Welcome to my blog – a site committed to finding the healthier, more vibrant and beautiful you! My goal is to explore all aspects of health; helping you discover your inner as well as your outer beauty. I'd like to invite you to join me and begin your own personal journey to health and wellness. Let’s learn together through sharing our own unique experiences; turning them into growth opportunities. You know, you truly can be all you ever dreamed of and more! It is right here waiting for you to attain, and so much easier when we join together as women and friends seeking the same ultimate goal. I welcome your comments and look forward to getting to know you. May God bless your journey... ~Susan~

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas, Chaos & the Countdown

Merry Christmas
Well, the countdown to Christmas is now in the single digits. I feel like I accomplished a lot last week with the decorating finished; my Christmas letter written; and the packages wrapped and under the tree. I am very thankful that I took the time this year to ponder and decide what's really important to me and what activities I can let go; avoiding the typical Christmas chaos. It's been so enjoyable taking the time each day to sit and gaze at the Christmas tree and all the pretty decorations, while sipping a cinnamon-sprinkled green juice in my favorite winter goblets or savoring a cup of hot peppermint tea.

I also buy a new Christmas CD each year and this year I purchased Casting Crowns Peace on Earth ~ it was a wonderful choice (thanks to my sister, Marj, for the recommendation)! These moments of relaxation are so rejuvenating and I'm thinking I should make this daily bit of 'me time' a New Year's Resolution...

Sugar, icing and sprinkles...
This coming week I hope to bake some Christmas goodies. I really love to decorate sugar cookies and, even though I can’t eat them with my food sensitivities, I think I’ll bake them anyway. My husband and family will certainly enjoy having cookies and I can always give them away as gifts. Maybe I’ll sneak just one teeny bite…

Special family traditions that mean so much...

Saturday evening my husband and I will attend the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church with our daughter and her family.  It’s always been a special tradition at our house to attend this service together. After all, there would be no Christmas to celebrate without God's sending the Christ child and His lasting promise of eternal life.

Excitement fills the air...
I love the way the whole church is filled with the excitement of children; eagerly anticipating soon-to-be-opened gifts under the tree. And what could be a better reminder of another very special and highly anticipated event; the birth of Baby Jesus in Bethlehem so many years ago.

God's wonder and love...

Happiness abounds with lots of “Merry Christmas” greetings and smiling, happy faces. Christmas Eve is such a beautiful night; filled with God’s wonder and love. It’s a deep inner joy and warm feeling of togetherness sent straight from heaven above that I will cherish in my heart for many years to come...

May God bless you and yours with beautiful
 Christmas memories

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Can You Feel the Stress?

The holiday “hustle and bustle” has arrived full force and I’m in panic mode because there’s only two weeks left until Christmas! I know many of you are feeling stressed, as well, with time running out as we speak.

With that thought in mind and in an effort to keep my sanity, I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Fact is, I have lots of shopping to do; cookies to bake and decorate; our three granddaughters' Nutcracker ballet to attend; decorating to finish plus many other fun Christmas activities on my “hope to get to do” list.

One of the special activities that we enjoy each year as a family is putting together a Christmas jigsaw puzzle. Because of the well-cut pieces and colorful, interesting detail of the pictures, we choose this brand of jigsaw puzzle. I know you’ll love them, too.

Remember the Reason for the Season,


Monday, December 5, 2011

Holidays, Hormones and a Heart Full of JOY

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. ~ Helen Keller

December days can fill your heart with Christmas wonder or break your spirit leaving you worn out and ridden with agonizing guilt. It seems each and every year brings with it a specially-wrapped package full of stressful scenarios just waiting to wreck your peace and joy.

When the holidays roll around, there are many reasons why a healthy balance is difficult to achieve; most of which involve a few of “our favorite things”:

·         Food
·         Family
·         Friends

Since I’m visiting with women here, we really have to talk about the “food” situation. At the holidays there’s a huge abundance of wonderful, tantalizing food everywhere you go: parties, family dinners, work and social functions...

It’s an endless feast of delectable cookies, candies, appetizers and dinners bursting with:

·         High Sugar
·         High Fat
·         High Calories

What makes it even worse is you’re so incredibly busy that you can hardly fit meal preparation into your frantic schedule.

It would be so much easier to just “graze” your way through the holidays. Another certainty is that the "fast sugar", "fast fat","fast calorie" fast food joints Love, Love, Love Christmas! Their profit percentages spike off the charts because everyone is just “too busy” to cook. Convenience trumps nutrition every time in our fast and busy world.
And time to work out? You’ve got to be kidding! Who has time for that with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas! Besides, you have it all under control, fully intending to start an exercise routine in January; right after the ink dries on your annual New Year’s resolutions.

But the real kicker is (back to the “woman” thing) that sugar (your very best friend) has the capability to do a major number on your hormones. Stay with me here as we ponder this for a moment...

You’re now well into the month of December and you’re feeling quite rotten both physically and mentally from all the over-indulgence and lack of activity. You’re having worse ups and downs than the Nasdaq and you’re on a guilt trip that’s no happy Carribean cruise. The sugar has dulled and fuzzied your brain and you’re stressing out over what clothes you could possibly fit into  for your annual Christmas parties. You've blown it again....

You know those routine PMS symptoms you suffer with each month? Lucky Girl...  you get to enjoy them all the month of December!

According to Steven R. Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Medical Center in New York City, hormonal symptoms “can include anything from mild to moderate depression, anxiety, mood swings, melancholia, sensitivity, even full-blown anger and self-hatred.” 

So where's the JOY?!?

Next let’s add close and loving family to this toxic cocktail you've got going…

Your Beautiful Children – Don’t they just make you proud? And you gotta love ‘em ‘cause they’re what Christmas is all about, right? The little stinkers are now happily on a steady and unrelenting sugar high (who gave that to them anyway?) and they’re wound up tight with visions of Santa Claus bouncing around in their sugar-laden heads.

The Special Man in Your Life – poor guy can’t do anything right enough for the Queen of Hormones and he knows it, so he’s trying to be totally invisible. By now he’s responding quite well to voice commands (but not always) and he seems to be spending a lot of time in the garage.

Note to You: This is the same guy you expect a beautifully wrapped and touchy/feely gift from come Christmas Day).

And you say you’re doing the FAMILY dinner again this year?

What FUN! Bring on the relatives (along with all their "baggage"). Does it get any better than this?

It's definitely time for some holiday analysis…

·    Your kids are now needy and out-of-control and the urge to torture them has crossed your mind more than once.

·    Your man is wondering if your name is really “Sybil” ‘cause he has no clue who this woman is he’s waking up to these days.

·    You’re a weepy, distraught wreck and, you too, are having difficulty figuring out who has taken residence in your body. 

·    And, of course, your friends are still your friends because you’d never treat them like you do your family, for pity’s sakes…

INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein

Even though this scenario may be somewhat exaggerated (and then again, maybe not), I really hope you haven’t seen yourself in this lovely Christmas scene. It’s an ugly picture devoid of the precious joy given us by the Christ Child that we celebrate on Christmas Day. I’m sad to admit that I was this woman and I’m still struggling on my journey to get my holiday self together. It's probably going to be a long trip...

It’s been said that, through awareness, we can make the changes necessary to improve our emotional and physical wellbeing. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you’ll not fret over past mistakes, but rather seek joy in each and every moment; savoring the time spent with your family and friends. Through it all, you'll be creating special and lasting memories that everyone will cherish for many years to come. Life is just too short to do it any other way…

May God bless your journey,