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, July 26, 2011

10 Ways to Achieve Allergy & Asthma Relief and How to Do It!

He lives most life whoever breathes most air.  ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It is impossible to take a breath in this world and not take in toxins!
We inhale them, ingest them and absorb them through our skin. They’re called TOXINS and they’re damaging our health every moment of the day. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a marked increase of allergies and asthma in both children and adults the last few years.
Allergies can be anywhere from annoying (watery eyes, runny nose, etc.) to serious allergic reactions to food and chemicals. Asthma, on the other hand, causes breathing difficulty and inflammation in the immune system of our respiratory tract.
Many things can bring on allergic reactions and asthma, with genetics rarely being the cause. Here are a few more common triggers:
v  Trauma from smoke, chemical burns
v  Emotional distress
v  Toxins from air, water and food (main cause)

Toxins are the Number #1 trigger of allergic and asthmatic reactions!
In all cases, the symptoms we experience are related to inflammation. Below is an excellent description of allergy triggers by Dr. Brazos Minshew:
“Triggers (allergens) are sharp, jagged proteins that are like shards of broken glass in your system. The cells lining your airways (and pretty well all other tissues) are like delicate balloons that pop when allergens attack. Fortunately, we are able to resist most of these allergens. However, the ones we cannot neutralize create real misery. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)…toughen up the balloon-like cells and make them much more difficult to pop. You will likely need two to three times the normal amount of EFAs every day for several months to achieve lasting relief from allergy triggers.”

10 ways to relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma with healthy and natural preventative measures:
1)    Take a good quality B-12 supplement to reduce histamine formation and inflammation of the respiratory tract and digestive tract.
2)    Add Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) to your diet and supplements
3)    Practice deep breathing for 20 minutes a day
4)    Reduce inflammation in your body with a quality anti-inflammatory product
5)    Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day
6)    Get enough peaceful sleep (7 ½ to 9 hours a night)
7)    Eat nutritiously avoiding processed foods
8)    Detoxify your body
9)    Drink pure water
10)  Add a coenzyme Q10 supplement for more energy

For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.  ~Sanskrit Proverb
I’m sure you'll agree that breathing well is vital to living a healthy and quality life. Remember ~ it is never too late to start your journey to “A Healthier, More Vibrant & Beautiful You”. You’ll be glad you did!
A healthy mind has an easy breath.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Health & Wellness – Your Journey in 10 Easy Steps

Our wellness journey is about to come full circle with each and every step being essential to your total physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Let’s review our progress thus far.
We have learned the importance of:
1)    Deep Breathing
2)   Drinking Water
4)   Eating Nutritiously
5)    Enjoying Activity
6)   Giving and Receiving Love
7)    Being Forgiving
8)   Practicing Gratitude
9)   Developing Acceptance

10)   Develop a Relationship with God

We all have a need deep within to be loved for who we are, unconditionally.
There is a peace in knowing that this love will be granted regardless of our physical beauty, intelligence, popularity and/or performance. It is not something we have to earn; we need only to accept this gift of grace.
There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart.  ~Blaise Pascal
It is crucial for your total health to feed your soul with nourishment that can only come from God. It will bring a sense of well-being that cannot be experienced any other way. One of my favorite authors is Max Lucado and he wrote something that I’ve never forgotten. I’ve personalized it with my own name. Why don’t you do the same.
Dear Susan,
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary.
Face it, friend. He's crazy about you.
~Max Lucado

Take a moment and carve out a time in each day to make an appointment with your Maker. Find a quiet spot in your home, where there won’t be noise or interruptions, and spend time in His Word. Humble yourself before God offering a prayer of thanksgiving for all that God has done for you and your family. Get right with God over things that are bothering you and causing stress and anxiousness in your life. Make all your requests known to Him and record answers to your prayers. For a little while, spend time in quiet meditation as you listen for God’s voice. You will find this time with God refreshing and revitalizing for your mind, body and soul.

When we put our cares in His hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.  ~Author Unknown

May God continue to bless your journey to a Healthier More Vibrant & Beautiful You!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good for the Mind, Good for the Soul

Forever Friday…
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.  ~Gerard de Nerval
For as long as I can recall, I’ve loved flowers. Each winter, for many years, I would spend hours planning my perennial and annual flower beds. There were numerous things to consider such as: plant dimensions; color schemes; sun and shade requirements and zoning. It was quite a tedious and complicated process, but I found it very enjoyable and thoughts of spring warmed those cold winter nights.
Nowadays, my yard is busting with flowerbeds, with no room to add any more. But with flowerbeds comes “tending” and there’s certainly plenty of that to do! Often people walk by and tell me what a lot of work it is. But for me, it’s my passion, and there’s no place I’d rather be than soaking up the sun amongst my posies. I find the garden a beautiful and peaceful place where I can draw close to God. Isn’t it awesome how our creator made each flower so special and unique?
Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there. ~Francis Thompson, "The Poppy," 1891
The color splash begins with the yellow and purple iris and the deep orange oriental poppies. Did you know that each iris has a scent all its own? We are blessed to live near an iris farm that we can visit and “take time to smell the irises”.
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.  ~Walt Whitman
Then the first flush of roses begins in shades of pink, peach purple, white and red. What a joy it is to drink in their scent and gaze on their beauty. For a special surprise, God sprinkles seed here and there and the volunteers pop up in a whole new and intriguing design. It never ceases to amaze me!
With July comes the heat and hot summer nights and my flowers just thrive, especially the petunias. They are growing by leaps and bounds (as are the weeds), and I’m finding myself watering and weeding to my heart’s content.
Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts.  ~Dodinsky
So when my life gets too busy and some sort of crazy, you’ll find me in my garden. It’s my escape of choice; my refuge; my place to gather my thoughts and de-stress. Won’t you meet me there?

Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning.  ~Lydia M. Child

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Long Road to Peace

Sometimes the best way to hold onto something is to let it go...

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn on this journey called “life”, has been acceptance. I am cursed with a controlling nature and my stubbornness backs it up. When adversities attack, my first reaction is to “fix” things. I would rather try everything on God’s green earth before I give up in defeat. Can you relate?

The last few years, the road’s been long and agonizingly stressful. I reached a point, where I was just too tired and consumed by pain to keep fighting. I came face to face with the realization that there were some things and some relationships I just couldn’t fix. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I finally had to deal with the fact that, if change was going to come, it would be in God’s time and within his plan.

In addition to losing my will to continue down this painful path, I had lost hope. Hope for a renewed relationship; hope for my affection to be returned; hope for life to return to how it used to be. The stress had taken its toll on my body mentally and physically. I had been dealt a hand that I didn’t know how to play and I was losing the game. I knew it was time for change and the only one I could change was me.

There is a peace in handing impossible circumstances over to God and a renewed hope that change will come. There is also a true freedom in moving on with your life and letting go of circumstances that are way too monumental to deal with. You’re no longer crippled by the binding chains of their control.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7
Each morning, I find myself needing to lay my burdens at God’s feet and take one day at a time. I celebrate the small victories and try to keep a positive attitude. I have discovered that praying for others before myself, keeps me from spiraling into a cesspool of self-pity. Having a genuine compassion for others and their needs is far more rewarding than spending your time in a total frenzy trying to fix circumstances beyond your control.

I wish I could say that it’s always easy, but many days are a struggle. I’m tempted to grab my worries back and go to fixing them again. But God gently reminds me that I have better things to do; that He’s got everything under control. And for that, I am forever thankful, for I have found PEACE.

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.  ~ Author unknown, variation of an excerpt from "The Serenity Prayer" by Reinhold Neibuhr

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vim, Vigor & Vinegar

Forever Friday

If I asked you what drinks you loved to sip on in the heat of summer, you might say iced tea, lemonade, root beer floats or iced coffees to name a few. But I’m relatively sure my new “fav” drink would NOT be on your list!

It’s sweet and tangy with just a bit of a bite.
It’s incredibly economical on your finances and what’s more, it’s healthy! That’s right, it’s GOOD FOR YOU!
If only I could give it an enticing name that would eliminate all of your preconceived ideas J. BUT since that’s not possible, I’ll just come right out and say it in my teeny tiny little voice “Iced Vinegar Water”.  Ok, now that you’re freaking out, calm down, catch your breath and stay with me…
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to down vinegar straight because then you really would have a reason to try to catch your breath! Lol
Because I can’t have sugar, here’s how I make my tasty drink:
(1)   Fill a tall glass with ice cubes (good as a hot drink, too)
(2)  Add 1 T organic raw, non-distilled vinegar with the “mother” left in it (be sure to shake it)
(3)  12-16 drops liquid Stevia (sweetness to taste)
For those of you who have no problems with sugar, try adding raw organic honey. Yummy!

It’s an interesting fact that acid reflux and heartburn result from too little acid in your stomach, NOT too much!
Apple cider vinegar will mimic the acid level of your stomach and help you digest your food properly. It’s very important that your use organic apple cider vinegar that still has the enzymes in it called the “mother”. This is where the healing properties are. Try to pick vinegar that is made from whole, organically grown apples, with no added chemical preservatives. Your local health food store or online supplier will be your best bet.
It really is good for you! Let me tell you why:
Raw apple cider vinegar contains over 40 different naturally occurring substances from vitamins and minerals, to enzymes and beneficial bacteria.
1)      Natural bacteria fighter

2)     Contains minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine

3)     Acts as a blood thinner aiding with the prevention of high blood pressure naturally

4)     Detoxifies and purifies various organs in the body such as your kidneys, bladder and liver flushing harmful toxins from your body

5)     Promotes healthy digestion

7)     Reduces the risk of certain cancers

8)    Assists in weight loss by speeding up metabolism

9)     Balances your body’s pH

10) Helps acid reflux and other stomach ailments

Like anything that is “good” for you, it isn’t going to improve your health in a day. Stick with this natural tonic that is also a delicious drink and experience better health.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Gratitude Attitude

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
~ Henry Ward Beecher

I pray this blog speaks to your heart, but I’m really directing it at myself J. I don’t know if it’s the world we live in today (that may just be an excuse), or a lovely byproduct of breathing, but stress seems to dominate our lives at work and at home. Trust me the fruit of the tree of stress is not an attitude of gratitude! This ugly beast sidetracks us. It consumes us. And it can literally destroy our health physically and emotionally.

The Gratitude Attitude
There are many ways to manage stress, as detailed in my earlier blog, “Finding Balance in Our Insanely Busy World…Take a Deep Breath!” But maybe we should take this one step further and attempt to nip it in the bud before it rears its ugly head. Maybe it’s not as difficult as we had thought. Maybe we just need to develop a new attitude – The Gratitude Attitude!

Have you ever met someone who exuded an aura of happiness?
Their demeanor was magnetic and you just loved being around them. The words that spilled from their tongue were positive, encouraging, accepting and grateful. They were someone who was obviously very comfortable in their own skin and to sum it all up with one word – they were “content”.  I believe people like this have learned that having an Attitude of Gratitude is an art that helps release stress and creates true peace and contentment. I’m just as sure that their lives are not perfect, but they have made a conscious choice to be grateful for what they have and where they are in life.

To me gratitude is a much deeper level of thankfulness – a realization that you are so blessed in so many ways.
It’s an awareness that God has placed you right where you need to be; right now, at this very moment in time. It fuels positive steps on your journey to the healthier, more vibrant and beautiful you.

All that we behold is full of blessings. ~ William Wordsworth
An Attitude of Gratitude is something we need to practice each and every day. It needs to become a habit and, in so doing, you will be dwelling on the positives in your life instead of the negatives. Start each new day counting your blessings. It will help you through the moments of stress and be the encouragement you need to keep going through the tough times.
Give thanks with a grateful heart
It will bring sunshine and joy into your life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

We Must Teach the Children…

Forever Friday

Happy 4th of July!

My husband and I both grew up in very patriotic families and the 4th of July has always been a  favorite holiday at our house. When we were kids, the raising of the flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance were routine at our schools. At my country school, we also sang at least one patriotic song each and every day. There was a nurtured reverence for the flag deeply ingrained in our very being.  We would have never thought of not placing our hand over our hearts; removing our hats; and respectively facing the flag when our national anthem was sung. The Star Spangled Banner moved and inspired us then and still does today.
Over the years there has been a subtle and gradual decline in our land of the patriotism that we hold so dear. As if this isn’t alarming enough, I suspect that many in our country do not even grasp the inherent value of this loss. Sadly, you can drive all over our small town on any given patriotic holiday and see only a handful of flags being displayed. It is a sign of the times across our great land. But the good news is that:

We can change that!
One person at a time! One flag at a time!

Teach your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews about the flag and what it stands for. Make sure they know the Pledge of Allegiance word for word. Sing patriotic songs with them; because all the while you are doing these things you will be instilling in them a sense of patriotism that will last a lifetime. Make it a part of each day to pray with your kids for our brave soldiers who selflessly put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. It's vital to our freedom that we never, never forget the price paid.
Start this year and make this 4th of July the beginning of a special patriotic family tradition at your house. Explain what Independence Day is all about and why we celebrate. Buy a handful of flags and ribbons and turn the kids loose decorating your yard. Be a trendsetter in your neighborhood. You never know…it may just catch on!


I pledge allegiance to the Flag
     of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands:

     one Nation under God, indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

Dedicated to our son, Steven, who was wounded in Iraq January 15, 2007.