Live It Articles

You Are Worth It!

You Are Worth It!

In 2010, a week after I reached my healthy weight, I flew to Houston, Texas, to attend my first Summit. Each year, FP4H hosts this two-day event with success stories, breakout sessions on leadership, nutrition, spiritual growth, and a keynote speaker to inspire us. I marveled at the vast size of the facilities at Houston’s First Baptist Church. I’d never been in a mega-church before. It resembled a community college, and I needed a map to find my way around the campus. Even though I attended one of the largest churches in Pittsburgh, PA, it was dwarfed by this 4,000-seat worship center. In 2010, starstruck, I met leaders and teachers I’d watched on the DVDs and read about in books. The speakers challenged my perspective: Vicki Heath, then associate director, shared: “If you do not quit, you will succeed.” Becky Turner, emcee and breakout session speaker, said: “Say ‘no’ so

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Please Don’t Quit!

Please Don’t Quit!

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. PROVERBS 14:29 One of the most common reasons people give up on exercise is a lack of immediate results. It takes time for change to take place in our bodies. Developing patience with and proficiency in the area of exercise may be one of the biggest challenges for us, but it is well worth the effort. I recall one dear lady in my class in Charleston, South Carolina, who had decided she was going to work diligently at her commitment to exercise. She walked faithfully every day for one week, and when she got on the scale to see how much weight she had shed, she had stayed the same. She immediately began to cry and said, “It’s no use—I am just going to quit. I won’t be back next week.” We all have had the same experience.

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Is it really worth it?

Is it really worth it?

What’s worth it? What’s worth making a sacrifice for? Is it money; a nice home; private school for your kids? What about your health? Getting healthy and staying healthy does not happen by accident. It is costly. It costs time to get up early and work out. It costs money to join a gym. It costs time to make a shopping list and stick to it. It takes effort to cook healthy meals. But is all this work really worth it? You have to decide. For me, it’s worth it. Even though it is painful and difficult, I continue to teach exercise classes even with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. I have to. It’s worth it to me to stay strong enough to help care for my grandkids. It’s worth it to me to be okay by myself while Rob is away traveling. It’s worth it to me to be strong

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Finding Joy in Eating Well

Finding Joy in Eating Well

God’s beauty, glory, power, creativity, and care for us is displayed all around us in the beauty of nature.  We can find such peace in spending time in that beauty when we take a walk on a beautiful day, play with our kids in the grass, or work in the garden.  It’s displayed in the array of colorful fruits and vegetables that nourish our bodies. That leads us to the first of three steps to finding joy in eating well. Take a Little Time to Enjoy the View My favorite section of the grocery store is the produce aisle, and I want to make it yours, too. The next time you make your way through that area of the grocery store, take the time to enjoy the view. The colors, the textures, the smell of a peach.  Look for something you’ve never tried and put it on your menu for

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Joy Busters

Joy Busters

“If you only knew my circumstances.” How many times do we defend a poor choice because of a pothole we encounter on our journey? The enemy works hard busting our joy with challenges to our life’s order. He intends to convince us that we should abandon our healthy habits when life gets tough. The world’s faulty thinking teaches us to approach our problems on our own with self-reliance. We are told to pull up our own bootstraps. Then when we falter, he works overtime with feelings of shame and inadequacy. We isolate ourselves as we try to “deal with it” on our own. Jesus understood this when he said, “…the cares of this world… choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). Jesus understands what it feels like to be overwhelmed. He challenges us not to be caught up in our cares and no longer focused on the Lord.

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Take Out the Trash

Take Out the Trash

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. PROVERBS 19:11 What an experience to be a landlord! We just evicted renters for the first time. They left the house in a huge mess! Trash was piled in each room, including the garage. Unwanted furniture littered the rooms, and the carpets were incredibly dirty. The filth on the floors, cabinets, and counters took many cleanings. The tenants even removed and ruined the garage door to get their belongings out. The job seemed to be more than my husband, and I could manage on our own. A sense of hopelessness overwhelmed us. But as I started to work, I began to feel hopeful, knowing that the hard work would be rewarded with a clean, livable house once again. It would not happen on this day, or even after two or three days of hard work,

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The Joyful Journey to Health and Happiness

The Joyful Journey to Health and Happiness

How do you picture joy? After turning in my manuscript for my newest book, Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience, I thought I would create some lovely photos with inspiring verses on them. I opened my graphics AP and typed in “JOY.” What I anticipated seeing were images of giggling children, cozy families, faces of smiling friends, maybe some inspiring nature shots, breathtaking sunsets or perhaps a strong, fit person reaching the pinnacle of a mountain top. NOPE. What I saw were pictures of sugary desserts: cookies, cupcakes, seven-layer chocolate cakes, ices cream, cheesecake—more and more sugar! Righteous indignation rose up within me. “Satan, you are such a LIAR! That is not JOY. These foods lead to bondage and brokenness.  God wants to give us JOY!”  Phil 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. (Phil 4:4 ESV) To rejoice is a verb,

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That’s My Kind of Joy!

That's My Kind of Joy!

I hung up the phone laughing; I could not contain myself. I just spent 40 minutes listening to a dear friend share with me her new found Joy in the Lord. She just completed the Bible study, “Forever Changed”, and she is. And she could not stop laughing at what God has done in her life! Every other phrase was interrupted with spontaneous uncontainable joyful laughter! All I could do was listen and smile. Joy is contagious. Mother Theresa said, “Joy is the net by which we catch souls”, and she caught mine. Rejoice – re Joy, re joying all the time, Joy over and over. We are commanded to rejoice in the Lord at all times. That may seem difficult and almost impossible. It bids me ask: can Joy and sadness exist in a woman’s heart at the same time? I think so. I have great Joy that my

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Eating Healthy Makes a Stronger You

We’re busier and busier these days and feeling exhausted can be an everyday thing. Switching to healthy food choices can give you the energy you need to accomplish everything you have on your to-do list. And when it comes to eating well, taking small steps can make a big difference. It can become a habit, just like drinking your morning coffee or going to bed at 9 pm every night. This is the first of a series on foods that make you stronger. Let’s start with a word that can make some grimace – vegetables. Do you ever look at your tracker at the end of the day and think eating more vegetables needs to be your food goal for the next week – again? Just the word vegetable can represent a harbinger of childhood misery and the hours spent at the dinner table waiting for you to eat them

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Rise Up O Church and Honor Thy Health

Rise Up O Church and Honor Thy Health

During our recent trip to the Holy Land, we had an amazing opportunity to worship inside a beautiful cathedral with a group of Chinese believers. I commented to my friend “they all look so fit.” He replied, “They have to be.”  All over the world, it is costing more and more to identify yourself as a Christ follower. In some places, it may cost you everything, including your freedom. This is one more reason for the Church to be healthy, to be strong, to be ready. How fit is your church? George Fitchett, a researcher for Rush University, recently found that people who attend church or participate in some sort of weekly religious service are 62% more likely to be obese than those who do not attend church. An article in Medical Daily reports a study from Baylor University College of Arts and Sciences, where it was found more than

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