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~

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let Go & Move Forward

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes

Wouldn’t it be great if relationships could always stay on an even keel and not get so messy! But life just doesn’t work that way, does it. Maybe you’ve been the perpetrator of the damage to a relationship, or maybe the victim. Either way, you find yourself in a complicated entanglement of hurt feelings, remorse and anger. It may have gone like this:
v  You say or do something incredibly stupid and inflict a wound on someone you care deeply about.

v  You experience the brunt of an unjustified verbal attack and are left reeling in emotional pain.

v  You jump the gun and decide to ‘get even’ before you’ve had time to think it through.

v  You pass judgment on someone and ‘speak your mind’ without knowing the total picture.

v  You make a careless and thoughtless remark and suddenly realize what you’ve done, but it’s too late.

v  Your best friend (at least you thought she was) repeats something you told her in confidence.

And so it begins…

Unresolved relationship issues adversely affect you mentally and physically. They stress your body and take a toll on your health. You need to make a conscious decision to forgive anyone who has offended you, and if you’ve been the offender, ask for their forgiveness. The sooner this can be done, the better and, hopefully, the damaged relationship can be restored. It probably will be a process that takes time and hard work, but the end result will be worth it. 

Last, but not least, make it a point to forgive yourself. Let it all go and move forward with your life. Your physical and emotional health are worth it and life is far too short to carry this kind of baggage around weighing you down.

I realize that this is easy for me to say, but very hard to do. I wish I could say I have all of the answers, but I don’t. I do, however, know where to find them. God has laid it all out for us in his Word in plain language that we can easily understand. So if you have a wound that needs healed or have caused another pain, spend some quiet time seeking His will. After all, He’s the author of LOVE .

Get along with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. Do all these things; but most important, love each other. Colossians 3:13-14.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pretty in PURPLE…

Forever Friday

"When I am an old woman I shall wear PURPLE…"
    by Jenny Joseph

Today my girlfriends and I were talking about how we loved to dress up for a special event. It seems that the anticipation and preparation are almost as much fun as the actual event. Of course, you have to find “just the right dress” with shoes to match and the perfect jewelry. Isn’t it funny that nothing has really changed since we were little girls playing dress up? We were blissfully happy then - dressing up and playing make-believe for hours. 

I remember, as a young girl, my mother often dressed me in purple. She had a passion for that color that I can’t say I shared at the time – at least not enough to wear it.  However, I loved the beautiful Blue Bells that bloomed each spring on the ranch. They blossomed in many shades of purples, pinks and blues. I have many fond memories of when my Mom would take us on hikes to pick wildflowers in the spring. It's most likely when my love affair with yellow began - I loved those dainty Buttercups.

As I grew up, I gradually eliminated all the purple clothes from my wardrobe (along with quite a ton of turquoise J). Many years have passed since then, and I must say purple is beginning to appeal to me more and more. (Yikes! I can’t even believe I’m saying this)! I even caught myself eyeing a royal purple cocktail dress, when shopping for an upcoming conference.  Suddenly it dawned on me that my age might be a factor here… Purple was beginning to seem a bit daring and bold, if not downright exciting! I could suddenly envision that purple dress as the next alluring step on my journey to finding the “More Vibrant and Beautiful” me. I guess I'm discovering that growing older just isn't so bad after all and that maybe, just maybe, my Mom really did know best!

Gotta go ladies! I have some important shopping to do! Have a wonderful, God-blessed weekend sprinkled with special delights!

Dedicated to my dear mother, who at 92 years old, is the most healthy, vibrant and beautiful lady I know!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Health and Happiness Connection

Ladies, you’ve got a great start on your journey to Finding the More Vibrant and Beautiful You! You’re practicing deep breathing daily; drinking lots of water; getting plenty of rest; eating nutritiously and enjoying fun activities. Now we need to talk about bringing purpose to your life through healthy relationships.
Are you happy with the relationships in your life?
Do you have relationships full of conflict and emotional pain?
Have you decided that cultivating your relationships with family and friends will take more time and trouble than it’s worth?
As women, there are many relationships in our lives.  We have husbands, siblings, best friends, friends, co-workers, children, grandchildren and in-laws to name a few. Each relationship fills an emotional need in our lives whether it’s a close relationship or one that’s less demanding.
Are you ridden with guilt because you don’t seem to have enough time or energy to spend on all this interaction with family and friends?
With that in mind, it’s important to realize that meaningful relationships are vital to your health and are a very important investment in your total wellbeing. Relationships bring us joy in the good times and strength and security to get through the bad.  
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.  ~Swedish Proverb
When we’re unhappy with a relationship in our life, it doesn’t just affect our emotional wellbeing;  it affects our physical wellbeing as well. Relationships directly affect our stress level and stress is a known precursor to many serious illnesses.  
Is it easy? Absolutely not! And I am certainly not an expert in this field. Just know that mistakes and poor choices happen in relationships, but it’s never too late to do the right thing. So today I ask that you evaluate the relationships in your life and make the conscious decision to nurture them. Maybe you need to pursue a new friendship. Maybe you need to let someone go. Say a prayer for God to bless the relationships in your life and take the next step on this adventurous journey to a “More Vibrant and Beautiful You”.  In doing so, you will discover the tremendous value and peace in the giving and receiving of love


Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just Say YES!

Forever Friday

Do you ever find yourself saying “No” before you even think about what your kids or grandkids are asking you to do? I know I have. How many times have I heard them ask, “Please Grandma, can we go to the park today?” or “Pretty please can we go for a bike ride?”
Earlier this week, I wrote my blog on consistent daily activity. This is very important to attaining and maintaining fitness. And when you have the opportunity to add additional fun activities to your day, it’s like frosting on the cake, or should I say “muscles on the body” J.
Sometimes I think we, as women today, have totally forgotten how to allow ourselves to play like a kid; to let ourselves laugh and have fun and be totally carefree. This summer I challenge you to stop saying “NO” all of the time and start saying “YES!” to getting active with your kids and grandkids. Besides being energized by boosting your activity level, you will be making wonderful memories with your family that will never be forgotten.
~Have a great Father's Day! and may God shower blessings on this special time with your family~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Definition of VIBRANT:  Pulsating with life, vigor or activity
 In life there is a price for everything of any value and your health is no different. Good health is a thing of great value.
Let me ask you something and please be honest with yourself:
If you continue down the path you’re on, what will your health look like 5 years from now?  10 years from now?
Does your answer to this question frighten you? Is this the destination you want to end up at on your life’s journey?
We live in a time of demanding “instant gratification”. We expect a diet to fix us in a month when it took years for our bodies to get in this mess. We fall helplessly for sales pitches for exercise equipment expecting our bodies to be toned and in bikinis by summer. It’s insane how we play out this scenario year after year expecting different results!

The magazines at the checkout stands always make me smile. Same stuff month after month…The cover is always graced with a luscious picture of a delectable dessert, while at the same time claiming you can lose 16 pounds in two weeks on some amazing diet. And then there’s the exercises that are going to get you toned up and ready for summer (which you’d better triple up on, if you’re going to eat that irresistible dessert!). What’s even more unbelievable is that we women keep buying these magazines and believing the lies.

Well, ladies, here’s the deal. It’s all about choices. Choices that we need to make every day on this extremely important journey to health and wellness. In my last blog, I talked about healthy choices when it comes to our diet. Today I’m going to talk about healthy choices when it comes to activity. Here are three things that I personally believe are vital to your success:

1)      Pick activities that you enjoy
2)     Plan a ‘doable’ activity schedule
3)     Set reasonable goals for weight loss
4)     Be consistent ALWAYS!

One thing I see over and over is women sabotaging themselves from the get go with ridiculous exercise routines that they will never continue over a max of a couple of months. Sadly, many think that if they’re not doing an extremely rigorous routine and, a long one at that, they’re never going to get in shape. Actually, it is really true that they’re never going to get in shape, because they’re going to quit before they get there! It’s just not realistic to over exert yourself and to schedule more time for activity than is reasonable to fit in your day.

Listen while I tell you a big secret. IT’S DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD! My workout consists of just 30 minutes of cardio a day (6 days a week), and less than 10 minutes of strength toning with weights each day. Yes, I do sweat a little during the cardio, but I certainly don’t make it so difficult that I dread it each day. My weights consist of 2 lb. wrist weights that I wear while I do my cardio workout on the treadmill. My strength toning consists of two, 3 lb. hand weights doing a routine that I created myself done entirely while lying on my back on the floor. Sounds rough, huh? I’m sure you’re thinking that 3 lb. weights are really wimping out, but it’s all it took for me to have firm abs and toned arms. And NO! it didn’t happen overnight. It took persistence over time. My personal experience has proven that it’s not how hard you’re working out – it’s that you’re consistently working out every day and every day and every day!

Are you ready to take the next step on your journey to health and wellness? Isn’t it time you made ACTIVITY a healthy habit in your life? Just remember:

Keep it CONSISTENT ~ Keep it SIMPLE ~ Keep it FUN!

Think of it as building a healthy fit body one day at a time on your journey to health and wellness. What an awesome way to strengthen your body and spirit; increase your circulation, purge toxins, bolster your immune system and boost your spirit. Activity is truly a vital component of Finding the Healthier More Vibrant and Beautiful You!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Forever Friday
I grew up in a home where we were served a wide variety of vegetables and fruits on a regular basis. However, I limited my menu to corn, peas, lettuce and cucumbers because I was such a finicky eater. Today, interestingly enough, the main thing I can eat, because of my food sensitivities, is VEGETABLES! I've discovered that many vegetables that I was sure that I hated I am passionate about now. It seems I can’t get enough of them. FRUITS, on the other hand, are pretty much off my allowed list, although I can eat raspberries and then there's my latest “FAV FOOD” – the AVOCADO. An intriguing fact about avocados is that they are botanically a fruit, but taste like a vegetable. 
Did you know that avocados are extremely healthy for you? In fact, many resources suggest that, women especially, should eat an avocado every day. Some of the benefits of this super food are:

You can check out the internet for many creative ideas and recipes using avocados. My current favorite is guacamole served with sweet potato chips. This is a healthy snack that is quick and easy and one that the whole family will love. In addition to all the health benefits of the avocado, the sweet potatoes pack a lot of nutrition, too [120% daily value of vitamin A; 30% of vitamin C; 4% calcium; 4% iron and a good source of fiber].
v  Great source of Vitamin E
v  High in folate and beneficial for your heart.
v  Lowers stroke risk
v  High in oleic acid, like olive oil, and shown to prevent breast cancer
v  Inhibits the growth of prostate cancer
v  High in beta-sitosterol – a cholesterol lowering compound
v  Protects against cataracts and macular degeneration
v  Enhances the nutrient absorption of foods eaten with avocados
v  Good source of glutathione which is important in preventing cancer, heart disease and aging
v  Seeks out and destroys oral cancer cells
Slice 3-4 sweet potatoes in very thin slices - 1/8" or less. Spread on a baking sheet; spray lightly with vegetable or olive oil; and sprinkle with salt. Bake in a preheated, 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until nicely browned. The longer you bake the chips, the crisper they are. If you don't have any oil spray, you can toss the chips in a bowl with olive oil (1 Tbsp oil for 2 sweet potatoes). Variations: sprinkle with chili powder, cayenne or garlic powder.
While the chips are baking, prepare your guacamole. I like to use my mini food processor and blend one avocado; 1 Tbsp lime juice; 4 sprigs of cilantro; minced onion, minced garlic and salt to taste. You can use raw onions and a clove of garlic instead of the minced, if you prefer.
Enjoy your weekend ladies and, if you have that snacking urge, THINK HEALTHY. Your body will love you for it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It’s ALL about Baby Steps!

With a gazillion different opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet, it can be very confusing to say the least. Especially, if you are trying to lose weight! There are so many fad diets out there to tempt you and supposedly ‘simplify’ and ‘sugar coat’ the weight loss process (and, YES! many diets are practically predestined to fail).  But whether you’re at your ideal weight, trying to lose a few pounds or perhaps half of yourself, the healthy eating rules are the same and quite SIMPLE.

It’s all about getting back to basics:
First of all, let’s talk about some things that food should not be in your lives.

      It should not be:
…to make you ‘feel better’ when you’re an emotional disaster
            …to ‘keep your hands busy’ while you watch television
            …your only means of social interaction with others
            …your ‘comfort’ when life deals you a bad hand
            …the only thing you have in common with your mate
            …your BEST friend - YIKES!

Unfortunately, many of us have a longstanding ‘Love Affair’ with food. We quite literally plan our whole lives around it! From shopping trips (have to have that special treat you know), vacations (determines where we travel), eating out (need I say more?), barbecues, picnics, family reunions to birthdays it is a never ending barrage of unhealthy food. Sadly, nutrition usually takes a back burner in our lives.

Why should you eat a nutritious diet?

v  Energy – a balanced diet gives you the energy you need today
v   Nourishment – to build a healthy body
v  Strength - to fight off disease now and in the future
So where does healthy, nutritious eating start?
I cannot stress enough that it is SIMPLE! In the world of foods furnished to us on a silver platter by today’s food industry, we have got so far removed from eating healthy that it’s difficult to remember what it even looks like. And even more frightening, is that at first glance, you’re going to totally reject it. However, after eating healthy for a while, you will find your body craving REAL food and not the junk you were devouring before.

Here are some suggestions, so you will have some idea of where to start:
v  Buy fresh (preferably), or frozen fruits and vegetables

v  Buy organic, whenever possible

v  Eliminate most processed foods (yes, it is possible). They have been enhanced with a variety of interesting ingredients/chemicals to make them taste like “REAL’’ food and, in many cases, to be downright addictive.

v  Read labels – If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be putting it in your mouth. If unsure, you can research ingredients on the internet.

v  Eat lean cuts of meat and limit your intake of red meat

v  Use healthy oils like flax and olive oil and supplement with fish oil

v  If there’s high fructose corn syrup or fructose on the label, leave it at the store

v  Eliminate all sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. There are a lot of Stevia products now that are chemically processed, too. Try using pure Stevia.

v  Avoid canned foods - they leach chemicals into your foods (tomato products are especially bad, because of their high level of acidity)

v  Eat a limited amount of dairy and wheat products.

v  SUGAR IS A POISON! Treat it as such. The food industry is very tricky about labeling sugar under many different names (example: ingredients ending in “ose” such a fructose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose).

I’m sure by now you’re freaking out and the term “radical” is playing a tune in your head J. But, seriously, to turn your life around and avoid the diseases that are plaguing women these days like diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues, digestive ailments, and cancer, it’s going to take some radical change in your life. And at the root of many of these ailments is the obesity that is running rampant in America today.

Ladies, you don’t have to conquer the battle in a day. Just START! Start making some healthy changes today and begin the journey to get your life turned around. Eat a healthy, nutritious diet; take quality supplements; and just see how great you start to feel. I guarantee you that it will all be worth it.

Well, I’m positive I have probably overlooked many aspects of nutritious eating, but I’m sure I will be revisiting this topic in the future. In the meantime, learn to savor what REAL food tastes like. Go buy some delicious fruit – there’s so many to choose from in the summer. And quit saying, “It’s too expensive!” You’ve been paying just as much or more for candy, chips, ice cream and junk that’s totally devoid of any nutrition whatsoever.

May God give you the strength and courage for your journey to health and wellness…


Friday, June 3, 2011

Let us Dance in the Sun...

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair... ~Susan Polis Shutz
Forever Friday
Today we were blessed with REAL summer sunshine. I love it!!! It feels so good after all the rainy, cloudy, windy days we’ve been having this spring in the Midwest states.
As women, we’ve heard a lot about protecting our skin from the sun. Most of us are careful to use sunscreen and avoid tanning beds altogether. But what many of you may not have known, is that as many as 2 out of 3 Americans are Vitamin D deficient!
Last year, much to my surprise, I was diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency. I was alarmed to learn that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and several forms of cancer. It was also interesting to me that D isn’t just a vitamin – it’s also a hormone that plays an important role in your overall health. It is now thought by science that Vitamin D supports the cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems of your body and more. Here's a good video about the importance of this vitamin: Essential D.

In our quest to “Find a More Vibrant and Beautiful You”, remember that beauty starts from within with your overall health and wellness. In addition to taking a good Vitamin D supplement, I plan to spend some time each day enjoying the sunshine and soaking up some vital Vitamin D. As the old Flemish Proverb says, “Where there is sunshine, the doctor starves.” 
Spending time outside is also a great opportunity to get your body active with some form of exercise like biking, running, walking, swimming, golfing, playing tennis or gardening. You'll not only exercise your body, but your mind as well! Have a wonderful summer ladies!
Note: It’s best to avoid mid-day sun and be sure to use your sunscreen to protect your skin at all times.

The sun is nature's Prozac.  ~Astrid Alauda