Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas

I love Christmas time. It is so exciting. The temperature drops, the smell of pine trees is in the air, homes and streets are festively decorated, and family comes in town. But the most important part of Christmas is the rememberance of Jesus' birth. God went through so much for us. Born as an infant and crucified in humiliation for all our sins. What a blessing it is to be able to celebrate His birth!
____________________________________________________________________

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

"Isaiah 9." Biblegateway.com. New International Version, 2010. 26 December 2010. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%209&version=NIV.
____________________________________________________________________

We had a great holiday. We went to Christmas Eve service. On Christmas, my boyfriend and I spent the morning at our house with my parents and sister, the afternoon at his Mom's house, and the evening at his Dad's. Billy is now into hunting and got a lot of hunting gear for Christmas. I bought him hunting boots and a massage gift card. I mainly got clothes, cds, and Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. My sister made a breakfast casserole, his Mom made oven-baked turkey and dressing for lunch, and we actually had 2 dinners! Billy's Dad made fried turkey and his twin brother Allan (who spent Christmas with Bill) made the famous Wood dressing. We loved it! My family made oven-baked ham, mashed potatoes, and steamed asparagus. I still feel full from that day!


Merry CHRISTmas to all!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

- Mother Teresa

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill, Allan, & Aunt Lavelle!

Happy Birthday to Billy's Dad, Bill and his twin brother Allan who both turned 53! We spent the day at Bill's House and enjoyed family time.
Happy Birthday to my Great Aunt Lavelle who unfortunately spent the day in the hospital. Her daughter Rachel was in a horrible accident. Please keep her in your prayers!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Upcoming Speeches

Date: December 7, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm
Place: Allen Municipal Court
Address: 301 Century Parkway, Allen 75013
Audience: Teens and Community

Date: December 15, 2010
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: University Drive Courts Facility
Address: 1800 N Graves St, McKinney 75069
Audience: Adults

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4, 2010

This morning I was invited to speak to Collin College's nursing students by their instructor and also a family friend of ours Debra Hurd. She wanted me to share my insight from my stay and care in the hospitals and also offer any advice I could to the nurses. I shared how I became paralyzed, how my care was in the hospitals, and how much of an impact they potentially have on their patients.

I remember that it was the nurses and one particular nurse tech I had that pulled me through my depression and gave me the inner strength I needed to recover enough to be able to go home. That in itself is proof that we all make an impact on everyone that we meet. We can never know for sure how a person is on the inside or how their life at home is. All we know is how a person behaves and feels around us. You could be the very person that pulls someone out of a hidden depression and also the very person that gradually nudges someone into a depression. You have been given a gift - the ability to be impactful. How do you plan to use it?

Anytime you use your God-given abilities to help others, you are fulfilling your calling." - Dr. Rick Warren

"Now you belong to him . . . in order that you might be useful in the service of God." - Romans 7:4 (TEV)

1 John 3:14 (CEV) – “Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 2, 2010

Yesterday, I spoke at Collin College on behalf of MADD and Red Ribbon Week. I have been speaking for MADD for officially one year this month and I finally felt ready to share my story with my fellow College students and faculty. Therefore, through the help of the Collin College Program Coordinator Michael Gregorash, we were able to set up this event and titled it "Drinking and Driving: Yes, It Can Affect You!"

An audience of about 65 attended including some personal invitations of mine: Denise Crabtree, Helen Doughty, Linda Greenwood, Renee Mooney, and Del Newberry. I feel that this was my best speech yet. I included drug and alcohol-related statistics and facts which were astounding to discover upon researching. Please visit http://www.madd.org/, www.AbovetheInfluence.com/facts, and http://www.acde.org/common/Contents.htm for more information on drugs and alcohol. We were able to film this speech and I plan to post it on my Website and on Facebook as soon as I am finished with finals.

Thank you Collin College for having me and thank you to everyone who attended!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Upcoming Speeches

Date: November 2, 2010
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: Collin College's Spring Creek Campus (Living Legends Conference Center)
Address: 2800 E Spring Creek Parkway Plano, TX
Audience: Collin College students and faculty, the community

Date: November 4, 2010
Time: 10:30 am
Place: Collin Higher Education Center
Address: 3452 Spur 399 McKinney, TX 75069
Audience: Nursing students

Friday, October 29, 2010

Last 2 Games

I'm confused. Did we or did we not make it to the World Series? Let's ACT like it Rangers!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 25, 2010

Yesterday was an amazing day. It started with me speaking at Blue Ridge HS in the morning on behalf of MADD for red ribbon week. This was my first time speaking at a high school which is the main reason I wanted to team up with MADD. The school body was about 200 total. As the lights dimmed so that my powerpoint would display, the students entered the gym and I began to speak. The students were very attentive, more so than I expected based on my experience in school when we would have speakers come. After praying for the stuents for a couple of weeks - that they would be receptive to my message - I sensed that they those that needed to hear it and fully grasp it did. Afterwards, one of the students thanked me as they were dismissed as well as some of the faculty which was nice. Hopefully, my message will stick with them more than just a couple of days, but the rest of their lives.

Yesterday was also mine and Billy's anniversary! Billy and I celebrated 8 years together. We actually decided to start celebrating on Saturday, October 23rd. We ate at Chili's and rented the movie "Killers" with Ashton Kutcher. It was surprisingly very good. On Monday after I spoke at Blue Ridge HS, we went out to eat at IHOP with my Mom. We celebrated the rest of the night watching the Cowboys unfortunately fall apart... But atleast we have the Rangers doing well!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Red Ribbon Week

This week (October 24th - October 30th) is red ribbon week which is dedicated once a year to raising awareness of drugs and alcohol.

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country ... Red Ribbon Week serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug free America (Imdrugfree.com).


This is usually MADD's most busy time of the year. I'm dissappointed that my own city, McKinney did not request presentations from MADD. This is a serious issue that needs addressed especially to young people.

Just Say No!



"Red Ribbon Week." Imdrugfree.com. Preventionpartners.com, 2009. Web. http://www.imdrugfree.com/.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

World Series Here We Come!

The Texas Rangers have finally made the WORLD SERIES!!! Come on Rangers! We know you can do it! Let's beat San Francisco! Woo Hoo!

Christmas List: Andrus Shirt!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Injured Rutgers player Eric LeGrand may benefit from new advances in spinal cord research

"Just last week, the first stem cell treatment for a spinal cord injury was administered in the United States. Various drugs are in the research pipeline. And there is optimism in the medical community that new treatments may be in the offing."

"The first embryonic stem cell treatment for a human in this country was administered Oct. 11 to a patient partially paralyzed with a spinal cord injury in Atlanta. Millions of embryonic stem cells were injected into the patient’s spinal cord, with the hope that he or she could recover some of their damaged nervous system."

Augenstein, Seth. "Injured Rutgers player Eric LeGrand may benefit from new advances in spinal cord research." The Star-Ledger. New Jersey Local News. 21 October 2010. http://www.nj.com/rutgersfootball/index.ssf/2010/10/injured_rutgers_player_eric_le_1.html.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surviving and Living with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common site for acquiring asbestos related diseases is the workplace. Shipbuilders, construction workers, and industrial workers are at the greatest risk. Secondhand exposure is also possible, and some mesothelioma patients have never been in direct contact with asbestos. Exposure probably occurred while touching the hair or clothing of someone who works with asbestos.

Because of the latent nature of the disease, victims do not begin experiencing mesothelioma symptoms until at least two decades after being exposed. The diagnosis comes as a complete surprise. In most cases, the cancer spreads unnoticed. By the time individuals seek medical attention, and the physician reaches a conclusive diagnosis, the cancer is already in advanced stages. The discussion often turns to palliative care and quality of life, rather than surviving and living with mesothelioma.

Living Examples

Surviving and living with mesothelioma is possible. Some patients are surviving fourteen years after the initial diagnosis. Survival largely depends on the will of the patient to continuing living, and the willingness to learn as much as possible about the disease and all available treatment options-both traditional and alternative.

Belle McGuckin is diagnosed in 1998. At the time, her physician gives her little hope of surviving and living with mesothelioma. Like many health care professionals, the discussion turns to palliative care. In an interview with WebMD, “McGuckin, her family and friends refused to give up hope. They researched the disease -- of which local doctors knew little -- searched the Internet for information, and subsequently contacted lawyers, doctors and research centers”.

Beth found a physician with the skill and knowledge to remove the mesothelium and the lung that was affected by mesothelioma. Relatively pain free, Beth continues to live a good quality of life at the time of the interview. It is years since one doctor gave her the fatal prognosis. Beth took the proactive approach and sought out treatment options most people do not take the time to consider.

Paul Kraus is another example of someone who chose living and surviving with mesothelioma. Faced with a grim prognosis, Paul begins searching for answers and different treatment options that are right for him. He begins immediately by changing his lifestyle, especially his eating habits. Paul’s opts to forego any traditional treatment options for peritoneal mesothelioma.

For example, Paul chooses ozone therapy. After much research, he learns that oxygenated cancer cells do not survive well. The therapy cycles his blood to be oxygenated and returns it to his system. Paul’s approach is to give the body tools to promote healing, in all aspects of life. While some may think his approach to cancer is radical, no one can deny that he is one of the longest surviving individuals living with mesothelioma.

Johnson, Alex. "Surviving and Living with Mesothelioma." Message to Tonya Winchester. 8 October 2010. E-mail.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nix Reunion

Yesterday was our family reunion. We met at a family-owned restaurant in Forney, TX. I think about 50 came. It was so nice to see everyone but at the same time, I found myself feeling sad. My Grandma's siblings and spouses aren't doing well. It is a reality check when you finally get to see them but realize how old they have gotten. They are all in their mid-70's and 80's. The deaths of Uncle Billy, Uncle Johnnie, and Aunt Janette have really made an impact on the family. I think it has aged everyone. My Mom's Uncle Wesley was on oxygen, could barely move and now uses a walker since the death of his wife. I went to visit my Mom's Uncle Cecil and his wife after the reunion and they have aged just as well. I sensed a bit of lonliness in all of them.

Lord, I just pray that they will lean on you and know that you are with them. I don't know if they are saved but I pray for their salvation and a mighty strengthening of their faith. May they find comfort in you. May their pain and lonliness disappear. I pray for them to find peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.

*Pictures to come.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Answering the Holy Spirit

I met two of my neighbors today for the first time and found out that one of them has stomach cancer. I felt a little voice calling me to pray for him. That was the first time I've ever prayed for someone I had just met. It is unlike any earthly feeling when you answer the Holy Spirit's calling. The joy that follows is amazing. :)

Please keep him in your prayers. His name is Mark Smith.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ephesians

Today I have been busy studying for school but as I decided to take a break, I opened the word of God to Ephesians. What a wonderful book this is. It is very impowering and just what I needed. Thank you God. I wanted to share a few scriptures with you:

Living as Children of Light
Ephesians 4:17-32

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin:" Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

"Ephesians 4 (New International Version)." Biblegateway.com. 24 September 2010. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+4&version=NIV.

The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

"Ephesians 6 (New International Version)." Biblegateway.com. 24 September 2010. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6&version=NIV.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nanny is in TOWN!

Today, Nanny (my Dad's Mom) came into town for the week. We haven't seen her since Christmas! She's my only grandparent left and I am so thankful for the blessing I have (as many don't) to be able to know her and for us to have a strong relationship. Too bad I am stuck with a lot of homework!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is my Uncle Marty's birthday! Happy Birthday Uncle! I miss you! We need to get together!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy 25th Anniversary to My PARENTS :)

Today is my parent's 25th wedding aniversary! I'm so happy for you two! I love you and very much appreciate your love, hard work, and dedication you have put into your marriage and our family. I know what a loving relationship is because of you. All the sacrifices and trials you have faced... all I can say is that I love you both with all of my heart and want nothing but happiness for you. All the money in the world could not even repay you for being so selfless, giving, and loving throughout my lifetime and even moreso since my accident. Thank you for always being there. I'm so glad you were able to get away and take a vacation! :)

I love you Mom & Dad!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is my friend (and Billy's brother's girlfriend) Sarah's 22nd birthday! Happy Birthday from me and Dexter!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tacha is Coming to Town!

Tacha arrived yesterday and will be staying until next Sunday. She came to help take care of me while my parents go out of town to San Francisco next week for their 25th anniversary. Too bad I am swamped with a lot of homework!

7 Things You Should Always Buy Generic

1. Pain relievers and other over-the-counter medications

Acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — is available in many generic products. Note that the generics aren't similar: they're identical. Why would you ever pay more for an identical product? This also applies to everything from cold medicine to eye drops — virtually every over-the-counter medication. The labels are right there — read them.

Name-Brand Acetaminophen: $10.99
Store-Brand Acetaminophen: $6.99
Difference: $4.00 (57 percent)

2. Water

Although I should certainly be used to it by now, I can't get over the fact that people go to the store to buy something in a bottle that they could be getting nearly free in their kitchen sink. But even if you can convince me that bottled water is worth the money, you'll have a heck of time convincing me that the gallon jug from Crystal Springs is noticeably better than the one from Publix. And if you're really concerned about water quality and/or taste — why aren't you buying a filter and making your own bottled water? I just don't get this entire concept.

Name-Brand Water: $1.25
Store-Brand Water: $.85
Difference: $.40 (48 percent)

3. Milk

I'm sure there are connoisseurs of moo-juice that could distinguish name-brand milk from store-brand — but I'm not quite sure how they'd do it. Bouquet? Finish? Sounds like a bunch of bull to me.

Name-Brand Milk: $5.45
Store-Brand Milk: $3.39
Difference: $2.06 (60 percent)

4. Margarine

It's already a substitute for butter. Is it really going to negatively impact your quality of life to substitute the substitute?

Name-Brand Margarine: $1.79
Store-Brand Margarine: $1.19
Difference: $.60 (50%)

5. Bleach

You're taking a cup of chlorine and adding it to gallons of water in your washing machine. How could any TV commercial possibly convince you that a brand name will make your clothes come out better?

Name-Brand Bleach: $2.25
Store-Brand Bleach: $1.67
Difference: $.58 (35 percent)

6. Cleaning Products

Many — if not most — cleaning products are already overpriced substitutes for stuff you already have around the house. Two of the most popular news stories we've ever done were Household Products Vinegar Can Replace and Do-It-Yourself Laundry Detergent. But let's assume that you have a fetish for spray bottles and insist on buying ready-to-use cleaning products: is the name brand getting your counter that much cleaner?

Name-Brand Cleaner with Bleach: $3.29
Store-Brand Cleaner with Bleach: $2.39
Difference: $.90 (38 percent)

7. Spices

Think your job is hard? Imagine if your career entailed convincing the public that your company's salt — the most basic of ingredients — was better than some other company's salt. The whole idea is preposterous. And yet, there they sit, side by side, with nothing but their labels and their prices to set them apart. And where spices are concerned, that's just the beginning — can you tell your oregano from mine?

Name-Brand Oregano: $5.48/oz.
Store-Brand Oregano: $1.24/oz.
Difference: $4.24 (342 percent)

I'm going to stop this exercise here. Not because I couldn't go on — I could turn this into a book — but those are all the specific prices that I wrote down while we were shooting the above story. There are literally hundreds — if not thousands — of examples of people routinely swapping hard-earned cash for something virtually worthless: a name brand. It happens in the grocery store, it happens in the clothing store and it happens at the car dealer. It happens everywhere.

Am I saying that name-brands are never worth the money? Of course not. I can tell the difference between Dunkin Donuts coffee and store-brand — that's why I pay extra for it. But I certainly can't tell the difference between brands of oregano, bleach, orange juice, bananas, cheese, spaghetti, flour, sugar and a plethora of other products.

Paying extra for name brands that don't offer higher quality in return is nothing less than stupid. If you can use that money to instead build a $342,000 nest-egg, you absolutely should. Even if you don't need the money, maybe you should still refuse to do what the commercials tell you and donate the difference to charity. In either case, the world ends up a better place.

Johnson, Stacy. "7 Things You Should Always Buy Generic." MoneyTalksNews. 11 September 2010. Yahoo! Web. 19 September 2010.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 15

Last night, I spoke to a group of adults for MADD at the old McKinney Court House. I hope and pray that what I said made a difference in their lives. I really enjoy speaking and sharing my story. It gives me a rush and I always feel that God has directly brought me there to reach that particular group of people.

Your hands shaped me and made me. Job 10:8 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today is Billy's 26th birthday!

Happy Birthday babe! I'm so lucky to have you in my life! I love you and hope you had a great birthday!

We took Billy out to eat at his favorite Tex-Mex Restaurant, Jalepeno Tree!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7

Tonight I am speaking in Allen to a group of teens for MADD. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

God Says You Are Capable

It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ. 2 Timothy 1:9 (TLB)

You have a right now to go directly to God; you have direct access. You don't have to pray through anybody else. You don't have to confess through anybody else. You don't have to go through anyone else to have fellowship with God. The Bible teaches that you have a direct line now.

In addition, God says you have been gifted for ministry to serve other people. Every Christian is a minister. That doesn’t mean every Christian is a pastor, rather minister. Anytime you're using your talents and gifts to help others you're ministering.

Notice the Bible verse above says, “He saved us for His holy work.” You are saved to serve. Why did God save you? So you could serve Him.

You may be thinking, “How do I know what my ministry is?” You look at your talents, your gifts, and your abilities. You look at how God shaped you. God wants you to use those talents and gifts to help other people. Every time you do that, that's called ministry: nothing fancy, scary or supernatural about it. It's just helping others.

Can you minister in a sales office? Yes, you can. Can you minister as an accountant? Yes, you can. Can you minister driving a truck? Sure! Anytime you're helping other people in His name, you're ministering.

In fact, God says you're necessary in the church. You're a necessary part of this family. Look at it this way, if I don't use my talents -- you get cheated. If you don't use your talents – I get cheated. Everybody else in the congregation gets cheated.

We're all important; we're all necessary to do our part as we fit together.

Warren, Rick. "God Says You Are Capable." Purpose Driven Connection. 1 September 2010.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today is My Birthday!

Today is my 23rd birthday!

Tacha surprised me and flew in for my birthday with was the best birthday gift and surprise ever! I started crying! Last night, I had some friends over and we grilled out. We had hotdogs, bratwursts, corn casserole, potato casserole, baked beans, pita chips and hummus, and cupcakes that my friend Nadiyah made!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

MADD Adult VIP

This Wednesday, August 18 I am speaking on behalf of MADD along with 2 other speakers to a group of adults that have gotten DWI's in McKinney from 6:00-8:00 PM. Please keep the speakers and the adults receiving the message in your prayers. If you would like to attend, please let me know.

August 15, 2010

Today I visited my friend Kelly's church called V-Life near the Virginia and Stonebridge intersection in McKinney. I really really enjoyed the worship music. It was very uplifting and empowering! They had a guest speaker. He is a songwriter and was very funny. The sermon ran a bit too long though. We then went out to eat at Amato's Italian Restaurant across the street.

My friend Kelly and her husband felt God calling them to be missionaries and start a pastoral strengthening ministry in Costa Rica about a year ago. They plan to leave next Monday. She has been wanting me to check her church out for months so we finally did. She has also been my massage therapist for 3+ years. I'm going to miss her! Please keep her, her husband Steve, and their ministry in your prayers.

I also found out that the pastor of my church is transferring to another church. So we are most likely going to start looking for a new church close to home. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

God's Wrath Against Mankind

Romans 1:18-32
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts . . .

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

God made you for a specific ministry

Your hands shaped me and made me. Job 10:8 (NIV)

God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. Some animals run, some hop, some swim, some burrow, and some fly. Each has a particular role to play based on the way they were shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us is uniquely designed, or "shaped," to do certain things.

Before architects design any new building they first ask, "What will be its purpose? How will it be used?" The intended function always determines the form of the building.

Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry.

The Bible says, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Our English word "poem" comes from this Greek word translated "workmanship." You're God's handcrafted work of art. You're not an assembly-line product, mass-produced without thought. You're a custom designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece.

God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He carefully mixed the DNA recipe that created you. David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail God gave in designing each of us: "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous" (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).

Not only did God shape you before your birth, he planned every day of your life to support his shaping process. David continues, "Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" (Psalm 139:16 NLT).

This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him.

God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory.

Warren, Rick. "God made you for a specific ministry." Daily Hope. Purpose Driven Connection, 19 July 2010. Web. 24 July 2010.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mom's Birthday!

Today is my Mom's 51st Birthday! Happy Birthday Mom! Thank you for all you do for me. Thank you for being there for me when no one else is! I love you!
We went out to eat at On the Border in Allen, TX. We ordered Guacamole Live as an appetizer. I love me some guacamole! I ordered Enchiladas Suizas which was awesome. Mom opened her cards and gifts. Tacha was so lucky that her gifts to Mom got to be opened in front of AND with our waitress. It was so hilarious! We got Mom a red shirt, a frame with a picture of our family in it, and a Walmart giftcard.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dad's Birthday!

Today is my Dad's 51st Birthday! Yay! Happy Birthday Dad! I love you! Thanks for being such an awesome provider and loving father!


My parents recently bought a used travel trailer to camp in occassionally and for my Dad to take to his deer lease in the Winter months. This weekend, they camped at a park on Lake Lavon. Tacha and I went up there today. Dad opened his cards and gifts. We bought Dad a polo shirt, sunglasses, and a Walmart giftcard. Then, we played Yahtzee! I haven't played that game in a long time! It was fun. Dad won ... and we didn't even let him!





Billy came with me and Tacha the next day to Lake Lavon. We had an interesting day...





Saturday, July 10, 2010

Drivers Could See Stricter DWI Laws In Texas: Texas leads the nation in the number of alcohol-related deaths.

I was featured on the news (Channel 33) regarding my opinion on stricter punishments for alcohol-related law offenders:

DALLAS, TX - In an instant, Tonya Winchester's life changed when she handed her keys to a drunk driver, who ran a red light and collided with a semi-truck.

"It was just devastating. I woke up and couldn't walk," the McKinney woman, said.

Winchester was 17 and a new high school graduate when she was paralyzed from the chest down. The anti-drunk driving advocate wonders why Texas isn't doing more to get drunks off the road."

I feel like it should have already happened. I just don't understand what lawmakers are waiting on?"

But, there is renewed optimism that the wait could be over for advocates who have pushed for stricter laws against drunk driving. This week anti-drunk driving officials urged lawmakers to approve ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders. About 12 states already use the bold tactic to punish offenders.

Advocates are also calling on the legislature to approve sobriety checkpoints, which officials say have proven effective in 39 states. Some fear the checkpoints infringe on law-abiding drivers."

What those studies show is that with sobriety checkpoints there is a 20 percent decline in deaths. In Texas, that would be about 200 people every year," Bill Lewis, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said.

Lewis testified at hearings in Austin this week. It is the first time in more than a decade the lawmakers have held committee hearings mid-session. He says the measures to reduce drunk driving are clear cut, if lawmakers will act."

We don't have to guess at this like this is a hunch. We do know what stops drunk driving."

As for Winchester, the 25-year old shares her story with anyone who will listen, hoping to change hearts and minds. This time, she hopes lawmakers in Austin are listening."

We do need change to stop this tragedy," Winchester said.

Tongish, Dawn. "Drivers Could See Stricter DWI Laws In Texas." The 33 News. 9 July 2010. Web. 10 July 2010. http://www.the33tv.com/news/kdaf-drunk-driving-proposals-texas-story,0,6101190.story.

Click link to watch a video of the broadcasting.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tacha's coming to town!

Tacha's driving down from Chicago to visit for 2 weeks July 12th weekend! She's going to be staying with me and Billy. We have plans to see Sex & the City 2 and go to an FC Dallas game! :)

Twilight Elipse

Anyone want to see Eclipse with me???

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Crazies

We rented the movie The Crazies. It was very realistic and yes... crazy. I recommend this movie. We all definitely thought it was good.

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Everything Falls" by Fee

You said You’d never leave or forsake me
When You said this life is gonna shake me
You said this world is gonna bring trouble
On my soul, this I knowWhen everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together

When everything falls apart
You’re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on, You keep holding on

When I see darkness all around me
When I see tragedy has found me
I still believe
Your faithful arms will never let me go
Still I know

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You’re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on, You keep holding on

Sorrow will last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun
It’s rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You have overcome
You have overcome

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You’re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"We have a lot to unlearn" - Daily Devotional

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We have a lot to unlearn by Rick Warren

The Lord your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once .... Deuteronomy 7:22 (NLT)

Although God could instantly transform us, he has chosen to develop us slowly. Jesus is deliberate in developing his disciples. Just as God allowed the Israelites to take over the Promised Land "little by little," so they wouldn't be overwhelmed, he prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives.

Why does it take so long to change and grow up? There are several reasons --

  • We are slow learners. We often have to relearn a lesson forty or fifty times to really get it. The problems keep recurring, and we think, "Not again! I've already learned that!"—but God knows better. The history of Israel illustrates how quickly we forget the lessons God teaches us and how soon we revert to our old patterns of behavior. We need repeated exposure.
  • We have a lot to unlearn. Many people go to a counselor with a personal or relational problem that took years to develop and say, "I need you to fix me. I've got an hour." They naïvely expect a quick solution to a long-standing, deep-rooted difficulty. Since most of our problems—and all of our bad habits—didn't develop overnight, it's unrealistic to expect them go away immediately.
There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement. The Bible calls it "taking off the old self" and "putting on the new self." (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 4:22-25; Colossians 3:7-10, 14.)

Growth is often painful and scary. There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss; and there is no loss without pain. We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self-defeating, because, like a worn out pair of shoes, they were at least comfortable and familiar.Every change involves a loss of some kind: You must let go of old ways in order to experience the new.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brittney's Birthday!

Today is my boyfriend, Billy's little sister's 20th birthday. Happy Birthday! I pray that the holy spirit will guide you and help you make the right decisions! No more teen years! Love you girl!

Fall 2010 Semester

Registration for Fall 2010 classes opened today. I am still going to Collin College. I signed up for Biology 1, Biology 1 Lab, and Concepts to Physical Wellness... Fun, fun, fun.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fishmongers

Tonight I went to Fishmongers Seafood Restaurant for the first time as an adult and went with the Nelson's. It was so good. I got salad and decided to try their house salad dressing which was "Spicy Thousand Island." It had a very unique taste and tasted perfect. They should definitely sell their dressing if they don't already. I ordered seafood gumbo and shrimp etouffee which was good but way too spicy for me. My mom orderd fish with baked potato casserole and oh my gosh ... The taste was as close to heaven as I have ever been. Then we ordered their bread pudding which was also delicious. I definitely recommend Fishmongers!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ronnie Griser

Yesterday, a friend of mine passed away that had been battling health issues for a long time -relying on dialysis for 30+ years and degeneration of his body. He is now with the Lord and I can only imagine what it is like. Ronnie, I know you are now walking, in the presence of our Creator, and surrounded with love that you deserve. I am so happy for our friendship.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16, 2005

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day I was hit by an 18-wheeler and became paralyzed. But it is also the day that God breathed life back into my lungs and gave me a new heart; a second chance to live the life I was called to live. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Phillipians 1:21). I encourage you to open your eyes and look deep within your hearts. You are here for a reason. The most amazing feeling is knowing what that reason is.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Daniel's Birthday!

Today is Billy's brother's 23rd birthday! Happy Birthday Daniel!

Friday, June 11, 2010

"A saved heart will want to serve" - Daily Devotional

"It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan." 2 Timothy 1:9 (LB)

You were saved to serve God. The Bible says, "It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan." (2 Timothy 1:9 LB)

God redeemed you so you could do his "holy work." You're not saved by service, but you are saved for service. In God's kingdom, you have a place, a purpose, a role, and a function to fulfill. This gives your life great significance and value.

It cost Jesus his own life to purchase your salvation. The Bible reminds us, "God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God." (1 Corinthians 6:20 CEV)

We don't serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty, but out of joy, and deep gratitude for what he's done for us. We owe him our lives. Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning, and our future is secured. In light of these incredible benefits Paul concluded, "Because of God's great mercy . . . Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service." (Romans 12:1 TEV)

The apostle John taught that our loving service to others shows that we are truly saved. He said, "Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life." (1 John 3:14 CEV)

If I have no love for others, no desire to serve others, and I'm only concerned about my needs, I should question whether Christ is really in my life. A saved heart is one that wants to serve.

Tuesday June 01 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren

Beauty Secrets from Around the World

Very Interesting! Take a peek women!

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/greatskin/beauty-secrets-from-around-the-world-1675857/

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Six Phases of Faith

"Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, "Let it happen, then, just as you believe!" Matthew 9:29 (TEV)

God takes our belief and he blesses us through it, and that makes life a great adventure. It is critical that we cooperate with God as he builds faith within us. Because of its importance, I want to review the six phases of faith we've studied over the past week. This will also let you see them all in one place.

Phase 1—Dream: Do I have a dream planted in me by God? If you don't have a dream, start praying, "God give me your dream." If you can't write down the dream God has given you, you need to be praying. If you don't have a dream, you're not living, you're just existing. God placed you on this earth for a purpose.

Phase 2—Decision: Do I need to make a faith-decision that will help that dream become a reality? Some of you have a dream from God, but you haven't made a decision to follow it. You're still on the fence. God's word for you is "Go for it!" Some of you may need to make the decision to give your life to Christ. Some of you may need to make the decision to join a church. Some of you may need to make the decision to get involved in ministry.

Phase 3—Delay: What has caused my dream to be delayed? If your prayer hasn't been answered, that's okay. It just means you're in God's waiting room. Now is not the time to detour. When things don't happen on our timetable, we tend to run ahead of God and create detours to make it happen. You may end up making the wrong decision. Wait, wait, and wait for God to work his hand.

Phase 4—Difficulty: What difficulties have I faced waiting for the dream to be fulfilled? You are being tested, but it's not going to be the last time. You'll go through many, many tests in life. God says, "I know exactly what you're going through. I see it. I'm watching. Don't think I've forgotten you—I haven't."

Phase 5—Dead End: Have I come to a dead end yet? Some of you are there ready to give up. But the truth is—you're right where God wants you. You're getting prepared for deliverance. God's word for you is "Hang on! Keep on believing! Don't give up!"

Phase 6—Deliverance: Do I expect and trust God to deliver me? "According to your faith will it be done to you." (Matthew 9:29 NIV) God is faithful. What he tells us to do, he will do. But it doesn't happen overnight. You go through the faith-phases of Dream, Decision, Delay, Difficulty, and Dead End . . . and then comes Deliverance.

Sunday May 30 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren
http://profile.purposedriven.com/dailyhope/post.html?contentid=4476

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12

The Beatitudes

1-2 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

For Kelly Ezell

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Dream

I had a dream last night that I was on a stage in front of hundreds sharingmy story with Billy and the Dallas Cowboys by my side.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 1

I spoke June 1st for MADD's Allen Teen VIP. It was awesome. I was one of three speakers.

John, the second speaker spoke to the teens about his experience from the other side of the spectrum. He had been drinking, collided with another car, and accidentally killed someone. He ended up having to serve time in prison. He has an amazing story and as a result of what happened, he got a degree in social work and has matured spiritually and mentally.

The third speaker Scott Becker is a prosecutor and actually came to hear me speak. He was the DA of my case. He is very knowledgable and agressively gave a much needed speech for the teens.

I appreciate those of you that came to hear me speak. When I speak, I feel closest to God as if I am fulfilling my purpose and it is in those moments that I am at complete peace and happiness. I am glad you got to experience such a moment with me.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

To those serving our country, those that have, and those that have died for our country - THANK YOU!!

Please watch this tribute video from the third graders of Tussing Elementary, Colonial Heights, Virginia:
http://www.youtube.com:80/watch_popup?v=5pfBUUZNbFM

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 26

I spoke May 26th to a group of teenage girls and mothers who lead the group at a small church called The Harvest in Allen, TX. I spoke to the girls about how true acceptance comes only from God and shared the difficult journey I traveled to find acceptance. I think it went awesome. God revealed His primary reason for me being there at that moment and that was awesome as well. Please keep those girls and the ones that weren't able to make the meeting in your prayers - that God will guide them as they struggle with the challenges of maturing and making the right choices (temptations, influences, and false acceptance). Please keep the mothers in your prayers - that God will guide them, tell them what to do, and that He will continue to reveal things to them. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Psalm 97 (NIV)

1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.

2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

3 Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side.

4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.

7 All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols— worship him, all you gods!

8 Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, O LORD.

9 For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

10 Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

11 Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.

12 Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

Super Foods for Women

1. Papaya. This tropical fruit packs about twice the vitamin C of an orange. Add it to your arsenal against gallbladder disease, which afflicts twice as many women as men.After analyzing the blood of over 13,000 people, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, found that women who had lower levels of vitamin C were more likely to have gallbladder illnesses. One medium papaya (about ten ounces), with its 188 mg of vitamin C and a mere 119 calories, is a refreshing source of the vitamin. The once exotic fruit now can be found in most supermarkets.

2. Flaxseed. Bakers use this nutty-flavored seed mainly to add flavor and fiber. But scientists see the tiny reddish-brown seed, rich in estrogenlike compounds called lignans, as a potential weapon against breast cancer. An exciting report at last year's San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium showed that adding flaxseed to the diet of women with breast cancer effectively slowed tumor growth. You can flavor your muffins with flaxseed, but the easiest way to get the beneficial lignans is to sprinkle a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed on your morning cereal. Look for the seeds in health food stores or in supermarkets on the flour aisle. They're easy to grind in a blender or coffee grinder. But get seeds -- there are no lignans in the oil.

3. Tofu. Foods high in soy protein can lower cholesterol and may minimize menopausal hot flashes and strengthen bone. Isoflavones, plant chemicals in soybeans that have a structure similar to estrogen, may be the reason. Though animal studies form the bulk of the evidence, a human study found that 90 mg of isoflavones was beneficial to bone (specifically the spine). And two other studies suggest that 50 to 76 mg of isoflavones a day may offer some relief from hot flashes. A half-cup of tofu contains about 25 to 35 mg of isoflavones.

4. Buffalo Meat. Due largely to menstruation, women tend to be anemic more than men. And low iron levels in blood can cause severe fatigue. To get a good dose of iron, try bison. Bison, or buffalo, meat is lean and has what diet-conscious women want -- lots of iron and less fat than most cuts of beef. "The iron content is about 3 milligrams in a 3 1/2-ounce uncooked portion," says Marty Marchello, Ph.D., at North Dakota State University. "That portion contains less than 3 grams of fat." Buffalo meat can help boost energy and lower weight. And you don't have to have a home on the range to get some bison anymore. You can pick it up at many supermarkets across the United States, or through mail order or on the Internet.

5. Collard Greens. This humble vegetable may help fight osteoporosis, which afflicts many women late in life. In addition to getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, some studies suggest that vitamin K may have a bone-protective effect as well. Based on data from one of the largest studies of women, the Nurses' Health Study, researchers discovered that women who ate enough vitamin K-rich foods (at least 109 micrograms of the vitamin daily) were 30 percent less likely to suffer a hip fracture during ten years of follow-up than women who ate less.

Researchers point out that dark-green leafy vegetables -- Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli -- are all good sources of the vitamin. But collard greens, with about 375 micrograms per half-cup, are among the best.

Callahan, Maureen. "Super Foods for Men and Women." Healthy Living. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/super-foods-for-men-and-women-1409161/

Super Foods for Men

1. Tomato Sauce. Men who eat a lot of tomatoes, tomato sauce, or pizza smothered with the stuff may be giving themselves a hedge against prostate cancer. So say researchers at Harvard, who studied the eating habits of more than 47,000 male health professionals. They found that men who ate tomato sauce two to four times per week had a 35 percent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men who ate none. A carotenoid called lycopene, which tomatoes contain in abundance, appeared to be responsible. But scientists were puzzled: tomato juice didn't seem to have a protective effect. Other research showed why. For best absorption, lycopene should be cooked with some kind of fat. So pizza may be just what the doctor ordered.

2. Oysters. Myth has it that oysters are the food of love. Science may agree. Just two to three oysters deliver a full day's supply of zinc, a mineral critical for normal functioning of the male reproductive system. Scientists are divided over reports that sperm counts have declined over the last 50 years and that environmental factors are to blame. Nutritional deficiencies do seem to be the cause of certain cases of low testosterone. Getting adequate zinc is sometimes the answer (11 mg per day is recommended for men; more than 40 mg can pose risks). In one trial, 22 men with low testosterone levels and sperm counts were given zinc every day for 45 to 50 days. Testosterone levels and sperm counts rose.

3. Broccoli. A recent Harvard study finds that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, may protect against bladder cancer. It's one of the most common cancers in this country, and affects two to three times as many men as women. Scientists analyzed the diets of nearly 50,000 men and discovered that those who ate five servings or more per week of cruciferous veggies were half as likely to develop bladder cancer over a ten-year period as men who rarely ate them. And broccoli and cabbage were singled out as the most protective foods.

4. Peanut Butter. If you want a healthy heart, spread your morning toast with peanut butter. Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women, but men fall victim at an earlier age. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University compared the cholesterol-lowering effect of the American Heart Association's Step II Diet with a higher-fat diet based on peanuts. The AHA plan included more carbohydrates. The peanut regimen was 36 percent fat. After 24 days both diets lowered "bad" LDL cholesterol. But the peanut plan also caused a drop in blood fats called triglycerides and did not decrease HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The AHA diet raised levels of triglycerides and lowered levels of HDL."Peanut butter is a little higher in fat," says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., the lead author of the Penn State study. "But it's the type that's good for you -- monounsaturated fat." Researchers have predicted that the peanut diet could reduce heart-disease risk even more than could the AHA diet. Just don't go nutty plastering on the tasty spread, since it is high in calories.

5. Watermelon. Until the age of 55, more men suffer from high blood pressure than do women. Research suggests that foods rich in potassium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The evidence is so convincing that the Food and Drug Administration recently allowed food labels to bear a health claim about the connection between potassium-rich foods and blood pressure. "There isn't a dietary requirement for potassium," says Kathleen Cappellano, nutrition-information manager at Tufts University in Boston. "But a good goal is about 2000 milligrams or more a day." Watermelon, a rich source of this mineral, has more potassium -- 664 mg -- in one large slice than the amount found in a banana or a cup of orange juice. So cut yourself another slice and enjoy the taste of summer.

Callahan, Maureen. "Super Foods for Men and Women." Healthy Living. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/super-foods-for-men-and-women-1409161/

5 Foods That Boost Your Mood

As anyone who has sought solace in a pint of Häagen-Dazs knows, food can be a source of comfort and pleasure as well as nutrients. While overdoing it on ice cream and candy is likely to cause more stress when you regret all those empty calories, consistently munching the right bites can actually help change your outlook from bummed to bright! Even better news: Since what's good for your brain is also a boon for your body, incorporating these five mood boosters into your diet may improve not only your outlook, but also your energy and your figure. Eat up and lighten up!

1. COLD CEREAL. Eat it for your brain: A handful of MultiGrain Cheerios or Kashi Heart to Heart offers folic acid, which can help fend off the blues. Those with low levels of the nutrient experience more symptoms of depression, a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests, and a folic acid deficiency may prevent your antidepressants from working.

Eat it for your body: A quick bowl of whole-grain cereal brims with iron and vitamins, and gets your metabolism humming—and it sure beats skipping breakfast altogether, since that can lead to all sorts of problems later in the day. People who skipped breakfast only once every three months were 34 percent more likely to be obese than those who didn't, according to a study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. So even if your body doesn't want it when you first wake up, find a breakfast you can live with, and eat up.

2. FISH. Eat it for your brain: Those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in several kinds of fish, were happier than those with lower levels, a study from the University of Pittsburgh reveals. Omega-3 fatty acids enhance areas of the brain that affect disposition. Certain fish also pack B12, a known mood booster, which wards off the doldrums by stimulating the brain's production of serotonin, helping you relax. Aim to eat two servings of low-mercury fish (like catfish, cod, crab, flounder and halibut) weekly for more smiles!

Eat it for your body: Wild salmon, trout, herring and other cold-water fish are filled with vitamin D, which helps curb appetite, as well as omega 3's, which lower the risk for heart disease. Research also shows that eating fish regularly improves insulin insensitivity, which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat.

3. EGG YOLKS. Eat them for your brain: Feel sunnier by adding a bit of yellow. Egg yolks contain choline, a mood enhancer. Being low on this nutrient could lead to feeling anxious.
Eat them for your body: Yolks act as a multivitamin, delivering vitamins A and D, as well as folate and calcium.

4. CHOCOLATE. Eat it for your brain: Sweeten your mood by indulging your chocolate urges. Half of depressed people reported craving chocolate, and most of them felt soothed after indulging, according to a survey in The British Journal of Psychiatry. Since chomping too much chocolate sends you into a sugar coma, munch just 1 ounce and savor every bite!

Eat it for your body: Eating a couple ounces of dark chocolate a week (about one Ghirardelli square a day) may cut your risk for heart disease by 33 percent, according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition. Plus, it has more disease-fighting antioxidants than green tea, red wine or blueberries. Perhaps Willy Wonka was on to something!


5. FRUITS & VEGGIES. Eat them for your brain: Want a buzz booster? Frequent the produce aisle! People who ate the most fruits and veggies were least likely to feel depressed, a study by the University College London found.

Eat them for your body: Munching the recommended 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of veggies a day reduces your calorie intake and bolsters your immunity. The darker and more colorful, the better! The shades in fruits and vegetables come from phytonutrients, which protect different organs. For example, lutein in greens protects your eyes, while lycopene-packed red tomatoes shield your heart. Color yourself healthy!

Danziger, Lucy. "5 Foods That Boost Your Mood." Self.com. http://health.yahoo.com/experts/healthieryou/17512/5-foods-that-boost-your-mood/

Thursday, May 13, 2010

God Smiles When We Obey

God doesn't owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can't. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.

Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. We make a list of the commands we like and obey those while ignoring the ones we think are unreasonable, difficult, expensive, or unpopular. I'll attend church but I won't tithe. I'll read my Bible but I won't forgive the person who hurt me. Yet partial obedience is disobedience.

Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully with enthusiasm. The Bible says, "Obey him gladly" (Psalm 100:2 LB). This is the attitude of David: "Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I'll wholeheartedly obey" (Psalm 119:33 LB).

James, speaking to Christians, said, "We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe" (James 2:24 CEV). God's Word is clear that you can't earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience.

Any act of obedience is also an act of worship. Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments" (John 14:15 TEV).

-Rick Warren

http://profile.purposedriven.com:80/dailyhope/post.html?contentid=4408

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Give God Your Best

“God shaped you for a purpose and he expects you to make the most of what you've been given. He doesn't want you to worry about or covet abilities that you don't have. Instead he wants you to focus on talents he has given you to use... The best use of your life is to serve God out of your shape. To do this you must discover your shape, learn to accept and enjoy it, and then develop it to its fullest potential. The Bible says, "Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." (Ephesians 5:17 NLT) Don't let another day go by. Start finding out and clarifying what God intends for you to be and do.”

- Rick Warren

http://profile.purposedriven.com/dailyhope/post.html?contentid=3440

The Health Benefits of Teas

"The media has exhaustively publicized the numerous ways drinking tea is good for you: from fighting certain cancers, to decreasing the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer's disease, to controlling cholesterol and even reducing tooth decay! Although most people are aware of tea's health benefits, they are not aware of which teas are the most beneficial. So, from a health perspective, are all teas created equal?"

"Before we begin, note that here we are talking about tea from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and not herbal teas, which are really derived from the flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, or roots of certain plants but contain no actual “real” tea (herbal teas do have purported health benefits, but they are beyond the scope of this bite).Studies have shown that tea may promote good health in the following ways:"

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/the-health-benefits-of-teas-1299135/

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Everybody Surrenders to Something

"Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men" - Philippians 2:6-7 (LB)

Everybody surrenders to something or someone in life. If not to God, you'll surrender to popular opinion, to money, to resentment or fear, or to your own pride, lust, and ego.

We were designed to worship something, and when we fail to worship God, we create gods (idols) to surrender ourselves to. E. Stanley Jones said, "If you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos." You're free to choose what you surrender to, but you're not free from the consequences of that choice: "So give yourselves completely to God" (James 4:7 NCV).

Surrender is not the best way to live; it is the only way to live. Nothing else works. All other approaches lead to frustration, disappointment, and self-destruction.

The King James Version of Romans 12:1 calls surrender "your reasonable service." The Contemporary English Version translates it: "the most sensible way to serve God."

Surrendering your life is not a foolish emotional impulse but a rational, intelligent act, the most responsible and sensible thing you can do with your life. Your wisest moments will be those when you say yes to God: "So we make it our goal to please him ..." (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV).

Sometimes it takes years, but eventually you discover the greatest hindrance to God's blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself - your self will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfill God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this.

So give it all to God: your past regrets; your present problems; your future ambitions; your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Christ in the driver's seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don't be afraid; nothing under his control can ever be out of control.

Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything: "I am ready for anything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me. I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency" (Philippians 4:13 AMP).

You may worry, "What if I stumble or relapse?"

If? You will stumble in pleasing God! No one can live a perfectly surrendered life except Jesus.
But God has provided for the inevitability of your sin: "If you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely" (1 John 2:1 LB).

Sunday May 02 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren

Friday, April 30, 2010

What does your sleep position reveal about your personality?

If this sounds ridiculous (and honestly, I'd love to see information on this study and the analysis fleshed out further than any of the reports I could find), consider that Idzikowski says it comes down to body language.

"We are all aware of our body language when we are awake but this is the first time we have been able to see what our subconscious posture says about us," Idzikowski said. "What's interesting is that the profile behind the posture is often very different from what we would expect."

The research also links certain sleeping positions with health risks. Some aid digestion while others spur on snoring and restlessness.

Here are the six common sleeping positions and correlated personality traits and health implications, according to this study.












Fetus position - A whopping 41% of participants sleep in this curled-up manner. Women are twice as likely to rest like this and it is listed as the most common position. These sleepers are said to have a tough exterior but are still sensitive and may appear to be shy but warm up quickly.

Log position - If you sleep on your side with both arms down, you are a social, easy-going person who is trusting, sometimes to the point of being gullible. The study showed 15% of people sleep like a log.

Yearner position - A close third is the side-lying position with both arms out in front of the body, with 13% of partipants sleeping like this. Yearners are noted to be open-minded and still cynical, suspicious, and stubborn about sticking to decisions once they are made.

Soldier position - These sleepers lie on their backs with arms down and kept close to the body. This 8% study is said to be reserved, quiet, without fuss, and hold themselves and others to a high standard. Soldier sleepers have a higher likelihood for snoring due to the flat-back position, which may not cause them to wake up often but may result in a less restful night's sleep.

Freefall position - Those people who lie on their bellies with arms under or wrapped around a pillow with head turned to the side, make up 7% of the population studied. Freefallers are brash, outgoing, and are very uncomfortable with criticism.

Starfish position - Sleepers who lie on their backs with arms up near their head or the pillow account for 5% of participants. These people are good listeners, helpful, and are uncomfortable being the center of attention. People who sleep in starfish position are more likely to snore and to suffer from a poor night's sleep more often.

If you think you are one of those people who move through all of these positions, that's not likely to really be the case. Idzikowski said the research reveals most people stay in the same position all night and only 5% lay differently night by night. Also interesting is that the study showed only one in ten people cover their bodies entirely with a blanket, with most people exposing an arm, leg, or both feet.

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/what-does-your-sleep-position-reveal-about-your-personality-1338293/#poll-00F628E0516E11DFA207A34EA49182FB

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prayer Needed!

My sister and parents are driving to Chicago today and tomorrow to haul Tacha's things to her new apartment.

Please if you will pray the following prayer with me:

I pray for my family's safety as the drive is long and that my parents do not feel mentally or physically exhausted. I pray that their bodies will be able to handle the whole trip and that Dad's back will be free from pain and Mom does not get too overwhelmed or tired as she already is from taking care of me. I pray God that we will be able to find someone to take over the full responsibilities of taking care of me. I pray that my sister [and my boyfriend Billy] will grow in their faith more than ever and that God's glory will be shown to them. I pray for Tacha's happiness, that she will find what she is looking for, and that she will be remain safe in your arms. Thank you God for providing a great job for Billy and his brother Daniel. In Jesus' name, Amen.

I appreciate it.

"And I tell you more: whenever two of you on earth agree about anything you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them." Matthew 18:19-20 (TEV)

Thanks,
Tonya <3

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Praise

"What is praise? Praise is thanking God for who and what He is. Why should I praise God? Because it gets my focus off myself and onto God -- so I can talk to Him and not at him. That's why we start with praise. If you want help learning how to praise God, read through the Book of the Psalms. Many of them were written simply to praise God. If you read them aloud, you'll learn a lot about praising God in prayer." -Rick Warren

Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits

Health Benefits:

Hot and spicy, cayenne pepper adds zest to flavorful dishes around the world and health to those brave enough to risk its fiery heat. The hotness produced by cayenne is caused by its high concentration of a substance called capsaicin. Technically referred to as 8-methyul-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide, capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits, and its ability to help prevent ulcers. Capsaicin also effectively opens and drains congested nasal passages.

In addition to their high capsaicin content, cayenne peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin A, through its concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoids including beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is not only a potent antioxidant in its own right, but can be converted in the body to vitamin A, a nutrient essential for the health of all epithelial tissues (the tissues that line all body cavities including the respiratory, gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts). Beta-carotene may therefore be helpful in reducing the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, its antioxidant activity make it useful in preventing the free radical damage that can lead to atherosclerosis, colon cancer, and diabetic complications, like nerve damage and heart disease.

Fight Inflammation
All chili peppers, including cayenne, contain capsaicin, which in addition to giving cayenne its characteristic heat, is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hottest varieties include habañero and Scotch bonnet as well as cayenne peppers. Jalapeños are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers.

Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. When animals injected with a substance that causes inflammatory arthritis were fed a diet that contained capsaicin, they had delayed onset of arthritis, and also significantly reduced paw inflammation.

Natural Pain Relief
Topical capsaicin has been shown in studies to be an effective treatment for cluster headaches and osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.

In a double-blind placebo controlled trial, nearly 200 patients with psoriasis were given topical preparations containing either capsaicin or placebo. Patients who were given capsaicin reported significant improvement based on a severity score which traced symptoms associated with psoriasis. The side effect reported with topical capsaicin cream is a burning sensation at the area of application.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Cayenne and other red chili peppers have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body's ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot peppers like cayenne are used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Clear Congestion
Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs. Capsaicin is similar to a compound found in many cold remedies for breaking up congestion, except that capsaicin works much faster. A tea made with hot cayenne pepper very quickly stimulates the mucus membranes lining the nasal passages to drain, helping to relieve congestion and stuffiness. Next cold and flu season, give it a try.

Boost Immunity
Cayenne peppers' bright red color signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper provide 29.4% of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy epithelial tissues including the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens.

Prevent Stomach Ulcers
Chili peppers like cayenne have a bad--and undeserved--reputation for contributing to stomach ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, these hot peppers may help prevent them by killing bacteria you may have ingested, while powerfully stimulating the cells lining the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices that prevent ulcer formation. The use of cayenne pepper is actually associated with a reduced risk of stomach ulcers.

Lose Weight
All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy--and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.

Enzymes support the body's ability to systemically reduce inflammation and swelling, clean out and repair the cardiovascular system, minimize the risk of blood clots, reduce scar tissue, digest fibroid cysts, and digest Circulating Immune Complexes, which helps reduce the symptoms of autoimmune disorders and allergies. For athletes, proteolytic enzymes can also improve performance and reduce recovery time.

"Cayenne Pepper." The World's Healthiest Foods. The George Mateljan Foundation. 2 April 2010. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=140

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When you pray, give your worries to God

Give us today the food we need. Matthew 6:11 (TEV)

Once you have given God your love and your life, Jesus teaches you can give him your worries by asking God to provide for your needs and the trusting that he will provide.
For instance, we can ask God to give us the food we need each day. Some translations say, "Give us this day our daily bread."

What is "daily bread"? It is the necessities of life -- our physical and material needs that we're always worrying about. God wants you to ask him to provide those things so you don't have to worry about them. He's promised to provide all your needs: "My God shall supply all of your needs." (Philippians 4:19)

What do you need today? Energy to make it through the day? Finances? Wisdom? You've got two alternatives: panic or pray. Philippians 4:6 says: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Do you really believe this verse? God says you can pray about everything. Nothing is too great for God's power. Nothing is too insignificant for His care. Anything worth worrying about is worth praying about. If we prayed as much as we worried, we'd have a lot less to worry about! Give God your worries.

-Rick Waren

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Billy got a job!!

Billy finally got a job & a better paying one! He starts tomorrow! Yay! God is good!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 - “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to Plant a Garden of Daily Living:

How To Plant Your Garden of Daily Living:










First, come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses....

Plant THREE rows of peas (peace):
1. PEAS of mind
2. PEAS of heart
3. PEAS of soul

Plant FOUR rows of squash:
1. SQUASH gossip
2. SQUASH indifference
3. SQUASH grumbling
4. SQUASH selfishness

Plant FOUR rows of lettuce:
1. LETTUCE be faithful
2. LETTUCE be kind
3. LETTUCE be patient
4. LETTUCE really love one another

Plant FOUR rows of turnips:
1. TURNIP for meetings
2. TURNIP for service
3. TURNIP to help one another

To conclude our garden, we must have thyme:
1. THYME for each other
2. THYME for family
3. THYME for friends
WATER FREELY WITH PATIENCE AND CULTIVATE WITH LOVE.. THERE IS MUCH FRUIT IN YOUR GARDEN BECAUSE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

Free from Judgment - Rick Warren's Daily Devotional

Wednesday April 07 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren

"Those who . . . believe in him . . . will not be judged" (John 5:24 GNT).

"If you put your trust in the love of Jesus Christ, your sins are wiped out, 'There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ.'" (Romans 8:1 NLT)

Jesus' death and resurrection releases us from judgment.

You may imagine a day of judgment where you're standing outside the gates of heaven in a really, really long line, and you're slowly moving forward, one step at a time. As you get closer, you start to sweat and wonder, "Am I going to get in? Am I going to make it? Is God going to use a giant TV screen to show every dumb or evil thing I've ever done? Will my every sin be exposed?"

I have good news for you; it's a promise of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that those who believe in Jesus—his death and resurrection—will not be judged (John 3:18).

So, here's the real picture: You're standing in line waiting for the judgment. Jesus sees you and he says, "I know you. We've been friends for years. You put your trust in me back at Easter 2009. Come with me. You come get in the express lane. You get the fast track. You get to bypass the judgment." Is that good news? Oh, yeah!

I've got a friend named Buddy who says, when he was a little kid, his Sunday school teacher taught him that God was sitting in heaven writing down every bad thing that Buddy ever did. Writing it down! She actually made the class sing a song every week that went: "My Lord is writing all the time. Writing, writing, writing all the time." Buddy says, "It scared me. I just thought, 'I'm never going to make it to heaven. My list is getting longer and longer.'"

Is that the way God treats us when we come and put our faith in Christ? No! In fact, God is erasing, erasing, erasing all the time. Forgiving, forgiving, forgiving all the time. He's sitting in heaven hitting the delete button.

Why? Because the Bible says, "God is love" (1 John 4:8); and "Love . . . keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV). If you put your trust in the love of Jesus Christ, your sins are wiped out, "There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ" (Romans 8:1 NLT).

Wednesday April 07 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren
http://profile.purposedriven.com/dailyhope/post.html?contentid=4188

Easter - Rick Warren's Daily Devotional

Monday April 05 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren

Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness. Ephesians 1:7 (GWT)

"Everything you've ever done wrong, everything you're ever going to do wrong, things you haven't even thought of yet, all those sins have already been paid for by Jesus Christ as he died on the cross. "

Jesus' death and resurrection paid for our sins. There have been a lot of great religious teachers throughout history. They've all had good things to say, but what makes Jesus different from every other religious teacher throughout history is the fact that he died and rose again.

That's of critical importance because it's not the life of Jesus that saves you; it's not the teachings of Jesus that save you; it's his death and resurrection that open the door for your salvation.

Jesus died for your sins. The Bible says we've all blown it. We've all made mistakes. None of us is perfect. That's pretty obvious; I don't measure up to my own standards much less God's. We have all sinned.

The Bible says that justice demands punishment. If you do the crime, you pay the time. If you break the law, you pay the fine. If you get caught speeding, you get a ticket. If you break God's laws, you pay God's penalty and, according to the Bible, "the wages [for our] sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23 NLT). In other words, somebody has to pay for all the things you've done wrong in life: either you pay or somebody else pays for you. And this is where God says, "I'll do it!" He steps up to the plate. Jesus Christ is sent to earth—God in human form—and he says, in effect, "I will pay for your sins."

Here's the good news: Everything you've ever done wrong, everything you're ever going to do wrong, things you haven't even thought of yet, all those sins have already been paid for by Jesus Christ as he died on the cross: "Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness" (Ephesians 1:7 GWT).

When Jesus died on the cross for you, it showed two things:
It showed how much your forgiveness cost. The highest price you can pay for anything is to give your life for it. And that's what Jesus did. He gave his blood. He gave his life. It was extremely expensive. Grace is free but it is not cheap. It cost Jesus his life, but he paid for your sins.
It shows how much God values you. It shows how much you matter to God. Jesus died for you on the cross. It shows the highest price possibly to be paid was giving a life.

How much are you worth? Jesus says, with his arms stretched out on the cross, "This much I'm willing to die for you." You may think that you're worthless because of things you've done wrong. But Jesus says, "No. You're priceless. And I'm willing to give my life in order to pay for your sins."

Monday April 05 2010 12:00 AM
Posted by Rick Warren
http://profile.purposedriven.com:80/dailyhope/post.html?contentid=4186