Homeschooling…..a call

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NEVER in a million years did I EVER think I’d be homeschooling my children. It was just wasn’t anything that I had ever considered. Apparently, God had other plans. As ALWAYS, He knows best! I must say, that I do so enjoy being with my kids nearly all day every day. People always say: “Boy, you’ve got your hands full.” AND you homeschool them too?” I simply reply, my heart is full; and I do homeschool all four of them. Many of them are just looking at four children; but what they don’t see at first glance is the God who guides me and leads me in the instruction of my children. Isaiah 54:17 (MSG) says: All your children will have God for their teacher – what a mentor for your children!  I believe this with all my heart.

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We begin our mornings with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. We also read scripture and right now, the kids are learning Psalm 91. They have four more verses to learn, in order to memorize the whole chapter. I love this time; because they are SO inquisitive about God and ask SO many questions. A lady asked my oldest son (7) what he liked most about homeschool; to which he replied: “quiet time.” She then asked him, what’s your favorite thing about quiet time. He said: ” Talking to and listening to my God.” Her mouth dropped open.

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Monday through Friday, the kids work on Reading, Language Arts and Math; with Monday, Wednesday & Friday, being heavier Language Arts days; while Tuesday and Thursdays are heavier Math days. They do History and Science at least once a week. The kids also take art class, swim lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, gymnastics, ninjanastics, Preschool Storytime, and are part of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM) club. Besides the academic subjects, the kids are learning how to contribute to the household, to be good stewards of money utilizing the biblical money system, their part in taking care of our community; as well as widows and orphans, hearing and obeying God’s voice, how spouses work together in their different roles, how to honor God, parents, each other and others; and so much more.

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I thank God for this opportunity to minister to my children; as well as a front row seat to watch; as they grow and develop in each of their gifts and callings.  Yesterday, while working with my oldest son on his spelling words, I gave him hi-fives; because he got them all right; after only having them for a day! I was so excited and so was he; and he exclaimed: “Mom, I’m so proud of myself!” I said: I am too son! He says he loves working with me on his school work. That is certainly the grace of God! I love discovering ways to engage them in their learning. As a group fitness instructor, I  always had a plan for class; but sometimes, I could see other choreography and exercise in my head as I taught the class. Those were some of my BEST classes. I knew that the grace of God flowed through me as I taught classes; because of the effect on the people. One day, a lady came up to me after class crying; and telling me how taking my classes just lifted the depression off of her. That’s when I knew it was a God thing. It’s the same way with my children. I have lesson plans in place; but I can often see another way to get a concept across to engage them; and we have the best time! I thank God that He is leading my children’s education.

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The 8 Dimensions of Wellness – Social

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Social Wellness refers to our relationships and how we interact with other people. It involves good communication skills, respect for self and others, meaningful relationships and a good support system. According to a study by Umberson & Montez, relationships influence health through a process of reinforcing or inhibiting health-promoting or health-damaging behaviors over time. The bible is full of verses about all relationships. One of which is Proverbs 17:17, which says that a friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity. Genesis 2:18 says the following: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Our relationships are important, even from God’s perspective.

The bible gives some good standards for our various relationships.

  1. Husband & Wife relationship:Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 13:18 &19
  2. Children & Parents: Ephesians: 6: 1-3
  3. Fathers & Children: Ephesians 6:4
  4. Church family: Colossians 3:12- 14
  5. Friends: Proverbs 27:5 – 6; John 15:12-15
  6. Employer & employee: Colossians 3:23; Deuteronomy 15:10; Deuteronomy 24:14

Oftentimes our relationships are mirrors that reflect the inner-workings or hidden areas of our souls. The soul is like a magnet that draws our circumstances to us. If you find that your relationships have a common theme of joy and endurance, then I’m 99.999% sure that you have mastered 2 Corinthians 10:5; and Philippians 4:8. However, if you’re like many of us who are still learning to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and thinking on love and positive things; then take this opportunity to make a solid decision to begin healing these toxic thoughts, feelings and emotions that have habitually created less-than-desirable circumstances in your relationships. As children, we learned how to relate to others from our family members; as well as from teachers, friends, and other group members that we were associated with. If what we’ve learned was unhealthy or dysfunctional, we can change it. Healthy relationships are ours to enjoy; as well as a component of overall wellness.

If you would like to strategies for improving the social area of wellness in your life, do consider joining me for my next All is Wellness program session beginning on March 18th. Please feel free to email me at theexcellentwoman1@gmail.com. Until next time…..many blessings!

This Thing Called Love

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Mark 12:30 & 31 (NIV) says: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” As I thought on these verses, my mind rested on a vision that I recently had during my morning prayer time. I found myself at the feet of God as He sat on His throne. I then was cradled in His arms. I remember feeling the love radiating throughout my being. After being loved on by God, for what seemed like a little while, I found myself standing before His throne. He placed what seemed like a force-field around me. I immediately thought of my eldest son; and he suddenly appeared cradled in God’s loving arms. My son had bumped his head hard the day before. In this vision, I saw God gently rub my son’s head and a golden substance flowed from His hand to my son’s head. God then kissed him, and placed him within my force-field. One-by-one, each of my children appeared cradled in God’s arms; and he hugged and kissed them; and placed them each within my force-field. Lastly, my husband appeared in God’s arms. He did the same; and then placed my husband and his force-field around all of us. 

My reason for sharing this part of the vision, is to illustrate the Mark 12:30 & 31 principle. We can only love God, because of His first loving us. His love fills us and overflows to our neighbors. We can only love God by His strength alone (Philippians 4:13); and only with His love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). We can’t love ourselves or others without His love. Love begins with Him. It’s His love that gives us our identity and that makes us loveable. He sees us as the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8, Proverbs 7:2, Psalm 17:8); and His treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 26:18, Psalm 135:4). When we think about ourselves the way that God does, we automatically love ourselves and bring healing an order to our thoughts, body and circumstances. We automatically love our neighbors because of God’s love.

Neighbors refer to anyone who is not you (at least that’s the way that I define it for my children). In this particular post, I’m referring to spouses as our neighbors. Sometimes, marriage can be challenging when spouses are not on the same page; or if either spouse is distracted. Please take comfort in knowing that God has our backs; and is with us every step of the way. We must renew our minds to know that marriage is honorable, esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear – in all things (Hebrews 13:4). The “high thought” of our culture about marriage is to just get out of it; if it’s not working to your satisfaction. Here’s the thing, people seem to understand that businesses, education and success in general, take years to obtain. It’s accepted and expected that there will be highs and lows, good times and not-so-great times; but you don’t give up. Marriage, just like new businesses, is like birthing a baby. You’ll often hear entrepreneurs refer to their businesses as their babies. Marriage is the same. If something’s not working, you evaluate and strategically plan to improve that area. You set goals, put standard operating procedures in place. You do all that you can to ensure the success of the marriage. It amazes me that people go to training and workshops, work long hours and such for the success of their careers; but somehow think that marriage is just going to just be successful. If no has told you before, things don’t work that way. You are supposed to have a successful marriage; but it’s probably going to require you to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12).

Psalm 34:19 (KJV) says: Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. We are guaranteed victory! The scriptures are filled with encouragement for victory; as well as God’s love and faithfulness. We see it with Joseph in the prison, Daniel in the lion’s den, and the 3 Hebrew boys in the fire pit (just to name a few). They all endured some HARD circumstances, but they all overcame and were elevated.

Marriage was instituted by God, so I’m quite confident that yours will workout when you follow His lead. 1 Peter 3:8-9 (AMP) is a good guideline: Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each the others] as brethren (of one household), compassionate and courteous—tenderhearted and humble-minded. Never return evil for evil or insult for insult—scolding, tongue-lashing, berating; but on the contrary blessing—praying for their welfare, happiness and protection, and truly pitying and loving them. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God]—obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection. Invest in yourself and your spouse by spending time with God. You will begin to think like God, concerning your marriage. God is THE  ultimate mastermind; and He knows how to turn around your marriage….. in 24 hours. With Him, EVERYTHING is possible. Do you believe it?!

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness – Physical

img_2611Happy Belated New Year to All who read this post! I sincerely wish you a disciplined year, so that you will accomplish all of your goals. Tonight’s post is about physical wellness; which is defined as recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy food and sleep (SAHMSA). According to a report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) only 23% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. I won’t even bother with the statistics on nutrition, because it’s complete disaster. According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans sleep an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes; which is within the sleep recommendation range, however, 35 % reported poor or fair sleep quality. In a nutshell, Americans have poor quality exercise, nutrition and sleep habits. It’s no wonder that over half of all Americans take prescription drugs; and they average taking four. That’s a lot of drugs and alot of money. Early last year, the average price for generic prescription drugs was $80 for a month’s supply. (1) $320 is quite a bit to pay for drugs that are only treating symptoms. I just don’t know how this is a viable solution to anyone. In my mind’s eye, if you have a problem, RESOLVE it! Don’t put patches on it or allow it to linger.

So what does the bible say about physical health and wellness? Concerning exercise, 1 Timothy 4:8 says that physical training is of some value. There are quite a few verses regarding nutrition. Genesis 1:29 talks about fruit and vegetables. Genesis 9:3 states that everything that moves, would be food for them. Nehemiah 8:10 talks about eating fat. Of course there’s the vegetables and water diet in Daniel 1:12. Here’s the thing to consider…..their diets were related to where they were and where they were going. When Adam and Eve were in the garden (a stress-free place), fruits and vegetables was the diet. When Noah and his sons came out of the ark to a post-flood earth, every living thing was the diet. When the children of Israel were in the desert, they ate manna, but when they entered the Canaan, the manna stopped and they ate corn and fruit from the land (Joshua 5:12). So, you have to know where you are on your journey; and how to eat optimally for it. As for sleep, there is one verse that I think is God’s intention for His people. It is Psalm 127:2 (CEB): It is pointless that you get up early and stay up late, eating the bread of hard labor because God gives sleep to those he loves.

When Jesus prayed in Matthew 6:10 – your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. When I think of heaven, I’m hard-pressed to believe that sickness or disease is there. Our bodies are God’s temple; and we are to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 16:19-20). How do you do this? Is your temple reflective of heaven….fit for the King of kings to live in; or does it need some work?

Reference

1. https://www.goodrx.com/blog/are-drugs-getting-more-expensive/

 

The Soul…..the key to health

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted people to be healthy and well. I suspected that disease and sickness were not normal. Later on, I read “Of Monkeys and Dragons” by Michele Longo O’Donnell. She confirmed my idea and introduced me to the concept that sickness and disease was intruders in our lives. We did not have to accept them. She further gave an example of how her daughter was born mentally retarded; but overcame it and became a lawyer, wife and mother in her adult life. Was this a miracle? Back then, I thought so…..until I discovered the work and research of neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, cell biologist, Bruce Lipton & medical doctor, Dr. Don Colbert. I’ve learned that EVERY thing that affects our bodies (& lives) first started as a thought. Many of us are not even aware of our thoughts or the fact that they essentially produce our lives. As Dr. Leaf says, Thoughts hold mental real estate in our brains. Toxic and negative thinking produces toxic and negative bodies and lives; just as healthy and positive thinking, produces healthy and positive bodies and lives. Proverbs 23:7 says it like this: As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Thinking is a law…..just like gravity, lift, disease, etc. are all laws. The good thing about laws is that they are consistent; and even better is that higher laws can help us transcend lower laws.  For example, as mentioned earlier, the law of gravity is a natural law. We know that if someone decides to jump off a building, they’re going to hit the ground. On the contrary, the law of lift transcends the law of gravity and allows for many people to fly in airplanes. Philippians 4:8 is a law. It says to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. In neuroscience, we see that our thoughts become actual things in our brains. They produce tree-like structures in our brains that communicate with the rest of our bodies. Positive thoughts look like flourishing trees; while negative thoughts look like dried up trees. It reminds me of the famous experiment lead by Dr. Masaru Emoto years ago, that showed how water crystals responded to positive and negative speech. As you might have guessed, perfect water crystals were formed when spoken to positively; while distorted water crystals were formed when spoken to negatively. This is exact effect on the “trees” in our brain when we think positively or negatively.

I said all of that to say, that our health is 20% exercise and nutrition, and 80% your thoughts or mental attitude. This is great, because we have the ability to choose the life we desire……disease-free and healthy; or disease-ridden and sickly. Deuteronomy 30:19 (CEB) puts it this way: I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live. This verse explains principles of neuroscience and epigenetics.

I discovered that my desire for people to be well, lied in 3 John 1:2: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. The key to health & wellness lies in a prosperous (flourishing, healthy, vigorous) soul (mind, will & emotions). We have been taught that the use of affirmations can change our lives. This is a partial truth. Affirmations can actually be damaging to our brains, if there is a conflict with our actual beliefs. I offer the ALL IS WELLness program that teaches you how to properly use affirmations; as well as other tools to improve the 8 Dimensions of wellness in your life. For more information on the next session of the program beginning on 1/7/19, please feel free to email me at theexcellentwoman1@gmail.com. Until next time, be excellent!

 

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness – Environmental

Environmental Wellness is defined by SAMHSA as: “Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.”  How are the environments that surround you? Are they pleasant, stimulating and orderly, or unpleasant, uninspiring and chaotic? There have been a number of published studies about the effect of environment of health. One of which was a 2010 study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, that measured the way women talked about their homes.  Those who characterized their homes as cluttered and brimming with unfinished projects, were at a higher risk of being depressed and exhausted, than women who described their homes as restful and restorative. What does the bible have to say about our environment? 1 Corinthians 14:40 says: But all things should be done decently and in order. Additionally, 1 Corinthians 14:33 states: For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

When I read scripture, I like to analyze it and see how it presently applies to my life. I ask questions. What’s the consequence of things being done inadequately and disordered or messy? OR, If God is not a God of confusion (disorder, chaos, messiness), then WHO is? If God is a God of peace, and He’s always with me (Hebrews 13:5), then my environment should be one of peace, since it reflects my inner thoughts. Does anyone else think like this or is it just me? I understand that our homes, cars, etc. get out-of-order from time-to-time; but to living in perpetual state of clutter and disorganization is an invitation to address the root cause of this outer manifestation. We were designed to live in peaceful and orderly environments…..that’s why Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. I’m pretty sure that it was a place of peace, order and pleasantness.

If you are a person who deals with a perpetually disordered environment, kudos to you for reading thus far. There is help and hope for you. In so many words, Albert Einstein said that you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it. Romans 12:2 says it like this: “…..be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Soooo, you have to  work on your thoughts….as well as a system for cleaning and keeping things in order. Set aside a few minutes daily to affirm yourself with Philippians 4:13 (I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me). You can keep your environments orderly by God’s strength within you. There are a plethora of cleaning schedules on Pinterest; as well as organization videos on YouTube. You can also hire a cleaning person/service and/or an organization expert to help you out.

The way that you take care of your environments is just as important as the way that you take care of your physical health, finances and the other five wellness dimensions. Blessings as you continue on your path in excellence!