Archives for January 2018

What’s the Big Deal About Apple Juice and Chicken Fingers??

Moms are savvy. We have to be. Many of us live on a relatively-modest income. We understand firsthand the juggling act of meeting the ever-increasing costs of housing, transportation, clothing, insurance, medical, school supplies, and the myriad of incidental expenditures we incur living our daily lives. We know how to find a screaming deal (or, how to create one!) We don’t mind begging, borrowing, or re-purposing almost anything in order to stretch our dollars like Gumby.

Then . . . there’s food. We raised five boys. Eating machines. Our grocery bill was always our highest monthly expenditure after the mortgage or rent. And nothing’s changed now that our family is expanding with marriages, grandkids and the strays we love to feed. Prices just keep climbing. 1

But groceries cost us more than money. The whole food category can wear a woman down. After inventorying our cupboards and fridge, meal planning, list-making, shopping, paying, loading, unloading . . . we’ve already invested multiple hours of our time and we haven’t even begun to prepare the food to be eaten!

Sigh.

Feeling pressed for time and money, we can become careless about our food choices. With all the other plates we’re spinning, who’s got time to think about balanced diets and nutrition? “Fill ‘em up fast and cheap!” may be your motto. Chicken nuggets, French fries, and mac ‘n cheese, available in bulk at the big-box store, can become very attractive options. An easy fix, and kids will be happy about lunch – one less war. A big fat black checkmark on one of life’s perpetual nagging to-do’s as a mommy, right?

Not so fast. Just by filling them up, doesn’t mean we’ve ‘fed’ them. Food is defined as ‘any nutritious substance that people eat or drink, in order to maintain life and growth.’2 Everywhere I go, kids seem to exist on non-nutritive, high-calorie, refined food-like products loaded with white flour, fillers, chemicals, sugar and salt. Much of what’s going down the hatch simply can’t be considered real ‘food.’

Like I said, “groceries cost us more than money,” but let’s make sure they’re not costing us our health.

What we’re eating is, quite frankly, a life or death matter. Here are the facts:

  • The rate of chronic disease among children has doubled in the past two decades, with much of the increase a result of obesity.3
  • An estimated one-third of American children and two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. 4
  • Being overweight is a main cause of Type 2 diabetes, an epidemic in our nation, which can lead to heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, impotence, amputations, and mental decline. America spends more than $100 billion on healthcare needs related to obesity every year with prescription drugs for controlling diabetes making up much of that cost. 5b

But, here’s the good news…

  • A diet in which fruits, vegetables, and other natural plant foods supply the vast majority of calories, affords us powerful protection against disease. 6
  • Although at epidemic proportions in our nation, Type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle-induced disease that can often be reversed through lifestyle changes: eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet and getting regular exercise.7

“My clinical experience over the past ten years has shown me that almost all the major illnesses that plague Americans are reversible with aggressive nutritional changes designed to undo the damage caused by years of eating a disease-causing diet.” Dr. Joel Furhman 8

By our daily example, we parents are not only managing our homes and children, we are imparting a lifestyle with far-reaching implications. What happens in our kitchens, ladies, will literally affect every aspect of our family’s lives; body weight, moods, allergies, anxiety, regularity, energy levels, sexual dysfunction, adolescent acne, depression, immune system function, time spent at doctor’s offices, annual medical costs . . . all the way to life expectancy. Many would argue that eating right is too expensive, but eating poorly is costlier by far.  9

Here are five helpful keys to realizing an all-around healthier level as a household:

1. Take inventory. Honestly list and evaluate what’s been on the menu at your house the past couple of weeks. It’s easy to say, “we eat pretty healthy,” because we believe we should, and we know better, but what we’re actually doing may not line up with our convictions. Clean out the cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and trash the ‘decoys.’ It’s time for change!

2. As a rule of thumb, eat food the way God made it. Keep an arsenal on hand of everything that grows in the ground. Require the daily eating of (organic if possible) fresh, colorful salads with a variety of vegetables and fruit in the mix. Radishes, broccoli, oranges, sweet red peppers, sugar snap peas, purple cabbage, sprouts, sweet onion, spinach, apple, romaine, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot, and turnip are some great salad ingredients. I didn’t say iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled ranch dressing with so many preservatives it will never die.

3. Fresh or frozen fruit should be part of the daily diet. Smoothies made with frozen fruit are a super alternative to a bowl of ice cream. As the blender whirs, toss in fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, chia seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder, celery, and spirulina to get a mega-boost of goodness without any flavor loss.

4. Ration minimal and rare portions of processed foods such as sweetened breakfast cereals, deep-fried chips, cheese crackers, white bread, and candy. We all love our occasional treats, but remember why they’re called ‘treats.’ Sidenote: Beware of snack bars. The plethora available is dizzying and many are billed as healthy or natural. These are typically loaded with harmful fillers like fructose corn syrup, genetically modified components, chemicals and copious amounts of sugar. Ingredients are clearly listed on the items we purchase. Read the labels!

5. Make water the drink of choice at your house. Buy distilled or invest in a good filter. Unfortunately, we often can’t trust our city water supplies to deliver the real thing to our pipes. Apple juice, soda, energy drinks, and iced coffees belong in the ‘occasional treat’ category. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with pure, filtered H2O.

We cannot feed our families a standard American diet and expect them to excel. Perhaps you, Mom or Dad, didn’t have the privilege of learning this as a lifestyle while growing up. It’s not too late! The power for change is in your hands.  Pioneer a better path of ‘eating to live’ for your family. Before you know it, these forays into nutritious eating will become lifelong habits. 10

Our family is the perfect test case. I remember when one or more of my five boys would wrinkle up their noses at some of the things I habitually fed them; now they insist on those very same ingredients in their regular meals and especially request big colorful salads  at my house, while they enjoy every vegetable under the sun. They thank me regularly for ‘teaching their tastebuds’ to like a broad variety of flavors and textures their friends were never expected to eat.

Want to read more? Here ya go… Grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human HERE

 

 

 

 

 

  1. (3 On Your Side: Climbing Food Prices by Jim Donovan. http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/05/15/3-on-your-side-climbing-food-prices/)
  2. New Oxford American Dictionary
  3. (USAToday.com, February 16, 2010, “More children have chronic diseases; study cites obesity,” by Liz Szabo.)
  4. (Reuters.com March 28, 2010 Junk Food Addiction May Be Clue to Obesity: study by JoAnne Allen)
  5. (Helping One Another page 5 a publication of Christian Care Medi-Share. By William H. White, Ph.D, director for Health Initiatives. And Readers Digest, March 2008, Health IQ Type 2 Diabetes, Joel Furhman, M.D. pg 50) 5b(Costco Magazine January 2010 pg 35)
  6. (Walter C. Willett, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health and a speaker at the American Association for Cancer Research) (Eat To Live by Joel Furhman, M.C. pg 57)
  7. (Reader’s Digest, March 2008, Health IQ, Type 2 Diabetes, pg 50 and Helping One Another, Christian Care Medi-Share, Diabetes Can Be Reversed, by William H. White, Ph.D. Director for Heath Initiatives)
  8. (Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., pg. 143)
  9. (World Health Organization, 1999. World Health Statistics Annual WHO Statistical Information System-WHOSIS-Table 1: number of deaths and death rates, age 55-75 inclusive.) (Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, pg. 144)
  10. (‘Why Kids Are Still Obese’ Parents have the greatest influence over what their children will eat. MSNBC.com July 5, 2007)
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Waiting for Apple to save YOUR kid? Why I think the stockholders’ counsel to Apple is so messed up.

On January 7th media exploded with Apple’s two leading stockholders’ urgent request of the tech-world  behemoth: SAVE OUR KIDS FROM YOUR DEVICES!

And for a brief moment, the whole wide world snuggled up together and nodded in agreement as we all pondered the negative stats on our kids by overuse of electronic devices. In a nutshell these trends were cited in the article (HERE) in detail:

  1. students’ increased inability to focus on educational tasks
  2. students increasing emotional challenges
  3. students increasing social challenges
  4. students’ physical and social activity lessening
  5. students with higher risk factors for suicide
  6. students getting too little sleep leading to weight gain and high blood pressure
  7. And evidence tells us that, day-by-day as their heads are buried in social media, modern children are becoming heartless automatons.

A study by UCLA researchers showed that after 5 days at a device-free outdoor camp, children performed far better on tests for EMPATHY than a control group.

Do we really need a test, a statistic or a control group to convince us that kids whose days and nights are dominated by electronic devices rather than by human interaction will be less human, thus expressing less active compassion?

Is any of this a surprise to you parents??!

Of course not, because intuitively as the parents of our precious children, WE KNOW BETTER, which the article detailed (HERE) as follows:

  • 58% of parents say they worry about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health.
  • 48% of parents say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle,” and
  • 58% of parents say they feel like their child is “attached” to their phone or tablet.

 

We know how our devices affect us personally, as well as those we attempt to interact with who are dominated by their smartphones and laptops.

But apparently, Dads and Moms can’t seem to find the word ‘no’ in their vocabulary or the courage to enforce it when it comes to electronics and their children.

So we need Apple to, in essence, ‘parent our children’ because we aren’t doing our job?!

All this ‘helpfulness for parents’ is the sunny side of something called CONTROL.

Just like Seattle’s new tax (HERE) on soda and other sugary beverages which went into effect January 1st, adding a whopping cost of 1.75% per fluid ounce (HERE for how this affects our wallets)  to ‘encourage citizens to cut down on the consumption of sugary drinks that have little nutritional value and are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.’ BECAUSE SEATTLE’S CITIZENS CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES or their children and limit intake of sugary drinks…am I right??

So…since I can’t or won’t govern myself and my kids, someone else is enlisted to do the job at my expense in the form of increased taxes or hiking the price of my Frappucino, iPad, iPhone or laptop.

Furthermore, because there’s a gun to parents’ heads and parents can’t help but give their kids the password to the iPad or the iphone maybe Apple needs to keep the password from the parents, too, and create a new password daily to dole out on a timeline appropriate to the measure of the parent’s character??

Do you see the insanity of all this chatter?!

Could it be that parents are generally so stressed out, in debt, discontented and distracted that by the time they fly in the door from a long, tiring day at work plus commute, they are all too happy to hand their kid the iPad or the iPhone to get some relief from their restless, noisy children who haven’t been trained to entertain themselves with…

  • reading and appreciating good books
  • playing outside
  • crafting
  • artwork
  • building Legos
  • playing with the pure bred pooch their parents gave them
  • using the expensive playground equipment Santa brought them??

Could it be that children aren’t being trained to regularly carry weight and develop emotional intelligence by…

  • doing household chores
  • serving their needy neighbors
  • playing with their siblings
  • preparing or helping to prepare simple meals?

Parents, what are we willing to do to save our children?
How serious are we about what we say we want for our families?

Some ideas for immediate relief:

  1. talk to our children about our sincere concerns, our hearts for them and their best interest and a clear plan for immediate change
  2. changing passwords and pressing restart
  3. unplugging during the school week with appropriate measures of time allotted as a reward on weekends
  4. declare that evenings are reading/digging in the dirt/art/sibling play time rather than vegging-in-front-of-the tablet time
  5. listen to music
  6. cook together
  7. take a walk together and appreciate nature
  8. sell the iPhones and get pre-paid flip phones
  9. go back to VCRS and dvds

And if that doesn’t quite go to the root of the issue and you really want to go for broke:

You might consider selling the house with the inflated mortgage, buying a lesser home, or renting a modest apartment, selling the second car that’s on payments, stop eating out and cut up the credit cards. Consider job/schedule changes and reduce hours spent commuting, so you have some mental, emotional, and spiritual margin left to cope with this serious mission to raise amazing children.

Parents WE are the example
Parents WE must unplug
Parents WE must address our overspending
Parents WE must make peace with OUR JOB to PARENT our children
Parents WE must train our muscle of ‘delayed gratification’ first, then apply this training to our children

Parents the power is in your hand

We have as our example a man who decidedly chose not to throw his hands up in the air and beg for help from Apple. He knew the power in his own hands.

In a 2010 interview, asked whether his kids loved the iPad, the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, famously said, “We don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them.” Even he recognized the threat to the children of the world he himself had unleashed.

If you found this post helpful, and would like some more practical empowerment for your parenting, grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human for a limited time HERE 

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Power for Your Parenting

I woke up the other day and began as usual with reading, meditation, prayer and journaling. Sounds textbook perfect so far, right??

But something came over me; you know…that heavy blanket of UGH that creeps upon us for no reason or for a million reasons and no prayer I prayed was bringing me relief.

S.O.S. somebody! At least some sympathy and/or encouragement would have helped. But I could find none from the busy humans nearby.

I kind of stomped out of the room where I’d been reading, a little mad and teary-eyed like a frustrated toddler….and as I walked across my apartment, I decidedly found my moxie, more than conquered my day and actually experienced some major breakthroughs. And I knew I had to share it in the context of parenting, because I know the battle that rages for the souls of our little ones and I know how much encouragement we parents need during the child-rearing years.

This principle I’m about to share is pure gold. It’s alway’s been an anchor for my soul, and after utilizing it for so many decades, it has become my default setting.

My strong muscle.

My defiant declaration.

“I REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM.”

You can bank on this one; even get the tattoo, because it’s that important to your destiny and the destiny of your children.

I don’t care what size you wear, what’s in your fridge, what your spouse is doing or not doing, if you live in a trailer or a mansion. I don’t care how much money you don’t have, how many diapers you changed yesterday, or how little sleep you got last night. I don’t care if grandma‘s not there to help you, or if you just lost your best friend, you have every single thing you need for TODAY and you darn well better conquer it.
With a happy heart.
Or to put it plainly, you’re screwed.

Instead of playing beggar, waiting for a hand-out, or envying those around you who have more, begin to use what meager things you have in your hand.

It’s not important what’s in your hand, but rather what you’re doing with what’s in your hand. By planting those stinkin’ little seeds you have today, whether it’s leftovers, library books, pencils and paper, a couple hours, limited understanding and knowledge, flashes of wisdom, a tattered old Bible, or a single valued friendship with another young mom, NAME IT, before you know it, what you invest that seems insignificant, begins to grow and multiply. Resources increase, relationships occur, and supernatural forces kick in, defying our natural limitations.

You will gain forward momentum that leads to increase by investing what you already have.

Victims only go backwards.

I can tell a victim by what consistently comes out of their mouth. What’s the script you work from? Enough with the, “I wish…if only…wouldn’t it be great…I hate…why, why WHY, sigh, sigh, SIGH….” These are confessions of a loser. Someone who is dooming themselves and their kids to slide downhill.
Stop it.

I can tell a victim by their consistent inconsistencies. Giving up. Never following through on practical plans and goals; always surrendering due to imperfect circumstances and discouragement.

Victims spend waaaay too much time on social media envying everyone else, too preoccupied living in someone else’s fantasy to attend to their own lives and marriages, their own precious children and their own homes.

I can tell a victim by their begging from others because they think another human being or enough money can save them, fix them, fix their kids, fix their marriages, fix their budget, fix their futures.

I can tell a victim by all the excuses they make for themselves and their children and their unhappy lot in life.

Don’t be tempted to think others have it easier. God knows the particular challenges each of us have been handed in life, and yes, just like the little meme on social media, ‘we are all fighting a battle no one else knows about.’ And no one else can fight my battles for me, they are exclusively mine, and I believe, with God’s help, I am fit for the challenge.

My best advice is this: look at what is there, rather than what is not there. Make a list of what you have and I promise you it will overshadow what you don’t have. And begin to ponder and pray about how you can best utilize your current resources as it relates to your parenting of those precious children who are looking to YOU for leadership. And make it a darn good week, despite your challenges.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.” James 1:5 The Message

God bless you as you endeavor to WIN every single day as a parent! For more parenting POWER, download my E-book FREE for a limited time…

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    Destiny Under Siege – Welcome to 2018!

    Happy New Year!

    Many in the US have been busily ‘packing up Christmas’ today. You, too? 🙂 The familiar site of storage boxes, lights, stockings, garland strewn and vacuums running madly, all highlight our sense of nostalgia at the retirement of yet another Christmas holiday season and the simultaneous welcome of a new year.

    Many have dismantled the Nativity Set – the official memorial of the holy holiday’s raw and real inception. Whether Playmobil, plywood or Porcelain…we all reflect tenderly as we gingerly retire the tiny baby Jesus, the manger filled with hay and the obligatory cast of characters found in the barn that historic night…Mary, Joseph, the humble shepherds, the singing angel, the barn animals and in some instances the three Wisemen, dressed to the nines, (although an historically accurate depiction would place the Magi visiting the youngster Jesus later on history’s timeline, not in the barn) which led me to recall how one vital character has been left out of the traditional cast over time, but whose significance bears intentional pause and reflection….

    I speak of King Herod the Great, a main player in the biblical account of the Christmas story, visited by the three Wisemen who sought the Christ Child after his birth in the stable.

    Herod tried to trick the Magi into revealing the child’s location in Bethlehem on their way home from their sojourn to worship the newborn king, but they were warned in a dream to avoid Herod, so they returned to their countries by another route.

    King Herod, furious at being foiled by the esteemed wise men in his attempt to find this promised child wrapped in rags whom Mary, a mere peasant girl had borne, did the unthinkable. He ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
    (Matthew 2:1-18 paraphrase)

     

    This evil, insecure king, this biblical terrorist, longed to snuff out the infant king Jesus before he had time to grow and become, rule and reign to save the world. And this my friends, is a principle of note.

    Destiny is always under attack.
    Wherever you find Destiny, you find a Herod, intent on annihilation.

    For as many as awaited the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord, what makes some people happy makes other people rage.

    This is where it hits home. Because YOU, no matter how you may feel on this first day of 2018, are not an insignificant nobody, born only to eat, sleep, work, watch Netflix, pay taxes and die.

    You are a precious creation, a living breathing miracle, uniquely gifted, specifically wired, born to have an impact, born to make a difference in history’s timeline.

    Destiny is over your head and as you square off with a brand new calendar year, remember that Destiny is always challenged, resisted, attacked even, so don’t be easily discouraged in your efforts to pursue your dreams and fulfill the vision you have for your life and the lives of those precious to you. Gird yourself for battle. You may reflect with pain upon the past, but change is possible in the new year!

    An angel again appeared to Jesus’ stepfather, Joseph, in a dream, warning him to flee to Egypt with his young family to escape Herod’s intentions. (Matthew 2:13 paraphrase)

    Another principle of note.
    God watches over destiny.

     

    [Sidenote: We might even consider placing King Herod in the shadows next year, watching over the Nativity from a distance through slanted eyes with black heart, just to remind us of the power of destiny.]

     

    I’m passionate about the destiny factor in our lives and the lives of those precious to us, and I look forward to the privilege of encouraging you as you journey into 2018. Thank you for reading, and if you enjoy my posts, consider subscribing so as not to miss out – as a thank you, for a limited time, you’ll receive my two free e-books!

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