Oct 312012
 

Let’s face it our lives are FULL! The demands on our time are GREAT! Often it is our natural tendency to put ourselves last.

Our need for “me-time”, nutrition, exercise, and devotional time seems to always be at the bottom of the list. Sometimes we feel guilty taking time for ourselves. It is just easier to not take the time.

Yet taking time for ourselves and our friends is important.

Why are friendships important?

We are designed to be in relationship. First, with Christ, and second, with others. Women in particular are relational beings and thrive when connected to others in meaningful relationships.

Establishing and maintaining healthy friendships provides the opportunity for us to recharge and connect with others. Having a friend that relates to our stage in life, and that we can share and laugh with, is essential to our mental well-being.

Since life can be stressful, it is vital to maintain friendships (especially after having children). Not doing so can lead to burn out, frustration, isolation or depression.

Evidence suggests these health benefits of friendship:  It increases your sense of belonging and purpose, boosts happiness, reduces stress, improves self worth, decreases risk of serious mental illness, helps you weather traumas and it encourages change of unhealthy habits.

Who should my friends be?

Not all our friends have to be just like us. Friends might be single, married, with kids or without: it does not matter. A friend is someone that you share a special bond with. The critical element is connection.  Connection that is genuine, caring and supportive.

Developing friendships can be scary! You may have experienced hurt at the hand of a friend. The key is to not let that experience hold you back from other real friendships. The benefits outweigh the risks. Forgiveness and learning from the past hurts helps you grow as a person.

At one time or another every woman has feared rejection, felt alone or assumed that the other woman has it all together.

Many times I have heard women say “I don’t have any friends” or “no one invites me anywhere”. I too have thought this and have felt “left out”. After honest conversations with other women I have come to realize that we all feel insecure at times.

Once I recognized that all women just want to be loved and accepted as much as I do, I felt freedom.  Freedom to be myself, to step out of my comfort zone a little and try to make friends.

I encourage you to take an inventory of your friendships.

When was the last time you spent quality time with a friend?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 302012
 

One of the most common questions I get asked as a nutritionist is, “What kinds of things do you avoid at the grocery store?”.  My mental “red flag list” has taken shape through education, trial and error.

Please, don’t read and process this through the eyes or ears of judgement. Some of you have experienced radical mama’s who won’t let their kids eat your kids’ snacks – if you know what I mean.  That’s not me.  This is NOT another diet or stifling list of do’s and don’ts.

Please note the links in each listing.  These will give you further information on the topic if you would like to know more.

My top 10 “red flag” list of items and ingredients to avoid:

  1. Sugar.  I wrote a few weeks ago how sugar has a toxic effect on our bodies.  As I am shopping, I try to keep in mind the sugar recommendation amount (men=under 35g; women=under 25g; kids=under 12g).  I aim to buy items with 10g of sugar per serving or less.  It definitely doesn’t work all the time, especially for special items, but when shopping for snacks, cereals, sauces, etc. it does help.  This sugar content criteria will steer you clear of many pre-packaged foods, as many of them don’t make the cut.
  2. Hydrogenated Oils.  Hydrogenated oils are the same thing as trans fats.  They include: palm, kernel, soybean, corn or coconut oils.  They can be partially hydrogenated or fully hydrogenated.  The process of hydrogenation is used to lengthen the shelf life of pre-packaged or processed food items.  Hydrogenated oils raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower your HDL (good) cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.  The best way to steer clear of them is to aim to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.
  3. The Dirty Dozen.  In reality, it is difficult for many of us to afford buying organic.  You want to do the best you can for your family, but it’s expensive.  When I have to choose, I rely on the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 to guide my grocery decisions.  This guide can help you choose which foods should be organic… and which ones do not need to be organic.  This list helps give insight as to why I always buy organic apples and why I never buy organic bananas.  When I was first learning these lists, it always helped me to remember: fruits and vegetables with an inedible exterior or peel, usually don’t have to be organic.  This guide also helped me “bring my husband along” in the organic conversation.  Choosing organic doesn’t have to be an all or nothing choice, as so many are led to believe.  There is also a printer friendly pocket guide to take with you in your wallet on your shopping adventures.

Stayed tuned until next Tuesday  to read the rest of my list.

Which one of these was the most helpful or insightful to you?

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Oct 292012
 

I AM COMPETITIVE AT MY CORE, THOUGH I HATE TO ADMIT IT.   It had better be a life or death situation in order for me to stopWhen I go for a run, that’s what I do.  Run.

I saw a river on one of my runs.  God’s beautiful creation is my weakness.  Something inside me was compelling me to stop.  It was messing with my runner’s groove.

It was a “must take” moment with the Father.  I had to lay aside my runner’s pride to experience peace.  A song immediately ran through my mind, “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul”.  At that moment I did experience peace.

The conclusion I came to after having this much needed time with God:  Stopping brings peace.

Not only do I have difficulty stopping on my runs, I also find it hard to stop my daily “running” of chores and activities.  Our culture only knows busy.  I hear myself and others answer the question, “How are you doing?” by responding “I’m good.  But busy.”

We all have what seems to be too much to do and not enough time to do it in.  It makes the thought of adding in alone time with Lord a little overwhelming.

The continual “running” puts me in what I like to call “survival mode”.  I react to people rather than relate with people.  I do not tap into the Spirit’s wisdom and power.  Instead everything is in my own strength.  I am just trying not to totally blow it as parent, wife, or friend.

The ironic thing is that the times when I am the most busy are the times when I most need the Lord.

The Sabbath day was created for man.  God knew we needed to have one day to stop the doing.  Focus on relationship.  He sees that we NEED to “take time at the river”. (Matthew 11:28.)

I want to prioritize stopping one day a week.  Having a Sabbath day.  Not to put more rules of do’s and don’ts on myself.  But to try and lay to rest my mind, body, and Spirit.

Practically speaking this rest looks like a change in my attitude for the day.  Letting go of any expectations for myself or others.  Stopping the “to do” list in my mind.  Engaging in relationship with God, family and friends.

I want to also prioritize alone time with Jesus daily.  I would challenge you to do it too.  Even if it is only 5 minutes.  It is time to be at our Father’s feet.  And stop everything else.

Benefits of stopping:

  1. We are renewed and refreshed
  2. Worries and stress can be transferred to Jesus.  He takes away the burdens and replaces it with peace.
  3. Our priorities are re-aligned with God’s
  4. We find help and wisdom in order to respond to problems
  5. We encounter forgiveness, love, acceptance, strength, and hope
  • A verse to ponder:  Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”.

When is your best time to be able to meet with God?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 292012
 

“I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but now I know Jesus uses ordinary people more.”  Bob Goff-  What are you afraid to do because you believe someone else is more capable?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 262012
 

We are running our week 4 book give-away for ONE more week!  

We will pick five random, new subscribers at the end of the week.

Just enter your email address in the subscribe box on the right hand side of our home page for a chance to win.  If you have already subscribed, PLEASE share this post with a friend who may benefit from this week’s book give-away.

One of our goals at Standing on Peace is to reach and encourage as many women as we can.  We depend on you, our readers.  If you like us… please share us!

Heidi’s book choice for the mother is Kim John Payne’s “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids”.

“Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:

• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed. 
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation. 

A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.”

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Oct 252012
 

For years I have felt compelled to pray the strange prayer that my sons would be prodigals instead of elder brothers.

Rather than knowing only their own pride, performance and striving after perfection, I want them to know deeply their need for God, and the thrill of mercy flooding all their inadequate places.

But seeing those inadequate places is hard to bear.

One of my life mentors has a strong, extroverted personality and isn’t afraid to be blunt and sometimes confrontational. This can be an incredibly valuable quality, yet his wife and I joke that when Mark sins, he sins boldly!

The same is true for my oldest son Michael, who I’m beginning to understand in some new ways this year. When Michael sins, he sins boldly. When he’s struggling, his inadequacies are out there for everyone to see. He can’t hide his fire, and when it comes out in an unrefined way, it makes me cringe. It’s hot and uncomfortable.

Yet these are the moments when my prayer is being answered. Because until inadequacies are truly exposed, there can be no deep experience of God’s mercy.

I think of myself as a pretty authentic person, but it’s easier to let my weaknesses be seen after I’ve processed and cleaned them up. Then when I share about them, I come off as self-aware and mature.

I don’t want my deepest inadequacies to be seen live, the ones that would really make you cringe. Like the day after Michael got home from a week of overnight camp when I yelled at him, “Why are you so hard to live with?”

“Then the Lord said to her, ‘You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish but inside you are filthy.’” (Luke 11:39)

As hard as it is for me to see (and know others are seeing) Michael’s emotional outbursts and 10-year-old bravado, it’s dawning on me that he is a model for me of transparency. His fire burns away any false, superficial exterior so that what is on the inside

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can be seen on the outside.

With Michael what you see is what you get. It’s real, it’s live, it’s in the moment—not shared later with wise overtones.

As we keep refining, I keep reminding myself that my kids’ reckless prodigal moments (and mine!) are an opportunity for an experience of mercy—every time. And I would much prefer this to

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a life of seeming maturity on our outsides while judgment, resentment, and pride are building on our insides.

For it is not prideful striving or covering up that will get us a clean cup in the end. It is being seen at our worst by a Father who hikes up his robes and comes running in response. It is mercy flooding our filthy places.

How do you help your kids experience mercy when they are at their worst?

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Oct 242012
 

Being a good listener is an invaluable gift to give to another.

Some are natural listeners while others are talkers by nature. Neither is better than the other.  Both natural listeners and talkers can work on bettering their listening skills.

One way to become a good listener is to engage in a practice called dialogue. One specific communication exercise is called Couples Dialogue.

The theory behind this form of communication is to get to the heart of the issue. And to learn to see the situation from the other’s perspective.

Tips for best results:

  • It is best not to try this form of communication right in the middle of a conflict.  Try approaching the other person when everyone’s feelings are calm.
  • It is also helpful to have both individuals read the below “How To” so you can learn together.
  • This dialogue exercise can be used in any of your relationships.
  • Important to healthy communication is the use of “I” statements. I feel… instead of YOU. Using YOU often puts the other on the defensive before you have even had a chance to start.

The below communication dialogue has three key elements: Mirroring, Validation and Empathy.

There are two roles, the Sender and the Receiver. The Sender is the one asking to dialogue (ie has something they need to talk about), the Receiver is the one listening and reflecting.

How To Effectively Dialogue

  1. Start out with a simple statement: “Can we talk? Is now a good time?”
  2. The Sender makes a statement, “I don’t feel appreciated when…
  3. The Receiver paraphrases what they have heard, “You don’t feel appreciated when…”
  4. Then check in “Is that right?” Asking “is that right” gives the Sender the opportunity to make sure they have been heard correctly and make clarifications if necessary.
  5. If not the paraphrase isn’t correct, mirror the corrected message. Then, ask: “Is there more?”
  6. Repeat this process in two or three rounds of mirroring until the message is understood and then validate.
  7. Validation is not agreeing. Validating is saying that you can understand the other’s perspective. If you cannot understand where they are coming from, ask for more information. If you do understand say something like: “I can understand that.” or “That makes sense to me because . . .”
  8. Lastly empathize. Empathy is putting yourself in the other’s shoes and trying to understand their experience. Say something like: “That must make you feel . . .”

Only when you have done all three steps correctly does the Receiver respond to the message. The other person then mirrors, validates and empathizes.

At first this will feel awkward but give it a go. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. 

The key is to listen, consider the other’s perspective and empathize, how would you feel in the situation?

Push past the awkward feelings and give it a try.

What works for you in being a good listener?

For further information about Couples Dialogue you can visit HERE.

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Oct 232012
 

One of the biggest saving-graces in my life is that someone believed in me.  Believed for me when I could not.  Believed in my recovery.  Believed in my healing.  Believed in my heart.

Dieting and self-awareness were my glass prison.  I lived under the delusion I had found happiness if I could maintain the perfect weight, size or eat the right foods.  I could see the world around me.  I could see the vibrancy of color that defined everyone and everything around me.  I could see the things I was suppose to enjoy.  I could see how those around me did not seem to have contained spirits.

But this glass prison I lived within did not let me live outside those suffocating walls.  I could not breath-in the freshness of everyday.  Only the stifling air of condemnation and defeat.  I did not know how to live a life in color.  Only grey.  I did not know how to live freely.  Only to live by rules, parameters and self-checks.

Sometimes we have no idea how small our perspective is.  How our definition of happiness might only be a sliver of what is possible.  How we might be living a story marked by fear and sadness, rather than by life and freedom.  So often we don’t believe God could possibly have a greater story for us.

It wasn’t until God graced me with a person in my life who believed in me, that I began to see.  See the walls.  See the grey.  See the defeat.  See that things could be different.  And see how God wanted me to heal, grow and help others.

Maybe you need someone to believe in you today.  Believe for you…  That you are so much more than you can see.  You are beauty, ready to blossom.  You are soulful, ready to be un-contained.  You are parts, ready to be whole.  You are life, ready to live.

Today I want to give you the gift of belief.  The belief you might need to crossover into healing… to begin stepping into truly living.

  • I believe you are NOT the lies you hear in your head day after day.
  • I believe you are beautiful, graceful and lovable – even in the moments you can’t catch a glimpse of it.
  • I believe your heart is worth expressing, because your heart is worth knowing.
  • I believe you are enough.  You don’t have to be like anyone, look like anyone, or live up to some earthly standard.  God sees you.  And loves you.  Exactly how you are today.
  • I believe you have an unquenchable strength burning within you.  Able to face pain, heartache and the longest of paths to healing.  Even when you think you don’t have anymore… Everything is possible with the Lord.
  • I believe freedom is within reach.  Because our God is crazy about redeeming us and offers us freedom from our pasts, from our wounds, from our broken identities.
  • I believe your insecurities and vices do NOT define you.  But provide you with a doorway and an empathy to reach the wounded.
  • I believe God’s story for your life is bigger than your struggle…

Which one of these beliefs did you need today?

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Oct 222012
 

HERE’S THE TRUTH:  WE DON’T HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY ALL THE TIME.  There is a light beyond the “guilt clouds”.  There is hope and peace.

Here is the end to the “I am a terrible mother for leaving my girls for 5 nights” story I wrote about in a previous post.  As I entertained my guilt ridden thoughts in the airport, I saw sun through the clouds.

I realized I could force my thoughts in a different direction.  Instead I could choose joy and peace.  I could be thankful.  This was a revelation.

A smile came to my face as I pictured my girls at “Nana camp”.  I thought about all the treats my mom had planned.  About the “schedule of activities” on the books.  About the privilege to even be able to go on vacation.

I took a deep breath in.  Then out.  A weight was lifted.  And I was grateful.

This heart of gratitude lead me to pray.  I prayed for wisdom and joy for my mom.  I prayed for obedience and joy for my girls.  I prayed that I would resist the lies of Satan and hold to the Truth.  Jesus.

This was a vacation like no other.  Free from kids.  Free from bondage.  Free from guilt.  I lived it up!  And you can too.

7 Ways to overcome guilt with God’s truth:

  1. I look to God for my self worth not others.  1 Thes. 2:4b “We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”
  2. I don’t have to fear.  Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”.
  3. I can be content in every situation.  Phil 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
  4. Failure is an opportunity to embrace the grace and forgiveness of God. Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
  5. I can be thankful and pray in all circumstances.  1 Thes 5:16 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  6. I am beautiful.  I am exactly who God created me to be. Ps 139:13-14a “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
  7. I can choose what I think about.  Phil 4:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”

What truth in scripture helps you fight Satan’s lies?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 222012
 

Gal 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good..” If this song doesn’t encourage you I don’t know what will! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMi-iZrbkCY&feature=related

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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