Heart Choices: 2009-03-08

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Then Sings My Soul Saturday ~ Press On



This is the first time I'm participating in Then Sings My Soul Saturday. But I've visited many other participating blogs on Saturdays and ...what a blessing it's been! So, I'm joining Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders today.

I love Selah! This group came to my church one time and sang during our Sunday service. They have such beautiful voices.

Press On is a song that speaks to me right now. When life is uncertain and there are many challenges, it's easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. This song reminds me that I need to press on in Jesus' name.

After all, this isn't my real home; I'm just passing through. I need to keep my focus on Jesus.

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Fitness Friday ~ Pritikin Center


Today is Friday and so ...it must be Fitness Friday. I'm linking to Sandy's blog @ God Speaks Today. After all, she's the one who started Fitness Friday. And I have to say, the more I read her blog posts ...the more I've grown to love her.

Sandy is very real and transparent. I would encourage you to read her latest series called God Speaks Through the Storm. I'm amazed that after all she's been through, she still has such a loving, kind and fun heart. I think you'll be encouraged as you read her words. I'm so glad I can call her a blogging friend of mine.

Well, on to my Fitness Friday post!

I decided to write about something I learned about weight loss at the Pritikin program. This program was originally started by Nathan Pritikin who is no longer with us. It's a medically based health program for people who want to get serious about their health.

Greg and I had the opportunity to stay at their facility a number of years ago for three whole weeks. At that time, they were located in the Santa Monica Hyatt, which is oceanfront and next to the world famous pier. That's the one that you can often see in movies with the ferris wheel.

They've since moved to the east coast and the center is located at the Yacht Club at Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Florida. Hmm ...maybe I'm due for a healthy vacation?

The Pritikin program claims to have an important key to losing weight!

And since I believe it's important to be a life long learner, I thought I'd give you some information about this important key. It's called calorie density.

Most diet programs tell you what you can't eat and include all the "don'ts" that you shouldn't do like ..."you must cut calories" and "don't eat carbs".

But the strategy that the Pritikin program encourages is to ...add nine or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This will help you to lose weight.

And believe me, it works!

Both Greg and I lost weight during our stay and continued to lose after we returned home. Of course, they had us exercising our buns off, which were getting smaller over time.

Low calorie density foods are filled with water and fiber, which makes them heavy and more filling. So there are less calories contained in them. One of the main problems with trying to lose weight is the hunger that often accompanies cutting back on calories. If you eat lots of low caloric density foods, you won't experience chronic hunger.

In contrast, high caloric density foods have lots of calories. Examples include things like brownies, breads, cookies, butter, tortilla chips and oils.

It's all about the volume of food you eat. If each bite you eat has an average of 5 calories (like an apple), it's much better than each bite being about 50 calories (like a double cheeseburger).

With each bite, high calorie density foods can be up to 10 times the number of calories of low calorie dense foods!

So, here's your choice.

An apple= 60-100 calories

A plain Dunkin Donuts cake donut= 300 calories

Now, I'm not saying you can never have a donut again. But let's get educated about this and see the difference in calorie density.
One donut isn't very filling. I don't know about you but when I have a donut an hour later ...my blood sugar plummets and I feel terrible. And then I end up looking for something else to eat so I'll feel better.

If you increase the amount of fruit and vegetables (which are basically low calorie density foods), it will help control your feelings of hunger. It will also promote a feeling of satiety and at the same time ...reduce your energy (calorie) intake.

There have been many research studies to back this up. Recent NIH funded research from Penn State University analyzed 658 overweight people who also had high blood pressure. They were attempting to lose weight over a six month period.

The people who made the greatest reduction in calorie density lost the most weight averaging 13 pounds. Those who made the smallest reduction in calorie density lost the least amount of weight, averaging 5 pounds.

So, what does this mean for you?

Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet. Grab an apple instead of a donut when you need a snack. And don't forget to exercise!

Now how about you? What do you grab when those hunger pangs hit you? An apple or a donut? I really want to know!

And don't forget to visit Sandy for her Fitness Friday post.

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Serious Life Magazine


The March issue of Serious Life Magazine is available online now for free.

It doesn't get much better than that. You can view it for yourself by checking out this link.

Brent Riggs is the editor-in-chief of the magazine and if you know anything about him, you know it has to be quality information. He's been a Christian for more than 30 years and has an online ministry. He has several websites including Brent Riggs and Serious Faith. He's on the radio, is a talented photographer and web designer, along with many other talents.

For those of you who must be living on another planet (only kidding), Brent is also Abby's daddy. Brent and his wife Michelle write frequent posts on The Riggs Family Blog...where laughter lives. And Abby is one of their six children and is only four years old. She was adopted from Guatemala when she was six months old and was diagnosed in July of 2008 with an aggressive form of leukemia.

Abby has the sweetest personality. You may wonder how I could possibly know this, especially since I've never met her. Well, her dad posts so many videos of this precious child as she bravely battles her cancer. He gives us frequent updates on her condition.

Brent believes in the power of prayer. And he's not shy about asking people in the blogosphere to pray and ...to tell others to pray.

In the midst of the challenges that Brent and Michelle are facing at this time, they continue to praise God even though life isn't easy. They spend much time at the hospital with Abby. Meals consist of hospital cafeteria food. Michelle's background is nursing so I'm sure that's a big help in this situation. But it's always different when the patient is your own child.


You may have noticed this image on the right column of Heart Choices. And often you will see it on other bloggers' sites too. We're all trying to get the word out so more people will join us in praying for Abby.

Abby's bone marrow isn't producing the cells she needs and her white blood cell count is dangerously low. So, she often has to receive blood transfusions.

Right now, Abby has a fungus infection on her tongue and had to have her tongue painted purple with the medicine. She didn't like that until her good old dad agreed to have his tongue painted purple too. So, Abby and her daddy sported purple tongues!

How cool is that?
No wonder the Riggs Family Blog says "...where laughter lives".
In the midst of going through some very tough challenges, they've made the choice to bring laughter into their lives. And that is such good medicine!

Well, back to Serious Life Magazine. If you haven't checked it out ...you must! Inside its 190 pages, you'll find interesting articles, book reviews, Brent's reviews and (drum roll please) and 300 bloggers in their Blog Directory ...including Heart Choices. They've already had 480,000 page views!

So, don't waste any more time and check it out. And please don't forget to pray for Abby. She needs our prayers.
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7 Things People Don't Know About Me


I was tagged by Kristi of Kikoloni to participate in the meme "7 Things You Don't Know About Me".

If you've never visited her blog, you're in for a treat. She's a talented poet, photographer and even has a techie side. And best of all, she loves to share what she learns with others. She's also getting married in less than 40 days! And she's going to make a beautiful bride.


I have to post the rules to this one:

  1. I have to link to the person who tagged me and that was Kikoloni.
  2. I have to share 7 things about me that you may not know.
  3. I need to tag 7 people in my post and link to them.
  4. I need to let them know they've been tagged.
So here goes my list:

  1. I forgot how much I enjoyed writing. When I was in grade school, they choose one person from each grade to attend a summer program for creative writing. I was chosen and loved this class. Blogging has brought back my love of writing.
  2. I am a romantic. My mother used to say I was in love with love.
  3. My favorite magazine is Victoria. I love to daydream and sit for hours reading this magazine.
  4. I still have so many connections to my high school friends and it's been so many years since I graduated from Lindenhurst High School on Long Island, New York. The village of Lindenhurst even has a website with a video. They've certainly come a long way!
  5. My favorite place to be is sitting by the ocean listening to the sound of the surf. I grew up on the water but I now live in a desert; go figure. But I'm glad San Diego is only an hour away by plane or a six hour drive.
  6. I met my husband Greg after he recruited me for a job. I was living in Florida at the time. I told him I would take the job if ...he paid me more. After all, I had to move cross country to take the position. He agreed and the rest is history.
  7. Greg and I got married less than three months after our first date. We got married in Vail, Colorado in a chapel next to the ski slopes with our immediate families present.
Now, here's the seven people I'm going to tag:

  1. Shawie of A Grateful Heart
  2. Felisol of On the Far Side of the Sea
  3. Kate of Jottin Mama
  4. Meg of Life in Balance
  5. Kari of Another Day in Paradise
  6. Lynn of Spiritually Unequal Marriage
  7. Cindy of Letters From Midlife

I'm looking forward to reading your lists of "7 Things People Don't Know About Me". Since we don't always get to meet each other face to face, it's fun to learn more about each other the blogging way.
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In Other Words Tuesday





In Other Words Tuesday is being hosted by Deborah on her blog Chocolate & Coffee. You can link there to participate or to read other blog posts on this topic.

Hmm ...chocolate and coffee; two of my favorite things.

Well, I guess I'd better move on to this week's quote:

"Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as high
as it will."
by Aiden Wilson Tozer

I never wanted to be average. As a child I always felt I had to prove something. I was different from other children because I was born with a heart defect that wasn't corrected until I was seven years old. So, I couldn't run and keep up with the other children prior to that time.

Once I had the corrective surgery, I felt like I had much catching up to do. I wasn't content with running a race. I wanted to run faster and maybe even win. Well, I didn't always win but ...I can run pretty fast. Just ask my husband; lol. But it was really my flesh that wanted to prove a point.

But as a Christian, there really is no place for average. And it has nothing to do with me in myself. It's because of who lives within me; the Holy Spirit. I am a child of the Most High God and the Bible says He has gifted each believer with talents.

I might think I have something above average to offer but ...whatever gift I have is because the Lord created me and gifted me in that way.

If my heart is totally given to God, I will use the gifts I've been given for His purposes. And best of all, He does the work in and through me. I just need to cooperate and not allow my flesh to fight Him or get in the way.

Have you ever had a time when you had a challenge before you and it was so outside of your normal comfort zone? I have and it's in those times that I knew I couldn't accomplish this but He could through me. And it was so awesome to see Him work through me.

I guess I could say I felt like I could soar!

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Do You Know Your Neighbors?


Do you know your neighbors? It seems like our lives have become so busy. I live in a gated community and often come and go using my garage door clicker to enter and leave my home. There are times when the only person I have real contact with is the guard at the gate. And by the way, it's a good thing that Tom, Veronica and Corey are friendly people.

But one thing I really love about my neighborhood is ...the monthly coffees.

They are held the first Monday of every month except for the summer months. After all, we do live in Phoenix and many people like to get away when the temperatures can soar over 100 degrees during the day!

Although I don't get to go to enough of them, when I do attend ...I always enjoy myself.

Women sign up to host a coffee in their home and they provide the drinks and food. It's usually breakfast type foods like muffins, fruit and cake along with coffee and other beverages.

The monthly get togethers provide an opportunity to meet and get to know my neighbors. I hear lots of news about what's going on in the area including who might be sick or newly widowed. I like that it's not a gossipy type of gathering. I've always had a fun and relaxing time, sipping a cup of coffee and visiting.

Today, our coffee was hosted by one of my neighbors who has the same model as my house. I love to see how she arranged her furniture and used her unique style to create her home environment. It's a great way to get new ideas or even find a word of mouth referral for a good dry cleaner or handyman.

How about you? Do you know your neighbors? Do you have any ideas or ways you choose to get together with your neighbors?
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