Live It Articles

To Quit or Not to Quit. That is the Question.

I’m stuck. I think I have lost and gained the same two pounds all summer. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear this voice saying, “Who cares? Who is going to see you? You don’t have any upcoming events, so what does it matter? Just quit.” Well, I decided it does matter and I am not going to quit. If the only reason I want to stay at a healthy weight is to impress others, then that motivation won’t do me a bit of good. I need to do the right thing because it is the right thing. And if I have to start over, then I start over every morning. Do you know why people say, “Why don’t you sleep on it before you make that decision?” It’s good advice because things look different in the morning; things look better in the morning; things look brighter in

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Ten Things You Can Do To Be a Better Cook

Write in your cookbooks Soup could have used more spice? More tomato? That chicken dish needed a little more time in the oven? Make a note in your cookbook for next time. Toss your spices Ground spices can lose flavor. Give them a whiff and if they don’t smell like anything, they won’t add any flavor. Vanilla and salt last forever. Whole spices last about three years. Ground spices last about two years (cumin or chili powder, etc.). Leafy herbs (oregano, basil, etc.) last about a year. Treat your herbs like a bouquet There’s nothing worse than limp herbs. Next time, trim the stems and put the parsley in a glass of water, fit a plastic bag over it, and stash it in the refrigerator. Double that Batch Having cooked grains in your fridge means that fried rice, pilafs, rice bowls and robust salads can be pulled together quickly. Baking

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Qualified By God

I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. ROMANS 15:14 Several years ago, a friend asked me to consider taking over as leader of the First Place for Health class at our church. Since I had been in the class for more than six years, I felt that the Holy Spirit had been preparing me for this role. But I was reluctant to agree as I didn’t feel that I was qualified. You see, for so many years I had felt insecure and self conscious about myself. I was embarrassed about my weight and how I looked. I was hesitant to voice my ideas for fear of rejection or ridicule, and didn’t even want to speak in our First Place for Health class in case I didn’t have the “right” answer. And there was no way

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Simple Kitchen How-to’s

Simple Kitchen How-to’s

Ever wonder how to pick a cantaloupe or get the garlic smell out of your cutting board? Check out these tips for some of your common kitchen questions: Freeze bananas Ditch the individual bags or plastic wrap and just toss your banana in the fridge in the peel. Bananas out of their peel can also easily get stuck together, making it hard to dig out only one. When you are ready to use them, run the banana’s peel under warm water for 10 seconds, and slice the peel down the side. The banana will still be frozen but will slide out of the peel. Make a Smoothie Here is an easy guide to making a delicious smoothie; what you need: ½ cup to 1 cup liquid, 1 Tbsp to ¼ cup of a something creamy, ½ tsp to 1 Tbsp of a flavor, 1 to 2 cups of frozen fruits

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Forgiveness Is Hard

Forgiveness Is Hard

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. COLOSSIANS 3:13 Forgiveness is one of the hardest acts God calls us to do. As wickedness in the world increases, the levels of offense increase, making forgiveness even harder. To truly walk in forgiveness of these offenses takes much prayer and even counsel to move beyond the offense. I often focus more on the second half of this verse, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you,” and the overwhelming quality of that concept almost paralyzes me. “How can I forgive that offense?” “It hurts so much.” “They will just do it again.” “It will not change anything.” These are some of the mantras I repeat in my thoughts, and I often do nothing to move past the offense. However, if instead of focusing on the second half of the verse, I

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What’s Wrong With You?

What’s Wrong With You?

I remember the day I knew I was different. Actually, my mother pointed it out to me with the comment, “What’s wrong with you?” Growing up with four sisters, I could be quite selfish with my stuff. I started working my first job at 14 and had my own money to buy clothes. Of course, my sisters borrowed my stuff all the time and would “ruin” it somehow. But not really. I was just selfish. After I came to Christ the fall of my senior year in high school, the transformation miracle started. My mom noticed that I no longer cared if my sisters took my stuff.  And thus the comment, “What’s wrong with you?” It was just her way. It really would have been more accurate to say, “What’s right with you?”  What the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is an absolute truth. In Christ, we are new

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Self-Forgetfulness

Self-Forgetfulness

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. Rick Warren How do we forget ourselves in a God-honoring way, without neglecting ourselves? What does that look like in real-time? How on earth can we be “free of me” (a concept from Sharon Hode) when nothing seems right or easy, let alone joyful? We are all isolated to varying degrees. Our face to face socialization as we know it has changed radically. Mundane daily rhythms, we no longer have, seem much sweeter now that they are no longer options. How do we respond rather than react to those we live with or take care of or who may care for us? How is it possible to separate ourselves from what comes naturally and live supernaturally? Intentionally, prayerfully and in complete and utter dependence on the One who can. “Self-forgetfulness” is freedom. To focus less on self

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Are You Bringing a Friend?

Are You Bringing a Friend?

In 2008 I attended my first First Place event.  Not wanting to attend alone, I invited my sister Cyndi. We hatched a plan. We convinced our spouses that they could handle our rambunctious sons without us for the weekend.  We booked our hotel, registered, and planned our drives to Williamsport, PA. We each drove over four hours from different directions. At the hotel, I stood star-struck in an elevator, stammering as I introduced myself to Carole Lewis (then the National Director).  Instantly we felt welcomed. We soon realized we were with our people.  People who understood us. We were with our fellow First Placers. Years later, Monique Johnson and I realized we were both at the same event in the same elevator. 2010 brought a new challenge.  I wanted to attend the Summit in Houston.  No one in my group wanted to go.  My sister couldn’t go.  Do I go

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The Girl Behind the Curtain

The Girl Behind the Curtain

After four, yes, four hours in the recovery room following my total knee replacement, I finally was wheeled into my room. It would have been so easy just to let the medication do its thing and lull me to sleep. But it was the noises coming from the other side of the curtain of my semi-private room that kept me awake. Heartfelt sobbing. Okay, now I have a choice, just ignore it and go to sleep, or say something. My tired body says to me, “Don’t say anything, Vicki! You need to rest. You need to be quiet.” I finally gave in and speak through the curtain, “Can I help you?” A young voice speaks back through the curtain. “I have no one to come and pick me up. I have no phone and no shoes. May I use your phone?” I say, “sure, can you come over here because

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Strong Will or Strong Won’t?

Strong Will or Strong Won't?

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. Deuteronomy 30:11 “Reach.” This is an action word—as in “reach for a cookie,” which is one choice we can certainly make; or a better choice, “reach for the ceiling,” which we do while exercising. God first spoke to Moses, who then delivered His commands to the Israelites. The will to obey precedes carrying out His greatest commandments, which come down to two actions: to love and obey God. Not difficult—right? If only it were that easy! Personally, I battle weight control daily. But before First Place I considered it a losing battle. I now realize the battle is not mine but God’s. And His greatest battle with me is not controlling my weight but commanding my obedience. Oswald Chambers said, “The battle is fought in the domain of the will.”1 So the questions

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