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~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

13 Reasons to Have a Tea Party

Oh, the comfort of a hot cup of tea…
I’ve always loved tea, either hot or iced. I remember coming in from the hayfield and quenching my thirst with a tall glass of iced tea. When we were sick, Mom made us a soothing cup of hot tea with real cream and sugar. But it wasn’t until recently, that I truly realized and started to appreciate the wide-spread health benefits of a cup of tea; especially green tea. 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.” ~William Gladstone, 1809-1898, British Prime Minister
The benefits of tea are mainly due to its high content of flavonoids. These plant-derived compounds are loaded with antioxidants. The antioxidants in green, black and oolong teas help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), increase good cholesterol (HDL) and improve artery function.
Green tea contains a unique group of antioxidants called catechins…
These amazing antioxidants are even more powerful than vitamins C and E in preventing damage to your body’s cells. Green tea is especially beneficial because it goes through a minimum amount of processing. Green tea is steamed; unlike black and oolong teas which are fermented; causing the catechins to be very potent and effective. Green tea also is know for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are some of the great health benefits of drinking green tea:
1)    Lowers cancer risk
2)   Controls cholesterol
3)   Boosts the immune system
4)   Protects again cavities and gum disease
5)   Protects brain cells against Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s
6)   Prevents infections
7)   Slows the aging process
8)   Reduces the pain of rheumatoid arthritis
9)   Prevents cardiovascular disease and strokes
10)  Helps with weight loss (especially caffeinated green tea)
11)   Aids in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
12)  Prevents the symptoms of allergies
13)  Kills acne bacteria

Many studies have been done on the benefits of all types of tea. A Dutch study of 3,000 men and women found that the more green tea they had consumed, the greater the reduction in the clogging of the heart’s blood vessels. Another interesting point was that the women in this study benefited more than the men.

In an age when everyone is constantly busy and short of time, what could be more enjoyable than taking time to indulge in what was once part of everyday life, but has now become a luxury -- afternoon tea. ~ Lesley Mackley, The Book of Afternoon Tea

I find it simply amazing that indulging in something so delicious and relaxing as a hot cup of tea, is at the same time benefiting my health in such a multitude of ways. And what a great stress-reducer, too!
I have many fond memories of enjoying interesting conversations with family and friends over a steaming cup of tea. When I was growing up, tea parties were a way of life and the best part of all was getting to use Mom’s beautiful china tea cups. Of course, we little girls sipped our tea in a sophisticated manner, with our little pinkies extended just so J.

Could there be anything more delectable than complimenting your cup of tea with your favorite cookies? Here’s some of my favorite tea and cookie combinations: butter cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal and raisin cookies, ginger creams and spicy cinnamon-laced snicker doodles. Cake also is equally blessed by a pleasant cup of tea; especially spice cake. I think we'd best move on, as this cookie and cake conversation may be hazardous to our health and thus eliminate the aforementioned benefits of the green tea…
So how much green tea should you drink? In countries that consume a large quantity of green tea, like China and Japan, three cups a day is the average. Be sure to allow your pot of tea to steep for three to five minutes to enhance the catechins. Also, be sure to drink it freshly brewed for the maximum benefit of this powerful antioxidant.
Drinking tea ... punctuates our day with precious and refreshing pauses, whether it is after a satisfying meal or when taking a much-needed break in our busy schedule.~Mutsuko Tokunaga, New Tastes in Green Tea

I don’t know about you, but after all this conversation about tea, I’m considering having, as they'd say in England, “a nice spot of tea”... pinkies up ladies…

May God bless your journey,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Discover the Value of Friendship

I recently enjoyed a walk down memory lane, when I attended my 40th high school class reunion. It was great to visit with old friends; many of whom I hadn't seen in thirty years. We talked about our school day memories, our families and what had transpired in our lives.
I found it interesting and thought provoking to reflect on that period of my life; a time that I had enjoyed immensely, wishing it could have lasted just a little while longer.  

Thinking back to that time so long ago, the school atmosphere provided the perfect setting for the forming and cultivating of friendships. Through classes, sports and activities we were constantly around others; a target rich environment for developing friendships.

True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost. ~ Charles Caleb Cotton
Research shows that friendship is necessary to not only your emotional health, but also to your physical well-being. Having strong relationships will lengthen your life, boost immunity and reduce the risk of depression.

I have come to realize that we have become far too busy when we have no time left to seek and nurture true friendships…
If you aspire to a life of total health and wellness, you will need to commit time to making friends. Solid friendships require a time investment as well a mutual commitment to the relationship. As a bonus for your efforts, you will be paving the way for a lasting friendship that will enrich and enhance the quality of your life.

A friend is a gift you give yourself ~ Stevenson

Some basic guidelines to follow on your quest to find a friend:
Ø Listen – It seems, that as women age, they tend to talk more and listen less. Hone up on your listening skills, paying close attention to what the other person is trying to say.

Ø Be Yourself – Have you ever been around someone that was so busy trying to impress you that you couldn’t even figure out who they really were? No one likes a fake; they want the real you. Be genuine.

Ø Ask Questions – Every woman loves to talk about her family and also about what she’s passionate about. Be inquisitive and make mental notes to remember for your next conversation. If you remember nothing else, remember her name!

Ø Smile, Be Nice & Make a Good First Impression. No one wants to be around a grump. You want them to remember your smiling face and happy attitude. Say nice things and be sincere.

Ø Get Involved – What are your interests? Find a group, an activity, a class where you will meet like-minded people. The more exposure to people you have, the more likely you are to find a friend.

Ø Trust Takes Time – Don’t tell your life story the first time you encounter your prospective new friend. Trust is established over time as the relationship solidifies.
Finally, and most importantly, be the friend you desire to have. Make a call, send an email, go for coffee, remember a birthday, give a compliment, have lunch, send a party invite or offer a helping hand. You'll soon find that you are well on your way to establishing lasting and rewarding friendships that you will cherish for a lifetime.

May God bless you on your journey,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Quest to Finding Your “Best” Friend


Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer. ~Author Unknown
Recently I was in a group where we discussed having friends. To be honest, I felt a little uncomfortable with this subject. For the past few years, life has become so incredibly “busy”, not to mention stressful, that I gave up on the idea of having friends; let alone a best friend. It just took too much time; and who has any of that these days?
The conversation did, however, get me thinking about what I may possibly be missing. Granted, there are girlfriends in my life: girlfriends within my family like my dear mother, sisters, daughter and granddaughters; my work girlfriends, like my friend Katherine, who is a fellow blogger over at Home Made Haven; and girlfriends from my church family. Plus I certainly can't forget my loving husband, who is my very best friend in the whole wide world…

Your (best) friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. ~ Elbert Hubard
But I have no “BEST” girlfriend. Someone I can call and say, “Hey, let’s grab a coffee and go 'shop til we drop'." Someone who really understands and listens to me, and I to her, in spite of what moods we happen to be in that day. Someone who won’t do a vanishing act, when the going gets tough.

Looking back, my very first "BEST" girlfriend (not counting Flossy, my sweet Beagle dog) was in high school. We were inseparable and had so much fun; thinking we would be friends forever! However, I have learned that we sometimes outgrow friendships. As the years have gone by, I’ve had four or five best friends, but due to a variety of life circumstances, they, or I, have chosen to move on.
A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. ~ Walter Winchell

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. ~Plautus
It has been my experience, that finding someone to be your best friend is an extremely difficult task. How do you do that? Does God place that person in your life? or do you go looking for a best friend that fits some type of criteria you’ve came up with in your mind?

When I did my research for this blog, I came across an interesting figure...
Each and every month 40,000 people search for the phrase: “How to find a friend”. I find this incredibly sad because it indicates to me that there are a lot of lonely people out there that are craving friendship and, just like me, struggle to even know where to start.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Friendships have a major impact on your health and well-being.” They also state that “Good friends are good for your health” because they:
Ø Increase your sense of belonging and purpose

Ø Reduce stress

Ø Improve your self-worth

Ø Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.

Ø Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise.

A friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere else. ~ Len Wein
In my next blog, I will explore some ways to find and keep friends, but in the meantime I’m curious about something and would love your feedback.
  • How many of you have a “Best Friend”; someone that’s really there for you?
  • How long have you been best friends?

May God bless you on your journey,