How to Create Healthy Habits

images-167My life-long career has been about guiding others into creating healthier habits.  If I were to pick one essential trait that greatly contributes to changing our health habits and behaviors, it would have to be RECORD KEEPING.  In other words, by recording or tracking the habits you want to improve, you will tend to be more successful.  For example, if you want to eat more vegetables, keep a tally of the number of servings of vegetables you eat every day.  You will see what your current habit looks like and by paying attention to it you will tend to make conscious choices during the day to improve that habit.  To commit to that habit even further, you could set a goal for the number of servings of vegetables you would like to eat each day.  That is just one simple example of how record keeping helps you develop healthier habits.

When I set health related goals, I’m looking for healthy habits that will combat the health concerns that bother me the most.  For me, my objectives would be: maintaining good mental health, controlling my weight, and managing chronic pain.  Remember this will be very personal for YOU and reflects your specific healthy habits that you want to maintain.  What would be your health priorities?  

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Below are the the healthy habits I regularly practice to meet my objectives.  I keep a chart where I can easily check up on myself, that I’m doing the best things I can to stay healthy.  The bottom line is this:  Can I say, yes, these habits are part of my life every day or almost every day?

 

This is what my DAILY HABITS chart looks like.  This is how I TRACK the healthy habits I want to maintain.  I put a check mark or a brief one word comment in the space. 

(Ideally, this would be a grid, but technology was not cooperating with me today.)
7 Daily Habits *
Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
1.Bible Study & Journal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Exercise & Stretch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Breathe, Relax, Fun
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Connect with Friends & Family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Nutrition, Supplements& Medications
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Sleep Quality
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Weight
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

* 7 DAILY HABITS:

1. Spend time in prayer and Bible study; journal the insights and discoveries

2. Make time for purposeful exercise and stretching

3. Practice deep breathing and doing something relaxing and/or fun

4. Spend time with people, socialize, connect

5. Prepare healthy meals, take nutrition supplements and necessary medications

6. Strive for quality sleep 

7. Monitor weight by getting on the scale

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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Giving More Thanks

images-163Christ is sufficient!  All of God’s omnipotent sufficiency in His saving and keeping power for us is in His Son, our Lord and Savior.  Christ is more than a promise; He’s a fact the eternal Rock of Ages upon whom we may rest everything.  God’s grace is Christ; and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is sufficient.

Are you thanking and praising Him for this?

Your needs for this grace may seem terribly great, great enough as to leave you hopeless.  But Christ and His grace are infinitely greater.  “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”  (Romans 5:20)

So the secret of victory is not praying, but praising; not asking, but thanking.

Our Lord has been waiting for you not to pray for victory, but to praise Him for it — to simply take Him at His word and say, “I thank You, Lord.” 

— Charles Trumbull

Thanksgiving in Hebrew is todah meaning thanks, praise, adoration.  Todah is derived from the verb yadah which basically is lifting or extending one’s hands in thanks or praise to God. Todah appears more than 30 times in the Old Testament, many of these are in the Psalms.  Sometimes it is translated as the sacrifice of praise.

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.   (Psalm 95:2)

I challenge you to be still for a minute, raise your hands, palms outstretched and begin praising God and declaring Who God says that He is.  Sometimes I just start with A and go through the alphabet stating His attributes.  A: God You are AlmightyB: Timages-158hank You that
You are Bigger than all my problems.  C: You are Creator of all things.  You created me.  D: God, You are my Deliverer.  And so on.  You get the idea.  You are thanking and praising and it will change your perspective.

Why? Why does thankfulness promote a positive perspective?  Because the opposite — a grumbling, complaining, thankless life — is toxic to the soul.

But… A thankful life:

  1.  RESTS in God’s presence.  We are His dwelling place by His Spirit.
  2.  PRAISES our Almighty God. His power is at work within us.
  3.  Lives with a certainty that God’s GRACE is for us.  No problem is so great that God cannot rescue us.
  4.  Knows that we are ACCEPTED.  We have been included in the people of God.

His presence and power and grace are all for us.  We have HOPE.

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Who We Believe We Are

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  For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin.               Romans 6:7 Amp

All Christians died with Christ so all Christians have been freed from sin.  Now if they don’t believe they have been freed from sin, they will probably not act like it.  We always act according to our beliefs, according to who we believe we are.  That is why the issue is always IDENTITY.  If you don’t know the truth about who you are “in Christ”, it doesn’t make any difference how much scripture you know and how many discipleship programs you are in or how much you pray or how long your quiet time is or how accountable you are.  — Mike Quarles

We are NEW.

NEW what?  New…  birth, Master, mind, identity and nature, person, life, spirit, creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.  Colossians  3: 9,10

What does ‘do not lie’ mean?  Do not be someone you are not!  You are renewed!  The normal Christian life is holy and righteous because the Holy and Righteous One lives in us.  The old ways of unrighteousness and the deeds and works of the flesh are not your true identity.  When you remain in the old ways you are not living out your true identity in Christ.  The Word says you have been (past tense) renewed and are continually being (present tense) renewed according to Christ in us.

And be renewed in the spirit of you mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:23,24

Righteousness and holiness is our standing in Christ.

My conclusion is this:  If I don’t know who I am in Christ, it doesn’t matter what I do.  But, if I DO know who I am in Christ, God will make what I do matter.

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Roasted Red Potatoes

The cooler days of fall are the perfect time to fire up that oven for some savory roasted red potatoes.

Roasted Red Potatoes

  1. IMG_0762Wash red potatoes.  Cut in half.  Boil until just tender.  Drain.  Lay on baking sheet, cut side up.
  2. Brush potatoes with butter and/or olive oil.  (I mix both together).  Sprinkle with seasonings as desired.  (I like Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb blend, onion salt, garlic powder, crushed rosemary, crushed thyme, fresh ground pepper and salt.)
  3. Roast in oven about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  (If you like more browning, broil for a few minutes more.)

Note: Leftover potatoes are fantastic in a breakfast skillet scramble or in soup.

bon appetit

Signature Recipe Series by Luanna Diller, RD
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More Cheer

Skimming my Bible concordance, I searched for the happiest words I could find.  Here are a few:  Blessed, Cheerful, Glad, Happy, Joyful, Rejoice, Radiant.

Cheerfulness.  Who couldn’t use a little more of that?38489-A-Cheerful-Heart-Is-Good-Medicine

In regards to serving with our Spiritual gifts, Romans 12:8 refers to some of us having the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness.

Cheerfulness is the Greek word hilarotes, pronounced hil-ar-ot’-ace.  Compare hilarious.  Synonyms would be graciousness, joyfulness, gladness, benevolence, amiability.  Translated as “The heart is laughing and the eyes are dancing.”  The person who exhibits hilarotes is ‘a sunbeam lighting up a sick room with warmth and love’.

Whether you have the gift of showing mercy with cheerfulness or you are just a cheerful person at heart, pass that cheer on.

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That’s all.  Just passing along a word of cheer!

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

A super moist, mouth-watering chocolatey treat.  And, yes, another way to use that summer zucchini, decadently!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake  IMG_0771

1/2 c butter, softened
1-3/4 c sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2-1/2 c flour
1 T baking cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 c buttermilk
2 c shredded peeled zucchini
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in oil, eggs and vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in zucchini.  Pour into a greased 13-in x 9-in x 2-in baking pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Signature Recipe by Luanna Diller
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This Thing

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Imagine the Lord God Himself is speaking to you today…

THIS THING IS FROM ME by Laura Barter Snow

My Child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread.

It is short–only five words–but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head: “THIS THING IS FROM ME.”

Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you, concerns Me, too? for “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye”(Zech. 2:8).

I would have you learn, when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood,” that this thing is from Me: that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you [Isa. 59:9].

You are very “precious in My sight” (Isa. 43:4). Therefore it is my special delight to educate you.

Are you in money difficulties? Is it hard to make both ends meet? This Thing Is From Me, for I am your purse-bearer, and would have you draw from and depend upon Me. My supplies are limitless (Phil. 4:19). I would have you prove my promises. Let it not be said of you, “In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God” (Deut. 1:32).

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background? This thing is from Me. I am the God of circumstances. Thou camest not to thy place by accident: it is the very place God meant for thee. Have you not asked to be made humble? See, then, I have placed you in the very school where the lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.

Are you passing through a night of sorrow? This thing is from Me. I am the “Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief. [Isa. 53:3]” I have let earthly comforts fail you, that turning to Me, you may obtain everlasting consolation (II Thess. 2:16,17).

Has some friend disappointed you? One to whom you opened your heart? This thing is from Me. I have allowed this disappointment to come, that you may learn that:

“The best friend to have is Jesus;
He will hear you when you call,
He will keep you lest you fall,
The best friend to have is Jesus.”

I want to be your confidant. Has someone repeated things about you that are untrue? Leave them to Me, and draw closer to Me, thy shelter out of reach of “the strife of tongues,” for “I will bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:6).

Have your plans been upset? Are you bowed down and weary? This thing is from Me, You made your plans, then came asking me to bless them; but I would have you let Me plan for you, and then I take the responsibility; for “This thing is too heavy for thee, Thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” (Exodus 18:18). You are only an instrument, not an agent.

Have you longed to do some great work for Me, and instead been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness? This thing is from Me. I could not get your attention in your busy days, and I want to teach you some of My deepest lessons. “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

I want you to learn to sing:

“I am not eager, bold, or strong,
All that is past:
I am ready not to do
At Last! At last!

Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all prayer.

Are you suddenly called upon to occupy a difficult and responsible position? Launch out on Me. I am trusting you with “the possession of difficulties,” and for “This thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all thou puttest thy hands unto” (Deut. 15:10)

This day I place in your hands this pot of holy oil; make use of it freely, my child. Let every circumstance as it arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your own weakness, be anointed with it! Remember, “interruptions are divine instructions.” The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things. Therefore “Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, for it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through ‘this thing’ ye shall prolong your days in the land” (Deut. 32:46,47).

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Easy One Pot Chicken and Vegetables with Couscous

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How do you take plain chicken and vegetables and make them into something lively and delicious?  And how do you make it easy by making it in one stock pot?  Like this…

CHICKEN and VEGETABLES with COUSCOUS

1 T olive oil
2 to 2 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 x 3 inch strips 
1 large onion, chopped coarse
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes in rich juice
½ cup dried currants (or raisins) 
3 bay leaves
6 inches stick cinnamon (or ½ t ground cinnamon)
1 T chili powder
1 t ground ginger
2 t ground cumin
2 t chicken base (such as Better Than Bouillon)
2 t brown sugar
1 t salt (or to taste)
6 cups fresh vegetables, sliced (such as carrots in 1/4 inch slices, celery in 1/2 inch slices and cabbage in 1 inch wide shreds)*

1 box couscous (such as Near East)

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, cook chicken pieces in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add onion and garlic.  Continue to cook and stir occasionally until chicken is just cooked through and onion is tender.  Stir in garbanzo beans, tomatoes, currants, bay leaves, cinnamon, chili powder, ginger, cumin, chicken base, brown sugar and salt.  Stir in vegetables.  Heat until bubbling, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Discard bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.

Meanwhile prepare couscous according to package directions.  Serve chicken mixture over couscous. 

Note: You will have plenty of chicken mixture for another meal of leftovers.  Just make a new box of couscous.

*More vegetable options : zucchini, mild bell peppers, turnips.

P.S. This recipe is chock-full of nutritious goodness but I’ve never told my family that and this gets consumed down to the last slice of carrot!

Bon Appetit Script style

Signature Recipe by Luanna Diller
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It is Done

images-140In times of overwhelming stress, have you ever thought to yourself, I AM DONE!  When you feel you can’t take one more burden, one more crisis, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back?

If you were to take a peek inside my journal, at one point not too very long ago, you would find a page with just three words, I AM DONE!

But God didn’t let me get away with that kind of attitude for very long.   In an Aha! moment, I saw clearly that that phrase, I AM DONE!,  had way too much “I” in it.  In reality, this was the time to say, IT IS DONE!  IT not I = DONE!

Christ’s perfect work on Calvary has finished ALL of the “ITS” in my life.  And in your life.  He HAS DONE IT!  

Try it.  Take that “I” and make it “IT”.  The focus will be less on you and more on Him.   If you are IN CHRIST, this is His life you are living.  You have given yourself completely to Him to live His life through you.  Let Him do IT.  Whatever your IT is: (fill in the blank with your “IT” here).  This IT is His.  Surrender it.  Allow Him to do with it what He will.  

It’s ALL His anyway.  Won’t you give IT to Him now?  And say with me, IT IS DONE!

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Super Victorious or Under Sin?

Sin.  Did she just say sin?  I am so outa here…

WAIT!  Before you dismiss me for saying that dreaded 3 letter ‘s’ word, sin, ask yourself, why are you in such a hurry to rush past it?   Did you instantly feel guilty?  Did you inwardly cringe?  Did you berate yourself for not being a better Christian?  Did something less than stellar in your past flood your mind?  Did you roll your eyes and think, sin — really — again?  Why are you so uncomfortable with this major topic of the Bible?  More than 400 times SIN is in there.  About the same number of times as LOVE.  Seems important enough.  Yes?

My dear Christian sister, let me tell you this:  When you think of sin, if you only  experience condemnation or fear, then something other than God’s Spirit within you is offering you a big fat lie.  

images-132Did you notice that your initial reaction to sin was one or more of these: a negative feeling, a physical discomfort, a self-condemning thought, taking a rebellious posture.  Right?  I know because in the past, I have reacted to even the mention of sin like that.  But.  That was before I determined to understand better what God says to me about sin in His Book of love.  I am His very own child.  He has something to tell me and I want to hear it.  Because He loves me.  And He loves you.  He wants us to be growing spiritually.  He does not condemn us.  That is not who He is!

There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:1,2)

Condemnation is a specialty of someone else: Your infernal enemy.   He is someone who is out to destroy your life.  He would like you to run on negative feelings, on physical anxiety, on pride, on self-rejection, on false guilt, on self-destruction.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?  Satan will always try to deceive you.  He wants you walking according to the flesh.  He does not want you walking according to the Spirit.   Freedom is in the Spirit, not in the flesh.  That’s exactly why it’s so important to know what God says.  So we have the facts.  So we know the truth.  So we can identify and refuse those lies!

Let me ask you this: Did your mind go to SIN as a VERB or a NOUN when you first started reading this post?  In other words, did the thought of sin bring to mind things like angry outbursts, adultery, stealing, gossip, murder, a critical attitude, physical abuse?  These are verbs, involving behavior and actions.  Things that people do.  Sin is real, people do sin.  Christians do sometimes sin.   And we confess those things we do to God and restore fellowship with Him.  BUT.  AND THIS IS HUGE!  There are places in Scripture where SIN IS A NOUN.  That’s right, a person, place or thing.  In Romans 5-8, Paul is letting us know how this noun — the enemy — operates.  There is a conflict.  And this conflict is between the new creatures that we are in Christ and this power of sin, personified.  Read this verse (Romans 6:13) with ‘sin’ as a noun instead of a verb:  Do not present the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead.  Do you see it in a new light?  Did you get a jolt of hope?  We’re not in conflict with ourselves (sinning as a verb) but against a personified power (sin as a noun).  Jesus already defeated that power on the Cross.  We get to claim and believe that victory!

Even if our moral behavior looks really great (on the outside), our thought life (on the inside) could be littered with junk.  Lies.  Untruth.  This is where Satan is so absolutely deceitful.  He specializes in selling lies.  Offering us thoughts and pushing us toward feelings that are not at all in line with who God says we are.  He gets at us in the flesh.  In our mind, our brain – part of our body living here physically on earth.  Waging war against the law of my mind, as Paul says in Romans 8:23.  BUT.  MORE GOOD NEWS!  When we were saved we not only were immediately saved from the penalty of sin, we were also saved from the POWER OF SIN.  And this DELIVERANCE from the power of sin is by faith through grace just as for salvation itself!  How awesome is that!  

Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  (Romans 6:14)

Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:11) 

We are free to choose to either listen to the power of sin personified, trying to defeat us or we can listen to God who loves us and always wants what’s best for us.  We get to choose who we listen to.  

We are more than conquerors.  Romans 8:37 says, yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us so much that He died for us.  We don’t just conquer.  We utterly, overwhelmingly conquer.  We are SUPER VICTORIOUS in Christ. 

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