Practicing the Word of God

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

During the trials we are all facing in the world at this time, we are at a place when, more than ever, maybe, we, as Christians, should be practicing the word of God, employing our knowledge of it into the very circumstances of our lives that we are helped, of course, but that so are those around us. Christians are called to be “set apart” by our behavior, and in the trying circumstances and trials of life, if we live in the word, we may be a light shining into the darkness for our fellow Christians to be encouraged, and to non-believers, alike, for a manner of being which is peaceful in the storm, which perseveres under trials, which in no thing complains, and in all circumstances, is grateful. Why? Because we are called to. We are children of the light  – we are the children of God, we are the sons and daughters of the most high God, and especially because we have so great a “cloud of witnesses around us, we should lay aside every weight which so easily besets us, and run the race we are called to run, keeping our eyes set on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.”

What good is scripture if we do not employ it when we need it? As believers, if we do not have it hidden in our hearts, it will be more challenging, maybe to know what to do, and to hear from the Holy Spirit. I will admit, He can still get us the message, if He wants, to get the point across, and speak to us in our circumstances, if He so chooses. I did not have a bit of scripture “hidden in my heart” during one of my many trials, but I did hear the Holy Spirit give me a particular scripture which when I read, helped me tremendously. “All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.”

After I read that, I was immediately calmed of my fears of being laid-off, and went into work (I’d taken off the morning to lament over maybe being laid-off, and fortunately, I never was) because I knew the Lord had me after I read that. I trusted him.

If you believe in God, in Christ Jesus, I encourage you to know and memorize His word. It is life. Not knowing or using the word of God in our lives is like having AAA to help you when your car breaks down, but instead of you using the resource you have to help you from your circumstance, you make yourself miserable, focusing only on the problem. You make more of the problem than is present and only choose to see it and what it is doing to you instead of being your own problem-solver, and using what you have to help you, to help you. The problem then becomes all about you and poor you. You enter your broken-down car and cry, “Woe is me!” Your plight becomes a beacon which calls attention to the “poor me” in you. The problem with the car becomes you. I have suffered today. I have had a trouble or a trauma. Moan, moan, moan! It’s taken on a new form you may give it because maybe somewhere in your psyche, you like having problems. Maybe you like being victimized. Maybe you like having attention drawn to you through your problems. Or maybe you have just had unenlightened role models who did the same things which are now your pattern also. Instead of focusing on the solution, the problem becomes you and you only choose to see it, failing to use your resources and knowing how to get out of it. And maybe, because of a lack of experience, you fail to call AAA in your circumstance because though you know they might be there for you, you trust them not because you think you’re too far out of the way or the problem is too large for them handle, so you fail to call them from faithlessness or lack of experience with them showing up for you, so you stay in your condition of breakdown not knowing the full extent of your freedom your resource offers you. I feel like many of us Christians fail to live the life we are offered because we fail to know the word, trust the Lord in seeing us through our circumstances in the tough times, and allowing the Father to show up for us when those times occur so we can build our faith and trust in Him, over and over again, to build a relationship that we will know is real. Our relationship with the Father can be built really only when times are tough. That’s how the Lord is able to present Himself – when you know that is it ONLY Him who makes what happens happen. That is too neat. And, what I have found is my relationship with Him really built most when it had a chance to be tried – I had some really challenging times in my life where He showed big to where I knew it was only Him. I pressed in to what I new about Him from his word, and employed my faith. I began to practice the word. I let go and did my part, and God showed up hugely! I have lots of testimonies on that if you want to search my site or listen to them on hollycobrien.com or see them on Youtube.

We are all incapable of escaping life’s breakdowns. Trouble visits us all in one form or another. I encourage those of us who have the greatest resource of all time in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father to practice being a follower, not just a believer. Practicing the word of God is what changes and builds us. I am encouraging us to make the most of our trouble or trauma. Focus on the solution. Employ the word in the tough circumstances of our lives. Fix the car! Call AAA! You have the resources. Use them. I feel the word of God is what gives life, and practicing the word is a life- saving resource for us all that I have found invaluable.

I have felt terribly sorry for those people who do not have Christ in their life to call on with certainty. Call they can, and He will help them, but I really feel for those poor souls who don’t know the maker of our Universe or maybe worse, who don’t care to know Him or have so little faith they can’t know Him.

Many of us do know Him, and many of us do not play like we do. We will help many, including ourselves, if we are salt and light to our generation. One to another, fellow believers lifting one another up, but also shining before men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 14 – 16

Whether we are actually doing something, in deed, for someone else, or simply responding to life’s circumstances in ways we are called to, by “keeping our eyes on God so he will keep us in perfect peace,” by “acknowledging God in all our ways that He will direct our paths,” or by being “peaceful in the storm,” we can be the men or woman of God we are called to be to walk in good works to help ourselves and others in our times of greatest hardship. This is where the rubber meets the road and where every relationship is tested. These are the greatest gifts when we can see the Father of the Universe see us through the storm and show himself strong for us.

There is such a freedom I have found in following the word of God. Whether it’s “not to fret,” or to “pray for my enemies,” I have found peace and restoration in practicing the word of God. I have felt the grace of compassion showered upon me and increased my faith in the Father and I practiced and walked in knowledge of the word.

It is powerful, more powerful than any two-edged sword. It is our weapon with which we are to fight the enemy. It is living and life giving. It is so good.

Our Father has given us a roadmap, our instructions for life: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

So, with the word of God in our head and heart, we have a better way for navigating our lives.

We will not be without trials. But this we can be certain, we should count it as all joy, according to the apostle James, when we enter into divers (various) temptations – whether tempted to be other than we are called to, whether to trust man over God, whether to fear job loss or losing friends, children or spouses. We are called to come higher with God.

He calls us ever higher to walk with Him, and to trust Him beyond what we can see or know. We are to walk by faith and not by sight, knowing His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and though we may not understand why we are going through what we endure, we are encouraged in Philippians 4: 6 – 8 by the apostle Paul “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

May you begin/continue practicing walking in the word of God, employing it in every circumstance of your life that you may be able to have what Jesus died for us all to have, life and life more abundantly.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5: 16

May you be encouraged by this message today, becoming more than just a believer, becoming a follower of the Word.

Holly

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Obedience – A Christian Perspective on Why We May or May Not Be Obedient to the Holy Spirit.

The thing about being obedient is when we are, we may never know what it would have been like if we did it out way. But I am less willing to miss out on what God’s plan is for me than I am for my own plan.

Question – Are you one of those people who hears from the Holy Spirit? Or, are you one of those people who think those people are nuts or may be schizophrenic who think they hear from God? I am the former, and have found certain Christian “friends” being concerned I was schizophrenic and laughing at me when I mentioned it once years back when in one of my “becoming Catholic” classes.

Running a few days back, at the end of mile 1, I hear, “2.”

Psyche – My psyche psyched me out. I turned around and kept it at 2 miles only, having my rationales as to it being better for me than 4 miles because that is too much, I can’t do that, I am likely not that hydrated, and so on. At the end of the 2 miles, though, I thought maybe I was supposed to have run for 2 after the first – kept going. I didn’t want to. It was a lot, and I hadn’t run 4 miles in years. The most I’d run since I started running again was just over 3 recently, and I’d only run just under 2.5 on the beach which is where I was at the time. I did not want to run that hard – it is very hard to run on the soft sand of the beach.

I walked around and played at running more, questioning whether or not I was to have run more. Back and forth in my mind the craziness continued, and when it did, I remembered I heard someone say that failing to be obedient causes confusion. That’s where I was. My justifications were not louder than the still small voice. The knowing. The, you got here early today – there is no sun now due to the haze when it is normally already strong at this time. You have plenty of hydration. You were prompted by God, so you KNOW that when that happens, you are able.

It’s a matter of being lazy and not wanting to put in the effort b/c it’s hard – that’s the truth of it all. But I remembered too that I’d recently felt the need to push myself more too b/c there is something that is driven out of us, me, when we pursue more and work harder – the laziness, or unwillingness or complaints of the difficulty – all the lack, insecure, lazy, weak mentalities that hold me back at times. What I wanted really was to conquer. And, as I kind of ran back and forth, to and fro for awhile while decided what I would do, thinking I’d still need hydration which I did not, still looking for an excuse not to do what I figured I was being prompted to, I found I’d already gone about a mile in the deciding – and only 1.1 more miles, I can do that, I figured. Then, I ran on.

4 miles under my belt that day on the beach, the soft sand. It was a good accomplishment, and OF COURSE, I felt really good afterwards. Grateful.

What I know, is yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I do believe I said that a time or two as I ran, but even more, when I know the Lord asks or prompts me to do something I might not want to do, A. it is for my own good, and B, I can complete it because He has called me to it.  I had no excuses. I love knowing that!

The worry for me, besides it’s challenging and I’ve not been at this terribly long – the working to strengthen my knees and legs still – is hydration. The main part is the heat. Typically, in Florida, if you are out after 8 a.m., it’s too late, for me, to exercise. Given I’ve been out a lot past that recently, it has been hazy some days which makes it easier, but it still compounds an already challenging feat whether you are hydrated or not. It takes the wind out of me to keep on keeping on during the drudgery of the sand. I did get to a point, however, recently, where I ran the two miles like it was nothing. I liked that! Milestones are great!! And, I love to achieve them and celebrate them. It’s good making progress!

So, I ran and I guess that’s when it dawned on me – I recalled how interesting it was that I got up so early that day – I’d been resisting getting up before the sun for pretty much all of the summer, but that day I was up, and I was out early, and hydrated. Though I was early enough for the sunrise at 6:30ish, it never shone b/c of the haze, and it continued like that for almost the whole hour I was out there.  That’s when I realized God knew I could do it. He got me up early, got me out there, made sure I was hydrated enough and told me to go for 2 miles when I wanted to stop at 1. I insisted that the 2 was what I would stop at. After getting back from the 2 miles, however, and not needing water was when the debate in my mind started, and the lack of obedience ran me in circles literally. If people knew what went on in my mind sometimes :)! Ha! Now some know:)

Well, I am so grateful to have done it because not only did it remind me of how important it is to be obedient to stave off the crazies and confusion over making the right decision, but it reminds me that God is in the small things of my life – in my training, helping me still to “strengthen my knees that they do not become lame.” Finally, it reminds me that He can be, and is, TRUSTWORTHY:) He is my Father and my best-friend. I am always being helped more by His promptings and guidance, just like a good father will try and do.

So, the take-aways then – Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit – He is always leading us for what is best for us. Following brings obedience which always brings a blessing. Blessing brings joy. Joy brings peace. Peace brings happiness and sharing that that brings help, hope and joy to others, I hope.

My take-away, however, as I walked from the beach that day, after I got another prompting when I went to the water afterwards, I didn’t listen. I do not know why I keep “failing this test” even after I just had an assignment and “knew the material.” I think it’s my ego, the feeling of just wanting to be in control and do it my way, whatever it is, I felt very sad afterwards because I feel it dishonors the Lord. It puts me above Him, my ways above Him when His ways are so far above my ways I cannot even see.

I left with the take-away that I hoped that “sorrowful” feeling I’d felt from that most previous incident really leads me to repentance – to remember that in all my ways He is leading me and guiding me in all my ways, and what an honor it is that I have listening ears, and He actually communicates with me. It is awesome! I think sometimes, oddly, it’s still a way of A. yes, asserting me in my life, of giving me control over me, but B. too, making sure it is Him and I can actually hear and trust Him. Whatever it is, I can trust Him and making an effort to listen more faithfully and honor him – I am reminded now. It takes slowing down a minute to obey because sometimes I am going so fast, and may use that as an excuse of not having time to “catch up” to be obedient to what You said, but it is just another excuse, and I am not prone to lies or believing them. Just be honorable and follow through 🙂

The thing about being obedient is when we are, we may never know what it would have been like if we did it out way. But I am less willing to miss out on what God’s plan is for me than I am for my own plan. “For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are His ways higher than our ways.”

I left praying, tearfully, that I had “sorrow unto repentance” so I may follow His word, even the little promptings I get, in following of His good plan for my life – the big and the small, and the small are sometimes more of what I love the most because they are often so tender and intimate.

In that, I have to pause, remember, and take heart, for He is loving and trustworthy.

Holly

Goodness of Him: Restoring love between a father and daughter

The only real change comes from the grace of God (video excerpt).

I forgot today was Father’s Day until I went in to church this morning. And, I forgot I made this video too (among others), in honor of God’s amazing work in my life, until I was making lunch and thinking about my dad and God, and the gratitude for the healing work the word of the Lord brought to my life-long hurts, and severed relationship I had with my dad, and how the Lord healed all, miraculously through His grace, one afternoon after a prayer by a prayer partner in Life Church (England church which helped to change my life).

May you love your Father in heaven with your whole heart, and know His great love for you, and may He heal your relationship with your father or child, as he has mine through the word of Malachi 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

In honor of my Father in Heaven and my dad, in heaven. I am so grateful for the marvelous relationships I have with you, and was able to have, even if only, truly, for a short time.

Holly

My testimony recounting the story of God’s grace showering me with compassion to forgive and love my father.

Our last Christmas together. A good reunion, 2009.

Month 6, My Focus: The Endocrine System. I Think My Skin Is Healing!

Ok, so it has been over five 5 months since I started my journey to heal my Idiopathic Guttate Hypomelanosis, and I have finally begun to seen some results!!

The melanocytes in my legs have slowly failed to produce melanin more and more over the past 9+ years. I began to see what I thought were big results on my thighs some weeks back in that I noticed I was seeing more of my brown spots, caused from an overproduction of melanin, than my white spots, no melanin production. I felt I was looking for the white spots but I was able to still see them. I was ready to share my news. But, the other night as I looked at my legs, it looked like there were more white spots. It occurred to me that maybe it was because I got some sun on my legs the day before. After I came back from running, and I got ready for my shower, I noticed I had a “runners” tan from my early morning run. This is Florida, afterall:)

So, when looking at my legs and seeming to see more white spots, I figured it was maybe because of the sun. I thought it was because I was eating sugar too. One of the things I was told was that, among this condition not being “curable,” it is also made worse by the sun and to steer clear. However, this article indicates research does NOT support photodamage as a prerequisite for the development of IGH making me think maybe it is still a fungus, but you think the “experts” would know. My thoughts about eating sugar again and seeing more spots is because I have thought it may be a fungus – it presents like one in so many ways – the shape, the slow spread and the persistence. Another place in the article does seem to contradict itself indicating the absence of the macules is due to solar radiation.

So, either I actually do have more spots in January, as it does seem to be the case as evidenced by the photos – I look tanner in January, too, which could just be elucidating the spots more – or I don’t. I am not sure! I have thought I could visibly tell they are reducing, so I am going to go with that, and they do look to be fewer in this recent photo, too. Summer is on the way, so I will be getting tanner just by way of being outside, so time will surely tell. However, to also address the potential fungus issue, I am going to keep my white flour & sugar to a low (fungus, like all organisms, love and thrive on sugar), keep eating well, taking my probiotics (which can also by way of increasing their populations, keep off the “fungal” populations), and just keep progressing in the direction of well-being. I am not sure I will continue to research further body systems beyond this month because I do not see a correlation between them, but I’ll see. I never knew the the endocrine system produced a hormone to stimulate melanin production! So…

I have persisted in the other areas, off and on, in which I’ve engaged in since working on different body systems since January. I am inadvertently taking a systemic approach at this point. I’m still supplementing with a lot of different supplements, drinking lots of smoothies, exercising, rarely overeating, eating less white flour/sugar, using Selson blue to scrub my legs with in the shower with a scubber likely used by masochists, I am taking probiotics, and I continue to research ways I can address how my body may make more melanin.

Onto the hormonal relationship.

Having recently found out there is actually a hormone responsible for making melanin, it’s called, aptly, Melanin Stimulating Hormone and is “stimulated” by the anterior pituitary gland in my brain, or so it should be, I was encouraged that maybe this is somehow the root of my problem. I am still not sure why it is failing to produce in my legs! So I am pursing the endocrine study this month to see what’s up with that and if there is something I can do to help my legs, here!

I read this study, Hypopigmented Macules of Photodamaged Skin and Their Treatment with Topical Tretinoin, which I found really interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I found out that this Retin- A cream, Tretinoin, that I bought in Mexico in February for my face has actually been studied and used successfully for this problem. I have begun to use this on my legs, but the tube is now flattened, and ready for repurchase.

The issue with this cream is 2-fold – yes, it works, see the picts in the study, but not only are the “macules” lighter, the whole of the skin is lighter – issue 1. The 2nd issue is that after discontinuation of use, they returned over time. I am not looking for a temporary fix, but a long-term, permanent solution to my skin issue. Oh yea, you also should stay out of the sun when using this. Ugh. That’s a no for sure! I am outside pretty much every day, but I do and will use sunscreen more regularly and thoroughly.

I found something in this article fascinating. Researchers suggested “the
presence of a systemic factor in the development of IGH, because IGH epidermis transplanted into mice re-pigmented after 3 weeks. Restoration of pigmentation indicates that melanocytes, though inactive, are present in
hypopigmented macules.

So, my melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) are in tact, according to this, likely, and fun fact: we have 1000 – 2000 melanocytes per square mm – Wow, my task now is to figure out why, still my task, they are not producing melanin! As this studying, indicates, however, this is systemic. For me to have been on the path of, pin-pointing, oh, I need copper or I need more vitamin A or I need to boost my immunity – this is larger, maybe than I am making it. But, maybe not. Idiopathic indicates the origin of the pathogenesis is not known. So, it’s rough, especially since I am not being systematic about it in the sense of controlled studies.

Well, this makes me think that yes, maybe this will be my last focus this month because of the systemic nature of this. In a way, I am, and have been, overtime, as I mentioned, inadvertently developing a systemic approach to healing this, as I have learned new bits each month, I am continuing to employ each of them, but less so. Still, maybe over time, it will alleviate myself of this condition as I persist!

In the meantime, I will be looking at, for the rest of this month and more, my hormones, hormonal homeostasis (balance), melanocyte receptors and the effect cholesterol may be having on my skin.

I gave blood last month and found out my cholesterol has gone up 30 points in the past 8 years. It’s over 180 and in the red one! I have purchased a cholesterol meter so I will monitor this too over this month to get it down. I have already bought and been eating wheat germ which is supposed to be great to reduce cholesterol, but we make cholesterol naturally. Cholesterol makes our sex hormones, and is part of all our cell membranes. So, maybe this high level of cholesterol has something to do with my problem, or maybe i just had umpteen cups of coffee with excess cream that morning, and my cholesterol levels were only high because of that. Going to get to the bottom of it!

Here’s to My Health & Yours:)

Holly

Overview of My Progress on My Face and Legs

5 Months: My Healing Process – I Need Specific Goals in Order to Progress.

I have realized this about myself this month – if I don’t have a specific goal, I don’t really progress. In my “absence” of progress, however, I have found how to better progress in my life, and that I am better with goals – whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, professional, or personal – what ever they are – I am more efficient with them, and happier to a degree – they make me feel like I am striving toward something and personally achieving something too which I always like. So, though my blood might not yet be cleaner, and I have murkied up my waters a bit in my aimlessness, I have made progress again, still, mentally which is impacting me on a spiritual and physical level, too, and clearing my path for success.

It’s time to get S.M.A.R.T! Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. I am reminded that these goals are what I need in order to make better progress in my life with my life for whatever it is I a trying to achieve. I need goals for me to progress with more passion and gusto and to see more results in both my health and other aspects of my life for me to succeed. Furthermore, I need to commit to them and carry them out, the kicker. Otherwise, entropy takes over and I am lost in space, accomplishing nothing. SMART goals coupled with commitment, is my path forward 🙂

One thing I have realized about myself is if I am not able to see change in something, I am not likely to do it. I like being able to quantify things. I like making and seeing progress. I have been trying to figure out why I was not actively pursuing cleansing my blood, as my main pursuit of “healing” my cardiovascular system in an effort to help clear up my skin condition, as I had my other body systems. I’m in my 5th month of working on clearing up my skin, diagnosed with idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis. My thinking: if my body is in perfect homeostasis, and has all the proper nutrition it needs, it will heal itself. I have made a dermatologist’s appointment for next month, as there is little change, but I do think there is some :), in my skin after 5 months. I have, however, heard it can take up to a year to heal this, and it’s taken about 9 years to develop – so, I’m right within my yearly healing plan, maybe.

Back to it – I came to the reason for barely pursuing cleaning my blood to being that I have not thought I would see progress, in addition to the fact that I was going to focus on juicing. I think the latter is what has deterred me the most honestly. I tried juicing only once this month so far, and am easily deterred by it, remembering more why I don’t do it. I’m not a fan of juicing.

Juicing is messy, and I have since found myself bothered at how wasteful it is, as well. I will say, however, the first and only day I have juiced, so far, I made beet juice with apple, spinach and carrots I think it may have been the best drink I’ve ever made and had in my life. It was so delicious! Another issue, however, is that you hardly get anything for what you put in:

Beet, Carrot, Apple and Spinach deliciousness. Not much B for B, but it’s tasty, and super healthy! And, it’s so pretty in color! 🙂

I must have needed it also for it to be so good, too, I surmise. I had this happen to me the first time I ever juiced carrots over 20 years ago, which I never liked cooked, but when juiced, I found were delicious! Maybe my body needed them, that is what I guessed at the time. I couldn’t figure out why else something I’d always hated would be so incredibly delicious to me! In addition to the mess and waste, I had very little juice actually produced, unlike my fruit and veg smoothies which produce a ton and keep me filled up for a long time. I am willing to pursue this more too, now that I will have more time, come Saturday, as my first official day of summer break, so I will pursue it more, then, with cleansing recipes. Yah! So happy for summer break and to be healthily and readily heading into it.

I am going to give this a go for at least three full days focusing on at least everything I should be to cleanse and alkalinize my blood – a 3 day cleanse. That work perfectly, time wise. It will take me out of this month and into the next where I will likely focus on the lymphatic system, continue to cleanse my blood, and get rid of my high cholesterol, hopefully. Tonight I bought my juice components – more beats, cucumber, ginger, lemon, cilantro, parsley and kale. I already have apples and carrots. For the next 3 days, I’m gonna hit it. It’s SMART:

  1. Specific: I will juice for at least 1 meal per day, and eat some food that is good for cleansing my blood at each meal over the next three days, to start. I will also carry out some form of cardiovascular exercise for my heart.
  2. Measurable: I will have 1 juice drink per day and at each meal food that will be cleansing I will walk, run, bike for at least 30 minutes/day.
  3. Attainable: I can do this for three days, ,and have everything I need to do to achieve this goal and monitor my progress.
  4. Realistic: This is achievable. I’ve already bought the food, have a juicer and have free time over the next 3 days. All goals set are realistic.
  5. Timely: 3 days – piece of cake. I can do it.

One thing I have gotten too is a smart watch – my phone however seems smarter, but it does not monitor my heart – one of the main reasons I got this baby. I have a resting heart rate of 62 according to my reading today – I just got this. But, as I just looked at my heart rate, and it’s at 50. A good, normal resting heart rate for adults is 60 – 100 beats per minute (BPM), and the fewer beats, the more efficient. A well-trained athlete is at about 40 bpm – a goal I can shoot for:)

I have realized this about myself this month – if I don’t have a specific goal, I don’t really progress. In my “absence” of progress, however, I have found how to better progress in my life, and that I am better with goals – whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, professional, or personal – what ever they are – I am more efficient with them, and happier to a degree – they make me feel like I am striving toward something and personally achieving something too which I always like. So, though my blood might not yet be cleaner, and I have murkied up my waters a bit in my aimlessness, I have made progress again, still, mentally which is impacting me on a spiritual and physical level, too, and clearing my path for success.

I need to get back on the horse. I have finally gotten back “on” sugar as of last week. Not a good result, either. I’d quit for Lent and didn’t go back until the middle of last week. I have had, since then, a pan of brownies, and a gallon (2 bogo 1/2 gallons) plus a quart of ice cream. Ice cream is my “island food.” It doesn’t seem like much when you are eating it, but it all adds up. I was shocked when I added this up. I have also seen, I think, the results on my thighs. Oddly, I have also gained weight I’ve noticed, but this was before I went back on sugar – odd. I’m guessing all the sitting in quarantine has caught up with me despite my good diet and exercise regime I’ve been on.

I was walking the other day and literally felt, and still do, my waist/torso on my arms as I walk, something that never had happen to me before, but now, I notice, and I’m not much of a fan, but I do have other perks – my “wrinkles” on my face have smoothed out a bit and I look younger – yah! Bigger breasts too, but barely:) I prayed for the former, and got heavier. It works:) Prayer, answered. Thanks, Lord!

At any rate, I will be “cleansing” my blood for three days straight come Saturaday and move on to body system 6 from there, but may pursue more of this blood cleansing and will be back to clean eating, as well. I have begun eating bread too, and a couple nights ago I felt sick to my stomach – I’d had a couple of egg sandwiches through out the day, and pizza at night and some ice cream. I lay in bed, even know it had been hours since I’d eaten, and I felt nauseous. I knew I had to get back to a better diet and I was glad I felt sick b/c I could see how my body responds to poor eating. I do believe I felt sick too as a result of all this poor eating for the past week. I like that my body needs good food, and I like eating that way too. I was glad to realize all this over the past day. Bread’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but it definitely has it’s place.

I was reminded last night that we are often given choices in life and need to make our choice between the extremes. For me anyway. I am all or nothing more often than not, and my all for now will be choosing health. It’s exciting to me too b/c I have 9 weeks of summer ahead of me to focus seriously on where I am physically – wholly – taking more seriously and to the next level my health and my life. And, I am starting for now, on the next three days.

I’m glad to be back on the healthy horse, progressing forward in the direction of improved health, making smart goals and planning for my many successes in my physical well-being which I know spills over into all of the other areas of my life. I’m glad too I get sick when I eat poorly, and that I need healthy food. I’m getting back on it! Yah! Juice cleanse, here I come.

To my health and yours!

Holly

Part 2, Month 4 – Digestion – Persisting Beyond My Goal: My best lesson, yet!

One of my valuable lessons I’ve learned and am now employing: when you have given yourself a difference, a difference in lifestyle, a difference in behaviors, whatever it is, and the time to make that difference, keep it going. Keep making the difference.

Commitment to Running

This past month brought blessings to me in the form of commitment. I found myself successful in two areas – my gut health and my behavioral/emotional health. At the onset of the month, I found myself finishing a run and the number 28 popped in my mind – I will run for 28 days, I thought.

Later on, it occurred to me that 28 days, ending May 1, is ample time to create a new habit. Now that was not my intention at all, but I knew good things would maybe happen in those 28 days if I ran consistently.

I forgot about the aspect of the agreement I made with myself to actually run for 28 consecutive days, but I did exercise the whole time minus 2 or 3 needed breaks for my knees. I’ve found myself doing a day on, a day off, if that is what my knees dictate. I’m glad to be running at all! Gotta take it easy on my sweet knees, though, and I must listen to them.

Positively delighted, I am in such good shape now. My knees and legs feel stronger than they have been in ages. I’m feeling younger with these stronger knees and it feels so good sometimes to run almost like I’m getting a deep tissue massage in them. I am still careful though because my knees feel fragile still at times.

Why am I focusing on running when month 4’s focus was digestion? I have found that…running is excellent for digestive health.

Walking is also good for it. Movement in general, really, and I have found in the process, there is a greater impact on your digestion when you take deep belly breathes while you exercise which assists in getting things moving in the nether regions.  Constipation is an issue for many people simply because they lack the movement they need to help their bowels move.

Take Away #1 -Persisting Beyond the Goal – Take it to the Next Level

My main take-away this month: persist after the goal is accomplished. I’ve stuck to this diet and exercise so well and it’s really paying off. I’m not looking to ban it now because I “no longer have to” run or eat well – eating for my digestion I have found to be the healthiest I’ve eaten, maybe forever, given the length of time I’ve stuck to this. So, I intend to persist beyond the goal. Why?

Decades ago, I had an opportunity to quit a behavior for 30 days, which I did, and, at the end of that 30 days I had another opportunity to go back to it. I did, despite my true desire not to because of a familiar prompting. I wish I hadn’t. I fell from a lifestyle I was just starting to pursue and would have done well at it had I stuck with it and not let that behavior distract me. My choices since then, when I have given myself a goal and reached it, mostly (not always) I have gone back to how I behaved previously, delighted I could do it again, like with sugar, couldn’t wait to binge on it, but this time, I have no interest in going back. I’m almost a little bit skittish, like I want to keep pursuing the healthy life. So, that is my take away – persist in the after-glow of your achievement. Let it take root and become you.

Yesterday my 28 days of exercise ended, and I am pleased to say that, coupled with the diet, mostly consisting of fruit/veg smoothies and brown rice and veggies, I have done it honestly, and found I enjoy this new, healthy lifestyle. So, I will persist!!

                My total exercise units this past month:

                Bike: 50 minutes     Walk: 3.5 hours Run: 35 miles                    

This morning I hit the bridge and ran just over 2 miles. I’m still reluctant to eat sugar, but I do know I will likely get more bread and crackers to eat with my eggs and salads. However, if I maintain my refined sugar abstinence, I will be fine. That is my downfall.

In the absence of crackers or bread…guac, chickpeas and tuna…together! Mmm.

I have learned that there there is no short-cutting health. It’s a simple recipe, but discipline is required, and as I engage, I really enjoy my process. That is what I like most, and what I was hoping for I guess too from my 28 days, was it would impact positively other areas of my life. Not much more has changed, although I have been finding I am “digesting” my behaviors and emotions much for effectively, too, keeping what’s healthy and letting the other pass. Just like digestion!!

I have also learned from this past month that real change takes time. Overnight cures for life-long habits will not be long-lasting.

One of my valuable lessons I’ve learned and am now employing: when you have given yourself a difference, a difference in lifestyle, a difference in behaviors, whatever it is, and the time to make that difference, keep it going. Keep making the difference – keep making the positive changes that are leading you to what your desire, to the woman you desire to be – being her is only a matter of time:)

Persist with the change. It will become you at some point. You will become that vision of yourself you desire most when you persist and allow the change to take root.

We become what we give ourselves to.

Take-away #2: Breaking the Food Spell

Last night, I will say, I had an urge to go to the store and get some “goodie-baddies” but I don’t really care to open that door. So I didn’t. I find another result of this month beneficial – it is the first time I have gone without dinner on several occasions in maybe the past ten years or more. I am a feeder! :O)

It is a rare day in the meat-packing plant when I ever don’t feed myself dinner.  I feel this month, I have broken the food-spell over myself. Jesus said of certain spirits that they only come out by prayer and fasting. I have fasted and believe the spirits that have come out: the spirits of gluttony and lust (over food). I have employed the spirit of self-control over and over, and am really letting my body decide when/if I will eat because I need to, more so than because I want to. So that is another beneficial take-away from this month.

Phase 2 – Probiotics

Mid-month, after I found the food and exercise regime were paying off and found that “this house is clean,” I began taking pro-biotics. I felt my digestive situation had become barren enough to where I could start taking supplements that would have a chance to populate my gut because they would be able to find their way to it and not be lost in the mire of intestinal gunk. I am not sure how they are working. Funny thing about that, I was reading the back of the box when I got home and found these benefits on there for the vagina and found out the whole pill box said “vaginal probiotics.” I got a kick out of that because I wasn’t paying attention when I bought them; I was on the phone and noticed how many billion they had and figured those were the one’s for me! Vaginal health, I’m all for it! I had no idea they made pro-biotics for that!

At any rate, there are so many different strains in this. I have only looked up a few studies on them which are included on the links at the bottom, but I put the highlights of two different species of the same genus, below, in case you know nothing of different probiotic benefits. Here, you can get a glimpse – at least what these two studies found.

Month’s past I focused a lot on supplementation, but only this month have I found myself really using food heavily and taking only probiotics (1/2 the month) and some liver detox tea to help my digestive health.

I am going to end there. I hope you got something out of this. I know I did. I’m glad to be persisting beyond the goal and encourage you, A. To get a goal, and B. Make it a lifestyle change – meaning, you’ve used the goal to set you up for a change in lifestyle and you will keep taking it to the next level!

To My Health & Yours!

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Best Sunday Studying. April 26. Happy and Healthy Persisting in My Interests.

Probiotic Studies and Information, as mentioned above.

L. reuteri is able to inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes and remodel the commensal microbiota composition in the host.

Second, L. reuteri can benefit the host immune system. For instance, some L. reuteri strains can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines while promoting regulatory T cell development and function. Third, bearing the ability to strengthen the intestinal barrier, the colonization of L. reuteri may decrease the microbial translocation from the gut lumen to the tissues. 

L. rhamnosus is one of the most widely used probiotic strains. Various health effects are well documented including the prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhea, and stimulation of immune responses that promote vaccination or even prevent certain allergic symptoms. However, not all intervention studies could show a clinical benefit and even for the same conditions, the results are not univocal. Clearly, the host phenotype governed by age, genetics and environmental factors such as the endogenous microbiota, plays a role in whether individuals are responders or non-responders. However, we believe that a detailed knowledge of the bacterial physiology and the LGG molecules that play a key role in its host-interaction capacity is crucial for a better understanding of its potential health benefits.

Learning Obedience Through What I Suffer

Running Scared

Tonight I went for a run. It was late. After about 1/2 mile I felt to finish, but I didn’t want to. I’d hardly run at all. I kept going. I turned around after I’d gone a little over a mile. I was deep in the woods. It was getting dark. I got scared. I began to think bad thoughts. I changed them and began to pray and began to sing praises of thanks for being protected. I was still scared. I was reminded of the importance of listening to God’s direction, of being obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit – Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered.

Obedience is not only for our benefit, say, but it is also protective, and still beneficial, because it may prevent us from suffering.

We may get the benefits of whatever God has for us when we listen, and follow, but we may also suffer when we are disobedient. Luckily tonight I was granted mercy, and got a lesson out of it and no more suffering other than the panic I felt while running.

May we have ears to hear and walk in obedience that we may not suffer.

Hebrews 5: 7 – 10

7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him; 10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Holly

Loved Within — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” -Pema Chödrön ◊ You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worth it. Wishing everyone a blessed […]

Loved Within — Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

Progress: Month 4 – Digestion

Exercise is excellent for digestive health!

I have been working on a different body system for healing my skin from the beginning of this year until now.

So far, I have noticed little difference in my skin – my legs have what have been diagnosed with what is called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH) – I have white spots because my body has stopped producing melanin, doctors don’t know why, they are “incurable, and the sun makes them worse.” The latter part I believe as true, but the former, I am a firm believer that if our body has the nutrients it needs to heal, it will.

So, each month I have been focusing on “healing” or treating well each different body system using exercise, supplementation and/or diet. I have focused on the integument, the skeletal/muscular and the immune system. And, this month, the digestive system.

I believe this month has been my most successful month, yet. I have not noticed as much of a difference in my other systems, I think because I only had a month working on them, and I don’t think you can tell much of a change in those systems in that short period of time, but I will say I did notice a slight difference in my muscular/skeletal system with the yoga I’d been doing and the fish oils I was taking. That made a difference in alleviating some of my pain.

The gut can change pretty quickly. In 2 – more days, a meal will have moved completely through your system. I had a lot of issues my first few days. One of the things I have looked forward to is getting my stomach to be more flat again. I had this hypothesis as I noticed my “gut growing,” that our intestines must also grow. I wasn’t seeming to gain much weight, though I did notice a bit of fat beginning to come around my mid-rib, but more than anything I noticed I was bulging out. My thought, in considering other woman and men that I see that get big around the waist but may not be “fat” is that there intestines are growing larger. Does that make sense? Well, I looked it up and intestines do grow. Those people who are big around the mid-section also may have a serious yeast problem – candida. I learned that years ago from “Chief Two Trees,” an Indian medicine-man my mom and I went to while I Was in high school. I always remembered that.

Yesterday was monumental in this month’s health journey.

I feel like my intestines took a turn – it seems to be that I have eaten well enough for the past two weeks that my intestines are performing as they should. I have not really had digestive issues I wouldn’t really say, but after yesterday, I will say that I think an individual’s bowel movements determine how good their diets are, and maybe I haven’t had as good of a diet as I thought.

There was a demonstration I saw about 10 years ago while at a work-related health function that I always think profound when considering how what we eat will affect us. The demonstration showed what food ends up being like in our intestines after we eat it, and the difficulty food may have moving through the system, depending on what it is. The first demonstration represented what we might eat at a birthday party, cake and chips are all I remember. The woman shoved the cake and chips into this clear PVC tube and tried to push it through. It was challenging, and icky. The second demonstration showed what would happen when eating nuts and apples – they fell right through the tubing.

Food good for digestion – fiber – soluble and insoluble – both helping the digestive process, whether it’s adding bulk to your stool, increasing or decreasing digesting, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

I have eaten nuts on a regular, and recently, brown rice has been a staple.

I haven’t bought bread, but have been eating a little bit of pasta when I crave it. I’ve been making more smoothies, have rarely overeaten. One of the main staples I’ve added that I found before this month is that exercise is excellent for digestion, especially running. A sedentary lifestyle is among the top causes of constipation. Running, and moving, in general, is going to stimulate the bowels.

So, yesterday and last night, I found my bowels took a turn for the better, and the foods I’ve been eating and the regular exercise, and the not overeating at any (almost) meal, has found me feeling fantastic. There’s a lighter feeling I have.

I felt yesterday how I want to keep maintaining this behavioral lifestyle. It’s clean. It’s my temple, and yes, as I am feeling the benefits better than ever before, I want to keep clean. Honoring my temple that carries my soul around, as my mom put it.

Night Running!

For lent, I gave up sugar, and I have yet to go back to it. It is not good for digestive health!! It is awful for our skin!

Phase II: Here’s where I’m at. Since yesterday, I feel like I’ve gained benefits from this eating pattern, so much so that I am going to the next level.

Now that my system is working to the degree, I believe it should be, and I am “clean,” I am going to introduce more grains – barley, an insoluble fiber, and avocados and raspberries. Also, insoluble.  I will also add greater proportions of enzymes in the form of pineapple which I will put more of into my smoothies, and maybe some more. More research on that.

My last, and final addition, that I know of at this time, will be the addition of probiotics. Yes, we’ve heard they are good for gut health, but my interest in addition to that, is the skin-gut connection they offer. I have yet to research that to the degree that I can discuss more in-depth, but I will, and hopefully this will also help my skin, my main purpose for beginning this journey – to cure the IGH. That may help, as well. I will say I think I have discovered I also have developed a basal carcinoma. I’m making a dermatological appointment soon. More to come on both of those.

So, my biggest suggestions to date for your gut health and digestion:

  1. Eat lots of brown rice and vegetables together, fruits, nuts, and other whole grains.
  2. Exercise – run if you can. Breath deeply while doing so, if you can. Be sure you’ve got a bathroom close, if you can.
  3. Drink lots of water
  4. Do not overeat.
  5. Breath deeply. 😊

More to come…

To my health and yours! Be Well.

Holly

Blessed by the Resurrection: Glory to Glory

I’ve often wonder why people lose their faith, and figured it must be because they never really gave God a real shot – they never had the really hard trials of life and got to the other side where they knew it was the hand of God that got them there.

Testimony

So, 13 years ago, Lent, I chose to give us cigarettes (19 years), alcohol (19 years), weed (15ish years). I thought if I could do it for 40 days, that would be a good start, and I may be home free. This was part of my desire to really be repentant though – I think I had been baptized earlier that year and thought to see if I might go back to weed again, if God would still love me, but everything in me told me not to, but I did instead – only because when I voiced it one day, the weed showed up another, and I decided to go for it. What a horrible move! I think I started on everything again, too. Well, all hell broke loose after that time in many awful ways, I got boils on my face, a first, my brother and I had the worst fights of our life – we weren’t prone to fighting, and it was awful! And, a terror stuck through my house that I will not go into.

While at a friend’s house “partying” one night as my norm, I inquired as to what lent was. When he told me, I thought I could certainly use that – being repentant. I had been really “bad” lately, and I needed to do that.

I gave up everything. The first two weeks were a bear, but I made it through and made it through to the 40 days. I thought if went back after that, I was an idiot. I’d already been baptized, and had long striven to be free of drugs, alcohol and smokes, everything, and, lent proved my way out of that mess again, and I desperately needed it.

I stayed clean and free of that.

I used to go to AA on and off, but I guess in my heart never felt like an alcoholic though I drank like one most times. My thinking – it was a bad habit, and yes, it was. My belief too was this was between me and God. If I could get that worked out, and believe He really loved me, I wouldn’t need to drink, nor would I need AA. Something like that.

At any rate, I never went back to AA, and though in the past 13 years I have had 6 drinks on 4 different occasions, I am free.

Grace Permanently Changes Us

What I have come to know is that the grace of God is what changes us permanently. Now, he will give us over to our ways, if we choose to persist in those as referenced in Romans 1:24, but I fought for so long to be free, and I am. There was such a desire in me to be pure, yet I had lived in bondage for so long that it was tremendously hard to stay free for any length of time – I always knew I would go back because mentally I hadn’t worked out my issues, even with years of sobriety at different times. However, once we are free, we are free indeed!

Jesus Christ came as grace and truth, John 1;17. I had my aunt say some years back, “There but the grace of God go I.” I never understood that statement truly when I heard it in AA, but knowing what I did then, and having experienced his freeing grace in other circumstances in my life, I knew what it meant, finally, that day it came from her lips.

Living the Resurrected Life – Glory to Glory

So, Easter Sunday – the Resurrection. The old man is gone, all things have been made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 more fully reads: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

I feel the reason I don’t go back to my old ways, other than they are death, and I lived the terror they ushered in after I went back, is because I have experienced the resurrection life since then.

I’ve often wonder why people lose their faith, and figured it must be because they never really gave God a real shot – they never had the really hard trials of life and got to the other side where they knew it was the hand of God that got them there.

That is what I believe keeps me believing. I trusted in the hard times. I sought God. I did my part. God presented Himself as real to me. I have stayed a believer because of these many trials that have showed me God – where God let me find Him. “Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find.” Matthew 7:7.

My point in telling you all of this today – just to give a shout of to the Lord – to Jesus, the savior of my life. He is real. God is real. They are here for us – Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly.

I thought this morning also about this limitation I feel in myself, and from where it’s come. I’m not speaking of it here today because I have only just realized it, but I know that it’s just another level, another hump I give to God now that I’ve recognized it – to lay at the cross, and to be an overcomer even of it to usher in the next level of glory. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:8. Keeping my eyes focused on Jesus, not myself, will usher in with the Spirit of the Lord, to the next level of glory in my life.  

As I wrap myself as a cocoon in the word of the Lord to transform my mind, and body during this next season of my life, I trust I will transform again to the next glorified state to come. I feel this so completely right now.

So, my friends, embrace the resurrected life – usher in the Spirit of the Lord – the risen Christ had died for us and been raised that we might live fully these beautiful, wonderful lives we’ve been given.

Happy Easter. May you come to know the risen Christ in your life and your family’s. The old things are gone, behold, all things have been made new!

Thank you for reading. May you become one in the risen Christ.

Holly