Our Legacy

Thank God I was raised by parents of the “Greatest Generation.” They understood things like rationing for the war effort, waiting in lines for food or going without during the Depression, young people working to help their own family pay household bills, serving and being loyal to their country, and being prepared for disasters.

Even though I didn’t have to live through those things myself, my parents passed their understanding and perspective on to me. I appreciate and am grateful for that. My mother taught me manners and integrity, and my father gave me his good old German work ethic. If you really need or want something, you better work hard for it. They both taught me to be frugal and live modestly.

We lived in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood. As I was growing up, I saw my friends being given everything. They had bigger houses, nice cars, designer clothes. I came home one day and asked my mom “Mom, are we poor?” She literally burst out laughing and in response said, “No honey, we’re not poor. We own everything we have. Other people finance everything. They don’t own their house, or their cars, and use credit cards for their clothes and vacations.” Then I asked, “If we have money, then why don’t you buy me the popular clothes and things like the other kids’ parents buy them?” She said, “Because if we gave you everything, then you wouldn’t learn to appreciate what you have. When you work for things yourself, you realize the value of time and money.”

Earlier this year I was driving through the high school parking lot to pick up my daughter at school. I looked around to see that almost every car parked in the student area was nicer than mine. Seriously? I’m sure these kids didn’t pay for these cars themselves. Their parents probably didn’t want to be embarressed by their child being seen driving a “beater” that they worked for and bought with their own money.

Unfortunately many in our country have forgotten the wisdom of my parents’ generation (or were never taught by their parents), and have brought children into this world who also don’t understand these concepts. It’s become a “keep up with the Joneses” country where both parents would rather have $60,000 cars and the newest iPhone than sacrifice and spend quality time raising their children. Their focus is “entitlement”.

Self-centeredness, immaturity and lack of values has destroyed the future generation of America. Children are alone and stressed most of the time. Young people are afraid for their future and angry that those before them have stolen their hope. They are facing huge amounts of college debt, and don’t even believe they will ever be able to buy a home of their own. They have doubts that their relationships will last, and worry that if they have children, they may also suffer through divorce.

This is the legacy our generation has left our children? This is the result of the choices our generation have made (we 70-35 year olds). WE are the problem. Not the kids. Not the guns. Not half the things we blame circumstances on.

The world we live in today is the world we have made. We could do something about it, but we won’t. We’re too selfish and lazy to do that. It’s our children that are suffering as a result, and that makes me really angry. It will blow up in our face. My only hope (besides God Himself), is that our kids who have have watched from the sidelines and basically had to raise themselves, will figure out how to fix it before it’s too late.

I love my country. I love my freedom. But with that freedom comes the responsibility to do what’s right, not just whatever the h_ll we want. Grow up. Sacrifice. Practice honor and integrity. Value people and the intangible more than things you can buy with money.

I pray God protects and blesses our children…Lord knows we haven’t.

Poll: What makes a woman unattractive?

Poll: What makes a man unattractive?

Transparency Builds Trust

Often we want to present ourself to others as we have it all together, sometimes we even deceive ourselves that we do. But when we are hurting or struggling, the ones we seek for comfort or counsel are those who’ve been there and understand, not the “perfect” people.

Broken people who have gotten through and healed can offer compassion, understanding and wisdom that others cannot.

Perhaps the most valuable thing about us that we can offer the world is ourselves, real and transparent. Perhaps our mistakes, failures, pain and struggle are more valuable than our successes, because they empower us to have an eternal impact loving and helping others right where they are.

If you hide who you are and what you’ve been through from people, how will they know you are someone THEY can go to when they are hurting or struggling?

I’ve had people tell me I share too much, and they show their disapproval, including judging and condemning me for it. Sometimes they question my motives, or think I’m just saying things for attention. I can’t control what people think or how they perceive my words or actions, so I’m not going to try.

I value sincerity, and despise when people are false and shallow, because they are acting like they are better than others. When people look down on the hurting and suffering, it reminds me of when Jesus confronted the religious leaders in Matthew 23:27-28, where He referred to them as white-washed tombs filled with rotting bones. It also reminds me of Job’s accusers (his friends by the way) who claimed that his suffering must be because he did something that caused him to deserve his misfortune.

As a result, we keep to ourselves and don’t reveal what is going on in our hearts, minds, and lives, because we fear the judgement and accusations from others. We also want to avoid the embarrassment of appearing weak or not meeting up to the expectations others place on us. This leads to isolation and loneliness, even when surrounded by people, within our own families, friendships, and churches. I’m sure this has led to the downfall of many in positions of leadership.

There have been countless times that someone has reached out to me privately to discuss something they were going through, simply because I shared something publicly about my own life or experience. Being transparent opened a door for someone to not feel so alone. It resulted in an opportunity for my pain, struggle, or experience to transform into wisdom and healing for someone else. Transparency builds trust. Because of that, I won’t be silent. I won’t fear what people think. I like helping people, and believe the world would be a better place if there were more “real” people in it.

Giving is Good For the Soul: Support a Charity

Give, Donate, CharityHelping others is essential to being a well-adjusted human being.  Some of us do it in our every day life, with simple acts of kindness, helping at the local food pantry, volunteering at our church, or participating in youth organizations.  There is something about helping others that adds to our own feeling of personal self-worth and connection to our community and the world around us.  Connection to others is not only an emotional experience, but a spiritual one, and we all need this kind of interaction, just like we need a hug and physical affection.

Those who only engage in “taking” and “one-upmanship” cannot be truly happy, as any relationship is a two-way street, and you cannot experience closeness and development of trust without reciprocal actions and feelings.  Although we all have times in life where we may have to focus on ourselves for one reason or another, it is healthy to practice being “others-focused”.  This doesn’t just benefit other people, but it benefits you as you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself, and experience feelings of community and making a difference in other people’s lives.  If you haven’t previously participated in volunteerism or charitable efforts, this may be foreign ground to you, and you may not know where to start.  The key word here is PRACTICE.

First of all, I must agree that being more personally interactive will yield the most benefits, as this causes growth within yourself, and the effects are in real-time.  Serving others directly allows you to see how your participation is affecting people and your community.  If you can get out of your comfort zone and find somewhere locally to volunteer, it won’t take long before you question why you’ve never done something like this before, and make some new friends in the process!

Supporting charitable organizations financially can also be another way to practice giving of yourself.  Perhaps you’ve thought about doing this, but didn’t know where to start, or are wary of which organizations you can trust to be fiscally responsible.  Donating locally can be more personally rewarding, as you can see how your donations are improving your own community, and you may feel “safer” giving money to an organization where you can actually see results and believe there is more accountability.  At the same time, there are many regional, national and international organizations that greatly need and deserve our support!

If you would like to venture into supporting one of these, I have found a website that offers some essential information to assist you in determining which charity (or charities) you would like to give to.  Charity Navigator uses objective ratings to find charities you can trust and support.  Their listings offer organizational, financial, and contact information for each charity, rate each one by accountability and transparency, and even provide “expert advisories” for organizations that may have raised some red flags.  You can see the programs each organization offers and compare them to see which ones are more suitable regarding what efforts you would like to support.

Regardless of how you choose to start giving, I hope that you find it greatly rewarding, and experience personal growth as a result. It only takes one person to make a difference.


To Love and Be Loved

Oscar Wilde once said “The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

In contrast, the lack of causes a loneliness almost too painful to endure. We all desire to be loved at the depth by which we ourselves love others, accepted without conditions, without strings attached, right where we are…as we are.
I don’t know why some of us love without limits, giving and doing things for those we care about with such devotion and self-sacrifice that we almost destroy ourselves in the process. Perhaps we are striving…trying to trade things we can offer in return for love that we will never truly receive (unless we are blessed to meet the right person).

I know not everyone feels loved by their parents (or maybe only one of them), but I am convinced that God gave us a mother to come the closest to understanding what unconditional love feels like. Mine didn’t ever hug me or tell me she loved me, but even though I only had her for a very short time in my life, I knew she did. I miss her most of all. Knowing you are loved provides you with the strength to endure whatever you face.

I love my children more than life itself…literally don’t have the knowledge, strength, or resources to truly show them how much. Regardless of how I fail, I hope they never doubt that love, and even moreso, that God loves them exponentially more than I do.♡

11 Proven Ways to Lose Weight Without Diet or Exercise

Maintaining good hydration also supports healthy weight lossSticking to a conventional diet and exercise plan can be difficult.  However, there are several proven tips that can help you “mindlessly” eat fewer calories.  These are effective ways to reduce your weight, as well as to prevent weight gain in the future.  Here are 11 ways to lose weight without diet or exercise. All of them are based on science.

1. Chew Thoroughly and Slow Down

Your brain needs time to process that you’ve had enough to eat.

Chewing your food better makes you eat more slowly, which is associated with decreased food intake, increased fullness and smaller portions (123).

How quickly you finish your meals may also affect your weight.

A recent review of 23 observational studies reported that faster eaters are more likely to gain weight, compared to slower eaters (4).

Fast eaters are also much more likely to be obese. To get into the habit of eating more slowly, it may help to count how many times you chew each bite.

BOTTOM LINE:Eating your food slowly can help you feel more full with fewer calories. It is an easy way to lose weight and prevent weight gain.

2. Use Smaller Plates For Unhealthy Foods

The typical food plate is larger today than it was a few decades ago.

This is unfortunate, since using a smaller plate may help you eat less by making portions look larger.

At the same time, a bigger plate can make a serving look smaller, causing you to add more food (56).

You can use this to your advantage by serving healthy food on bigger plates and less healthy food on smaller plates.

BOTTOM LINE:Smaller plates can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are. Therefore, it’s smart to consume unhealthy foods from smaller plates, causing you to eat less.

3. Eat Plenty of Protein

Protein has powerful effects on appetite. It can increase the feeling of fullness, reduce hunger and help you eat fewer calories (7).

This may be because protein affects several hormones that play a role in hunger and fullness, including ghrelin and GLP-1 (8).

One study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories helped participants eat 441 fewer calories per day and lose 11 pounds in 12 weeks, without intentionally restricting anything (9).

If you currently eat a grain-based breakfast, then you may want to consider switching to a protein-rich option, such as eggs.

In one study, overweight or obese women who had eggs for breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch compared to those who ate a grain-based breakfast (10).

What’s more, they ended up eating fewer calories for the rest of the day and during the next 36 hours.

Some examples of protein-rich foods include chicken breasts, fish, Greek yogurt, lentils, quinoaand almonds.

BOTTOM LINE: Adding protein to your diet has been shown to cause “automatic” weight loss, without exercise or conscious calorie restriction.

4. Store Unhealthy Foods Out of Sight

Storing unhealthy foods where you can see them may increase hunger and cravings, causing you to eat more (11).

This is also linked to weight gain (12).

One recent study found that if high-calorie foods are more visible in the house, the residents are more likely to weigh more, compared to people who keep only a bowl of fruit visible (12).

Store unhealthy foods out of sight, such as in closets or cupboards, so that they are less likely to catch your eye when you’re hungry.

On the other hand, keep healthy foods visible on your counter tops and place them front and center in your fridge.

BOTTOM LINE:If you keep unhealthy foods on your counter, you are more likely to have an unplanned snack. This is also linked to increased weight and obesity. It’s better to keep healthy foods, like fruits, visible.

Eating fiber-rich foods may increase satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer.

Studies also indicate that a special kind of fiber, called viscous fiber, is particularly helpful for weight loss. It increases fullness and reduces food intake (13).

Viscous fiber forms a gel when it comes in contact with water. This gel increases the time it takes to absorb nutrients and slows down the emptying of the stomach (14).

Viscous fiber is only found in plant foods. Examples include beansoat cereals, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, oranges and flax seeds.

weight loss supplement called glucomannan is also very high in viscous fiber.

BOTTOM LINE:Viscous fiber is particularly helpful in reducing appetite and food intake. This fiber forms gel that slows down digestion.

 6. Drink Water Regularly

Drinking water can help you eat less and lose weight, especially if you drink it before a meal.

One study in adults found that drinking half a liter (17 oz) of water, about half an hour before meals, reduced hunger and helped them eat fewer calories (15).

Participants who drank water before a meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period, compared to those who did not.

If you replace calorie-loaded drinks — such as soda or juice — with water, you may experience an even greater effect (16).

BOTTOM LINE:Drinking water before meals may help you eat fewer calories. Replacing a sugary drink with water is particularly beneficial.

7. Serve Yourself Smaller Portions

Portion sizes have increased during the last few decades, especially at restaurants.

Larger portions encourage people to eat more, and have been linked to an increase in weight gain and obesity (1718192021).

One study in adults found that doubling the size of a dinner starter increased calorie intake by 30% (21).

Serving yourself just a little less might help you eat significantly less food. And you probably won’t even notice the difference.

BOTTOM LINE:Larger portion sizes have been linked to the obesity epidemic, and may encourage both children and adults to eat more food.

8. Eat Without Electronic Distractions

Paying attention to what you eat may help you eat fewer calories.

People who eat while they’re watching TV or playing computer games may lose track of how much they have eaten. This, in turn, can cause overeating.

One review article looked at the results of 24 studies, finding that people who were distracted at a meal ate about 10% more in that sitting (22).

However, not paying attention during a meal actually has an even greater influence on your intake later in the day. People who were distracted at a meal ate 25% more calories at later meals than people who were not distracted.

If you regularly consume meals watching TV or using your computer or smartphone, these extra calories can add up and have a massive impact on your weight in the long-term.

BOTTOM LINE:People who eat while distracted are more likely to overeat. Paying attention to your meals may help you eat less and lose weight.

9. Sleep Well and Avoid Stress

When it comes to health, sleep and stress are often neglected. But in fact, both can have powerful effects on your appetite and weight.

A lack of sleep may disrupt the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. Another hormone, called cortisol, becomes elevated when you’re stressed (23).

Having these hormones disrupted can increase your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food, leading to higher calorie intake (232425).

What’s more, chronic sleep deprivation and stress may increase your risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity (262728).

BOTTOM LINE:Poor sleep and excess stress may disrupt the levels of several important appetite-regulating hormones, causing you to eat more.

10. Eliminate Sugary Drinks

Added sugar may very well be the single worst ingredient in the diet today.

Sugary beverages, like soda, have been associated with an increased risk of many Western diseases (293031).

It’s very easy to take in massive amounts of excess calories from sugary drinks, because liquid calories don’t affect fullness like solid food does (323334).

Staying away from these beverages entirely can provide enormous long-term health benefits. However, note that you should not replace soda with fruit juice, as it can be just as high in sugar (3536).

Healthy beverages to drink instead include water, coffee and green tea.

BOTTOM LINE:Sugary drinks have been linked to an increased risk of weight gain and many diseases. The brain doesn’t register liquid calories like solid foods, making you eat more.

11. Serve Unhealthy Food on Red Plates

One weird trick is to use red plates to help you eat less. At least, this seems to work with unhealthy snack foods.

One study reported that volunteers ate fewer pretzels from red plates, compared to white or blue plates (37).

The explanation may be that we associate the color red with stop signals and other man-made warnings.

BOTTOM LINE:Red plates may help you eat less unhealthy snack foods. This may be because the color red triggers a stop reaction.

12. Anything Else?

There are many simple lifestyle habits that can help you lose weight, some of which have nothing to do with conventional diet or exercise plans.

You can use smaller plates, eat more slowly, drink water and avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. Prioritizing foods rich in protein and viscous fiber may also help.

However, I wouldn’t try all these things at once. Start to experiment with one tip for a while, and if that works well and is sustainable for you then try another one.

A few simple changes can have a massive impact over the long term.