Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized, weight loss

Staying the Healthy Course

IMG_24332014 was a massive year for myself and my family. It was the year of transformation for me from unhealthy to healthy: from overweight to slimmer; from near death to alive; from mind numbing work to fulfillment. So many changes, challenges, and victories! I saw these not only in myself but in my family as well.

In terms of weight loss I was able to shed nearly 40 lbs or 20 kilos. The change was so dramatic to my body, on a trip home after a few weeks away, in the dead of night Paul could not work out who was sleeping with him and freaked out!

Fast forward 4 years and many overseas trips and challenging dietary situations and I have still managed to maintain the weight loss give or take a few kilos. It has not been easy!

Less and More

One of the mind changes I had in 2014 was that this was no diet experience. This was a life-style change. From now on my life had to consist of less– less stress, less of amounts of food, less of fats and sugars,  and less of those foods that cause me pain – night shade plants. It also consisted of more – More regular exercise, more regular sleep, more regular examination of where I am at with calories and step counters, more fun paths, more laughter, more peace and joy, more of those things that bring me joy.

When we focus on the less so much we can gain a mindset of lack rather than abundance. We feel deprived and that in turn will cause us to falter and feel somehow we are missing out. With that sense of deprivation it may not be long before we find ourselves breaking out!

I also don’t beat myself up. If I find I have had more rather than less of or less rather than more, I get up and start again. I love that His mercies are new every morning! Every day when the sun comes up I have a clean slate to start again regardless of the day before.

Today is a new day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay the course. Keep going. You are unstoppable if you don’t stop!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, travel, Uncategorized

Achieving Goals – Change Now!

Again I wrote this in 2015 but still as relevant today two years later!! It doesn’t have to be the New Year to start to change your life!

The way to achieving your goals – START

I saw a great post the other day that basically said , “In 2015 I am going to complete the goals I set in 2014 that I didn’t finish in 2013 that I had set in 2012 etc”

How many of us do that? Set goals and then life gets in the way and bang before you know it the year has flown and nothing has been done to get you toward your goal. We should say we are setting up our good intentions!

One day a few years ago when I was jalking (jog-walking) along the beach I noticed something about focus.

As I headed up the beach I kept my eyes focused on a cliff that overshadows the beach area. Whenever I stayed focus, I could look behind me and see my footprints in the sand were fairly straight. When I strayed in thought and started to wander off , I could look behind and see my foot prints straying all over the place. I was still heading the right direction but I was deviating off course considerably without noticing.

I realized how important focus was to not waste time or energy or direction.

Last year was one of those years. As a couple we had determined a few goals. However, immediately, I became sick in the first few weeks of the year and was flat on my back. I read a book by an old missionary, Praying Hyde. It was inspiring to hear of the amount of prayer this faithful intercessor did: Praying all night, for hours, for days. I was inspired and determined. Things were going to change.

I set myself to focus on prayer, fasting and studying the Word. The days turned to weeks, turned to nearly 2 months. In that time I can honestly say I really didn’t “feel” like I had broken through to any great degree yet within a couple of days I was amazed how quickly God moved. One of those areas was for Paul to get work he loved and opportunities to open up before us.

We shouldn’t have been but we were surprised when literally a day after praying that way the phone rang and he was asked to go to the Philippines to help with the rebuild after Typhoon Yolanda.

He headed off while I planned to go to him after getting a few things sorted in Australia. Then a few weeks after that we received some very challenging news – our grandson Josiah had the leukaemia he had been in remission from, return. It was a blow to us all but our daughter told us to continue to make plans to go thinking they had another 2 years left of chemotherapy. However, a few weeks later it became evident the cancer was not going into remission as well as the doctors liked, enough to say it would never come back.

Bone marrow was really the only option in the natural to follow up on for him to survive – in the natural.

In the spirit we continued to believe that as his name says, Healed by Jehovah. Josiah was an amazing little trooper and literally from March through to October his life and the family’s life revolved around hospitals and doctors. For a 4 year old he was inspirational!

As I reflect on just what goals I set myself during that time of prayer I realize just how much we did achieve what we set out to do despite the challenges and forced change of direction!

Reflecting on goals these are my 5 steps to achieving them in 2015

  • Check your progress.

One of the keys to setting goals is to look behind.  Watch just how far your footprints have deviated off course or stayed on course depending on your focus.

  • Celebrate the victories along the way.

One of my goals was to lose 20 Kilos by Dec 2014. I managed 17. Am I unhappy with that? Of course not but I am still inspired to complete my goal this year and in fact need to add another 5kg on to that amount to achieve my final goal weight.

  • Be realistic.

A building has to have a plan, projections, a budget, a time frame and resources to see it happen. A plan doesn’t happen just by writing it down but that is the start and you need to start. Be realistic in terms of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve. But by the same token – dream big. 

  • Let go.

  If it turns out you didn’t really want to do or become something, be prepared to let it go. Keeping on keeping on for the reason of staying the course is senseless. 

  • Don’t Give Up or In.

 Just as important as step 4 is to keep moving forward despite road blocks and humps. Despite life’s challenges goals can be achieved they just might look a little different or be on a different time line.

The Chinese are calling this the year of the sheep…We proclaim it the year of the Lord’s favour. As you wait on the Lord you will be successful in all you do!  Let’s get started. Blessed in 2015….

Now that I look back over that year I am in such amazement at just what that year produced…more on that later!

 

 

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Achieving my goal to walk every day! Something I struggled hard to achieve after years of inactivity. 
Posted in Christian living, Life, Love, Marriage, sexual issues, Uncategorized

A Good Marriage Does Good Like Medicine

I wrote this at 39 years married. We are now approaching 42 years! I wrote this blog in health and wellness for a reason. Having a healthy marriage can improve the health of people – note I say healthy; as a sick marriage can cause some major health issues, both physically and emotionalley. Here are my thoughts on maintaining a healthy marriage.

I think if you have a good marriage you are less prone to many of the other stresses of life which cause dis-ease and sickness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I am not saying that married couples are healthier than singles I am just saying that being in a happy relationship is definitely a healthy way to live.

Someone asked me the other day what did we do to have a good marriage?

I had to stop and think about it. There are quite a few answers to that one but I guess the first one comes from what I carried down the aisle on our wedding day 39 years ago instead of the traditional wedding bouquet – A Bible. A bunch of flowers is lovely but are a bit like some expectations after the wedding – Nice for a day but die quickly thereafter. I wanted something that would reflect what I wanted from my entire marriage not just the wedding day…a foundation of Truth.

We had decided that at the very outset, the Word of God was our foundation. We also really only sang one song during our service – Turn your eyes upon Jesus which is what we have done over the 39 years (41 now).

Has it been easy? No. Have there been tears – on both sides? Absolutely! Have there been fights? For sure! Has there been anger? Of course! Has there been love? Lots!  Fun? Insane amounts!

We never started off on an easy footing. We were both young. I was 17. He was 20. We were dirt poor. We both carried incredible baggage. We were both insecure in many areas. We both were determined – in good and bad ways. We both loved the Lord.

There have been some really hard times where divorce could have been an easy out. I guess I was particularly proud and determined not to have my parents and others say, “I told you, you were too young.” I was also determined that the enemy would not have his way in destroying yet another marriage.

I believe the enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy two institutions ordained of God for millennia – marriage and the church. So we did not want to be a statistic and we have fought hard to keep our marriage together and strong.

I also know we are often our own worst enemies, desiring our own ways, living for ourselves and not desiring the best for others above our own needs. This spells disaster to any relationship.

There have been a lot of learning experiences but these would be my top 10 steps if applied, for a relationship to survive .

  1. Keep Christ number ONE – by being in relationship with Him and keeping the Word of God as your guide and praying together. We always say to each other there is Someone we love more than the other. He is our #1.
  2. Forgive, forgive, forgive, Keep short accounts – 1 Corinthians 13 saved our 4 year old marriage when I realized I didn’t ‘love’ my husband anymore – meaning I didn’t feel like I loved him. I had to learn what true love is. I learned not to keep a record of wrongs…more on that in a later blog. Never forget; You are not perfect – neither is your partner!
  3. No/Know you can’t change the other person – you can only change yourself and how you behave or react.
  4. Give 100% without expecting anything back – When you give with that kind of love you will receive it back. I know we are told it is a 50:50 arrangement but when you only give 50% there are bound to be some issues down the track.
  5. On the same token – love yourself – Don’t neglect yourself and become a doormat. Know what you want and express that as well. Don’t lose yourself in the other person.
  6. Communication is a must. Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner – we are not all the same and have different ways to express ourselves.
  7. Keep passion alive – This is a blog in itself..but if you lose the passion in your relationship you set yourselves up for looking elsewhere for excitement. After the kids leave home the two of you are left and that is a lot of years looking at each other if you don’t find fulfillment in each other anymore. Don’t let the kids and life, dictate your passion. Fall in love with each other frequently.
  8. Keep intimacy alive – different to passion…Non-sexual touch and kind words are important. Learn to do things you like together.
  9. Be kind to one another – Spiteful, critical, demeaning words do damage and are hard to take back.
  10. Keep humour alive in a marriage – have fun! Life is hard enough without losing your ability to laugh at yourselves and the situations you face together as a family.

Keeping your marriage healthy and fun will aid a long way to keeping you each healthy. So plan to make this year a turning point in your marriage and enjoy the experience.

 

Until next time

Narelle

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Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!
Posted in internet marketing, Life, Uncategorized

Siri the Brilliant

I have never liked the thought of speaking to a computer! It must be the movies around where the super computer goes rogue that set me off. It could just be my aversion to speaking to a machine and constantly feeling  inferior to it!

Yesterday we listened as Siri melted down in response to numerous questions, due to our aussie accents perhaps or maybe the type of questions we were asking.  She just couldn’t get it and the more we spoke slowly or tried different approaches the worse her responses became.

We needed to know something this morning so asked Siri, wondering if she had recovered her sanity from yesterday’s melt down.

After getting correct answers to our questions, we decided to have some fun with it.

The conversations went something like this.

Us, “Siri you’re brilliant.”

It, “I aspire not to greatness but to usefulness.”

Us, Paul actually, “I think you have a sexy voice.”

It, “I’m glad you think so!” (First time she just repeated it and tried to find something online regarding the comment)

Us, “Siri do you think?”

It, “I most certainly can.” (The first time she made a similar comment)

Us, “Do you have feelings?”

It, “Virtual assistants have feelings, too.

Sniff. At least, I think I do!” (First time – I feel we should get back to work)

Us, “Thank you Siri!”

It, “You are most welcome!”

Then I tried to see if she responded differently to a female voice

Me…”Siri do you like me?”

It, “Thy friendship makes us fresh.”

Me, “Do you like my husband?”

It, “I would rather not say.:

Me, “Do you get jealous?”

It, “I’ve never really thought about it.”

After a few questions relating to feelings, we finally said, “So you don’t have feelings!”

Its response – “I don’t want to argue!”

Some of the responses left us gob-smacked! I know the computer geeks are out there going…it’s just a binary code!! I know that, but it still freaks me out when a machine can process thoughts about feelings.

I guess I do feel we give machines way too much power in our lives already. It’s not so much the machine but the people running the machines with information gathering and controls.

There are so many things that can happen with all that information. We know the possibilities but we all try not to think about them! Artificial intelligence – where the computer is able to change its own programming as it “develops”. That is more than a little intimidating to me!

I remember talking with a computer geek one time and as he told me some things, I commented that he was freaking me out.

He commented, “Some nights it’s hard to sleep when you think about what can be done!”

People love them. People hate them. Some have no feelings about them at all – they just use them. Like them or love them computers are here and controlling our lives on every level. Think not! Try driving your car, household machines, phone, airplanes, shipping, even your coffee machines now! They are everywhere! Farmers even use them to grow crops and livestock more effectively! Oh and don’t forget the humble computer itself that we all rely on so heavily!

Turn the plug off and see what would happen.

Ok! Scared you enough for the day! Go have a chat to Siri! I am sure she will make you feel better.

Blessings Until next time!

Narelle

 

 

Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, internet marketing, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, pornography, sexual issues, Uncategorized

Pornography and sexual issues

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I remember a conference I was at a few years ago for internet marketing. The training led to examining such sites as Second Life where people live as avatars in a fantasy world but pay in real dollar terms. As of 2013 it had over a million users engaging in this fantasy world.

The discussion led to other sites where avatars engage in violent sexual acts on-line. During the discussion some ignorant person commented and said, “Well at least it keeps them off the streets and from acting out.”

Why do I say ignorant? Because these people obviously do not understand the phases of addiction. As a counsellor and former manager of a rehab, I have seen and studied addiction and addicts. What initially gratified will eventually no longer satisfy and a stronger more potent form will be required to try to reach the first “hit”- but will rarely succeed.

What initially satisfied with being played out on-line, in the mind, in house, can eventually lead to a much graver scenario being required to maintain or worse, increase satisfaction. The more times graphic situations are played out on-line, visually etc. the greater the action required to fulfill that desire.

Why do I broach this subject that is already so widely discussed?

Recently I noticed an article regarding the views of 15 year old girls and how they are handling or not handling the epidemic of pornography from their young male peers and the pressures they are facing in terms of sexual relationships. I was so saddened to hear the depth of expectation to perform sexual exploits to have a relationship.

I remember as a 15 year old the pressures around then,in terms of magazines, books etc. that opened the mind and eye gates to pornography. Now there are so many more avenues to contend with, for not only young people but older people also.

When we have such movies and books as 50 Shades so sought after by women – I have to ask myself two questions – Why? and When?  Why would women support such violent relationships being portrayed and then cry “foul” when men are confused with “NO”! When will we learn that what we eat we become! What we watch and read – well……I am still in shock as to how many women have sought after this book and movie, including young Christian women  with the reasoning – “But he loves her.” Sorry people wake up! This is a lie from the pit and  not the kind of love anyone should aspire to!

Lust and its acts are never going to be contained without Christ – we are human and it is a condition of sinful man, but when we see laws abolished or not upheld with limited prosecuting of those who participate or sell pornography; magazine placement in stores go unchallenged or un-protested; TV shows, questionable movies and books supported by viewing and purchasing;  we can be assured we will reap the results. Violence against women and children increases. Unplanned pregnancies of teenage girls, and subsequent abortions rise. STD’s continue to plaque the population. We reap what we sow!

I love it when I hear of young people who have kept themselves for marriage and marriages that are untouched by the smell of the fire of lust.

I don’t stand in judgement of those who have failed in those areas, because it is only by grace that any of us stand, and I know the pain of these failures, but I pray for a standard and a voice for righteousness to arise to see this flood of lust and greed stemmed. I say greed because the bottom line is they are only selling what the market demands!  And it is not just those who call themselves non-believers. I have known men in church life to visit prostitutes regularly or struggle with pornography in a big way!

Pornography does damage on so many levels: Lives shattered, physically, emotionally, and most importantly – spiritually. Paul and the other apostles warned us constantly to withdraw from sexual immorality, in whatever form that comes.

We know though that when we repent we have someone who is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins! He can set us free from the bondages of sexual issues.

We will never see a complete demise of sexual deviancy in this world, because it is a matter of sin but we can alert our young people and remind ourselves of the need to guard our hearts always and start to speak up for purity!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in Christian living, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Goals for the year?

Ok…so my one goal to myself for this year is going to be to write something every day…That is about the only thing I will set in glue. The rest are just going to be plans…

My true goal though I have decided is to LOVE – that is what Corinthians tells us to do. Seek the best and Love is the best.

That is what I posted on Facebook for New Year,

so that makes it public and I am accountable, right? The funny thing was I met two amazing women at the local pub here on Eastern Shore in Virginia on New Years’ Eve  (only place open and didn’t want to sit out in the cold until 10pm to watch the crab pot fall…more on that later). I had posted about love that day and guess what we talked about for a couple of hours…you guessed it LOVE.

One girl has just divorced her husband and was feeling the pain. I mentioned about the love Paul the Apostle talks about in Corinthians 13! It turns out that was the verse they read at their wedding! More pain for her right there, as she felt that she had definitely not been walking in that realm of Love in her marriage.

Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing; but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.

The next morning on the first day of the year whilst attending a gorgeous little Baptist church here in Cape Charles, with a couple of new friends, the pastor preached on  – you guessed it, a call to duty to LOVE.

So I think what I will do in the next few blogs is dissect just what love is, how we get it, and how do we walk in it.

We are fed so many lies from the world on love eg. It’s a feeling.  It goes away. It makes us completely happy – if it doesn’t it mustn’t be right; have changed; have no hope so time to move on.

So I am going to dissect all of the above thoughts on love and see how I fare this year as I endeavour to walk in the Fruit of the Spirit one of which is love and just see how that is worked out in my life.

Trust you will enjoy the journey with me..and comments will be welcome!

Until next time Narelle

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The Great Crab Pot Drop of Cape Charles. It is dropped or rather lowered from the crane. Taking over from the Time Square Ball…only in America
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The Two of Us in front of the crab pot
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The great Crab Drop of 2017