Monthly Archives: December 2012

God’s Cliff Notes: Love One Another

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Posted By: Ana Kelly ana@spirit1053.com · 12/11/2012 4:57:00 PM

The only way to combat what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary is to LOVE.

There is so much we learn from the Bible: How to grow closer to Christ, bring joy into our lives, peace into our hearts, contemplate how God wants to use us for good…the teachings are endless. We will always be learning, growing and in transformation. There is one simple theme to many of these teachings: LOVE they neighbor.

I attend a regular Bible group and we are studying the book of John (AKA the Apostle of LOVE). The word “love” seems to be popping up more and more the last couple of months in my readings, teachings, and sermons. Then again, last week when 26 souls were taken in Connecticut, I turned to my pastor that day for guidance. I asked him, “How Pastor Chris” How do we go about our lives after something like this? What should we think? More importantly, what does God want us to do?”

He softly replied, “What he wants us to do Ana is to love the person in front of you at the time. The legacy we need to leave with people is love. Mother Teresa who was all about love once said to be caring and compassionate. That whoever comes in front of you each day may they leave more blessed, more happy and loved because they were with you.”

Hate and darkness showed up at Sandy Hook Elementary, but I firmly believe love and light with triumph!

The workings and benefits of music and music-making.

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We went Christmas Caroling last night to home of our elderly church members homes and visited some in nursing homes… What fun we had… The happiness seen in the people we visited made it worth freezing our tails off… lol

Music Therapy      …… Benefits of Caroling

Here’s a BBC article on the benefits of singing Christmas carols. There’s nothing new in it, but it’s a nice round up of the various ways singing is good for your overall health. Back 30 years ago you’d have only seen stuff like this in music therapy texts or in books in the back of theosophist book stores. The commonplace acceptance of the benefits of music making these days is very gratifying, and a sign of how much things have changed.

Here are a few snips from the article:

“As it’s an aerobic activity singing improves heart health with related benefits to overall health and is linked to longevity, stress reduction, and general health maintenance. Singing also brings a great amount of happiness. It is impossible to sing well with a long face because it affects your pitch. Keeping the positive momentum up is essential. If we smile as we sing then people soon feel the benefit in more ways than one. There is also the adrenalin kick brought on by a performance – a sensation familiar to both professional opera singers and even anyone brave enough to step up to the microphone to sing in front of their friends in the pub. . . .

 . . . the body is an integrated system, sometimes called the human body-mind, linking the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. The physical, mental and emotional – these three things are interwoven. Because music is multi-sited in the brain and we’re also involving ourselves in strong aerobic activity and singing is a form of exercise, it means there’s a release of what’s called the pleasure hormone. But when we sing we also see a measurable decrease in stress hormones like cortisol – a direct correlation in the physical endocrine system.” . . .
 . . . “It lifts us up on a spiritual level, it helps our self-esteem, and it’s great for all ages from toddlers to grannies – you can have a good sing and let your hair down.” . . .

Mothers incredible quest…..

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Argentine mom rescues hundreds of sex slaves

 

LA PLATA, Argentina (AP) — Susana Trimarco was a housewife who fussed over her family and paid scant attention to the news until her daughter left for a doctor’s appointment and never came back.

After getting little help from police, Trimarco launched her own investigation into a tip that the 23-year-old was abducted and forced into sex slavery. Soon, Trimarco was visiting brothels seeking clues about her daughter and the search took an additional goal: rescuing sex slaves and helping them start new lives.

What began as a one-woman campaign a decade ago developed into a movement and Trimarco today is a hero to hundreds of women she’s rescued from Argentine prostitution rings. She’s been honored with the “Women of Courage” award by the U.S. State Department and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on Nov. 28. Sunday night, President Cristina Fernandez gave her a human rights award before hundreds of thousands of people in the Plaza de Mayo.

But years of exploring the decadent criminal underground haven’t led Trimarco to her daughter, Maria de los Angeles “Marita” Veron, who was 23 in 2002 when she disappeared from their hometown in provincial Tucuman, leaving behind her own 3-year-old daughter Micaela.

“I live for this,” the 58-year-old Trimarco told The Associated Press of her ongoing quest. “I have no other life, and the truth is, it is a very sad, very grim life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

Her painful journey has now reached a milestone.

Publicity over Trimarco’s efforts prompted Argentine authorities to make a high-profile example of her daughter’s case by putting 13 people on trial for allegedly kidnapping Veron and holding her as a sex slave in a family-run operation of illegal brothels. Prostitution is not illegal in Argentina, but the exploitation of women for sex is.

A verdict is expected Tuesday after a nearly yearlong trial.

The seven men and six women have pleaded innocent and their lawyers have said there’s no physical proof supporting the charges against them. The alleged ringleaders denied knowing Veron and said that women who work in their brothels do so willingly. Prosecutors have asked for up to 25 years imprisonment for those convicted.

Trimarco was the primary witness during the trial, testifying for six straight days about her search for her daughter.

The road to trial was a long one.

Frustrated by seeming indifference to her daughter’s disappearance, Trimarco began her own probe and found a taxi driver who told of delivering Veron to a brothel where she was beaten and forced into prostitution. The driver is among the defendants.

With her husband and granddaughter in tow, Trimarco disguised herself as a recruiter of prostitutes and entered brothel after brothel searching for clues. She soon found herself immersed in the dangerous and grim world of organized crime, gathering evidence against police, politicians and gangsters.

“For the first time, I really understood what was happening to my daughter,” she said. “I was with my husband and with Micaela, asleep in the backseat of the car because she was still very small and I had no one to leave her with.”

The very first woman Trimarco rescued taught her to be strong, she said.

“It stuck with me forever: She told me not to let them see me cry, because these shameless people who had my daughter would laugh at me, and at my pain,” Trimarco said. “Since then I don’t cry anymore. I’ve made myself strong, and when I feel that a tear might drop, I remember these words and I keep my composure.”

Micaela, now 13, has been by her grandmother’s side throughout, contributing to publicity campaigns against human trafficking and keeping her mother’s memory alive.

More than 150 witnesses testified in the trial, including a dozen former sex slaves who described brutal conditions in the brothels.

Veron may have been kidnapped twice, with the complicity of the very authorities who should have protected her, according to Julio Fernandez, who now runs a Tucuman police department devoted to investigating human trafficking. He testified that witnesses reported seeing Veron at a bus station three days after she initially disappeared, and that a police officer from La Rioja, Domingo Pascual Andrada, delivered her to a brothel there. Andrada, now among the defendants, denied knowing any of the other defendants, let alone Veron.

Other Tucuman police testified that when they sought permission in 2002 to search La Rioja brothels, a judge made them wait for hours, enabling Veron’s captors to move her. That version was supported by a woman who had been a prostitute at the brothel: She testified that Veron was moved just before police arrived. The judge, Daniel Moreno, is not on trial. He denied delaying the raid or having anything to do with the defendants.

Some of the former prostitutes said they had seen Veron drugged and haggard. One testified Veron felt trapped and missed her daughter. Another said she spotted Veron with dyed-blonde hair and an infant boy she was forced to conceive in a rape by a ringleader. A third thought Veron had been sold to a brothel in Spain — a lead reported to Interpol.

Trimarco’s campaign to find her daughter led the State Department to provide seed money for a foundation in Veron’s name. To date, it has rescued more than 900 women and girls from sex trafficking. The foundation also provides housing, medical and psychological aid, and it helps victims sue former captors.

Argentina outlawed human trafficking in 2008, thanks in large part to the foundation’s work. A new force dedicated to combating human trafficking has liberated nearly 3,000 more victims in two years, said Security Minister Nilda Garre, who wrote a newspaper commentary saying the trial’s verdict should set an example.

Whatever the verdict, Trimarco’s lawyer, Carlos Garmendia, says the case has already made a difference.

“Human trafficking was an invisible problem until the Marita (Veron) case,” Garmendia said. “The case has put it on the national agenda.”

But Trimarco wants more. “I had hoped they would break down and say what they’d done with Marita,” she said.

“I feel here in my breast that she is alive and I’m not going to stop until I find her,” Trimarco said. “If she’s no longer in this world, I want her body.”

Inspired By Daughter to loose weight

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Cacia Griggs knew she had to do something about her obesity when she broke her daughter’s bed while tucking her in one evening.

Since that horrible night one year ago, Griggs, 26, has lost 112 pounds and married her fiancé in a beautiful wedding dress with the help of a local weight center in Peterborough, England.

Her daughter, Isabelle, now four, noticed Griggs’s incredible transformation. “She commented about how I didn’t have a big belly anymore and she loved doing exercise with me,” Griggs told Yahoo! Shine. “She was also great at reprimanding me when I tried to take something from her plate. She would say, ‘mummy you’re not allowed these, you’ll get a big belly again!’

In fact, the major motivating factor for Griggs was concern for her daughter’s future weight. After reading an article in the newspaper about how children of obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves, Griggs strengthened her resolve to lose weight. “It might as well have been written about me and my daughter,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “She was already starting to copy my bad eating habits, asking for the fizzy drinks and junk food that I was eating. The thought of subjecting my beautiful little girl to a lifetime of weight-battling misery and ill health was too much for me to bear.”

Obesity weighs on more Americans than ever

Cacia on her wedding day.The Journal of Pediatrics conducted the study Griggs read about, which determined that there are five factors in whether a child will become obese. The main risk factor is parental weight. “Nearly 80 percent of obese 10- to 14-year-olds with an obese parent will be obese as adults,” the Yale Medical Group summarized.

Griggs’s commitment required major lifestyle changes, such as cutting out high calorie foods and introducing regular exercise into her schedule. She began her diet on a meal replacement plan, only drinking shakes and eating protein bars. She then slowly reintroduced healthier foods, mostly vegetables and protein. “Now I love seafood and vegetables. I noticed how colorful my plate was becoming,” Griggs told Yahoo! Shine. “The increase of water made a massive difference not only to weight loss but to my skin and energy levels.”

As she she lost weight, Griggs only felt more motivated. “For the first time I began to really believe that I could do this. People started noticing and I fell in love with exercise,” she told the Daily Mail. On Twitter, she frequently mentions her love of yoga.

Griggs has tweeted about her progress and posted pictures, including a photo of her in a swimsuit. She says social media helped her stick to her goals: “The support on these sites is incredible. Everyone is going through the same thing, so you can give each other tips on how to stay focused. It’s a great feeling helping others on their weight loss journey, too.”

On her honeymoon.The desire to become a better role model for Isabelle wasn’t her only inspiration. Griggs told Yahoo! Shine that her upcoming nuptials were “a huge motivating factor.” Rather than settling for the size 16 dress she had hoped to wear, she worked past her goal and wore a size 10 on her wedding day.

On Twitter, Griggs couldn’t contain her excitement over her November 3 wedding. “Now THIS was my dream dress,” and she tweeted a photo. “I managed to fit in yesterday! Amazing day and now I’m Mrs. Griggs.”

Related links:
Obesity a big problem for America’s future
10 simple weight loss tips that take 30 seconds
World’s wackiest diets

Give This Christmas Away

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Texans WR Andre Johnson drops $19K on toy shopping spree for charity

Here’s an NFL story designed to warm your heart and terrify your wallet. Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, one of the league’s unquestioned good guys, on Tuesday performed what’s becoming an annual ritual for him: a Toys “R” Us shopping spree for at-risk youth in Houston.

Johnson’s Foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation, funded the spree, in which 12 children selected by Child Protective Services had 80 seconds to fill up their carts with as many toys as they could. And oh, could they fill those carts.

“You hear a minute and twenty seconds, and you don’t think that’s a long time, but you’d be surprised by what these kids can put into their buckets,” Johnson said afterward. You can see his gargantuan receipt in the photo at right.

The children, ranging in ages from 8 to 16, have all suffered parental abuse in some form and now live with extended family members. But each child made sure to purchase toys for siblings and other relatives as well.

Johnson’s foundation performs several works throughout the year for children in both Houston and Johnson’s Miami hometown. But he told the team’s website that it’s the Toys “R” Us event that he enjoys the most.

“I think it’s probably the best one because you get to see the kids really enjoy it,” he said. “That’s what this season is about.  It’s something I look forward to. The kids are happy, they get what they want for Christmas, and that’s all that matters.”

After the spree, Johnson also joined the Houston Police Department’s Blue Santa program to surprise 800 students at Houston’s Bastian Elementary School with Christmas presents.

Johnson stressed that he had traveled the path many of these kids were on, and he hoped they could learn from his example: “I grew up in a single-parent home and I was fortunate to achieve my goals,” he said. “So, whatever goals you have, just keep them out in front of you, don’t let anybody distract you away from them, because there will be distractions that try to detour you away from your goals. That’s the biggest thing.”

Not so happy holi-daze

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Holiday-stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Or is it?

For many, the holiday season is filled with family fun and celebrations, but behind the joy and beauty of the holidays is a tremendous amount of stress, especially for women.

In today’s world of two-earner and female-headed households, the average woman’s plate is already brimming with more than a fair share of time-consuming responsibilities. The holiday season tends to come with a merry to-do list of its own and often includes additional shopping, cooking, cleaning, traveling, entertaining, and hosting.

And rather than feeling jolly, women are sometimes left burdened with the unwanted gifts of stress and depression.

“There are a lot of different stresses that can come up at this time of year,” said Dr. Terry Gibbs, an obstetrician and gynecologist and director of the Mid-life Center for Women’s Health in Sylvania. “Women take on a lot of extra around this time. In January, I hear a lot of women who come into the center and say ‘Boy am I glad that’s over with.'”

Mental health problems such as depression and physical ailments often peak during the winter holidays because of extra stress and tension. The extra pressure can exacerbate already existing conditions.

“Hospitals fill up at this time of year. A lot [medical professionals] believe its related to the depression this time of year can bring for some people,” Dr. Gibbs said. “For mid-life women, it can really peak at the holiday time, because you have parents with issues and kids you’re dealing with.”

After tackling a Thanksgiving feast for more than a dozen people, Carol Bader is ready to cross Christmas off of her to-do list.

“I’m having a party for about 40 people,” said Mrs. Bader, 63, of Toledo. “I do all the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping. Everything.” Even though she’s retired, Mrs. Bader said she sometimes feels stressed when it comes to her holiday responsibilities.

“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s not as stressful as when I was working and raising kids, but it’s still a lot.”

Bonnie Rankin is more than happy she won’t be hosting her family’s Christmas celebration at her Bowling Green home this year.

“Me and my husband both come from large families, so the minimum for any get-together is 35 to 40 people,” Mrs. Rankin said. “I’ll help out where needed, but I’m glad it’s not on me this time.”

There are a number of ways for women to reduce stress during the holiday season, including planning ahead and delegating tasks.

“Don’t take on more than you can handle and have as many people involved in preparation as possible,” Dr. Gibbs said. “These are the kinds of things that help women most.”

Rachel Morrow knows all too well the stresses and pressures of a working wife and mother. The mother of three has come up with her own techniques for reducing holiday stress.

“I just had 27 people over for a pre-Thanksgving celebration,” said Mrs. Morrow, 36, of Toledo. “We hold one family celebration a week early. When you do it all on that day, you feel rushed and you don’t get to spend time with people,” Mrs. Morrow said. “As far as gifts, I shop online. It’s not worth making yourself sick.”

Tips on how to prevent holiday stress

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. ● Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends, and other activities. Make shopping lists.

● Delegate tasks. Ask family and friends to help with party prep and cleanup.

● Make a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget.

● Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

Poison Apples

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What are the poison apples in your life? If you don’t identify them, they will kill you…  These poison apples can be anything from people, to idols and attitudes!  Habits can also fall under the poison apple category.  At some point in life we have to identify them according to the scripture we know.  Once we know them and see the things that keep us from God’s will for our life we have to get rid of them and not let them in again.  Once we clean out life up we have to stay strong, perservere and let God have the control of our lifes.