So...what's the point of trying to get healthy? Why bother?

Consider this: Whether you're a teacher, a nurse, an artist, a construction worker, a public speaker, a stay-at-home parent, an attorney, or whatever your calling is, wouldn't you be more effective at it if your physical health were not a barrier? What if you had the power to make a change? You do!

There's no "magic bullet" to being healthy, but it can be done with small changes and consistency. You can do it, and you are worth the investment! 

 

Allow me to ask:

  • Do you feel hopeless to change your health for the better?
  • Are you carrying more weight than you'd like?
  • Does it seem there aren't enough hours in a day to do everything on your schedule?
  • Have you made efforts to take better care of yourself, but to no avail?
  • Would you like some ideas on how to start a journey producing long-lasting results? 

 

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, I invite you to check out my new book, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It's Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me). In it, I share how I came to develop a PRACTICAL plan for success in my journey to better overall health by using small, attainable goals to achieve LONG-LASTING results.

In addition, it received the honor of being an Award-Winning Finalist (Health: General category) in the 2018 International Book Awards. http://www.internationalbookawards.com/2018awardannouncement.html

 

H.E.A.L.T.H.: It's Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me) was honored to be a finalist (Health: General  category) in the 2018 International Book Awards!

H.E.A.L.T.H.: It's Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me) was honored to be a finalist (Health: General category) in the 2018 International Book Awards!

H.E.A.L.T.H.: It's Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me) received the honor of being nominated for a 2018 Christian Literary Award Sports & Fitness category)!

H.E.A.L.T.H.: It's Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me) received the honor of being nominated for a 2018 Christian Literary Award Sports & Fitness category)!

Want to know more?

Model P31 Fit by Bridget McCray 


A Change in Thinking

Four years ago this month, I was super-excited about the time I’d invested in myself at the gym one particular morning. Why? It’s because I was able to set FOUR personal records! So…what's the big deal about that? After all, it's just my physical body, which will ultimately die anyway. Right?

Well, yes, it will die. However, while I'm still living in it, I want to have the best quality of life that I can have for however much time I have left on this earth.

For me, the bigger issue was the battle going on in my mind. Prior to that day, I didn't THINK I could do the things I’d accomplished that morning. However, when I went then, I’d made a decision to give my best EFFORT. With God’s help and my hard work, I’d accomplished them!

So, again: What's the big deal? For me, it's that my thinking was changing. That day, there were impossibilities before me...at least, in my mind. They were unattainable no more!

I continue to realize that this does not just apply to fitness, but to EVERY area where God has called me to serve Him and serve others. Change starts in the mind!

May I ask: Is there an impossibility before YOU today? I would encourage you to give your best effort, knowing that the Father loves you and wants what's best for you. Though the process isn't always fun, know that the results will most definitely be worth the work! (Hebrews 12:11)

You CAN change your thinking; just give it a try! Here’s to a healthier you!

Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer


Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)


Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!

Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Humbly Yours by Valerie Crawford 


ABBA FATHER – Thank YOU for another opportunity to share YOUR truths. Open our hearts and understanding so that we can receive and develop and become workmen not ashamed but correctly interpreting YOUR words so that others can receive and develop and grow. In the Matchless Name LORD JESUS!

In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life— especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness.   1Peter 2:2-3 (The Passion Translation)


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good …Psalm 34:8(a) (King James Version)


11 We have much to say about this. But it is hard to explain because you are so slow to understand. 12 You have had enough time so that by now you should be teachers. But you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. 13 Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby. He knows nothing about right teaching. 14 But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil.    Hebrews 5:11-14 (International Children’s Bible)


Developing Spiritual Children



When I was a little girl at my grandparents’ home in South Carolina, I sat in a corner, picked up my Pop’s bible and started reading. I don’t remember the passage, but I do recall my Pastor’s-Wife-Sunday-School-teaching grandmother walking in, taking the bible away & telling me, “I don’t want you reading this.” When I asked her why not, she told me that I would not be able to read the words in it. I remember very vividly assuring her, “Oh no, Nana! I’m a really, good reader! I’m in the top reading group in my class!” She smiled at my innocence and handed me another book – The American Standard Version of the Bible and my own catechism to study. Then she explained that she knew that I was a good reader, but she wanted me to use a version of the Bible that would make the words plain and clear to me.  Little did I know that Nana was my first lesson in establishing and developing a Spiritual Child! My Nana was my first MasterLife Facilitator!


She saw my ‘infant’ need for nourishment and as my first real disciple-builder, began gently establishing the roots of a new spiritual child. Yes, I needed (NEED) the WORD to grow and flourish but Nana also recognized that I needed ‘milk’ just like Peter said in 1Peter 2:2-3!  Peter reminds me of my Nana with his ‘gentle’ instruction to crave the WORD like a baby longs for milk.


As babies, we ‘discovered’ new tastes all the time, don’t we? “Mmmm! What was that?!? It was good and it plunked in my tummy!” Their little fingers grasp for it! “More! More! More!” And our grown-ups happily share, excited about the eagerness and anticipation!

But not too much – not yet. You must establish a tummy strong enough for the next thing. We don’t introduce peaches and peas at the same time, for example, because we need to recognize if there are allergies and what to address.


And the same way we entreat a new-born baby, we should help our new-born spiritual siblings to grow and be strengthened … Established. But we can’t stop there! There is more - much more! At some point, I would need to move from the pureed peaches to a pork chop!


Now, if my Nana was my Peter, then without question, my Margaret is my Hebrews Writer! Margaret is my spiritual Mom and one day, when I was falling apart at her kitchen table, she asked me a simple question that I still apply today. “You’ve been down this road before. What is this really all about?


That was the best question ever! It caused me to look deep inside to the root of the situation and say to my Self, “Listen – you are not a baby anymore.”  

The fact was - I HAD been down that road before! It was time - beyond time - to apply the Word that I danced and shouted to every Sunday!


“You should be on meat by now. You should be helping, teaching, guiding … DEVELOPING someone else!”


From my ‘great cloud of witnesses – my Nana and my Margaret to Latriece and Mother Coates; from my Pastor Burton to my Cousin Pastor, from my Pop and my BishopPastor all the way to Peter and that Hebrew guy; – I have learned this very important thing:

 In the same way that we don’t leave a human baby to fend on his own, we must initially slow walk a babe in CHRIST. The same way we would not serve a T-bone to a 3-month old, we must offer helpful, loving, patient guidance and aid to our new or newly rededicated siblings in CHRIST … allowing for baby steps and stumbles. Then, later, when they face the bumps in the road along the way, be there to remind them that GOD’s Mercy still endures, and HIS Grace is still sufficient!


Then we can watch like I imagine Barnabas and Ananias did, with the humble pride of parents, as our spiritual children walk across the stage, fully-developed – ready to join and perhaps even to surpass us in ministry.


One plants. Another waters. And ABBA FATHER continues to provide the increase!


Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Cortney Haskell 


CORTNEY HASKELL

Cortney is a Washington DC-based creative who has always found passion through artistic expression — art, dance, singing, music, etc. ‘Art x Spirit’ was created from faith and his desire to share the gifts held within his art. With a focus on portraiture, Cortney creates illustrations that draw inspiration from various spiritual and esoteric concepts such as archetypes, astrology, and mysticism.

To Cortney, magic is not the same as fantasy or fairytale, and it is with the familiarity of the human element that he allows us to experience the world in its divine nature.


Cai Guo-Qiang, a Chinese contemporary artist, says that “the artist, like an alchemist, has the ability to transform certain energies, using poison against poison, using dirt and getting gold." Recognizing art as a form of alchemy, Cortney’s illustrations are intended to transmute the audience’s perception of how they relate to the world. This is the ability of the creative; manifesting reality through art. With his art, he offers only perspectives that paint his subjects as ethereal, beautiful, divine, and powerful. After spending time with the imagery, the viewer will immerse themselves in the scene and draw conclusions about their relationship to the world.

Cortney’s work is a timeline of his journey with spirit. Every new piece that he creates is infused with the spirit of his creative force, documenting his growing understanding of spiritual sciences and his growing relationship with nature. For the individuals who spend more than a moment with his projects, the imagery will open you up to the magic of the earth. Spirit exists within all things. Art x Spirit is a business that blends art and spirituality in a way that highlights our connection to spirit. It is Where Art Meets Spirit.


Cortney can be found on Instagram and Twitter @crtnyilan, and @artxspirit for Art. For commissions, he conducts free consultations via DM or email: cortney@artxspirit.com. Check out his website www.artxspirit.com for future updates and to see what he has in store!

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 



Handling Disappointment

A couple of years ago, my sweet girl had had a rough day. She’d found out that she, along with a handful of others, had all been replaced for a segment involving the movement of large props in their school’s upcoming performance. She was beyond upset and shed lots of tears. I had a hard time even understanding what she was trying to say.

I reminded her that in the showcase earlier in the year, several people auditioned for the solo part, but she was the one selected to do it. I told her that though the others who’d auditioned graciously cheered her on, some of them might have been saddened that they weren't selected for the solo.

I explained that no one likes disappointment, but it is a part of life. I told her that she should ask herself what she could've done better, if anything. I also said that sometimes even our best isn't good enough in particular situations, but we can always learn something. I suggested that she keep a good attitude and cheer on the same people who cheered her on when she got the solo.

When she retold the story to her dad, in his own humorous way, he said that if the job was to move something from Point A to Point B, but it was moved to Point C, then the job wasn't done correctly, to which she chuckled and agreed. Thankfully, she "came around" and was herself again after a short time. She apologized and asked forgiveness for expressing disappointment the way she did.


Growing pains: The difficulties that can help us to become stronger, if we allow them to do so. The situation brought to mind a key life principle that day: Disappointment will come. Keep it in perspective!



Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!


Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Model P31 Fit by Bridget McCray 



Options 

You’ve written your S.M.A.R.T, goals, as we discussed in the last couple of articles, and you have been doing well for the first few weeks. You’ve been mindful of what you’re eating, and you’ve deliberately made time to exercise at least three times a week.

Then, a co-worker picks up a couple of boxes of doughnuts to surprise everyone, and they’re your favorite. Uh oh! After thanking your co-worker for being so thoughtful, you eat not one, not two, but three of those sweet treats. Now, you’re beating yourself up for having indulged. Does that sound about right?

Perhaps, you’d carved out time in your already-tight schedule to walk in the park with a friend four days that week, not knowing that “Mother Nature” would not cooperate. There were thunderstorms on two of those days, and you missed that time to get your body moving. You felt frustrated because you didn’t have any other available time in your calendar for physical activity. You prefer being outdoors, but your available times to exercise don’t always coincide with nice weather. Do you ask yourself, “What’s the use?” and give up on working out?

Our emotions are powerful and play an important part in our lives, even in our efforts to adapt a healthier lifestyle. Things happen that we don’t always foresee. That’s life. We don’t have to beat ourselves up. We don’t have to give up. We can learn how to make adjustments. We do have options.

To the person who indulged in the doughnuts, that can’t be undone. Own it. However, she can make a better choice at the next meal. She could also choose to eat a good breakfast, and/or maybe drink a bottle of water to feel full, where there’d be less room for temptation. There are options.

The one whose workouts were curtailed by the storms could perhaps invite a friend to join her to powerwalk in the mall, go to a fitness class, or even follow an online video or a DVD to move her body until the weather improves. There are options.

As we’re learning how to make adjustments, it’s a good idea to have at least one loved one on whom we can depend for encouragement and accountability.

When you beat yourself up for making an impulsive food choice, that friend will remind you that your habits are changing for the better and that the one choice does not have to define your journey. In other words, he offers encouragement.

When you get bothered and want to pass on working out, because inclement weather wrecked your plans, that family member will remind you that your health is too important for you to skip it. In other words, she offers accountability.

You can have long-term success on your wellness journey. You can learn to make adjustments. Remember that there are options. Here’s to a healthier you!

Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer


Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!

Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com


Model P31 Fit by Bridget McCray 



Do You Have A Plan
for Your Health?

We make plans for lots of things, don’t we? Where we want to live, how much money we’d like to make, where our children will go to school…the list goes on. Yet, for many, there is no plan for their health.

We often go through our daily lives of busyness, giving little thought to what we’re putting into these amazingly complex bodies in which we live. We have the tendency to forget that we only have one while we’re on this earth. Maybe, it’s just me.

Actually, it used to be me…until I had a health scare. Once I was faced with that very real challenge, I knew my perspective about food would definitely need to change. It was imperative that I learned how to start making better choices.

As my husband explained at the time, food is fuel for our bodies. Just as we would not put regular unleaded gas into a vehicle that requires premium unleaded, we should take care to put the best possible “fuel” into our bodies, which are worth much more than any automobile.

So…your mind is made up, and you’re ready to make some changes. Great! You may be asking yourself, “Now what?? Where in the world do I begin??”

Consider drafting a simple plan, then making it S.M.A.R.T, as we discussed last month. For example:

General goal: “I am going to eat less salt.”

S.M.A.R.T. goal: “I’m going to decrease my sodium intake by only eating fast food for lunch two days a week, instead of five, and by accurately tracking it via my favorite health app, in order to lower my elevated blood pressure by the end of this month.”

Breakdown
Specific: decrease sodium intake with only two days of fast food

Meaningful: “lower my elevated blood pressure”

Action-oriented: eating fast food for just two days; accurately tracking sodium intake using an app

Realistic: fast food lunch for two days, instead of five

Timely: “by the end of this month”

If we don’t decide to take our health seriously, who will? Truthfully, no one can do that for us; it is our responsibility. We can pray until the proverbial cows come home, but we still have our part to do. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:20)

Again, consider creating a simple plan, and make it S.M.A.R.T. Remember, we crawl before we walk, so be encouraged. You likely won’t reach your goals overnight, but consistent effort (not “perfection”) will get you there sooner than you may think!

There are family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who love us and depend on us. Why not do all we can do to have the best quality of life possible to share with those whom we love and who love us?

If you’d like to hear more about how I was able to turn my own health around, by the grace of God, without gimmicks and with long-lasting results, I invite you to check out my book, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me), for more encouragement and motivation.

Until next time, don’t forget to work your plan!

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!



Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Model P31 Fit by Bridget McCray 



Get S.M.A.R.T
with Your Goals 

So…it’s a new year. What are most of us inclined to do in January? Make a plethora of resolutions!

* “I’m going to lose 15 pounds this week!”
* “I’m going to drink a gallon of water a day!”
* “I’m going to go to the gym twice a day every day!”
* “I’m going to cut out all the salt in my diet!”


Do any of these declarations sound familiar? Of course, they do. Most of us have said one of these things, or at least, something similar. Right?

Then, what happens when:
* … we gain two pounds that week, instead of losing 15?
* … we end up barely drinking a bottle of water a day?
(You get the idea.)

We tend to give up, don’t we? What if we took a different approach, creating goals that set us up for success, instead of for failure? We can do just that by using S.M.A.R.T. goals!




(Image credit: www.envisionexperience.com)


Let’s take one of the resolutions I mentioned earlier and turn it into a S.M.A.R.T. goal as described in the image:

Resolution: “I’m going to lose 15 pounds this week!”

This statement is specific (“15 pounds”), but there is no mention of its meaningfulness. There are no planned action steps stated, and it is not realistic (“15 pounds in one week”) though, it is timely (“this week”).

Side note: One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories. In order to lose a pound, one could cut 500 calories a day from his or her diet, burn 500 calories a day with exercise, or do a combination of the two in order to achieve a safe and healthy weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories or 1 pound)

After some necessary adjustments, let’s look at it again:


S.M.A.R.T. goal: “I’m going to lose one pound per week this month by creating a 500-calorie per day deficit through diet (decreasing by 200) and exercise (burning at least 300) in order to help lower my slightly-elevated blood pressure.”

This now meets the criteria of being a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It is:

Specific: “lose one pound per week this month”
Meaningful: “to help lower my slightly-elevated blood pressure”
Action-oriented: “creating a 500-calorie per day deficit”
Realistic: “lose one pound per week”
Timely: “lose one pound per week this month”

I hope that seeing this example helps you to understand how to turn your resolutions into something that helps you move toward success. I have been on my own wellness journey for almost five years and have used these beneficial principles. However, over the last couple of years, admittedly, I have lost my focus in a couple of areas.

That being said, I’m going to share a resolution of my own, in order to hold myself accountable to you, the reader: “I’m going to increase my stamina.” In my next article, I will show how I turned that into a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

I invite you to join me in this challenge. Will you revise your resolutions to make them S.M.A.R.T. goals? Just pick one, and go for it!



Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)
Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!




Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com.

Here is a clip of an interview done July 16, 2018 with Joy & Company. Take a listen!