_RAMONA   34,123
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*A Mustard Seed Christmas*

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I wonder if Mary and Joseph had any last minute misgivings... if there were moments at the end of all that waiting and journeying where they questioned what exactly it was they were doing it for? What about the wisemen? I wonder if they wondered at their own foolish, faithful hearts? I wonder if any of them struggled with a sense of bereavement?

It's been a strange day for me... somewhere along this week I lost my Advent sense of expectation and Christmas excitement, and fell into a deep pool of... for lack of a better word... grief. I feel bereft. It's been a long year, and the burdens of a lifetime lay heavy on my heart tonight.

I'm not the only one it seems....

Many Sparks are sad, struggling, and overwhelmed. The past year has been harsh for so many, for so many different reasons. Odd that it seems to dogpile us right at Christmas.... leaving hope to be ushered in under false pretenses with the New Year... when it is the hope of Christmas for which our hearts long.

Yet...

It seems that little miracles surround us waiting for our hearts to open and recognise them. I was surfing the web for solace, and I came upon a remarkable story that I'd like to share with you. It set my heart back on the right path. I pray it provides some solace for you,too.








"Last year our first Christmas decoration was a mustard seed. A lowly mustard seed. Taped on a sheet of white paper to the centre of our mantelpiece. It was a sign and a symbol of the fragile and tiny hope I had of celebrating Christmas. The hope was fragile and it was tiny because I did not "feel" like Christmas last year. How could I sing the Lord's song in the strange land of Grief?

"It was the first Sunday in Advent and my husband and I were having our usual leisurely coffee brunch after all the duties of the morning and the noonhour. Two church services and the important weekly phone calls to my father and other family members were behind us for another week. My husband, rather gingerly, brought up the subject of Christmas knowing that I was immersed in the full bloom of grief. Mom had died on Labour Day and this was the first Christmas to be marked without her. I did not "feel" like Christmas.

"Despite my fog of misery, I knew that I was being somewhat self-absorbed in my pain. Life was going on all about me but, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how I was going to get through this time. Everybody busy and happy and having parties and family gatherings. I shrank inside. The thought of smiling and pretending joy was beyond pain for me. What was I going to do?

"I remembered the reading from Romans that morning, "The night is far gone, the day is near. . . . Let us put on the armour of light . . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ." The season celebrating His birth and looking for His coming again was upon me and I was being called to participate. But it was beyond me to rejoice. As I said these things to my husband, he reminded me that God IS able even if I was not. He mentioned the parable of the mustard seed to me. God could take that little mustard seed and make of it something worthy. God could take that tiny seed of faith and grow it into a kingdom of hope.

"I felt as if I had been touched. I got up and went to the kitchen and rifled through my spices. Yes! There it was. My bottle of mustard seeds. I got one out and grabbed a piece of paper from the pad by our phone and taped that mustard seed to the centre. I returned to the dining room, waving the paper triumphantly. "I've got it! I've got it! I CAN celebrate this year." My husband said, "Here, let's put it up on the mantel. It'll be our first Christmas decoration." Up it went. Every time I looked at it, I was reminded of the hope it symbolized and the faith it embodied. I couldn't do it on my own. But God could. And God did!

"The mustard seed became a powerful witness in our house last year. Many people asked about it and it became a growing joy to share what it meant. The mustard seed again graces our mantelpiece to symbolize Light in the darkness, hope in the face of grief and despair, and faith in the promises of God. My prayer is that, in the midst of difficult times, you will find hope; that a mustard-seed Christmas may be yours."

L'Chaim, Charlene
© Charlene Elizabeth Fairchild, Kir-Shalom 1997
www.sermons.com/








"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."
LUKE 13:18-19 NRSV






ISAIAH 9:6-7


Written by me in a year much like this one...

Reflections On Christmas
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2634513




"God has two dwellings... one in Heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart!" IZAAK WALTON








...No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

May God always and abundantly bless you (especially those of you whose hearts are grieving), and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart an extra special awareness of God's great love for you; and as Christ is born anew in your heart this Christmas, may you feel his sweet and gentle baby-fingered touch upon your life, and may you see his miracles all around you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERNOINACTION 12/27/2010 1:16PM

    Hope you had a great holiday. Its funny how most of us get sad, I think there is so much expectation. Love your mustard seed thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

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EFELL123 12/24/2010 9:08AM

    Thank you!

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CHICK_MAMA 12/24/2010 1:29AM

    Thank you so much! Sometimes it is easy to fall prey to the sadness and the mustard seed story is perfect for bringing me back to reality. All things are possible with GOD. emoticon

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/23/2010 11:45AM

  Thanks so much, Ramona. This is a beautiful story. It reminded me so much of my despair from a few years ago and how a little hope and God's grace got me through it.

I pray that your burdens become lighter over the days ahead and that you have an abundance of hope.

Patricia



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DETERMINED_SOUL 12/23/2010 9:20AM

    Thank you so much for sharing that story. It was much more needed than I had thought when I began reading it. Thank you very much.

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LINDAINALABAMA 12/23/2010 12:17AM

    thank you so much,

i have noticed sadness and depression mentioned on spark this week.

if others will read your story, i am sure it will be very helpful.

thanks,
linda emoticon

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TWINKS55 12/22/2010 11:39PM

    emoticonA true message of Christmas, from your heart.
Thank you.
I hope you have felt a lessening and lifting of your grief, even a bit.

emoticonDianne

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A Meek & Thankful Heart

Tuesday, December 21, 2010





It's the middle of the fourth week of Advent and I'm wondering as I wander...

Someone recently commented that I sound so *centered*, and I was startled. I rarely feel centered... mostly I feel like I'm continually trying to adjust, yet I'm always just a tad behind myself and my life.

Yet...

As I think about it some more, I realize that I actually feel more centered of late. I'm beginning to think that balance may be one of those elements in life in which the harder you chase it, the more elusive it becomes. I've often said that the real cure to my perfectionism came with becoming so overwhelmed that I just had to give up on 'perfect' and simply appreciate things for what they are. The same is true for how I feel now. Things of concern in my life are so far beyond my control that I have to simply let go of my expectations and live simply, moment to moment. The image that comes to mind is one a friend used as the background to her page for a time... it depicted a woman leaping off a cliff into thin air, yet her body language gave the impression of joy and peace, and *acceptance* rather than that of fear and helplessness.

I've *sort of* ceased to be fussed about anything, really. I actively worry less. I certainly agitate less. I spend less time bemoaning what isn't, and more time finding something to appreciate in what is. I am becoming intrinsically responsive, rather than remaining innately reactive. When I don't have to be engaged in any particular response, or a particular response is not readily evident, I am at *peace*... I am able to laugh, able to engage in my life and with people around me in meaningful and loving ways, and I am grateful for what is still good in my life; despite the fact that there remain very real concerns to address. Maybe what I am, more than I am centered, is peaceful... or maybe peaceful under all circumstances IS centered.

I believe I'm having an 'aha' moment as I type....

I apparently sort of thought that *centered* people 'have it all together'... they don't worry, they don't struggle, they don't stumble, and they certainly don't fall... things I seem to do with embarrassing frequency... it's almost an art form in my life these past many months. Now that I type it, I realize just how absurd that sounds.... and even though I do all of these things with embarrassing frequency, I am still happy and *centered* within what is most important to me... lovingly centered within the embrace of my DH, my Divine Miss O, the support of my friends, the camaraderie of SparkPeople, the inspiration of my dreams, and the author of my faith... and maybe that's all it is about... knowing exactly where to place your *centre*. Maybe centeredness is actually a choice (like everything else), rather than something to be achieved, or a set of steps to follow.

I read a blog entry today that underscored this new thinking I've recognised within myself... 'Let's Get Fierce! It's Go Time!' Do the Math! by CAROLYN1213

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3855870


I responded thusly:

"It IS time to bravely march towards what I want for my health, body, life. I *especially* do not even have time for family drama that attempts to bind me to the past. This is go time! Go time means I'm no longer waiting for room in my life for me... I am MAKING ROOM... and *I* am part of every moment in my life. I claim every minute of every hour of every day to use towards living my best life in that moment... as a wife, as a mother, as a homemaker, as a woman, as a friend, as a writer, as an athlete, as Daughter of the King. It's time to get FIERCE! Moving forward doesn't always have to look like a fight or a battle. By *fierce* I mean making no excuses for what I need, or apologising for who I am, as I live my best life."

Most significant to me: Moving forward doesn't always have to look like a fight or a battle. I've always seen my life as something I have to 'fight' for (something to be achieved), not something I am simply moving through as gracefully as possible. Really... how can I be centered and *at peace* if I perceive everything as a 'fight'?

I'm beginning to see that every moment, no matter what 'hat' I am wearing, requires ME in it, and there really is nothing for which to fight. So the whole argument that I don't have time for me, or that I need to work at 'staying on the list' goes right out the window. If I engage as *me* there will always be time for *me*. Now, while this feels like a true revelation, I don't quite know what that will look like, but I feel it will be different than it has been. I sense a seamlessness developing in my life... a blending... a congruency... an AUTHENTICITY that I have not yet experienced is becoming part of my life. Going into Christmas I feel I have already been as blessed as person can be.







Does anyone not know the movie 'White Christmas'? It's been a fixture in my life, and an integral part of my Christmas experience, since as far back as I can remember. This year, running like a sparkling brook between the banks of conscious thought, has been Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby singing 'Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep'. Here are the words if you've not heard it, and my favourite recording:

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep,
I count my blessings instead of sheep...
And I fall asleep counting my blessings!
When my bankroll is getting small,
I think of when I had none at all...
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads...
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.
So, if you're worried and you can't sleep,
Just count your blessings instead of sheep...
And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings."


Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep - Diana Krall - The whole version with words to sing along... sing with me!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJb-DSKAuMA

I'm wondering as I wander... and I'm filled with gratitude for all the ways in which I am SO very blessed... in this world of sin, meek I may never really be (before my God I certainly am), but I am ever more thankful!

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May God always and abundantly bless you, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart this Advent season an extra special awareness of God's great love for you; and as Christ is born anew in your heart this Christmas, may you feel his sweet and gentle baby-fingered touch upon your life, and may you see his miracles all around you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona

"Merry Christmas & the most Blessed and JOYous New Year!"











...No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in. For those perfectly meek places in your heart and soul, here are some of my FAVOURITE Advent/Christmas tunes:

(...In no particular order... except for Heirloom & Emmanuel/Little Town... it's no accident they are at the top of the list... Heirloom is, for me, Advent in a nutshell. Emmanuel/Little Town are Gaudete Sunday - the third Sunday of Advent... the JOY of my faith. I don't know how anyone can listen to these songs and not be moved.)


The Soundtrack of my Advent & Christmas
(from my YouTube channel... if you just want to set it at the beginning and let it run)
www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB87B
1C087932E2CD&feature=edit_ok



Heirloom by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T6lk
hX7Nvw&feature=related



Emmanuel & Little Town by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=la1G71UA1W0&
feature=related



Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=67hPAER1yGM


I Need a Silent Night by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRSSs
NbF29I&feature=related



Grown Up Christmas List by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmF2r
sDHOZc&feature=related



Tender Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKwOB
yDgW3I&feature=related



Momma Mary by Roger Whittaker
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkN0ThoRCww


Darcy the Dragon by Roger Whittaker
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbkH2-68Avs&
feature=related



Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie & Bing Crosby
www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiXjb
I3kRus



Still, Still, Still by Manheim Steamroller
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dJ6H0DEV08


One God by Barbra Streisand & Johnny Mathis
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNGnTxPgp0E


I Wonder as I Wander by Barbra Streisand
www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXZM0F30vQI


The Best Gift by Barbra Streisand
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nA7W4JmEvg&
NR=1



From A Distance by Bette Midler
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDSh5wUtXt4


Christmas Angels by Michael W. Smith
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aub8SJ5gPHc


The Promise by Michael W. Smith
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWD84K8nwjA


Come On ring Those Bells by Evie Tornquist Karlsson
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAF3m-cdXaY


One Thousand Candles by Evie Tornquist Karlsson
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6L8b7x8eFms


I Have No Gifts by Michael J. Thoma
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oBwuhIH2Kw&
feature=pyv&ad=5133581883&kw=christmas
%20carols



When a Child is Born by Il Divo
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFYtwiT92Y


"Mary, Did You Know?" by Kenny Rogers & Wynonna Judd
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VltoNKK89g&
feature=related



Silent Night by Sixpence None The Richer
www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ml_YbgJsQ


Angels We Have Heard On High by Sixpence None The Richer
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-b5IC_Jsfc&
feature=related



Love Came Down At Christmas by Jars Of Clay
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIr5th0d44Y&
feature=related



Christmas Eve by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
www.youtube.com/watch?v=itFfEZCZfbg


A Strange Way To Save The World by 4 Him
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TXxlKLCCMY&
NR=1



Joseph's Lullaby by Mercy Me
www.youtube.com/watch?v=he9BdHNrXTs&
feature=related



Joseph's Song by Michael Card
www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6onryQfuCQ


Now That I've Held Him in My Arms by Michael Card
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBZiPRPogn0&
feature=related



Cradle and the Cross by Becky Van Volkinburg & John Mandeville
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCTpOg9wLq8&
feature=related



Annunciation and Canticle of Mary by Marty Haugen
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAFMMITXTmI&
feature=related










Reflections On Christmas
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2634513


"A Christmas thought to ponder..." (USE2BAGODDESS)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3822810






"God has two dwellings... one in Heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart!" IZAAK WALTON









...Because YOU are too blessed to be stressed.

JUST DO IT.

UNTIL.


Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108514

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)


I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108522

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)


UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3541059





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_COSMOPAULATAN_ 12/22/2010 10:28PM

    You put so much into your blogs and you give SO MUCH of yourself freely to others. Another characteristic of being centered. I am SO happy to have you as a SparkFriend! And by the way, I *love* your idea about printing those out and handing them to others!

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BUCKHOLDT 12/22/2010 7:44PM

    You are *centered* when you are continually making small adjustments.

Love your posters and selection of music.

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-WRKNG2ABTTRME- 12/22/2010 6:38PM

    emoticon

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DIFROMWYOMING 12/22/2010 1:13PM

    Love your blogs! ((HUGS))

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/22/2010 12:11PM

  I had to laugh reading this. I became more centered when my life got so out of control and I accepted that I was clueless and didn't know how to fix any of it (or even if it could be fixed). Admitting it and accepting it set me free ... LOL

I still stress over the things that I THINK I can control.

I'm still clueless but I get reined in more often (because I'm aware of how little I do control)!

I'm still a little surprised that most times I don't need to do anything ... life simply has a way of working out.

Anyway ... I really love your blogs. I can see you becoming reacquainted with yourself and I love that!

And now I'm off to play some of these songs ... emoticon

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DETERMINED_SOUL 12/22/2010 9:03AM

    What a wonderful blog!

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BF20PERCENT 12/21/2010 6:29PM

    I love to read your blogs.
They always give me a warm feeling and make me I can just reach my goal.

Just Do It!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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*40 Tips for an Exceptional, Superb & Powerful Life*

Friday, December 17, 2010

How's that for an attention grabber? And isn't this what we all want... an exceptional, superb and powerful life?

If you're not sure, allow me to clarify for you:

Exceptional: that which cannot be confined or defined by the ordinary or usual... by its very nature that which proves the rules without being limited by them. (Just let this one settle into your bones for a minute.)

Superb: of the most impressive or splendid or exalted kind of life, grand, majestic.

Powerful: having great (physical or otherwise) power [ability to do or act, vigor, energy] or influence in your life.

Anything here worthy of development in your life?

GOOD! Now, the following comes to me via VEEJAY via Patricia... THANK YOU, my dear friends!

I'm going to print these out on cards... one to a card, and read through the cards every morning as part of my reflection time each day (one to a card forces me to slow down, absorb and internalize each one). I'll pick one (or three, lol) to keep in the forefront of my mind for the day.

One of my biggest challenges is living my life mindfully and thoughtfully and graciously. I believe that these one line homilies hold the key to doing better in each of these respects.





1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day and while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a TiVo (DVR), tape your late night shows and get more sleep

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, "My purpose is to__________ today."

5. Live with the 3 Es - Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, and the 3 Fs - Faith, Family, Friends.

6. Watch more G movies, play more games with friends and read more books than you did in 2010.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.

11. Drink some green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, seafood, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear your clutter from your house, your car, and your desk and let new energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn and pass all your tests. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past, so it won't mess up the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Forgive everyone for everything.

28. What other people think of you is none of your business.

29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

33. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

34. The best is yet to come.

35. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

36. Do the right thing!

37. Call your family often.

38. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: "I am thankful for __________." "Today I accomplished _________."

39. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

40. Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride.





I'm F.I.N.E. How about you? Care to join me?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona



...Because LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.

JUST DO IT.

UNTIL.


Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108514

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)


I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108522

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)


UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3541059









  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BF20PERCENT 12/20/2010 11:01AM

    Thanks again for a lovely blog.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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_RAMONA 12/18/2010 1:33AM

    MEMARE! Thanks, so much, for pointing that out... I never noticed that myself, LOL! You are one smart cookie!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona

Comment edited on: 12/18/2010 1:34:01 AM

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DEVORA4 12/17/2010 9:52PM

  Hi Ramona, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, It's too bad that more folks have not read this, I intend to copy most of the tips on small file cards and read them every day. emoticon emoticon emoticontips. Thanks hum\n, debby emoticon

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WELLNESSME09 12/17/2010 7:28PM

    An amazing blog! thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:27PM

  Ramona, this is just what I needed to read today. It can all be so simple if I just let it. I think I'm going to just print this one off and post it!

You are so gifted. I hope to one day see some of your essays in print! Your blogs always inspire me to look within and do just a little better.

emoticon

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NOMORESTALLING 12/17/2010 3:21PM

    Absolutely emoticon

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MEMARE 12/17/2010 12:03PM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing.
These 40 things...good food for thought into the New Year.

The T-shirt picture says it all - I'm FINE - did anyone else notice that? emoticon

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SPARKLINGMEDUSA 12/17/2010 11:48AM

    I was writing these tips in my inspiration journal last night! How fortuitous that I'm reading them here too!

Comment edited on: 12/17/2010 11:49:17 AM

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DETERMINED_SOUL 12/17/2010 11:12AM

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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JUST4ME927 12/17/2010 9:02AM

    Amazingly powerful! LOVED it! Thanks for sharing.

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JOCALAT 12/17/2010 7:18AM

    loved your blog...especially your thoughts at th end....my friend with the gift of words!! Your an angel!!

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EFELL123 12/17/2010 5:54AM

    Thank you for sharing your 40 tips! What a wonderful and thoughtful thing to take time to post this for us at this time of year! It's worthy of a most popular blog award!


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INDYPEARTREE 12/17/2010 5:29AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! That is the best Christmas gift I could have received!

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MUSHCAT 12/17/2010 3:37AM

    Just what I needed to read and be reminded of at this moment. God bless you.

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You may not be...

Friday, December 17, 2010

...exactly what you eat, but good, nutritious food is a lot more important than society has made it out to be for quite some time now.

Anybody been watching the new cereal commercials? How about those 100 calorie snacks? Fat free dairy, anyone? Meatless meat?

So much energy and money is being put into developing 'food' that will supposedly allow us to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, and as much as we want without (supposedly) any of the negative impact of such imprudence.

...And don't get me wrong... a 'healthy food nazi' I will never be... I'm an unrepentant foodie all the way.

I am not talking about the occasional holiday meal, or the odd 'treat' here and there, or carnival food once a year. I am talking about what you consume and call 'food' 80 - 90 percent of the time... and I also think that 'good for you', dense in nutrients, fresh food IS decadent, delicious and inspiring... we spend a significant amount of money eating FRESH all year round... including 'out of season'... ever eat a fresh orange flown in just for you from Florida in February on the Canadian Prairies? Or fresh caught fish in a land-locked region? Or vegetables you've never seen grown in your mother's garden? THAT'S decadent!

Does anyone besides me stop to really think about this?

What happened to accepting and respecting our bodies for how and what they are created to be? What happened to eating to live (taking pleasure in eating for health and well-being), rather than living to eat (eating primarily for hedonistic pleasure)? When did good wholesome, healthy food, thoughtfully prepared and attractively presented become 'boring' or 'uninteresting' or 'less than' in some way? How did food and eating become so universally and unilaterally disassociated from nutrition and fueling our bodies?

These are questions I've been asking myself for many years, and that are now becoming front and centre in my family. My DH has finally begun asking himself these questions. We have a DD who absolutely NEEDS to be fed thoughtfully and with nutrition foremost and at the front of our consideration. In this new year we are likely looking at a whole new way of eating for a time... perhaps for the rest of her life.

I can't say I'm unhappy about this... not for her (a la Alwyn Cosgrove... she doesn't need the cheese poufs!), and certainly not for us. Thanks to SparkPeople, I am even more ready than I may have otherwise been to face this challenge. Here's a bit of literal food for thought, that is at the core of our ponderings. Thank you, Patricia, for putting it so conveniently in my sight!






The Power of Food
by David Zinczenko
author of the ABS Diet, and his latest, ABS Diet for Women

These 12 foods make up a large part of your diet. The more of these foods you eat, the better your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat. They have been proven to do one or more of the following:
• Builds muscle
• Helps promote weight loss
• Strengthens bone
• Lowers blood pressure
• Fights cancer
• Improves immune function
• Fights heart disease

Though you can base entire meals and snacks around these foods, you don’t have to. But do follow these guidelines.
• Incorporate two or three of these foods into each of your three major meals and at least one of them into each of your three snacks.
• Diversify your food at every meal to get a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
• Make sure you sneak a little bit of protein into each snack.

Here's an easy way to remember what's good for you. The first letter of each food group spells: A.B.S.D.I.E.T.P.O.W.E.R 12


1) Almonds and Other Nuts
Eat them with skins intact.

Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus
Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer
Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.

These days, you hear about good fats and bad fats the way you hear about good cops and bad cops. One's on your side, and one's going to beat you silly. Oreos fall into the latter category, but nuts are clearly out to help you. They contain the monounsaturated fats that clear your arteries and help you feel full. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat.

But almonds are like Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest: They're the king of the nuts. Eat as much as two handfuls a day. If you eat 2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite--especially if you wash them down with 8 ounces of water.

For a quick popcorn alternative, spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking spray and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with either a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme.


2) Beans and Other Legumes
Including soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans.

Superpowers: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating digestion
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate
Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Impostors: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar.

Most of us can trace our resistance to beans to some unfortunately timed intestinal upheaval (third-grade math class, a first date gone awry). But beans are, as the famous rhyme says, good for your heart; the more you eat them, the more you'll be able to control your hunger.

Black, lima, pinto, navy -- you pick it. They're all low in fat, and they're packed with protein, fiber, and iron--nutrients crucial for building muscle and losing weight. Gastrointestinal disadvantages notwithstanding, they serve as one of the key members of the Abs Diet cabinet because of all their nutritional power. In fact, if you can replace a meat-heavy dish with a bean-heavy dish a couple of times a week, you'll be lopping a lot of saturated fat out of your diet and replacing it with higher amounts of fiber.


3) Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Superpowers: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)
Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; beta-carotene; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber
Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis
Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Impostors: None, as long as you don't fry them or smother them in fatty cheese sauces.

You know vegetables are packed with important nutrients, but they're also a critical part of your body-changing diet. I like spinach in particular because one serving supplies nearly a full day's vitamin A and half of your vitamin C. It's
also loaded with folate -- a vitamin that protects against heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. Dress a sandwich with the stuff, or stir-fry it with fresh garlic and olive oil.

Broccoli is high in fiber and more densely packed with vitamins and minerals than almost any other food. If you hate vegetables, hide them. Puree them and add them to marinara sauce or chili. The more you chop, the less you taste, and the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients. With broccoli, sauté it in garlic and olive oil, and douse it with hot sauce.


4) Dairy Products
Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.

Superpowers: Building strong bones, firing up weight loss
Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer
Sidekicks: None
Impostors: Whole milk, frozen yogurt

Dairy is nutrition's version of a typecast actor. It gets so much good press for strengthening bones that it garners little attention for all the other stuff it does well. Just take a look at the mounting evidence that calcium is a prime belly-buster. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as those taking in less calcium. Researchers think the mineral probably prevents weight gain by increasing the breakdown of body fat and hampering its formation. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and other dairy products can play a key role in your diet. But I recommend milk as your major source of calcium. Liquids take up lots of room in your stomach, so your brain gets the signal that you're full. Sprinkling in chocolate whey powder can help curb sweet cravings.


5) Instant Oatmeal
Unsweetened, unflavored.

Superpowers: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels
Secret weapons: Complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: High-fiber cereals like All-Bran and Fiber One
Impostors: Sugary cereals

Oatmeal is the Bo Derek of your pantry: It’s a perfect 10. You can eat it at breakfast to propel you through sluggish mornings, a couple of hours before a workout to feel fully energized by the time you hit the weights, or at night to avoid a late-night binge. I recommend instant oatmeal for its convenience. But I want you to buy the unsweetened, unflavored variety and use other Powerfoods such as milk and berries to enhance the taste. Preflavored oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar calories.

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from cholesterol and sending them out of your body. When this happens, your liver has to pull cholesterol from your blood to make more digestive acids, and your bad cholesterol levels drop.

Trust me: You need more fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Doctors recommend we get between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day, but most of us get half that. Fiber is like a bouncer for your body, kicking out troublemakers and showing them the door. It protects you from heart disease. It protects you from colon cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the intestines quickly.

A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains your blood sugar levels longer than many other foods, which keeps your insulin levels stable and ensures you won’t be ravenous for the few hours that follow. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin slow your metabolism and send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels. Include it in a smoothie or as your breakfast. (A U.S. Navy study showed that simply eating breakfast raised metabolism by 10 percent.)

Another cool fact about oatmeal: Preliminary studies indicate that oatmeal raises the levels of free testosterone in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat and boosting your sex drive.


6) Eggs

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, vitamins A and B12
Fight against: Obesity
Sidekicks: Egg Beaters, which have fewer calories than eggs and no fat, but just as much of the core nutrients
Impostors: None

For a long time, eggs were considered pure evil, and doctors were more likely to recommend tossing eggs at passing cars than throwing them into omelette pans. That's because just two eggs contain enough cholesterol to put you over your daily recommended value. Though you can cut out some of that by removing part of the yolk and using the white, more and more research shows that eating an egg or two a day will not raise your cholesterol levels.

In fact, we've learned that most blood cholesterol is made by the body from dietary fat, not dietary cholesterol. That's why you should take advantage of eggs and their powerful makeup of protein. The protein found in eggs has the highest "biological value" of protein -- a measure of how well it supports your body's protein need -- of any food. In other words, the protein in eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources, even milk and beef. Eggs also contain vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown.


7) Turkey and Other Lean Meats
Lean steak, chicken, fish.

Superpowers: Building muscle, improving the immune system
Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, heart disease
Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3 rich flaxseed
Impostors: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye

A classic muscle-building nutrient, protein is the base of any solid diet plan. Turkey breast is one of the leanest meats you'll find, and it packs nearly one-third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin B6. Dark meat, if you prefer, has lots of zinc and iron. One caution, though: If you’re roasting a whole turkey for a family feast, avoid self-basting birds, which have been injected wth fat.

Beef is another classic muscle-building protein. It’s the top food source for creatine -- the substance your body uses when you lift weights. Beef does have a downside; it contains saturated fats, but some cuts have more than others. Look for rounds or loins (that’s code for extra-lean); sirloins and New York strips are less fatty than prime ribs and T-bones.

To cut down on saturated fats even more, concentrate on fish like tuna and salmon, because they contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Those fatty acids lower levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism: The higher your leptin levels, the more readily your body stores calories as fat. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat faster than animals with higher leptin levels. Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes found that the tribe that ate fish frequently had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the tribe that primarily ate vegetables.

A bonus benefit: Researchers in Stockholm found that men who ate no fish had three times the risk of prostate cancer of those who ate it regularly. It's the omega-3s that inhibit prostate-cancer growth.


8) Peanut Butter
All-natural, sugar-free.

Superpowers: Boosting testosterone, building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters
Impostors: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters

Yes, PB has its disadvantages: It’s high in calories, and it doesn’t go over well when you order it in four-star restaurants. But it’s packed with those heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can increase your body’s production of testosterone, which can help your muscles grow and your fat melt. In one 18-month experiment, people who integrated peanut butter into their diet maintained weight loss better than those on low-fat plans. A recent study from the University of Illinois showed that diners who had monounsaturated fats before a meal (in this case, it was olive oil) ate 25 percent fewer calories during that meal than those who didn’t.

Practically speaking, PB also works because it’s a quick and versatile snack -- and it tastes good. Since a diet that includes an indulgence like peanut butter doesn’t leave you feeling deprived, it’s easier to follow and won’t make you fall prey to other cravings. Use it on an apple, on the go, or to add flavor to potentially bland smoothies. Two caveats: You can’t gorge on it because of its fat content; limit yourself to about 3 tablespoons per day. And you should look for all-natural peanut butter, not the mass-produced brands that have added sugar.


9) Olive Oil

Superpowers: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system
Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Impostors: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, margarine

No need for a long explanation here: Olive oil and its brethren will help control your food cravings; they'll also help you burn fat and keep your cholesterol in check. Do you need any more reason to pass the bottle?


10) Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals

Superpowers: Preventing your body from storing fat
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas
Impostors: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat

There's only so long a person can survive on an all-protein diet or an all-salad diet or an all-anything diet. You crave carbohydrates because your body needs them. The key is to eat the ones that have been the least processed -- carbs that still have all their heart-healthy, belly-busting fiber intact.

Grains like wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye are seeds that come from grasses, and they're broken into three parts -- the germ, the bran, and the endosperm. Think of a kernel of corn.

The biggest part of the kernel -- the part that blows up when you make popcorn -- is the endosperm. Nutritionally it's pretty much a big dud. It contains starch, a little protein, and some B vitamins. The germ is the smallest part of the grain; in the corn kernel, it's that little white seedlike thing. But while it's small, it packs the most nutritional power. It contains protein, oils, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. It also has vitamin E and the minerals magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. The bran is the third part of the grain and the part where all the fiber is stored. It's a coating around the endosperm that contains B vitamins, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.

So what's the point of this little biology lesson? Well, get this: When food manufacturers process and refine grains, guess which two parts get tossed out? Yup, the bran, where all the fiber and minerals are, and the germ, where all the protein and vitamins are. And what they keep -- the nutritionally bankrupt endosperm (that is, starch) -- gets made into pasta, bagels, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you'll find. Crazy, right? But if you eat products made with all the parts of the grain -- whole-grain bread, pasta, long-grain rice -- you get all the nutrition that food manufacturers are otherwise trying to cheat you out of.

Whole-grain carbohydrates can play an important role in a healthy lifestyle. In an 11-year study of 16,000 middle-age people, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that consuming three daily servings of whole grains can reduce a person's mortality risk over the course of a decade by 23 percent. (Tell that to your buddy who's eating low-carb.) Whole-grain bread keeps insulin levels low, which keeps you from storing fat. In this diet, it's especially versatile because it’ll supplement any kind of meal with little prep time. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, with a dab of peanut butter for a snack. Don't believe the hype. Carbs -- the right kind of carbs -- are good for you.

Warning: Food manufacturers are very sneaky. Sometimes, after refining away all the vitamins, fiber, and minerals from wheat, they'll add molasses to the bread, turning it brown, and put it on the grocery shelf with a label that says wheat bread. It's a trick! Truly nutritious breads and other products will say whole-wheat or whole-grain. Don't be fooled.


11) Extra-Protein (Whey) Powder

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against: Obesity
Sidekick: Ricotta cheese
Impostor: Soy protein

Protein powder? What the heck is that? It's the only Abs Diet Powerfood that you may not be able to find at the supermarket, but it's the one that's worth the trip to a health food store. I'm talking about powdered whey protein, a type of animal protein that packs a muscle-building wallop. If you add whey powder to your meal -- in a smoothie, for instance -- you may very well have created the most powerful fat-burning meal possible. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that contains essential amino acids that build muscle and burn fat. But it's especially effective because it has the highest amount of protein for the fewest number of calories, making it fat's kryptonite.

Smoothies with some whey powder can be most effective before a workout. A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis (their ability to build muscle) more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising. Since exercise increases bloodflow to tissues, the theory goes that having whey protein in your system when you work out may lead to a greater uptake of amino acids -- the building blocks of muscle -- in your muscle.

But that's not all. Whey protein can help protect your body from prostate cancer. Whey is a good source of cysteine, which your body uses to build a prostate cancer–fighting antioxidant called glutathione. Adding just a small amount may increase glutathione levels in your body by up to 60 percent.

By the way, the one great source of whey protein in your supermarket is ricotta cheese. Unlike other cheeses, which are made from milk curd, ricotta is made from whey -- a good reason to visit your local Italian eatery.


12) Raspberries and Other Berries

Superpowers: Protecting your heart, enhancing eyesight, improving memory, preventing cravings
Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)
Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit
Impostors: Sugary jellies

Depending on your taste, any berry will do (except Crunch Berries). I like raspberries as much for their power as for their taste. They carry powerful levels of antioxidants, all-purpose compounds that help your body fight heart disease and cancer; the berries' flavonoids may also help your eyesight, balance, coordination, and short-term memory. One cup of raspberries packs 6 grams of fiber and more than half of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Blueberries are also loaded with the soluble fiber that, like oatmeal, keeps you fuller longer. In fact, they're one of the most healthful foods you can eat. Blueberries beat out 39 other fruits and vegetables in the antioxidant power ratings. (One study also found that rats that ate blueberries were more coordinated and smarter than rats that didn't.)

Strawberries contain another valuable form of fiber called pectin (as do grapefruits, peaches, apples, and oranges). In a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, subjects drank plain orange juice or juice spiked with pectin. The people who got the loaded juice felt fuller after drinking it than those who got the juice without the pectin. The difference lasted for an impressive 4 hours.


...what do you think... aren't you worth more than the nutritional lies that society currently passes off as 'good food'? Don't you deserve the best possible food at your disposal?

If you answered 'yes', what are you going to do about it?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona



...Because YOU are worth it.

JUST DO IT.

UNTIL.


Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108514

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)


I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108522

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)


UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3541059






More 'food for thought':

Part 1:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2083674


Part 2:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2083671


146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Health
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=1615045


The 15 Worst Health & Diet Myths
by David Zinczenko, Men's Health Magazine
health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/15-
worst-health-diet-myths




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_RAMONA 12/18/2010 1:27AM

    Thanks for the comments! ITSINTHE DETAILS, whey protein is more easily absorbed and it doesn't have the estrogen issues associated with soy... and soy doesn't have the amino acids that whey has... it's the amino acids which define protein as protein... and it's the amino acids that you need to build muscle. Quinoa is the only plant food that is a complete protein. Incidentally, Asian folk don't use soy as protein the way we do... they only use fermented soy... doesn't have the health risks, and it's the fermentation process which creates the health benefits... or eating it unprocessed as fresh raw beans (edamame). Soy as a protein is a North American phenomena. I always find it interesting that the very same people who decry the estrogen in our meat and milk are the same people who are getting their protein primarily from soy. I know what you mean about the taste... I really like the taste of soy milk... I was using it consistently for awhile but then I noticed hormonal disruptions, so I stopped. I've also used hemp protein powder and quite like it, too. I'm working up to whey for the new year. :)

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}
Ramona


Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 4:15:06 PM

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:45PM

  EXCELLENT blog!!!!! Thanks for all the detail. It was a good review of what I know AND I learned a few things too!

I have a question ... do you know why soy protein is an imposter? I use protein powders almost every day (in a morning smoothie) and have a few kinds ... soy being one of them, which happens to be my taste taste favorite ... lol

I like the taste of whey too but I don't really know WHY one is better than the other.

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MEMARE 12/17/2010 12:09PM

    Another great blog. Thank you! Keep 'em coming! emoticon

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GOLDENLEAF1 12/17/2010 1:48AM

    This was really well-thought out and researched. Thanks for the food for thought.

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*M*O*T*I*V*A*T*I*O*N*!

Friday, December 17, 2010


www.values.com
Randy Pausch


I'm doing my usual Spark December strategising for success... I spend a goodly amount of time searching for the nuggets I need in my arsenal to hit the ground running (with intention and focus). The following comes to me from my friend Patricia:

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/messageb
oard.asp?imboard=4&imparent=17092202



M - Mindset — Take time to evaluate what's going on in your mind. What triggers your snack attacks? What distracts you from choosing healthy options? Write these things out in our free Online Journal. Learning what's going on inside can help inspire you to make better, healthier decisions.

O - Organize — Before you go to the grocery store organize a meal plan and create a shopping list. Sticking to a plan and list can help you look forward to the next snack or meal and build some excitement in eating.

T - Time — Make time for creative activities. Whether you take up dancing, run around with your kids, or even go out for a daily walk before work or after dinner. Whatever you come up with, try to make time in your busy schedule to do something fun and active.

I - Inform — Experiment with activity and healthy recipes to learn what you like. Information is a powerful source to keep you going. What's more, sharing what you learn with others helps build your confidence and enthusiasm.

V - Variety — Shake things up. Routines are helpful, but your body learns and adapts quickly. Try to keep it guessing with new activities and foods to make your body work for you.

A - Activity — Keep moving, and find fun ways to say active. Grab a friend and join a walk/run club or hit the community courts for a pick-up game of basketball. Find the activities that make you smile, and rotate through them.

T - Trust — No work is in vain when it comes to weight loss. Even when you're not seeing the results you expected, you have to believe your dedication is changing your life and body. Trust what you're doing will produce the results you envision.

I - Imagine — What does success look like for you? What size pants or dress will you fit into when you reach your next goal? Keep a picture of success in front of you, and your work will get you there.

O - Observant — Take notice of the changes going on with you. Are the healthy changes in your diet affecting how you feel about yourself? Are others taking notice? Do you look at food choices a critical eye? Observe the changes going on in you. They are real, and your family and friend will notice.

N - New — We're not in this journey simply to revert to our old ways. The change in our lives is real and lasting. In a sense, we're creating a new life for ourselves. Let the new you influence your decisions and activity as you continue to live smarter and healthier.

Yours in the Challenge,
Dr. Ian Smith, 'The 50 Million Pound Challenge'





...what're you putting in your arsenal for 2011?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
Ramona



Whatever it is that gives you that 'three coffees, two flirtatious emails, a week of vacation' feeling...

Whatever it is that celebrates your shoulders and arms and hips and butt and thighs and knees and legs...

Whatever it is that belies anything anyone thinks they know about you...

Whatever it is that makes you feel alive and vibrant and vibrating with vitality...

Whatever it is that gives you a sense of accomplishment that only pushing beyond limits can give you...

Whatever it is that makes you cry with determination well placed and hold your head up with stubborn pride...

Whatever it is you dream about and long for and ache to embrace because it is really who you are inside...

Because it is who you were created to be...

JUST DO IT... the best you can...

UNTIL.



Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108514

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)


I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2108522

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)


UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3541059





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:50PM

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MEMARE 12/17/2010 8:47AM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing, I feel like i've just received a Christmas present! emoticon
I really like all your other blogs you've provided the links for too! emoticon

Have a very Merry Christmas! emoticon

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JOCALAT 12/17/2010 7:20AM

    Have you read Randy's book...its awesome...I also saw his last lecture on tv...its very moving!!

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EGGBASKET1 12/17/2010 2:23AM

    THANKS FOR SHARING ! I NEED THE MOTIVATION !

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DREAMBODY10 12/17/2010 1:39AM

    Great tips..I love motivational tools

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KATYBUG48 12/17/2010 12:43AM

  Good guidelines, Thanks

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