our silent agonies. He knows we wake up in the morning ready to try again, but we go to bed discouraged. He knows the despair we feel about these health issues. He knows the depth of our heart’s cry. He wants to help! We just need to ask Him for help. how-well-do-you-listen/
After staying at Base Camp for 1 month and practicing the little changes we climb to Camp #2.
Here’s a view of Camp #2
# 1 Backpack – Drink water, instead of other beverages, with your meals and snacks. Continue to use a smaller plate or bowl at each meal or snack.
#2 Hiking boots – 15 minutes a day of intentional exercise. Start with 3 five-minute periods if you’re new to exercise
#3 Helmet – repeat this healthy self-talk statement daily. “I’m making small changes. I’m taking care of me! Every little step makes a difference!”
#4 Safety ropes – pray and ask Jesus for His help. Choose a verse to memorize. Here’s a good one. Psalm 25: 4&5 “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
You are not alone, girlfriend! You are already connected to a group of women who are just like you. Women who want to exercise more, eat less and be healthy. a-good-team-can-inspire-you-learn-how/
Women crave connection and need accountability. Let’s connect! We have a Facebook closed group called Dixie’s Mountain Climbing Team. You can search for me on Facebook. Look for my pink coat in Dixie Elliott profiles, and when you click on it you should see those familiar pink shoes! Send me a friend request and ask to be added to the group. We need a good team of climbers!
TODAY’S little STEP: Refuse to let the past define you! If you are a regular reader please be encouraged. You are making small changes to your life and they are making a difference. If summer stopped you from climbing then pick up your climbing gear and we’ll see you at Base Camp.
If you are a new reader please pick up your gear and join us at Base Camp. Check out some of the archive posts for more information.
Every mountain is climbed one step at a time!
We need a good team of climbers, please bring someone new with you!
Do you find the summer a hard time to stay focused on getting healthy? Here are 20 tried and true tips to use this summer. Tips that really work! You’ll probably find ones you already use and that will be encouraging. Hopefully you will find some new tips that will make this summer one of your best!
I find summer difficult because there is less routine, more bbqs and summer vacations. A big part of summer vacation for my family is….. the food. When my extended family meets for a week of rustic camping we all bring our favorite treats and snacks. I bake some special treats just for that week at the lake. It seems I’m constantly going into the cabin to grab a little something. The evening campfires always involve sharing fun treats too.
I thought maybe we could share some of our strategies to deal with summer vacations. So here are some ideas I’ve found very helpful. I hope they help you too!
Ditch the total deprivation mode. Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite treats. Totally depriving yourself will only make you feel sorry for yourself.
Educate yourself, find out how many calories are actually in a s’more (it’s 268!). Decide if you really want to eat 3 or if 1 may satisfy your sweet tooth.
Read the labels on snack bags. Find out how much the suggested portion is and how many calories it contains. Then eat the suggested portion.
Don’t eat out of the bag. Always serve yourself a portion of snacks in a bowl. Mindless eating can lead you to eat way more than you need or want.
Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. Include some protein and fiber. You’ll feel full longer and you will have given your body some good fuel to start the day.
Drink lots of ice-cold water. It will keep you hydrated. If you like pop, choose diet instead of regular. But limit yourself to one a day, as the artificial sweeteners are not healthy.
Have some treats with your meal. Have your sandwich and raw veggies for lunch and then have a measured portion of some chips or cheezies. You won’t eat as much of the treat and you won’t feel deprived.
Find ways to exercise everyday. Go for a long walk with a family member. Play games with your children, swim, canoe, and kayak; find fun ways to move your body everyday.
When you are tempted by those treats and snacks, pop a piece of gum in your mouth. Your mouth will be busy and you are less likely to eat something sweet or salty.
10. Treat yourself to a fruit tray and some prewashed vegetables. When the work of preparing has already been done, it makes it easier for you to make good choices.
11. When eating in a restaurant skip the appetizer, as it is usually high in fat. Have a salad with the dressing on the side. Choose an entrée that has meat, fish or poultry, either potatoes or rice and vegetables. Stay away from sauces and anything deep-fried.
When visiting the ice cream shop choose your favorite flavor and order the smallest cone size. You will be satisfied and eat approximately 260 calories for 1 scoop or a baby cone, of something really yummy. With each scoop the calories add up much too quickly. If you are not careful, what was to be a treat becomes a whole meals’ worth of calories!
When you do overeat, relax and don’t start the negative self-talk. Accept that you overate at that one meal. Forgive yourself and get back on track.
Keep your discipline; enjoy treats and snacks in moderation. I suggest you not have days when you relax all your healthy eating rules. It’s too easy to slip back into those old comfortable habits. Stay disciplined!
Plan your menu when camping to include lots of summer produce. We have an abundance of amazing fruits and vegetables available from local farmer’s markets and in our grocery stores now.
When eating at a backyard bbq choose smaller portions of pasta salads as they usually have higher fat content. Instead choose the green salad and serve the dressing on the side. Have a hamburger and don’t eat the top bun. Choose fruit for dessert. When finished eating, leave the food area and visit with friends.
Before you go on vacation increase your activity level and cut back on your calories. You will have built in a little cushion for the upcoming vacation and you won’t come home with extra pounds.
Eat sweet treats with a meal. You will likely eat less than if it were a snack. Your blood sugar levels will be much more even.
Put the snacks and treats in the cupboard. If it’s out of sight it’s out of mind. We often grab a treat just because we walked by it. No mindless eating, be intentional!
Relax and enjoy your vacation! Enjoy your time away from your usual routine. Enjoy your family and the opportunity to make memories. Rest much, talk often, and laugh regularly. Summer is too short!
TODAY’S little STEP: Enjoy the summer with your family and friends. Practice the 4 little steps of Base Camp and pick 4 tips from this list to put into practice on your vacation.
Please share a tip that you have found works for you.
Are you discouraged about getting healthy and losing weight? We need hope!
God cares and He wants to help. Let’s access God’s power.
Welcome to base camp. Here is your last piece of climbing equipment and the most important; your safety ropes.
Take a look at this picture. The safety ropes are connected to metal rings, which are called carabiners. They are designed to link the climber to his safety ropes and the safety ropes to the anchor bolts. They are spring loaded so they remain closed and secure. Now we know how the safety ropes work and we can use them in our climb up the mountain of health and well-being.
Secure safety ropes are the lifeline for a climber.
When they are well secured to an anchor the climber can relax and enjoy the climb.
Our anchor is our Great God. Many times in the Bible, God is referred to as our Rock. David, who had to run for his life, often hid in the mountains. He says in “Psalm 18:2 (ESV) My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.” David knew what it was like to be afraid and to be discouraged. He found refuge or protection in his relationship with God. He knew God was dependable, steadfast and trustworthy. Like David we can trust God as our anchor in this difficult, discouraging struggle to get healthy.
The carabiner connects the anchor to the safety ropes. One of our safety ropes is prayer.
I have learned that I can pray to God
by just speaking the name of His Son, Jesus, out loud.
I hate arriving late to appointments. When I’m driving and I know I’m going to be late my heartbeat drums in my ears, my chest expands and contracts rapidly as my lungs request more oxygen. My eyes continually check the dashboard clock as another minute clicks out of sight. I say the name of Jesus out loud and focus my thoughts on Him. My heartbeat stops drumming in my ears and returns to its regular unperceivable beat. My chest rises with long slow intakes of oxygen and with each exhale I feel my anxiety disappearing. When I say His name aloud I feel His power calming me. I focus on Jesus and not my circumstances.
I encourage you to try it next time you are feeling anxious or fearful.
When you are discouraged or disappointed.
Or you’re reaching for that extra cookie or bag of potato chips.
His power is available by just speaking His name.
No other words are needed.
You can do that girlfriend!
The other safety rope is scripture memorization. 2 Timothy 3:16 of the New Living Translation says; “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
We have so much of that nasty self-talk going on in our minds. We need to be reminded of what is true. God’s Word contains the truth. Find a special verse that helps you. Claim the power in the words of our Great God. You will be amazed at how much a Bible verse can encourage you.
Here’s a good verse to use to get started. Isaiah 41:13 “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.’”
Believe those good words my friend! God is holding your right hand! He doesn’t want you to be afraid of this struggle. He says He will help you.
TODAY’S little STEP: Pray throughout your day and ask Jesus for His help and strength as you take these little steps. Say the name of Jesus out loud when you need help. Claim the power available in a Bible verse. Memorize it, put it on your computer and your phone, and meditate on it.
Grab hold of the safety ropes with your left hand and God’s hand with your right and don’t let go! We have hope because we have God’s help!