Archives for March 2014

5 Simple Exercises

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As I was going through some things in my exercise room the other day, I came across a paper with these exercises written on it.  I can’t remember exactly what I copied it from, but I decided to give it a try because it looked quick and easy.

Do 20 reps 6 times each:

  • squats
  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • couch dips (tricep)
  • planks (20 seconds)

It wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought, especially the tricep dips!  I made it through 3 out of 6 sets and it took me about 12 minutes.  You can modify these exercises to meet your current fitness level, such as doing traditional push-ups or on your knees, adjusting how low you go for squats or dips or varying the sit-up position .  Also, I think this would be a great set of exercises for travel since there is no need for any special equipment.  To compensate for my poor memory skills, I moved 6 little rocks  from one pile to another to count down my 6 sets. (or 3 sets! :))

What do you think?  Why not download some tunes from this list of Christian work-out songs, crank up the music and give it a try!   Do you have any quick and easy exercise routines you enjoy?  As always, we would love to hear any feedback in the comments section!

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

The God Box

Greetings on this blustery snowy day in Michigan!!

I wanted to share with you something our Pastor did during children’s time last Sunday. A gracious man from our church made these beautiful little wood boxes that the pastor handed out to all of the children. He called them “God Boxes,” and explained how anytime something was bothering them, they could write it down and put it in the box. I noticed a few adults around me shaking their heads and indicated they thought it a great idea. I said to my neighbor, “I might need a little bigger box!”

So as I thought more about this I thought, this is REALLY a great idea! How many times do we all just let things rattle around in our heads, struggle with them, and let them stress us out, when all we really need to do is turn them over to God. I thought the box would be a great reminder to do this and I’ve found it very satisfying just writing it down, putting in the box for God to handle, and letting go. It is peaceful and made me feel good to get it off my mind.

I found a box at Hobby Lobby that seemed perfect for what I was looking for, but you could use almost anything you want. I kind of wanted mine to look special, and as I said, I needed a little bigger box than the kids. So here is my box!

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Have a great day!

Julie

Beautiful Beach

The weather has finally turned a little warmer here in Michigan and it is great to see people out walking, jogging or biking, even if we are still surrounded by snow!  Oh the life of a Michigander!  I can’t help but dream of warmer days and often find myself thinking of a vacation we took last February to Destin/Okaloosa Island Florida.  The Mister was there on military training for a month and we joined him for a week.

If you have never been to that area of Florida, I would definitely recommend it.  The white, sandy beaches are filled with shells, sea glass, sand dollars and interesting rocks.  It is a beach combers dream and my girls had a blast walking up and down the beach searching for treasures.  We did a Vacation By Owner Rental whicht had a spectacular ocean view and was just a short walk away from the beach.  The sunsets were breathtaking and one evening as Little One and I were walking and searching for treasure, we looked out to the ocean and saw dolphins frolicking in the waves! It was such a peaceful, family-friendly place.

So if you live here in the north and are tired of looking at the dingy, slushy snow, let your eyes rest on one of God’s beautiful creations.  Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip.

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Now wasn’t that a treat for your winter-weary eyes!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

The Love of a Dog

The Love of a Dog

“Until one has loved an animal,

a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

…Anatole France

So this is what happens when your kids grow up and leave the home. The pets now become the focus of your entertainment, pictures and laughter. As you can see I have been blessed with three of these four legged creatures. The oldest one, Riley, is the matriarch of the family. She was my daughter’s 16th birthday present. (My daughter is now 24, has her own house but doesn’t want that “hairy thing” in her house!!) The next lovely pup is Maya, Riley’s daughter. Maya doesn’t know she is a 85 pound golden retriever, she thinks she is a lap dog and when my recliner goes up she feels that is an automatic invitation to climb on my lap! Last summer, God only knows, we added this spunky little Schnauzer named Oreo. It was made very clear, very quickly when she arrived that there was a new boss in town. This tiny little thing pushed those dogs around and they let her. She is their chew toy, her cuddler, her personal warmer and probably a big pain in their necks, but they are always kind and gentle with her.

I don’t really remember a time in my life I haven’t owned a dog. And while I may complain a lot about what a pest they are, I don’t think I could ever be without one. I mean, who else greets you at the door like you have been gone for 20 years, even though it might have only been a few minutes. Is there anything more comforting than covering up on the couch and have the warm body of that dog curl around you. I think dogs are truly the only creature that loves unconditional. What great companions they make!! No matter how much we might yell at them, curse them out or secretly wish they would disappear, they still love us. And beyond being a great pet, dogs are therapeutic, service dogs, seizure dogs, anxiety dogs, drug dogs, bomb dogs, and have many other uses. A great story about a dog is called “Until Tuesday” by Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan. It is an amazing story. I am both excited and honored to be able to hear Capt. Montalvan speak in a couple of weeks.

So, if you have a dog, give it an extra hug. If you don’t, go visit one. Don’t forget to check out rescue sites. There are so many loving dogs just waiting for a home. As a matter of fact the fundraiser Capt. Montalvan will be speaking for is a Golden Retriever rescue.DSC_9920Well, now I think it’s cuddle time! Happy Friday!!

Why Ashes?

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“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered why today is called Ash Wednesday?  Today is the first day of Lent, which  is the forty day period (excluding Sundays) of the church year that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days alone with God in the wilderness in preparation for His public ministry.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes, which are traditionally from the burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service, are placed on one’s forehead in the sign of a cross.  The ashes symbolize mourning and repentance for sin.  In allowing a cross of  ashes to be placed on our forehead,  we acknowledge that we are in need of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness and that we have hope in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ.

Some people choose to give up or add something to their life during the Lenten Season as a way to limit distractions and turn their attention and focus more fully on God.  This year, I saw another friend post on Facebook that she was taking a break from it for the Lenten Season.  When I read it, I immediately knew this was what I needed to do this year too.  It has become a bit of a time waster for me and after Jules post on stepping away from technology, I thought it would be the perfect thing for me to give up for the Lenten Season.  It has only been one day, but it feels great to have a break from this distraction in my daily life.

How about you?  Are you giving up or adding anything to your life for this Lenten Season?

~Blessings,
Jen

 

Step Away from the Electronics!!

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I love people watching. It’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m out and about. Recently when visiting my daughter in Georgia, where the weather was MUCH better than it is here, I had the opportunity to go for some walks. The destination was a park that also had a walking track. I had taken my niece there one day during their visit and she loved it. Sadly, what I observed for the most part, was kids playing and mom’s sitting on benches on their phones. Kids calling out, “look at me” and mom’s acknowledging them with their attention clearly on their phones. This happened another time I was at a hotel pool. Dad sat on the side, in his bathing suit while his son played. He was glued to his phone. Despite his son constantly pleading with him to come in the pool, he never did. I find this really sad. These are such special moments with children, and many parents are just missing out. I guess they don’t realize just how fast this time is going to pass and their kids are going to quit asking them to join them.

I will admit I am as guilty as most when it comes to the phone, but when I am interacting with my grandkids or my niece, the phone is put away. Kids can be pretty funny if you just tune in. We call these times “memory makers.” I want my grandkids to remember the events we did together, not me observing from the sidelines with a phone in my hand. So, once again I say, “Step away from the electronics” and go have some fun. You will never regret these moments!

Have a great week,

Julie