Thursday, January 31, 2013

Triceps - One Arm Kickback

Put your left palm and left knee on a sturdy chair or bench, lean over and keep your back straight.  Hold the weight in your right hand, bend at the elbow and pull straight up, like picture #1.  Using your triceps, straighten your arm out behind you.  Slowly work that backwards until you are at the start position.  Repeat 12 times.  Switch sides and repeat 12 more times.

This week you should add this move the the previous four.  Next week we will add the last move for the triceps workout!  All you need for that is yourself and the floor!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Made to Crave Week 5

From Permissible to Beneficial

Here's what I learned this week:

  • Everything is permissible but not all things are beneficial
  • overindulgence is the lack of self control
  • eating to excess is a sin
  • things done in secret clue satan in to your weakness and opens the door for him to assault us with targeted schemes
  • boundaries define the edges of a safe place
  • in a deprived state we are much more likely to give into things we shouldn't

On page 125-126 of the participant guide is a chart for you to fill out concerning not only your healthy eating plan, but also your spiritual plan to get through it.  Don't skip over this!  You might even want to write out a version to have at your place at the table. I think I'm going to do just that!

On page 128 in the book, Lysa says:
Overindulgence is overindulgence.  And limitless indulgence in food always has consequences - it compromises our health, diminishes our energy to pursue our calling, and affects the way we feel about ourselves, just to name a few.  It's at this point that we have to admit our issues with food aren't just little things that require us to wear a larger than ideal dress size.  Eating to excess is sin.

That's one sermon you don't hear preached very often, now do you?  But it's right there in the more than one place...gluttony...and it is a sin.  This is what stuck with me the most in this chapter.  Because I overindulge on salty, sugary and fat filled things.  Overindulgence on good for you things is a sin too, so don't think we can just turn the other way.  I really think that if I could get this one sin under control it would solve a whole lot of my problems.  Scary isn't it....that one sin can have so much impact.  But it's true...think about it.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Creative Uses for Zip Top Bags

Quart size, gallon size, snack size, sandwich size, and even jumbo size....they're all handy!

  1. Just like in this pic, I have one drawer full of cords, jacks, and other small parts for electronics.  It's a lot easier to find things when they each have their own bag!
  2. Place your iPad or other tablet inside before letting your toddler play his games...keeps it from getting sticky or saves it from spills.
  3. Snip one corner off and they make great piping bags for frosting, batter, or my fave, the insides of deviled eggs.
  4. Place ice inside one and rub spilled candle wax from a tablecloth or carpet until hard, then tap with a hammer and vacuum or flick off the chips.
  5. Pour rice into a microwaveable bag and nuke for 2 minutes then place on achy joints or muscles.
  6. Fill a bag with white vinegar and then rubber band it around your shower head and leave overnight to clean it.
  7. Knead dough inside the bag to keep fingers and counter top clean.
  8. Place meat into to pound flat.
  9. Pour in soup, then stack in freezer to save space.
  10. I use all kinds of zip top bags in my yard sale.  Place small items, or things that go together and usually get lost when people start rummaging.  The price tag can also go on the inside or get written in permanent marker to keep from losing prices.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Money is

What money is:

  • Temptation - to be self reliant, but God wants us to depend on Him
  • Teacher - when couples and singles learn to manage their money they learn valuable lessons about trust, resourcefulness, patience and responsibility
  • Tool - we need to be better stewards of what God has given us and to give more freely...when your hand is open to give it is also open to receive gifts from God
  • Testimony - God uses these lessons to mold and shape your character...sometimes these lessons take longer to learn than others

From: Learning to Live Financially Free by Marybeth and Curt Whalen

Friday, January 25, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts - cut in half if large
2 Tblsp olive oil
your favorite seasoning - I like garlic salt

preheat oven to 425
toss to coat sprouts in oil and seasoning
bake for 20-45 minutes depending on how many you have and how tender you like them

I would never eat brussels sprouts until I had them've got to try them!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Triceps - Overhead Extension

Stand up straight holding one dumbbell in both hands.  Put arms above your head then bend elbows so that they are by your ears and your hands are behind your head. Squeeze your triceps to raise your arms straight up so that the dumbbell is above your head.  Slowly lower to staring position and repeat 12 times.  Be sure to keep your shoulders down.

So this week, you should be doing the previous 3 triceps moves plus this one.  Next week we will add another move.  For that one you will use the same dumbbell you're using for this one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Made to Crave Week 4

From Triggers to Truth

Here's what I learned this week:
  • we think that if we're happy with our outward appearance we'll be happy with other things
  • I can't do anything wrong enough to lose God's love
  • the more we understand about God, the easier it is to have faith and live according to His will
  • always ask: how will I feel about this in the morning
  • God is right there, I just need to turn to Him
  • quit playing the victim
  • I have zero self control when it comes to good tasting high calorie food
  • I need to change the way I pray
Page 97 of the participant guide points out:
In the hectic chaos of a difficult day, it's easy to pray the kind of prayers that tell God all the ways He could miraculously intervene to change our circumstances: Dear God, please change these people, those things, and that whole situation. Amen. It's much harder to be still in God's presence, to listen to Him in silence and to pray, Dear God, please change me. Amen.
Isn't that so true?  How many times have I prayed, please, God, make it go away instead of what will You have me learn, or Your will be done, etc.  I just want to avoid all of the unpleasantness and always want the easy way out.  But we have many lessons to learn and rarely are they simple.  In chapter 12 we learn that we must remain in God's love so that we don't tie our happy to anything but God so that our joy will be complete.  But we need to be prepared to know that remaining in God's love isn't always easy and it isn't always comfortable.  It might mean we need to change us...the way we think or our self control...not beg for everyone and everything around us to change.  I know my self control really needs a workout to strengthen it, but to be perfectly honest I'm not looking forward to it.  But just like someone doesn't look forward to crunches, but appreciates the result, I will workout my self control with my eye on the prize.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Avoid Identity Theft

here are just a few tips to avoid identity theft...

  • Watch your back in line at the grocery or discount store.  The thief may appear to be looking at his phone but he's actually taking a picture or video of you using your card and entering your pin number.
  • Don't put outgoing mail in your mailbox.  The red flag standing up on the side of a mailbox tells the thief that there may be checks or bills and other important mail there.  This happened to my friend just down the street from me.
  • Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week.  A thief can do a lot of damage before you notice it a month later.
  • If a bill doesn't show up when it is supposed to it might be a sign that your mail has been stolen.  You might want to go paperless or get a PO box for certain things, or all, of your mail.
  • Thieves have been known to drive through neighborhoods at 3-4 in the morning taking your garbage then sorting it later at their home to find a treasure of your personal information.  Always shred important info with a top quality shredder.
  • Never throw away pre-approved credit applications, old bills, expired credit cards, deposit slips, or any kind of application with personal information on it. Shred, shred, shred.  For a credit card, I cut it into 5-7 pieces and place each piece in a different trash can.  Not all of my trash cans get emptied at the same time.
  • If you see something that looks like it doesn't belong on the ATM or gas pump, or seems to stick out from the card slot, walk away.  It might be a skimmer.
  • Call 888-5-OPTOUT to stop banks from sending you pre-approved credit offers.  This is way too easy for a thief who can write out one of those checks and it will be awhile before you ever know it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Money Isn't

We can budget and plan all we want, but without understanding money, none of it will work.  Let's start by talking about what money ISN'T.

  • not a measure of love...material gifts and pursuits do not equal love.  Deep abiding love cannot be purchased.  Buying things to make ourselves feel better is similar to taking drugs to make you feel batter.
  • not a gauge of worth...God does not judge you based on your bank account or net worth, but on your heart.  Our financial picture has no impact on our value in God's eyes.
  • not a reward for spiritual living...God's economy is not ours.  Remember that it says in the Bible that His ways are not our ways.  In God's economy, blessings come not through financial gain, although He sometimes chooses to bless us in that manner, but rather, in the form of purity of heart, grace, love and peace.
  • not a guarantee of does not bring happiness.  Maybe a temporary good feeling, but our souls want so much more.  Something richer and deeper and much more permanent than the world's economy has to offer.
Think about these things this week while you continue to build your $1000 emergency fund and beyond.  Examine your feeling about money and how much it may control you and your thinking.  Next week we will discuss what money IS.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Roasted Pork and Veggies

4-6 pork chops about 3/4 to 1 inch thick....bone in work better
as many as you want of your favorite hearty vegetables
the pic shows carrots and a red, white and blue fingerling potato mixture
2 Tblsp olive oil
your favorite seasoning to taste...I used Greek seasoning

preheat oven to 425
chop veggies to bite size
put all ingredients into a large zip top bag and shake to coat
place on baking sheet in one layer
bake 35-45 minutes
use a meat thermometer to check that pork is done

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Triceps Hand Weights on the Ball

Lie on a stability ball where the ball is centered under your shoulder blades and knees are bent to hold you up.  Your body should look kind of like a table. Hold the weights one in each hand and bend your elbows to 90 degrees and the weights are above your head and you are almost looking at the crook of your elbow.  Slowly straighten your arms using your triceps, then lower to the starting position.  Repeat 12 times.

Yay! Finally I don't have to modify anything.  And once again, your abs are engaged to stay on the ball and you're getting a two for one deal.

This week do your one arm push ups, the stability ball push ups and add this move.  Next week we will add another move.  It will use the same hand weights you are using this week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Made to Crave Week 3

From Guilt to Peace

Here are some things I learned from this week.....
  • we were made for more than this
  • being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment to Him
  • if you feel convicted, you probably shouldn't eat it
  • do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food
  • food is the energy we need to serve God
  • weight loss goal is Peace, not a number on the scale
  • the number on the scale says how much my body weighs, it is not an indicator of my worth
  • be self-controlled with food choices, but don't give up if you make a mistake or feel like it's too hard
  • the best exercise is the one you'll do
  • don't focus on what I can't do - work with what I CAN do
On page 82 in the book, Lysa Says: 
The Body God has given me is good.  It's not perfect nor will it ever be.  I still have cellulite, I still have tankles.  And though I eat healthy, there are no guarantees - I'm just as susceptible as the next gal to cancer or some other disease.  But my body is a gift, a good gift for which I'm thankful.
You know, we spend an awful lot of time complaining about ourselves.  My butt is too big, my chest is too small, I jiggle all over, I wish my teeth were whiter, I wish my hair were longer and fuller, etc, etc.  How often do we focus on what's right with it?

I have legs that work pretty well, so I can walk.  I have arms that work pretty well, so I can lift.  I have eyes that work pretty well, so I can see. I have a GI system that works pretty well, so I can eat normally and eliminate waste normally.  It may not seem like much, but it really is and we take it for granted.  My neighbor hasn't eaten in probably 6 years due to horrible cancer that was in her mouth, neck and jaw.  My uncle Bill didn't have one of his legs.  And I knew a guy growing up who had 2 pinchers instead of hands and lower arms.  When you look at it like that, there is a whole lot RIGHT with my body, and I should be a lot more thankful for it....and I should take full advantage of my capabilities.

I know it isn't always easy.  Just last week I had a flare up and had to spend an entire day in my chair. But yesterday I was able to get 7000 steps in walking around the mall.  We have got to start focusing on the good and quit wallowing in the bad....that pretty much goes for everything in our lives, not just our battle with food and exercise.

I hope you're hanging in there...we are half way there!  You can do this!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Store Earrings

Use an ice cube tray to store earrings then stack trays in a drawer or cabinet.  (told you these were quick tips!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

$1000 Emergency Fund

Our first priority for getting out of debt isn't actually touching any of the debt at all.  This may seem counterintuitive to some, but having this emergency fund in place will keep your debt from growing in that, when an emergency happens you won't have to put it on a credit card.

At the same time, you can continue using some of these ideas for building your fund to put extra money on your debt.

Stop using credit cards.  We are now on a spending freeze.  It's time to decide what is a want and what is a need.  For needs, try to use cash and coupons whenever possible.  Don't use the credit card.

Find all the cash in your home.  This one might surprise you.  Get all the change from your "bucket", pockets, seat cushions, coat pockets, old purses, ashtray in the car, etc.  It all adds up really fast and you'll be surprised at how much you find.  Once you have found it all, never leaving it laying around again, have a central spot to put all loose change.

Find other hidden money.  Gift cards you haven't used...use them or sell them on websites like gift card granny.  Or, if you haven't used any on them at all, regift them, and put the money you would have spent on a gift into your fund.  What about any points you have on your credit cards or other reward programs?  Figure out how they can be used for bill credits or again for gifts and then "save" the money you would have spent.  What about your taxes?  It's worth it to get a company like H&R Block to check your taxes to see if you could get more from last year.

Get some extra income from more hours at work or get a part time job.  This may seem like a step backwards or something you just don't want to do, but keep in mind, it is only temporary until you are on your feet and have learned how to stay there.

I would love to hear from any of you about how much you find and/or save.  I love hearing your stories.  I, myself found $20 in a jacket pocket I don't ever remember putting there!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chicken Stir Fry

1 lb white meat chicken cut into bite size pieces
1/2 C each of snow peas, broccoli florets, julienned carrots and red pepper
   (I sometimes use a bag of stir fry veggies from the produce section)
1/2 C stir fry sauce or more to taste

optional: serve over rice or lo mien noodles

brown chicken
add vegetables and cook until crisp tender
stir in sauce and warm through

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Triceps Stability Ball Push Up

Rest the top of your feel/ankle area on top of a stability ball and be in a plank position....body completely straight in line.  Place your hands a little closer than shoulder width apart flat on the floor.  Bend your arms slowly and lower your body until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle then push back up.  Repeat 12 times.

Holy crap! I am seriously out of shape! I couldn't keep on the stability ball past one push up.  I had to modify this to where my feet were touching a door or wall to help me hold still so I could do the push ups.  Even with this little help your abs are still seriously engaged to keep your core steady on the ball.  Another two for one exercise!  I hope to get to the point quickly where I don't have to use the door to hold me steady.

This week you should do your one arm push ups and these.  Next week we will add another move.  For next week you will need either 5 pound or 8 pound set of hand weights and the stability ball again.

Don't give up!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Made to Crave Week 2

From Desperation to Determination

We do a lot of bad things out of desperation.  Out goal is to avoid it, obviously.  In terms of healthy eating, that means we need to determine what we are going to eat each day and have those things with us to avoid any desperate situations such as I forgot my lunch or my snack, so I'll head to the buffet down the street or the vending machines in the lounge.

Genesis 25:27-32 tells the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.  Have you ever been that hungry??  Hunger is a very powerful force. Sometimes we don't think clearly when we are hungry, which is why we need to be prepared with healthy meals and snacks so we don't sell our birthright out of desperation.

In chapter 4, Lysa says, "When what is lacking in life goes from being an annoyance to an anxiety, we run the risk of compromising in ways we never thought we would." Ever been there?  I know I have.  From here she suggests an accountability partner for your healthy eating plan.  Remember, your plan doesn't have to match another person's, you are simply helping each other stick to your own personal plans.  You have heard all kinds of research about how we stick to working out when we have a partner, and the same goes for a lot of other activities.  Plus the fact that we do a lot of unhealthy eating in secret...think about it, I bet you have.  I know I've waited to eat 2 brownies until my husband wasn't around.  I wouldn't eat 2 in front of him.  There are other benefits to this: having someone to talk to who knows exactly how you feel, encouragement, comfort, and companionship.

The reality is that we were made for more than this.  Have you ever dwelt on food so much that you barely thought of anything else or allowed it to get you so down that you ended up burying your sorrows in food anyway?  We were made for more.  Our lives are not to revolve around food and the way it makes us feel.  We are children of God and He has so much more for is a tiny portion of our lives, not the huge thing we can make it out to be.

In chapter 6 Lysa says, "Being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him."  That is so true for me when I get too hung up on food, ether the good side or the bad.  Since we have to eat multiple times a day, we have to think about it often...but it doesn't have to control our thoughts.  In Phil 3:18-19 there is a phrase, "their god is their stomach."  I don't ever want to feel that way again.

I highly encourage you to work through the entire participant's guide and the questions at the end of the chapter for this week.  For me it was this week that was a turning point...lightbulbs going on, whatever you want to call it.  I haven't turned into a vegetarian, and I still eat an occasional brownie, but things clicked for me, and I hope the same for you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Clean & Fix with Common Household Products



  • spray on the hinges of a squeaky door
  • blot a spill on the carpet then use shaving cream and wipe with a damp sponge
  • rub on to chrome to shine


  • mix 2 crushed aspirin in 1/2 cup water then soak shirts with sweat stains
  • make a paste and clean soap scum from tiles with damp sponge
  • crush 1 aspirin into 1 quart of water and use to treat soil to help plants resist disease


  • rub into a greasy stain with a sponge to remove
  • shake powder into cracks of wooden floor to reduce squeaks
  • sprinkle around ant hideouts to keep them away

Monday, January 7, 2013

Get out of Debt Overview

In this series we will be talking about how to get out of debt and stay out of debt.  Sprinkled in will be money saving tips, ideas and strategies.  Listed below are the basic steps we are going to follow to get there.  Keep in mind that I have a Christian perspective and Biblical worldview, so my goals may not completely match yours. Further description and game plans will come in the following weeks for each step.  Funny thing, I've been planning this for months, the my pastor preaches on it and has almost the exact same steps! So, Pastor, if you're reading this...I had it first! (just teasing!!)

  1. Establish a $1000 emergency fund and if you use it replenish it immediately. This fund is for things like your refrigerator or stove breaking down or a tree falling through your roof....not for a great deal on a beach condo.
  2. Pay off all debt except your house...that comes later.
  3. Establish a fund equal to 6 months to a year of living expenses.  Pastor described this one better than me...this is a rainy day fund, and it WILL rain sooner or later.
  4. Invest at least 15% of your income into retirement savings.
  5. Establish a college fund for your children.  Yes, this comes after your retirement.  If you don't take care of you, you can't take care of them.
  6. Pay off your home early or just now buy a home.
  7. Any personal wealth built after this is to be given away for the sake of the Kingdom. Missions, church planting, helping out a single mother financially, extra tithing, etc.
Next week we will start working on the $1000 emergency fund.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Chicken Wrap

3 oz leftover chicken
salad mix
1 Tblsp your favorite dressing
tortilla (I like Extreme Wellness high fiber wraps)

chicken should be cut into bite size pieces
mix chicken, however much salad you want, and dressing together
place in center of wrap
roll up and enjoy

my wrap has less than 300 calories
I like to get a rotisserie chicken, or cook one in the crock pot, then strip it
I then weigh out 3oz into individual containers and they are ready to go for a week of wraps

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Triceps One Arm Press

Lay down on your left side and stack your legs with knees slightly bent.  Put your left hand on your right shoulder.  Put your right hand flat on the floor near your left elbow and push up until your arm is straight.  Think of a one arm push up but on your side.  Do this 12 times then switch sides and do 12 times.

The first day I did this, I realized I would have to do it on the bed or couch.  It killed my hips for all of my weight to be on them and pushed into the floor as I pushed up.  The bed works great, and since it's softer than the floor I think I'm pushing a little more, so maybe an extra benefit for the triceps!  I also noted that my obliques were getting a little workout in the push up as well.  I'll take all the two-for-ones I can get.

Do this one exercise for a week.  Next Thursday we will add another triceps move to this workout and we will do both of them for a week.  By the end of 6 weeks you will have a complete 6 move triceps workout and you should start seeing a difference by then.

For next week, you will need a stability ball.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Made to Crave Week 1

From Deprivation to Empowerment

The whole idea behind me doing these Bible studies on the blog is to introduce you to some great Bible studies that I've done and learned from.  Copyright infringement laws prohibit me from rewriting the book here.  So, what you'll see in my posts are my reactions, thoughts, and what I learned from that week's study.

If you're doing this study with us, I trust that you have the book and the participant guide.  You do not need to have the DVDs, but if you wish to purchase them or download them from, you will get a little more out of the study.  The participant's guide will lead you through questions and tell you when to read which chapters from the book.

Let me start this one by saying that you do not need to be overweight to get a lot out of this study.  If you have ever used food as comfort in anyway, or as a tool, or really as any kind of a substitute, this study is for you.  We will not be following a diet...if you decide to develop a healthy eating plan for yourself, that's up to you.  We will simply be studying what the Bible has to say about food and how we should turn to God, not food.

The very first page burst my bubble...but in a good way.  1 Peter 2:11 says "Dear friends, I urge you to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your souls."  You see we were made to enjoy food, but not indulge in it....there's the key.  There are all kinds of Bible passages about overindulgence and gluttony.  Just like with is not forbidden, but we are told over and over not to be drunk.  Same with food, we may enjoy it, but we are not supposed to pig out.  That's right; put down the second brownie and well, seconds on anything really.  A small part of me wanted to give up right here, but most of me knew I was made for more so I kept going.

On page 2 of the participant's guide, Lysa make some really great points that hit home with me.

  • "Food isn't bad, but it's a problem when it sabotages you mentally, physically or spiritually."
  • "I had to be really honest.  The thing I thought about, ran to, took comfort in, found refuge in, turned to, and depended on, was food way more than it was Jesus."
  • "If we can look at healthy options and make the healthy choices - and not feel deprived but instead feel empowered - everything will change.  It will change us mentally, physically and spiritually."
The only thing I have to add here is to tread lightly.  If we become completely obsessed with healthy eating, lifestyle, choices, etc - and the key word is obsessed - then we are still turning to something other than Jesus, it is just slightly better for our bodies.

Matthew 19:16-26 tells the story of the rich young man who was unwilling to deny himself.  Read that sentence again....unwilling to deny himself.  Isn't that what I do when I'm at a potluck and see all the brownies and other yummy baked goods?  I don't have just one thing, I feel I need to try everything that looks good, because I am unwilling to deny myself.  Yikes! I have to remember that unrestrained pleasure in food is sin. I have to realize that I allow my cravings to be powerful. Remember we consume what we think about....I need to think about Jesus more.

Which leads to a great tip from the book: use your craving as a prompt for prayer.  Maybe it sounds silly to you, but just try it, especially if your cravings are constantly taking you down.  It does help!

Now the suggestion is to develop a healthy eating plan for yourself.  I'm not saying diet and I'm not saying go overboard and set yourself up for failure.  Maybe you need to think in terms of baby steps.  Maybe right now your healthy eating plan is simply portion control.  Only 1 small brownie, only 2 pieces of bacon, only 1-2 small snacks a day.  Maybe you never eat vegetables and your plan right now is to simply add one serving a day...same for fruit.  But YOU decide what is for you, then use your cravings to seek God daily for helping in sticking to whatever plan you come up with.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Time Saving Tips

  1. when you plan your clothes the night before also pick out shoes and any other accessories
  2. stagger wake up times for every member of the family if you have to share a bathroom
  3. shake wet clothes out as you put them in the dryer as they will dry faster with fewer wrinkles
  4. shop when stores are almost empty like early morning and late evening
  5. set a timer for a task; you go faster when trying to beat the clock
  6. to dust blinds, put socks on both hands to go twice as fast
  7. at work, start with your most difficult tasks when you are fresh
  8. set a homework hour, deadlines get things finished and there is no squabbling about when to do it
  9. bake eggs in a muffin tin then refrigerate; microwave and put on an english muffin during the morning rush
  10. while laundry is running in the machines, use that time to do other time consuming projects