Category Archives: Health & Wellness

90 days later!

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I began the AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) diet in January & my original intention was to only follow it for 2 weeks until our Greatest Loser Weight Loss Challenge at work ended. After the 2 weeks, I extended it for a month. It’s suggested to follow the plan exclusively for 90 days as an elimination process identifying triggers that exacerbate auto immune symptoms. In my case it was excruciating neuromuscular pain from fibromyalgia & osteoarthritis unrelieved by any measure I attempted. I never thought I’d ever make it for 90 days! 

I can honestly say that 90 days later I’m ever so grateful for the challenge & sacrifice of well loved foods. I feel so much better, have lost weight, have increased my energy & activity related endurance levels. I still have to respect knee pain, but am not limited because of constant neuromuscular pain. 

People asked how I could possibly resist some of my favorite foods & my response was easy. When people have peanut or other allergies that cause untoward reactions,  they live their lives purposely & consciously avoiding those triggers. My pain was so intense I wanted to have lab tests & X-rays performed to determine what the culprit was. Those who know me well knew this was extreme because I avoid this at all cost. Constant, continuous, unrelenting pain is my allergic reaction! For years, as a nurse, I took care of patients who had diabetes, renal, cardiovascular, or other disease processes & couldn’t understand how they could be so non-compliant with diet & exercise. I would be instantly irate when they nonchalently responded, ”everyone has a vice & eating or smoking is mine.” Or, ”everyone has to die, so I’m going to eat what I want, take extra insulin or my doctor can just prescribe a stronger blood pressure pill.” Really?? Really. They were consciously aware of what made their disease progress quicker, were already experiencing debilitating side effects & refused to take control of it because of simple pleasures. In my case, simple pleasures were stealing quality of life from me & I couldn’t allow it any longer. 

Most of our lives we’ve heard the saying, ”We are what we eat.” During my childhood we raised all our own vegetables; had abundant access to fruits & berries; raised cows, pigs, & chickens for meat, dairy & eggs; plus we dried corn for grits, cornmeal & even made our own hominy. We also fished & hunted! Veggies & farm animals were raised & grown as organically natural as possible, then canned or cooked without additives or preservatives. My parents used wild herbs such as sassafras root, mullen tea, pine needles, & other natural sources for medicinal purposes. We lived off the grid before it was popular! Later in life, choices of fast food, preserved everything & foods severely lacking any nutritional value were my daily diet. Even after giving up fast foods & being careful to stay away from preservative laden foods, I developed systemic pain. 

For many, many years the only dairy products I consumed were cream for my coffee, kefir & yogurt. When I ate cereal I only used soy milk.  After watching the documentary,  Food, Inc., I boycotted soy bean products because of Monsanto. I began drinking rice milk then converted to almond milk. My pain was confined only to arthritic joint pain manageable with large doses of daily Naproxen Sodium. What was healthy about this picture? Once I was introduced to the fermentation evolution, I began making my own yogurt & kefir to use in my daily smoothies. I tried making them with almond or coconut milk & never got the consistency I liked, so I purchased an amazing ultra processed, lactose free, extra calcium dairy milk. My yogurt & kefir was very delicious. What could be wrong with that? I would’ve never related my increase in pain to this had I not participated in the AIP diet. Also….for many, many years I never considered myself having an intolerance to gluten. When someone mentioned gluten intolerance I automatically assumed it was digestive related, such as Celiac disease, & knew this wasn’t my problem. Ignorance wasn’t bliss on my part regarding gluten effects.  Once I learned, through my fermentation education, that the gut is as important as the brain & plays a mirrored correlating role in our health, I realized gluten affects us in different ways. I never ate much bread, but had recently been consuming a fabulous, healthy brand maybe once or twice weekly. Then….. although I was careful not to comsume a bunch of carbs, without readily having the label to review, gluten is mixed in many common foods we aren’t aware of.

90 days later has helped me realize I love AIP & while I may introduce some foods back in, I intend to continue this practice as a lifestyle. I’m allergic to excruciating pain, lack of energy, & limited mobility! If you experience any auto immune disease related symptoms, I strongly recommend you read this article & begin the AIP diet. 

Life is just what me make it & I was making myself sicker. 

Blessings, 

g

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Why take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge??

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While reading one of my favorite “cyber mentors” blog this morning, Bob Burg discussed having a weak or strong team is a direct result of leadership who surround themselves with superior people.   Of course my experience has been extremely positive.  As with all good resources, his blog got me to thinking.  Trust me, you want to associate with people who cause you to think, not just think tell you what to think.  Here was some my response:

Of course Bob you know my greatest examples are Orrin Woodward #6 & Chris Brady #11 on the World Leadership Guru Top 25 List!! Their examples have definitely trickled down & continue to saturate throughout our entire organization. I listened to a CD by Orrin yesterday back to back because it totally resonated in so many areas. Since 2006 I’ve become a hungry student in so many areas. Who would have ever put a conversation about politics or economics with me in the same room, much less contributing to & enjoying it! 😉

I went onto thinking how following such men & women of influence have impacted many areas of my world.  Without this association, I don’t want to even begin to imagine where I would be.  I would’ve never developed a passion for reading or taught my singles Sunday School class out of “You Don’t Need A Title To Be A Leader” by Mark Sanborn. Through those principles, our band of singles had the most leaders within the adult ministry structure!! This was ministry, what about family? How does something like this affect family?  Because our organization has a top 5 book list, I was able to refer “Personality Plus” to my daughter, Summer, in an effort to deal with my beautiful, strong-willed, granddaughter.  Shortly after, Summer & husband, Russell, pastored a church in Arkansas where other TEAM biz partners happened to attend. They decided to teach a weekly  adult class on personalities in an effort to develop better relationships within the church. This past weekend I suggested my daughter re-read the chapter on cholerics!! Said granddaughter is now 9!

One of my favorite family examples comes from my son.  Summer married a few years after my divorce leaving Bryce & I to live at least 14 years discovering the glorious ins & outs of single parenting.  My only regret is not having been exposed to all the amazing information I now have access to during those painful experimental years.  Anyway….. back to my favorite example right?  I was driving to Arkansas to spend Christmas with  Summer when Bryce called me. We had celebrated Christmas early & I gave him 3 books with an assignment to read, write book reports & he would get the remainder of his Christmas gift of cash. He wasn’t happy, but loved cash!  He chose “The Anatomy of Peace” by the Arbinger Institute as his first book. During this call, his first question to me was, “Did the mom & son characters in this book remind you of me & you?”  I spent the next 2 hrs. of my journey conversing with him about the book.  This made the trip better not just that the roads were dreary, dark, & icy, but I just loved discussing it with him.  He renamed the characters with people he associated with in his every day life enabling him to relate to it better.   His full-page book report was amazing & stated everyone in the world needs to read this book.  Of course I carefully chose that book because it taught me a valuable lesson on how to communicate with Bryce. I was obviously failing & falling short in that category!  Sadly I must admit, I was the character of the mom to a “T.”

Story after story follows in how books, CDs, & associations with quality leaders have helped thousands develop character, integrity & the fortitude necessary to not only cope & survive, but develop other leaders & thrive.  Marriages have been restored, families have been strengthened, finances have been controlled, debt irradiated & much, much more.  My life has completely changed.  I strive constantly & continually to improve developing  into the person God designed me to become.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones (fabulous books too!) stated, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.– Charles William Eliot

Recently LIFE launched, what we believe to be, the most brilliant expedition yet!  The testimonies discussed in the paragraph above are multiplying across the nation.  Average people have accepted the challenge & are realizing this is an asset they can use in every area of their lives.  I encourage you to take the 90 Day Mental Fitness Challenge.  After taking the self-test, order the pack which includes three phenomenal books & thought-provoking CD’s.  During the 90 days, you will associate with amazing people through Challenge groups & experience for yourself the opportunity for a  lifetime of change.  It is only the beginning of change & as I came to realize 6 years ago, will be the greatest decision you ever make.  We are quick to engage in fitness for our bodies, while neglecting our most valuable asset, our minds.

I hear people all the time saying, “You can’t change the way things are, just accept them.”  This statement tugs on my last reserve of self-control forcing me to answer with emotional intelligence…nicely!  Together we can begin to change ourselves & assume responsibility for change within our family.  As a family we contribute to the change of our community.  The effect of change within communities will infiltrate into our towns or cities.  Cities taking responsibility & instituting change are catalysts for causing change within our state.   States will reinforce such change through influence with other states.  As a whole, states will bind together & foster change within our nation.  Nations will unite wherefore changing our world.  When we look at the HUGE picture it can be overwhelming.  When we practice incremental changes as defined in the book, “The Slight Edge,”  change occurs.  I didn’t do this purposely, but doesn’t this sound like how our precious United States became the resilient nation it is.  A few brave men & women accepted their duty to change so others, you & I,  would experience freedom & liberty.  Can you institute this challenge in your church?  Support group?  Book club?  Of course you can!  As one of my favorite historic characters stated: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Sir Winston Churchill.  Legacy can begin with you!

Be the ripple & pay it forward.

Blessings,

g

Enroll in the 90 Day MFC, using # 61244967

Becoming our mothers!

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As we near the weekend set aside to honor mothers, many of us no longer have a mother to celebrate.  This is dedicated, not only to my mom, Bessie, but to those of you who want to remember yours.  During my many years as a nurse in the medical sector, I was a Rascal.  I say I turned into my mother at a very early age.  Here’s why!  I was raised on a farm with the opportunity of being primarily self-sufficient.  We raised our own produce & canned some for the winter months.  We had farm animals that provided all our meat & dairy needs.  We even made our own butter & cream. Yummy! There was nothing better than fresh cream mixed with cane syrup on my mom’s biscuits!!  Certain fields of corn was raised to grind into corn meal, grits & make hominy.   Hominy….. made in a large black wrought iron pot over a fire. Yes….I loved it!   My mother sewed most of our clothes & we didn’t have a dryer until I was in high school or later. We sold produce to local merchants & livestock at auction providing funds for almost everything else.   My first vehicle was the tractor & if that wasn’t available, the riding lawn mower was the substitute!   I would rather get sweaty & dirty working in the field with my daddy than to spend one moment in time cleaning house. Yuck! Of course being a daddy’s girl meant I did what he did anyway so….

Now for the holistic / natural tendencies I possess!  In our small town there was a natural artesian well that produced mineral water.  Not the crystal clear kind, but the rusty metal looking kind as it contained salt & an assortment of minerals.  In 1913 it was accidentally discovered during the drilling process for an oil well.  The men noticed as they were exposed to this water, any skin problems they had would disappear. The state had the water tested discovering it contained two pounds of minerals to a gallon of water, bubbling out of the ground from 2,800 feet below the surface at 116 degrees. The State of Louisiana created a Health Resort providing a Motel, Bath House featuring whirlpool baths & massage therapy.  My dad was active for years during the development &  was actually a masseuse there.  Doctors would actually write prescriptions for patients to have a 21 day series of baths for arthritis.

This water was used for any & all medicinal purposes.  There was a spicket where we could fill gallon jugs anytime we wanted.  We snorted it for sinus / allergy problems, gargled with it for sore throats, etc.  There was a small community rectangular pool referred to as “the foot pool”  Daily visits provided conversations with locals & outsiders who would come to spend the summer there.  Any skin problems were resolved by doing this.   We could collect sediment from around the spicket & use it as a paste for sprains/strains, etc.  We even threw our dogs in the overflow pond for fleas, ticks, & God forbid, mange.  People moved there from all over the state.  Some would come stay in the Motel Courts Apartments or another apartment complex, while others purchased small homes used as summer houses so they could come stay.  OH…..they all loved our farm produce!  A restaurant overlooked a hill & below the entry way was a beautiful koi pond.  When I was little my daddy would take me there every day.  I always had chocolate ice cream & to this day, it was the best.  Below the restaurant was a  community swimming pool which, until middle school, was filled with the rusty-brown water.  My friends & I worked at the resort & cafe during our senior year of high school.  I can still remember the menu & how amazing  the yeast rolls were.  Turkey & dressing was always the Sunday menu feature.  And then there were the pies!  The salads were so crispy fresh as the secret was to soak it in a bowl of ice water & MSG. I know now that is a bad ingredient, but then…..it was simply the best.  My senses are going crazy even as I type this blog!

With an economic downturn, the upkeep, repairs on pumps, etc. were deemed unnecessary by the state of Louisiana and the resort was closed.  This was a very sad era in my life.  My dad sold our tractor when I was in junior high school & I was devastated & the closing of the resort after high school compounded my disappointment.  Our community dwindled & shrank to almost nothing.  As years passed, the state deemed the property at risk & razed the buildings to the ground.  The wells were capped, as they still produced even after the demolition.  This brings tears to my eyes knowing my beloved childhood memories were just bulldozed to nothing!  My dream  for many years has been to rebuild the ancient  ruins & re-dig the wells.

Genesis 26:12-18

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.

13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.

14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.

15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.

16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.”

17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there.

18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

Why the history lesson?  You can see how much natural elements, fresh produce, local farm supported efforts & community played such an important role in my life.  As I grew up, I realized how important these were & how I wanted to continue as many of the traditions as possible.  In high school I  learned to sew & as I had my children, I sewed their clothing.  I remember entering clothing in the Parrish fair that even made it to the State fair! I tried to always have a small garden or even bag beds of our favorite things such as tomatoes, watermelon & cucumbers.  During the summer I canned veggies & made relish.  Synthetic medications were never my first choice, as natural organic remedies were my first pick.  To date, I eat organic / all natural.  I support local farmers & entrepreneurs.  An amazing friend recently made home-made soap & gave me a bar.  It is heavenly!  Holistic remedies are my treatment of choice for what ails me. I regret not teaching my daughter how to sew, or push for it to be taught to her in high school, but I did purchase a sewing machine for her last year & know she can teach herself via YouTube tutorials or local classes.

I guess the only thing left to do in being even more like my mom is to eat cereal for supper.  That happened 4 times last week.  I guess I’ve arrived!  While there were some habits I never picked up from my mother, such as smoking,  I find the things that really matter carried on.

Feel free to share what traditions, habits, methods you have in common with your mom.

 

Happy, happy Mother’s Day & remember to pass on what matters most!

Blessings,

g

Blue Hue Effects

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Here’s a question I heard this weekend.  If you watch TV every night for 5 years & do what it tells you, will you be financially FREE? I think debt, disillusioned, distressed, & destroyed are more terms to identify the results from this practice.

Lets explore your options!  As a result of media influences, how many will:

  • have a cable package that costs more than our support to our local church or charity?
  • finance exercise equipment that is never used?
  • apply for every credit card available for rewards that will change the next month?
  •  fill  cabinets with the wrong foods & kitchen with gadgets which will supply the  next garage sale?
  •  have all the toys: TVs, game consoles, stereo equip  only collecting dust b/c they are working 3 jobs to pay for it?
  •  re-fi their house which will cost  more money annually due to closing costs than their current house note?
  • do a reverse mortgage  on a home that is almost completely paid for?
  • buy that car causing insurance payments to increase?
  • have that gastric bypass surgery, lap band, or sleeve only to realize it was a quick fix & not a discipline for the root cause?
  • join a weight loss clinic, because the previous surgery didn’t keep the weight off & they are the exact same size as before?  Now they are paying fees to join &  for purchasing boxed processed foods with little to no actual nutritional value.
  • join a gym because it soothes the middle age insecurities, become sexy,  have an affair &  lose everything they were having trouble keeping?
  • wonder why they are on Xanax for anxiety, blood pressure meds to prevent a stroke & sleeping pills to help us forget we begin the rat race over in T-6hrs!

This is just a short list of influences the media has on our daily lives.  Reality TV is as far from reality as it can get, yet we numb our minds living the lives of someone else when we were created for greatness. Reality is, we need to turn it off & engage in activities that will challenge us to become who we are destined to become.

The average person has 24 hours to a day. Lets break it down with 6-8 hours spent on sleeping; 8-12 are spent on work, not including time to get ready & commute time which could add another 2-3 hrs.  Then, once home, if you have small kids, you pick them up from daycare, do homework, prepare dinner, get ready for bed & the cycle begins again.  In that home time, how many people shuffle their kids to video games, DVDs, etc. while the blue haze from the TV hypnotize their minds away from existence?  More than I would like to calculate. So how many hours are actually left out of those 24 to spend communicating, building relationships, preparing for our future or serving others? What about using that exercise equipment?

I love movies, but discipline my time even for those.  I have not had cable in over 3 years & can’t imagine what I would do with it now.  My vice was DIY, HGTV or CSI, Criminal Minds, anything that would make me try to figure out the solution before they did which appealed  to my melancholy personality with intrigue & details! During the phase of  HGTV, DIY my budget reflected the cause & effect from those shows. I could justify that it  would save me money rather than paying someone else to do the project & believe me….I have taken on some projects.  In actuality, my time is worth more than what it takes to indulge in said projects & technically I should have paid someone to do it.  However…I have left every one of those projects behind for someone who may or may not appreciate my hard work & labor of love. For example….I spent a couple of years & quite a bit of finances landscaping a yard for a house I owned in Louisiana.  It had a beautiful semi-circle drive which I lined with white miniature Crape Myrtles.  I had a gorgeous bird house pole with a purple wisteria & extraordinary curb appeal around the house itself. Trees such as Wax Crape Myrtles, Curly Willows, Purple Plums & Cherry. Flowers like powder puff, camellias, Althea, roses, hydrangea, lilies, lambs ear, dusty miller, sweet potato vines, containers with perennials, & etc.  It was amazing & lush!   When I sold the house, the person who bought it had a fear of snakes & leveled everything.  EVERYTHING!  So much for my investment right? Of course….I was “hypnotized”  to believe it would increase the value of my home.

Anyway…below is an interesting article I found on the subject of TV media influences.   While it is from 2007 & there are many articles available, I can only hope we understand the importance of  feeding our subconscious mind.  Even if the TV is in the background, our subconscious mind is very alert picking up on what is being said & suggested. Consider the effect of what these inputs will make during the next 5 years. Monitor your budget & analyze for yourself.

Blessings,

g

http://www.csun.edu/science/health/docs/tv&health.html

How would you spend it?

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I am fortunate to work in an organization that honors the privilege of sharing weekly devotions.  Wednesdays are the day we, as a building, take 20 minutes to hear from the hearts of people who love to share the gospel, an encouraging word, or my personal preference, a great book.

This week was exceptional in that the devotions were presented by someone who works in the youth department for our division.  He & I share a kindred spirit of entrepreneurship.  You can tell this is intricately woven in his work ethic  &  leadership roles.  It is refreshing to have someone in the 95% realm who reinforces 5% thinking at every level.

I will use an excerpt from his devotion time that adds a twist on a question we routinely ask.  Business as well as our J.O.B.’s require strategic management of our time & resources.  There are so many great books demonstrating  how to organize your time.  “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” enlightened my senses of how time is wasted.  When I served as the Singles Director of our church there was a story that I have never forgotten.  I’m certain it came from a book I used during a Sunday School semester.  The story was told of a man who met an older gentleman still zealous about his life goals.  The older gentleman, I’ll call “Sam,” approached the man, I’ll call “Jake,”  & begin to ask questions about some of his own goals.  Sam told Jake he developed his life goals & wrote them down on an index card. Sam proceeded to pull a tattered, faded, index card out of his wallet. I can remember a few of his goals.  One was to travel the world & to date, Sam had visited several continents & his places of interest many times.  Another was to be financially independent in which Sam had been debt free for years having quite a nice nest egg.  Still another was his health.  Sam asked Jake to guess his age.  I personally suck at this, so I avoid this question at all costs!    Jake guessed a number placing Sam over 20 years younger than his actual age.  Jake was intrigued at Sam’s specific intent in accomplishing his goals & inquired how he did it.  Sam told Jake his system.  Sam takes the index card containing his life goals out daily.  He then looks at his schedule for the day & if one thing doesn’t involve accomplishing his goals, he avoids it.  This discipline, over time, (slight edge!)  has produced the results Sam ventured to gain many, many years before.  At the time of reading that story I had just started my journey as a business owner & that completely blew me away.  I had a crammed, jammed, filled schedule commanding my attention in 14 different areas.  (My number of exaggeration is always 14!! ) Between work, parenting, ministry, business, & an anorexic social life, I was stretched.  Since then, I have learned things will either move you closer to or further away from your goals.  You have the choice.  As Viktor Frankl concluded during his time as a hostage in the concentration camp, between stimulus & response is choice.

What I gather from Sam’s story is that if something doesn’t serve your dreams or goals, don’t entertain it.  I have mentioned this before & it bears repeating…..this even includes toxic relationships.  Please don’t get me wrong or read anything into this.  As humans, these people are valuable in the sight of God.  I respect them as that, love them where they are at, but refuse to allow their influence to infiltrate my life in any way.  I will never be rude or disrespectful, but I will not devote my quality time in their midst.  I have an inner circle of coaches, mentors & leaders who have full reign, while others are peripheral.  I have been a people person all my life, but somehow, this has always been a standard practice for me.


The devotional excerpt I want to conclude with is this:

Everyone has 86,400 seconds in a single day to do what they please.  We know almost a third of that time is taken away for rest during the night, leaving us with 57,600 seconds to spend & like it or not, we are going to spend it.  Sometimes it really helps or motivates us to put things into perspective.  Let me show you what I mean by that.   If these seconds were pennies, & these pennies were given to us each week, you would have $576 dollars per week given to you extra.  If the only rule was that you had to spend those pennies every week, & it didn’t matter how, just as long as you spent them, I’m sure most of use would find a way to do that wouldn’t we?  Everyone knows that you can’t get this time back, in fact, we all know that, but why don’t we seem to care?

Suggestions:

  1. Make a to-do list at the end of each day for tomorrow

    Bryce Canyon National Park

  2. From that list, set your priorities
  3. Question everything. Ask yourself: “Is doing this really important?”
  4. Avoid clutter.  Put things in their proper place.  Keep it simple
  5. Do things with excellence, but avoid perfectionism
  6. Use a calendar. Helps you see the bigger picture
  7. Think about your long-term goals: How does each thing fit with your purpose?
Funny how these coincide with the conversation between “Sam” & “Jake” right?  One of my fav quotes is, “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are we busy about.”-Henry David Thoreau.   We should never confuse activity with productivity.

I can’t speak for you, but Sam’s story resonates within my being these days.  Maybe entering the empty nester phase has spurred me to truly live my dash! There has been too high a price paid for our freedom….the Cross of Calvary, the courage of our founding fathers &  daily defense from our military to continue skirting around accomplishing our purpose.

Blessings,
g

Ephesians 5:15-17 (The Message)

  11-16Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.


Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve or Live a L.I.F.E. of Zero Regrets!

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For all my girlfriends who will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend & for those who are surrounded by people they love,(well… this should totally cover everyone right? ) this post is dedicated to you!

We live busy lives & should never equate busyness to productivity.  When I divorced, I used to work 3 jobs in order to support my kids & I missed quite a bit during the years between 1994-2004.   I was labeled as a “survivor” & knew no other way of doing things.  In all honesty, was it really worth it?  What did I accomplish? Who benefited from it?  The choices I made forced me into doing what I did.  I didn’t have a mentor who could advise me otherwise.  I can’t use that excuse either, because there are plenty of books I could’ve read leading me to making better choices.  The funny thing was that when I decided to move from Louisiana to Texas, I left that mindset behind. I worked 1 job, become heavily involved in ministry & enjoyed my time with Bryce, who was still at home.  I attempted to spend as much time with Summer & her family during the year as well.  My life at this point was busier than ever, but I was doing the things I loved.

change & leave the old behind

What changed?  One little book.  Seriously. All my life, in the depths of my being, I longed for more.  I knew I would never be satisfied with status quo.  I was a dreamer from as far back as I remember.  The vehicle I thought would magically make those dreams come true, nursing, was not it.  I was hungry for more.  During the worst trial of my life, (well…one of the worst trials), a friend gave me one book.  Not money, not another job, not a pat on the head promising prayer, although I knew they would pray with/for me.  The book was “Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.” It revolutionized my life.  I won’t elaborate on the path it lead me to, but let’s just say I became a hungry student & changed some things in my life.

We can prioritize our lives or live our priorities.  I truly believe in living a life of Zero Regrets!  My BFF, Glenda, sent this post from Erma Bombeck in an email & I’m sure it’s been read plenty of times.  The strange thing about the human psyche is that we can read something over & over before it resonates with us. When my other BFF, Joy, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42, it made me realize again that while we can’t  know what our future holds, we can know the one who holds our future.

“When I was a child my mom used to tell me, “Someday”  we will take that trip, do this or that, etc.  I went to our calendar & asked her where the day “Someday” was because I couldn’t find it.” – Tina Rasmussen 

“Somedays”  do not come printed on our calendars.  We have to write them in ourselves.  Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life or make a difference in the lives of others.

Enjoy the words below & maybe do what I had to do…..evaluate your life. No…that is not a typo!  You can’t re-evaluate your life until you have evaluated it first right?   I can only pray that when the day comes & finds you reminiscent of your past, you will smile knowing you changed what you needed to change, discarded toxic relationships, forgave quickly, loved deeply & now welcome eternity.  

Blessings in L.I.F.E. = Living Intentionally For Excellence!

g

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck 
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. 

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. 

I would have talked less and listened more. 

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. 

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’  living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. 

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. 

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. 

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. 

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains. 

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life. 

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. 

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle…

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later… Now go and get washed for dinner.” There would have been more, “I love you’s” &  More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. Live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us… 

Brain Train

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For years I have felt like there is a runner trapped inside of me screaming to come out.  In Jr. High School I remember the days when I felt somewhat melancholy, the solution was to run around the track field.  This released healing endorphins thus creating a euphoria of joy & happiness. Since becoming involved with the health & wellness industry, I have determined to eat right, exercise & be in tune to my body.  This ultimately means I have to finally free the screaming me-me runner right?  Right!

Many people I associate with are runners &  I am finding even more people involved in marathons.  Some enter for the joy or cause of the event.  Others enter to WIN & still others enter just to finish.  I just want to enter!  I will figure out all the rest later.  FYI…I refuse to even entertain my age in this equation.

This past Tuesday night, while discussing weight loss with a beautiful, sanguine biz partner of mine, I mentioned my determination to train for a marathon.  I was impressed to discover she & her husband had run lots of marathons.  He later walked up & began to question my endeavor & then offered advice.

First piece of advice was to begin to train using time as a guide, not distance.  He explained when you use distance only, & actually go outside to begin to run, all you notice is how much further you have to go. He actually said,”your brain will explode!”  Now I know he didn’t literally mean spontaneous combustion of the brain, but your focus & determination explodes.  At least that is my take on it!    Whereas, when you train using time, you are oblivious to the distance ahead.  This resonated with me on many levels.  I am a goal setter & reward myself according to accomplished goals achieved.  A dream without a date is a wish.  When you don’t train your mind according to accomplishing goals within a particular time frame, you simply quit caring about the prize because the end is too far to envision.

He continued to advise that once you begin using that time, increase it incrementally at the point you feel you can’t continue to go any longer.  This is what pushes you to develop adequate cardiovascular tolerance & endurance.   Again…..I correlated this with building a business or pursuing a higher level of self-development.  Often times we begin to “train” & quit before we even discover how enlarged our “heart” capacity toward people can become.  In the quitting phase, we still focus on self.  Excuses mount such as, “I’m tired;  This is too hard for me; I don’t want to read;  I don’t like people;  I’ll miss my favorite TV show;  I don’t like to stand up in front of people,”  & etc.  You get the picture?  If we don’t push ourselves just a little more each day, we never know how many beautiful people we have never completely allowed to enter our hearts.  You see, I learned a long time ago, it isn’t about me, it’s all about them.

The last & most important piece of advice given concerning marathon running was where to go get my shoes.  From a couple who has multiple trophies & accolades from winning marathons, I think they know the right spot?  Come to find out, it is right down the road from my loft.  They explained it would be unlike any shoe purchase I have ever experienced.  Many questions would be asked. I would have to walk around letting  them observe my stance. Any pieces of information I could offer would better assist them find the right pair of shoes for me.  I remember when I worked in nursing, the right shoes were everything.  Being on my feet most of the day dictated the kind of shoes I wore.  Again….this reminds me of not only having the right tools for the job, but getting correct information from correct sources.  The night before I had just walked from my loft to an event at the American Airlines Center.  Of course I had shoes that were comfy, but discovered when I got home, I had a tiny blister.  They were comfy for the most part, but not for that particular reason.  When we endeavor to do anything in life, whether it is build a business, or develop relationships, the right tools for the occasion are paramount.  They even encouraged me to invest in the right pair of socks.  Everything is precise!  I have watched people open businesses out of a desire to be their own boss.  When these people are questioned as to what type of system they use to continue developing said business, often times the answer is predictive of their success.  If they say, “I really don’t have a system, but have always wanted to do this & I just decided to give it a try.” This is probably why most businesses fail within the first two years of operation.  You have to constantly & continually train your mind toward succeeding.

My few minute conversation with my friends enlightened me in more than merely training for a marathon.  I am running a marathon daily in developing a team of leaders.  Each  piece of advice could be applied toward their success.  The equation begins  with me.  I have to be the leader who sets the pace toward an expected finish line.  I have to push myself further daily in order to allow my heart to accept, approve, & appreciate people, then ultimately loving them past their fears.  I have to make sure I equip myself with the right tools to train, enter & finish the race.  I have to associate with like-minded people who have the results I want. This is the only acceptable time in the journey when it can be about me.

If you are endeavoring a new career path, business, relationship, or any type of physical change, these tips are vital.  Trust me…..I am completely a novice in the skill of running marathons.  I have, however, been training my brain in other areas & am determined to succeed!

Life is not about the destination, it is about the journey & any marathon in life begins with a single step.

Enjoy,

g


Admonish thy friends in secret, praise them openly. – Publilius Syrus

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Many know I have just recently moved & am now embarking on the wondrous journey of being an empty nester.  There is nothing like opening your mail box & finding a treasure! I received this photo card from a friend today.   She took the time to search thru my FB pics & find a pic, which is actually one of my fav pics, of my babies!  The card verse reads, “It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.”   The message reads, WELCOME HOME!! The writing was even in purple!  Two important things about this: (1) she knows my “why” & (2) is observant enough to even remember my fav color!

My "WHY"

kc Layne  is a new-found friend through the social media, Facebook.  We have a kindred spirit through our passion of health & wellness.  We also share the profession of networking.  She knew I had been loft searching & finally moved. There is no such thing as strangers, only friends we have yet to meet!  I am thankful God has allowed our paths to cross. What a sweet gesture on her part in taking the time to create a personal card to send to me, but even more meaningful to me as the recipient.

As we enter such a tech driven age with even the internet available on the top of Mount Everest, we must remember to take the time to be personal.  I am a card sender myself & it blesses me beyond measure to receive one.  I placed the card  beside one of my fav pics of my kiddos on my office credenza.

Praise your friends.  These are some great quotes below reminding us of how critical friendship can be!

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.-Samuel Johnson

I used to think of all the billions of people in the world, and of all those people, how was I going to meet the right ones? The right ones to be my friends, the right one to be my husband. Now I just believe you meet the people you’re supposed to meet. -Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship.-Thomas Moore

The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship. -Sir Francis Bacon

My BFF, Glenda, gave me a decorative plate for my birthday specifically bearing the colors she knew I wanted to decorate  my loft with.  It reads, “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Special thanks to kc & may you be inspired today!

Blessings,

g



Blonde antics @ laundromat or mission field? You decide!

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How many times have you been somewhere that wasn’t so pleasant at the time, but in end, you realize it was an ordained, divine connection?  Pastor Scott commissioned us Sunday to pray for divine appointments.  For what seems like an eternity, I have prayed simply for God to daily provide me with divine appointments, divine connections & supernatural relationships.  Eons or eternity…which ever one is longer, this has been my prayer. Why? I don’t know…maybe there is someone I can connect with that just needs a word of encouragement, assistance in decision making, a creative thought assessment, or just a friend.

My Sunday evening was nothing glamorous as I had put off going to the laundromat long enough.  This is sad to confess, but I ran out of underwear, bought more & ran out of those so I had to go.  You see, my washer & dryer died & knowing I was moving into a loft that included one, I wasn’t spending money to repair or purchase a new one.  They have both served me well so…it is probably time to retire them to the W/D graveyard.  RIP!

This particular trip made me not only look like a total blonde, but a klutz as well.  I wagged in  3 huge baskets containing my feather bed, comforter, clothes, towels, etc.,  in preparation for my move.  Well…& clean underwear!  Bryce had my card so I walk to the attendant to purchase another one.  She said she would use hers since I actually had one.  I was trying those new detergent sheets that had everything in them, but being anal with my fabric softener, I brought extra.  Knowing I wanted to bleach my feather (down) bed, I purchased color safe liquid bleach too.  After lining up the mondo size front loaders and 2 of the other front loaders, I began loading them up.  Good so far.  I read the instructions for pouring the liquids in compartments A,B,C,& D as I have done EVERY single time I have used them before.  After filling up the 2nd. mondo one, I realized I had poured bleach in the fabric softener and fabric softener in the detergent one.  There was no “D” compartment!  I go back to the attendant to see if she had a step stool so I can scoop the liquid out.  In the meantime, a fella was washing his clothes & we began to chat.  I mentioned I was moving to downtown Dallas since I had wanted to for a few years now.  He mentioned he was raised there, but now lives in Red Oak, TX. We talked Louisiana, Cajun food, broken washing machines, jobs, Cowboys, what he was grilling for supper, etc.  He helped me in my attempt to scoop out the mixed liquids.  Just a laundromat chat right?  If you never pray for divine appointments, that is just what you get.

As this fella was leaving, I walked to his vehicle to thank him for helping me. I shook his hand, formally introduced myself &  informed him that our church, The Oaks Fellowship, has committed specifically to pray over Red Oak, TX. this next week.  Since he lived there, he would be indirectly prayed for. I mentioned we were praying for people who needed jobs, marriages to be restored, relationships to be mended, healing for the sick, etc.   He had a shocked, yet speechless look on his face.  I turned & walked away.  His name is Adam.  Adam is on my list to pray for this week.

I went inside to wash my hands & fill my water bottle, locked the door behind me & have no clue if they had a key.  A few minutes later I could hear someone knocking in an attempt to find out if someone was in there.  I sank on the couch….

Next…..55 minutes later, it was time to “rotate” the laundry as my friend Kayline calls it.  I loaded my dryers & there was yet another attendant.  I told her our deal & somehow we began to converse.  EB is a widow after being married for 42 yrs. She is entering the work field after many years of just doing part-time employment at the laundromat.  Her husband died of cancer, she is a powerful woman of faith & believes in holistic medicine & natural cures.  She is still grieving, but knows Jesus is with her.  I quoted my fav scripture about the Lord, my maker, being my husband now for 17 years.  She showed me how she teaches children the 10 Commandments, how she has obtained her commercial license so she can drive a bus for under privileged senior citizens & how the laundromat is her mission field.  She exuded Christ.  She witnesses to people in the check out lanes at Wal-Mart, prays for kids to receive Jesus while their parents are doing laundry & told me how she prayed for the paramedic as he took her to the hospital in the ambulance.  He was in his 30’s & no one had ever asked him if he was saved.  Can you imagine? No one? When he asked her why she was concerned for him as she was on her way to the emergency room, her reply was, “One more soul for the Lord.”  We then discussed the movie “Schindler’s List.”  My 30 minute dryer time was precious.  If you pray for divine appointments, that is what you get.  You see…her son is an officer in my small town & he attends The Oaks. Pastor Scott encouraged us to let our light so shine to represent Jesus, & to offer people a place to come.  What would it have looked like if I just overlooked that?  Now she sees why her son loves The Oaks!

As we talked, she mentioned she takes handfuls of supplements for her blood pressure.  She also mentioned she has a passive, residual income from an energy company.  I simply mentioned if she ever looks for anything else, I would leave my phone #.  She immediately said, “I’m looking!”  I edified her in having the qualities of people we look for in the biz.  I gave her a bottle of my product that is targeted for high blood pressure & high cholesterol, a pack of information, & some brochures both  in Spanish & English.  As I finished loading my car & paying my “tab” she said her daughter got very excited when she saw the box.  Obviously there was someone at her work place that sold the energy product, but  the lady moved.  I mentioned our weight loss division.  EB lit up.  She told me a lady that worked at the laundromat sold diet pills & people flooded to purchase them the day her shipment arrived.  EB made her names list right there.  As I edified my mentors & leaders of this organization she knew it wasn’t an ordinary business.  You see…I know my business envelopes & embraces the 8F’s of life.  Faith, Family, Finances, Friends, Fun, Fitness, Freedom & Following (leadership). We are armor bearers in developing one million leaders to change our nation back to the nation God intended it to be.  I am not ashamed of the gospel, nor am I ashamed to offer a business system that is rapidly changing lives in a nation of uncertainty.

As I left….I dropped my bottle of liquid fabric softener, the lid cracked & stuff went everywhere.  Some would have been distraught over my “blonde antics.”  I had the glorious opportunity of encouraging someone & making friends.  Divine appointments are real. My life was enriched by that visit.  Who are you praying for this week?  Are you praying for God to bring people across your path? If He does, will you be prepared to be His laborer?  Do you have something to offer someone or are you so wrapped up in yourself, you can’t look beyond it?

I am forever grateful for the cross.  I am not who I could be, but thank God, I am not who I used to be. Because of your courage, others will be able to say the same thing!

“A man with an experience will never be at the mercy of an man with an argument.” Unk/Scott Wilson

Blessings,

g

What did you just say?

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I belong to several blog sites & receive emails from popular, well-known activist groups.  I have never considered myself an activist until a few years ago.  Here’s some background for you. In high school I was the “mouth” or the voice of support for the groups I belonged to.  I had no problem speaking my mind or letting those in charge know my opinion.  As a cheerleader, I was not only vocal for my basketball team, but vocal for the cheerleaders.  Once the head coach, Coach Leggett,  told me we couldn’t join the team on a particular trip because it was very far away.  Being the games were during the week, coach didn’t want us to travel and  be exhausted for school the next day. What did he just say?  We, THE cheerleaders couldn’t go?  No! That did not fly at all.   I pranced to the principals office, of whom I was the pet, and complained.  Well…we did go and I promised we would not complain at all about the trip or the next day at school.  Numerous occasions like this occurred.  God forbid if I was ever absent when there was a meeting involving common interests because I would catch flack from my fellow students, none of which would ever speak up.

Then, what I felt at the time, the most devastating day of my life happened.  My beloved principal was being accused of embezzlement charges.  I was mortified.  My parents had to take me to the school board parish wide meeting as a community “trial.”  Well, let me rephrase that…they didn’t have to, but I insisted on being there.  I stood my ground in the midst of every adult there.  They knew exactly what I thought about this ridiculous accusation.  I loved my principal.  He made sure the guys treated us girls like ladies.  He demanded respect and was fair.  The vote ruled against him and I was crushed.  The day our “new” principal arrived at school, guess who was in the parking lot to meet him?  Yea, me!  He pulls up, gets out of his car and I am there. No staff, no one else, but moi!  These were my words (with an attitude to match!),  “My name is Geneva Herring.  You are not welcome here. My principal is Mr. Rooks and he will always be my principal.  I do not like you now, & I will never like you.  And don’t think you will make any changes to my schedule or as far as changes go, don’t think we will do anything you say at all.”  I turned and stomped off to class.  Wow! I really knew how to win friends and influence people didn’t I?  Serious…those words ring in my ears as if I just left the scene.  We didn’t “bond,” per se, but we learned to tolerate each other. Funny how life happens.  He was an artist, a sculptor &  I am now very fond of his work.  I grew up!

I took a blast to my past in reference to what I am noticing in society today.  I wasn’t just talk then.  My words carried corresponding actions.  I will be the first to admit, they weren’t always the greatest actions, but no one ever said of me, I didn’t carry through. I am white-hot about what I am passionate about.

Forward ho!  I’m noticing a plethora of  large organizations requesting funds to support their cause for liberty.  I completely understand the war we are against when it comes to our rights as Americans.  I also realize insurmountable  costs when it comes to advertising, forums, etc.  Since I can’t actively serve on as many as I believe in, I do support them financially.    Here’s a novel thought! I believe we should raise the standard.  Instead of jockeying for our rights, we should courageously rally for our responsibilities or our duties.  We can show people how to become so financially free & independent  that their contributions alone to the government in the form of  taxes we pay (after expenses! ), community charitable contributions, foundations, philanthropy, etc., turn the tide for FREEDOM.  I have been enlightened to the economic dealings by listening to great audios such as “Creature from Jekyll Island,” reading book after book explaining the history of our nation and what we must do to secure our precious freedoms.

Imagine a nation consisting of free enterprise business owners who set the bar for liberty.  There are multiple millionaires, billionaires & etc. & according to Paul Z. Pilzer, there are even more in the making.  The standard should be to actively pursue freedom & liberty in such a way that our contribution to society alone will change the course of history.  At this point, I would like to interject that while I quickly recognize I am not the brightest bulb in the pack when it comes to economics, socio-economic, value of the dollar, yen, gold standards, FICA, etc., I can quickly recognize I am bright enough to surround myself with & surrender myself to a learning organization. These leaders are recognized on such a level in their brilliant knowledge of such subjects, I can almost feel my brain getting smarter when I listen to them!   That is where it starts.  You must be hungry enough for change, yet  brave enough to execute change.  I am attracted to intelligence, courage, humility & integrity.  I refuse to live my dash, 1959 (-) ?? never contributing to restoring the legacy of our forefathers.  If my own legacy doesn’t include recognizable names & faces of individuals, as well as families, whose lives were changed because I chose to act on my beliefs, I have lived in vain.

In my experience, as I have been involved in church for many years, the thing I glean the most is not giving people fish for a day, but teaching them to fish for a lifetime.  Working in singles ministry for 17 yrs. & in the non-profit sector, I have seen first hand how the “fish for the day” approach doesn’t work.  When I took the spiritual gifts test for selecting where I belong in ministry at The Oaks Fellowship, my score on mercy wasn’t high.  What did it say? I was shocked until I realized I didn’t show mercy as readily as I showed solutions.  While I will never receive the title of “Drama Queen” I realized I can listen to an individual & immediately move from drama to resolve before the conversation is ended. I didn’t confess I wasn’t a listener. I merely claim, while I am seeking to understand, I also seek to empower interdependence instead of co-dependence.   I guess I have counseled numerous single adults where co-dependence  & cyclic behavior is their nature.  Or maybe this is because of many, many years of critical care thinking in medicine, but….whatever the reason, I begin the conversation with the end in mind!  Many times my suggestions or resolutions present themselves simply in the form of compassion.

One of my favorite quotes is: “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you say.”  May we,  a nation of  free enterprise independent business owners, thrive in our endeavors to secure our most precious possessions,  Freedom & Liberty for all!  We are not looking for a hand out, but a hand up.  Let us embrace the commission in raising up leaders with common unity, not bearing arms, but bearing each other in hot pursuit of the joy in knowing  we will make a difference. We will stop fighting each other & fight together for a noble cause.  Find your why, ignore what “they” say, and live life on purpose.  Stop following the herd of mediocrity & develop goals –planned attack on the status quo.

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

There is a multitude of hosts who have fought before, & an even greater cloud of witnesses that are cheering you on every second.

Blessings,

g