Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time for the Oscars

A fellow Weight Watcher wrote this cute tale of her weight loss journey using the names of movies nominated for Oscar awards this year. I thought it was so cute that I asked her if I could post it on my blog. She agreed if I didn't use her name. Here's to you, my sweet, talented friend.

This story is all about a play on words with the nominated movies and Weight Watchers. You ready?

If you have noticed, many of the nominated movies for Best Picture are based on history. Most of us have a history with Weight Watchers, right? This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Weight Watchers.

Once upon a time (about 6 years ago), I walked into my first Weight Watcher meeting in Burkburnett, TX. It was Zero Dark Thirty in my book because I just saw myself in a video of my oldest son's graduation,....ah, back to the movies...overweight and Les Miserables! I knew I could not attend my youngest son's graduation and look as I looked.

It took me 11 months to lose 97 pounds back in the day when members had 18 points once they got close enough to goal. So much for the Life of Pi (pie...get it?)_, which I felt I could never again eat, and I thought after I lost the weight, I would be able to keep it off on my own.

For the next five years, I found Amour, youngest graduated, husband retired, both boys married and I became a Weight Watcher Leader! When the Beasts of the Southern Wild came calling my name with cravings to eat because I deserved it or because I was unhappy that I was gaining the weight back, it was Django Unchained, and by 2013, I find myself almost 40 pounds up! So, knowing that Weight Watchers works, I have decided to go back and begin my epic journey (like Jason and the Argonauts) to lose the weight again!

In 2013 I discovered the Silver Linings Playbook! I know this is a lifestyle change I need to make. I have thought long and hard about what helped me to be so successful back in 2007 and I believe it was because for once in my life I had put ME first!

Weight Watchers has been around for 50 years. The Oscars have been around for 85. No matter how long you have been coming to Weight Watchers, it works!

If I may add a footnote to my anonymous friend's proclamation, Weight Watchers is a good, healthy way to eat, and it does work.

Twenty years ago, I lost 95 lbs with the American Diabetic diet and a church weight controllers group. In 2011, I found myself in the above friend's situation with 20 pounds regained. I went to Weight Watchers & lost it with their new plan.

The main thing is to find a healthy way of living that works for you. Seek out an activity that fits in your lifestyle. I would also highly recommend daily inspirational reading such as my book, Divine Dining. Most of all, don't give up. Keeping your weight under control feels wonderful.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Writing after Retirement - Diana Wallis Taylor

Here on my Writing with God's Hope blog, today I wish to welcome a new writing friend, Diana Wallis Taylor. I met her last September in Dallas at the ACFW conference and immediately liked her.

Diana, you were telling me about an interesting concept of a flood of retirees starting writing as a second career, sort of like you and me.

Yes. Claude Nougat wrote a book on “Geezer Guys and Gals” the baby boomer generation writing books. I appreciate the fact that many of my generation are becoming published authors, but in spite of the chuckle at the misnomer, I don’t consider myself a geezer. What you have are people who have raised families, worked full time, and now in their retirement years, fulfill their dream of becoming an author. My first book was published by Revell when I was 71 even though I’d been writing since I was 12. I love the research involved in writing Biblical Fiction, and taking a woman who has been maligned or shown in a negative way and portraying her as God sees her. This has resonated with my readers. I’ve more books coming, so Grandma Moses, move over!

I agree, Diana. Yeah! Tell us about your latest book.

Mary Magdalene - A beautiful girl blossoming into womanhood, Mary has high hopes for a life filled with learning, family and young love. In one dreadful night, all of that changes. The nightmares come first, then the waking visions of unspeakable terror, until Mary hardly remembers her dreams for the future.

Can the Most High deliver her from this torment? How long must she wait for healing?

Diana, as you know, I bought your book at ACFW book store. I loved it. It was different than any other I had read. The research you must have done is super. More than anything, I could identify with a young girl who lived so long ago and met Jesus while He walked on earth.


Diana Wallis Taylor is an award winning author, who is completing her fifth book of Biblical Fiction. She has written three other books including a book of poetry. Along with her books, her writing has appeared in various compilation books and magazines. Diana wrote the words and melodies to an Easter cantata called “Glorious” recently completed with her fellow collaborator, Carolyn Prentice, who did the music. It will be published in June, 2013. Diana lives with her husband Frank in San Diego, California. Between them they have six grown children and nine grandchildren. She enjoys speaking and sharing her heart with women of all ages.

Thank you so much, Diana, for telling my viewers about you and your book. Thanks also for the introduction to Claude Nougat and her writing about Geezers.

Find Claude's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BoomerLit
Also Linda Rondeau's post about Claude Nougat is at http://geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com/

Find Diana at her webpage: http://dianawallistaylor.com/
or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/diana.w.taylor

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SMALL or BIG

Small changes bring big results.

I chose my two passions (not counting my grandchildren, of course. They're perfect) to indicate how this applies.

5 small steps for Weight Loss

1.Eliminate all sugared drinks.
When I owned Diet Center, a client of mine lost fifty pounds. He did nothing I advised him to do except one small item in which he was perfect. He stopped drinking seven or eight Dr. Peppers each day.

2. Never talk on the telephone while sitting.
At two hundred and fifty pounds, exercise loomed like a formidable restraint. By the time I got to the end of my street, I huffed and puffed like a smoke-breathing dragon. My job was sedentary, but my phone rang a lot. Every time I answered the phone, I stood. I paced. I raised up on my toes and back to the floor. I did knee bends. I did anything except sit. Soon, my stamina increased. I could walk. I could dance. Start small.

3. Allow for four meals at four hour intervals.
Rodale Publishing put forth a book called Flat Belly Diet. They recommend eating every four hours.

Though difficult, I broke the habit of continual grazing by eating nothing between meals. I suffer from low blood sugar if I go six or seven hours without food.

At that time, my lunch hour came early (11:20 ro 12:20), but we worked late, so dinner was often seven or eight at night. I can't do that. I took two meals to work with me, a lunch and an afternoon snack, if you will. Neither were large. The meal in the afternoon had to be eaten on the run while working, so I stuck with turkey wrapped in a whole wheat bread slice and a banana, or two cheese sticks and grapes. This little step brought satisfaction. Not only, did I stave off low blood sugar, but I didn't come home starved to fix dinner.

4. Go through a twenty-four pack of water bottles in twelve days.
Count them out, two a day. Mark on your calendar when the twenty-four pack should be finished. You can do the same with filling a jug with water each morning to be drunk before you go to bed that night. Without flushing impurities from our body, we can't lose weight.

5. Increase your sleep by half hour.
Depending on your lifestyle, either go to bed earlier or arise later, but increase your sleep time. It's a proven fact that a rested person loses better.

5 small steps for Writing

1. Set a written monthly goal, a three year goal, and a lifetime goal.
How are we reach our destination without measuring how far we want to travel?

2. Take one writing course this year.
The craft of writing can be taught online, in workshops, or duirng conferences. If we stop learning, our writing grows dull, listless, and unexciting.

3. Cultivate five online friends..
Social media can be daunting, but small steps even here can bring results. Author Media recommends we strive for quality when there's no time for quantity. Develop relationships that last. Meet and follow the careers of only five, and you will reap enduring reward. If five meet five, and those five, meet five,....you get the picture.

4. Read every day.
If you con't have time to read, you don't have time or the tools to write. Stephen King.

I took a workshop for the phenominal Cec Murphey, a writer, speaker extraordinaire. He recommended not only reading the genre in which we write, but read many different genres to learn. Read also blogs, devotions, thoughts to stretch your mind.

5. Be a snoop. Keep a record.
Everywhere a writer goes, he can learn. Listen to the conversation behind you at the restaurant. Watch a child play in the park. Soak in sermons or speeches. Note scenery as you walk or ride. Jot down what you see and what you hear. Observation deepens your story's meaning.

One small thing to help both passions.

Remain positive.

Here's a few links to which I refer above:

http://www.authormedia.com/

http://www.weightwatchers.com/

http://www.prevention.com/

http://www.cecilmurphey.com/

http://www.dietcenter.com/

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Are American Christians wimps?

1940s and 1950s in America
“Onward, Christian Soldiers, marching as to war; with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe. Forward into battle, see his banners go.”

With a line of children convening for vacation Bible school, I marched with head erect and body taut as if I’d enlisted in God’s army. We studied Bible warriors Joshua and David. We learned the strong stands of Daniel and Ezekiel. Teachers armed us with the necessary weaponry. Each child including me yearned to fight for Christ.

Song leaders in our church peppered Sunday music with militant Christian melodies. The titles of our hymns included A Mighty Fortress is our God, Onward Christian Soldiers and Stand Up for Jesus, Ye Soldiers of the Cross. Who could forget the Christian song that became a theme of the civil war, The Battle Hymn of the Republic?

Let’s take a look at the history of the militant church.

Christian beginnings, around 30 AD

The early church fought persecution to stand up for their beliefs. In Acts 7:59, we read of Christianity’s first martyr when Stephen was stoned. Acts 12 tells of James’ sacrificial death and the imprisonment of Peter, while Acts 14 gives account of one of Paul’s many torments.

No wonder Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
During the first generation, Christians were warriors.

Crusades of 11th, 12th and 13th Century

With the rise of Islam through Mohammed’s influence in the 600s, violence escalated into a military siege focused on the Holy Land. In 637 AD, Muslims conquered Jerusalem. Christians evangelized the known world and through the years, determined to return and fight for the Holy Land. That began the Crusades. Though during that period, they did not completely succeed at winning back the Holy Land for Christianity, they took up the cross, willing to lay down their lives for their Lord.

Time of Reformation, 1517

A German priest named Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses, or beliefs on the door of the church on All Saints Day, November 1, 1517. Christians attending the celebration that day read his declaration. (As an aside, All Saints Day honored fallen heroes or warriors of Christianity, or as the name implies—all saints that had died in Christ). When ordered to take the paper down, Martin Luther refused and faced his enemy’s wrath. The pope excommunicated him from the established church branding him an outlaw. Luther, John Calvin, and others objected to or protested the doctrines of the established church that preached Christians had to send gifts to the Pope to keep their salvation. Their followers were called Protestants.

Luther’s radical views included the idea that salvation could neither be bought, nor earned; it was a gift of God. Today, we can thank this man for searching out the Scripture and bringing this truth to light. Luther fought for what he believed and stood on the premise of evolving from a church penitent to a church triumphant. Many of our warrior hymns came out of that time period. The song A Mighty Fortress is Our God became the theme for these militant Christians of the Reformation.

September 11, 2001 in America

Some of the enemies to Christianity and America besieged our land and killed three thousand people. Radical Islam terrorists kill and maim American soldiers every day. On the home front, atheists seek to eliminate every vestige of Christianity from our schools, our government, and our community programs. Humanists and agnostics hold up tolerance for every idea and belief except Christianity. The devil binds up our children with gangs, drugs and promiscuity Where are the American Christian warriors fighting with the "sword of the Spirit?"

Christians in other countries withstand mighty persecution to hold the line and fight for their beliefs.
Easter, 2011 in Egypt

On Dec. 31, 2010, Coptic Christians in Alexandria, Egypt gathered for a midnight service. While the people in the church prayed in 2011, an unknown terrorist bombed the church killing twenty-three and injuring ninety-seven. The next day dawned with Christians marching in the street near their church shouting, “We sacrifice our souls and blood for the Holy Cross.”

Today’s Fighters for Christ

Our songs talk more of leaning on Jesus’ breast and Jesus breaks every chain. These messages minister to the addictions and problems of the day. Our churches need them. Yet, we must not forget the militant spirit of Christ’s church.

In America, several organizations war against the enemy and hold the line for Christian beliefs. Some of these include Focus on the Family, American Family Association, One Million Moms.com, Christian Legal Services, and most of our churches. Other fighter organizations specialize in their expertise such as: Exodus International, Pure Life Ministries, True Love Waits, and Voice for Martyrs.

Many American Christians fight the devil both through these types of organizations or one-on-one and with small groups. When Martin Luther posted his beliefs that began the reformation, I doubt he knew the impact his stand would have on future Christians. The lonely lady witnessing and taking her neighborhood for Christ may win few but could start a revival.

Let us be reminded of our need not only for Christ’s love, but for His reformation power. Enemies threaten the church on every side. In America, we need the Holy Spirit to fire up soldiers for His cause.

Are you a wimp or a recruit?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Staci Stallings Giveaway

Today I welcome, author, Staci Stallings, to Writing with Hope blog.
First, Staci writes a wonderful article that affects all writers.
Following her article, Staci will tell us about a wonderful giveaway with the opportunity to win BIG.

The Pain of Rejection

It occurred to me the other day how difficult and painful rejection is. In my stories, the characters often go through experiences and feelings that cause them, at least for a time, to reject the other person–even if they really do love or are falling in love with them.

Maybe the guy has been “once-bitten”–having another love-interest abandon him. Or the woman is worried about the man controlling her in the relationship and so pushes him away.

Part of writing romance is just this “pushing away” and “pulling together” dance that all couples experience. It’s hard to be together, on the same page, in the same boat, on one another’s team all the time. Human nature says that will not happen. But oh, how hard it is to be rejected. It can be such a deep wound, especially when we have chosen to make ourselves vulnerable believing the other has our best interests at heart. To find out that is not always the case is traumatic.

As I thought about this concept and how hard it is to keep loving even when the other rejects you, it further occurred to me that God experiences this every day with His children. I’ve heard several parents of teens voice this hurt. “She used to love being with me and doing things. Now she just wants to be with her friends.” As parents we know as our children grow up, they will become less and less dependent upon us, but with that autonomy comes a necessary “rejection” that can come as a huge shock if you’re not prepared for it.

I remember in “Fireproof” the scene in which Kirk Cameron’s character is hacked off because no matter what he has done to win her back, his wife keeps rejecting him. He is angry and bitter and resentful. He makes this list of all the things he’s done for her, and she still rejects him.

His father, the wise man that he is, points to the fact that Kirk’s character has done the same thing with God. God gave everything. His only Son. His very life. And still we reject Him. Even those of us who know and love Him. We get too busy with other things. We forget to make Him a part of our lives. We make other things more important and carve out no time for Him.

As I told my Sunday School class the other day, “What if I came to see you and I talked the whole time, never let you say a word, and then left? Would you think I was a great friend you wanted to spend more time with?”
The amazing thing to me is that God, even when we’ve rejected Him, forgotten about Him, and neglected Him, will take us back in a heartbeat if we just turn around. It’s amazing that He doesn’t go, “Nope. You’ve done this one too many times. I’m outta here.”

Because I imagine if we are made in the image of God that means God probably has feelings too. And I know how difficult it is to consistently return love for hurt when someone hurts you. That God is able to do that with absolute consistency is mind-blowing.

I do wonder sometimes if that is one reason Jesus wept. “I’m going to do all of this for them, and they still aren’t going to get it.”

Imagine if it were you. Imagine that you were going to lay down your life like Jesus did for someone you love so desperately, and that when you did, they would turn around and deny you, and forget you, and make everything else more important.

What love that must be to persevere in the face of that!
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling author and the co-founder CrossReads.com a new website that gives Christian readers and authors a place to meet and fellowship. With a newsletter, a blog, a forum, and other exciting, inspiring areas to visit, CrossReads visitors can find fabulous Christian books they never knew existed.

Come over on Feb. 12-14, and enter to win one of 169 virtual baskets of ebooks, gift cards, and other prizes!

Click here to enter
the CrossReads Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Recommendation for New Christians

Lynda Taneda's latest release, A Journey into Light is wonderful I met Lynda online when she requested input for a speaking engagement at a women's retreat in the spring. I sent her my proposal that I used when pitching my non-fiction book, Divine Dining. Lynda offered to send me two of her books. I loved, loved the new release. Subtitle is "Finding Your Way after Finding the Lord."


This small book would be perfect to hand to someone with whom you've prayed for salvation, or to any new convert in your church or group. Those of us who are raised in church often forget that though we all come to Christ as new babes, many know nothing about what to do next. Often we fail at our job of discipleship. This book is a super tool.

Excerpts I particularly loved:

To begin with, know that the Christian life is not an organized religion or event that takes place on Sunday mornings, but a day to day relationship with God.

Get a Bible that has Jesus' words highlighted in red and begin by reading one chapter a day from the New Testament Gospels. Pay close attention to the words of Jesus.

Friend, today, you have taken the first step toward genuine happiness.

Lynda is the best-selling author of Victims of Vanity: the animal testing of cosmetics and household products, and Why Vegetarian? A healthy, humane and environmentally friendly approach to food.

She has written a book published in Japan called Canada, a socioeconomic study on the influence of Japanese culture on Canadian lifestyle and This is My Best, a literary collection of poetry.

She has also had a number of her articles published in various Canadian and American publications.

Lynda, a former model and TV spokesperson, often states that her greatest achievement in life was when she came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in April, 1998.

The publisher of A Journey into Light is Bay Ridge Books, out of Ontario, Canada. I highly recommend or baby Christians. Thanks, Lynda, for allowing me to present you and this book today on my blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HOPE is on the way

I'm often asked to tell about my weight loss journey. Tomorrow night, I will speak to a nearby TOPS group doing just that. I wrote the true story of God's beginning to heal me, Janet K. Brown. I give it here in my favorite medium, the short story form.

Janet’s pulse thundered in her ears when she walked into the church classroom. She took a seat near the back and spoke to no one. The pastor’s wife entered and spoke to everyone but Janet. Resentment settled on her shoulders and lodged in her brain to be hidden by poor-pathetic-me thoughts.

Sweat formed on her upper lip like a glossy mustache. While ducking her head, she stole glimpses of others in the class.

Sister Stack’s wrinkled hand reached for Janet. “Here we go again.”

Janet flashed her warmest smile. That sweet older lady was an inspiration. If she could keep trying, someone half her age could do so. “I need help.”

The older lady winked. “Don’t we all?”

“We can do it this time.” Janet’s voice shook though she tried to summon confidence.

Pleasse God, help me. I can't take the pain anymore.

One of the pastors on their church staff shuffled to the two-foot square podium. His rolls of fat protruded from both sides as he opened a book and his Bible and cleared his throat.

If he could stand before them looking like that, Janet could hold her head high and listen. She breathed in a deep gulp of air, and her pulse slowed.

Pastor Williams spoke softly. “If you’ve struggled with weight and will power, but overate anyway, if you’ve prayed for God to take away your appetite, but He didn’t, if you’d give anything not to be here, but you are, I’m here to say, give up.”

Every eye gawked at the teacher, while each mouth dropped.

Bless Sister Stack’s heart, she had the nerve to ask the question no one else could formulate. “Are you saying for us to give up and stay fat?”

The handsome minister gave them a wide “I’m-so-glad-you-asked grin. “No, I’m saying you….” He paused to look around the room. “All of us, are powerless over food. Using your will power is like adding fuel to your overeating fire. The more you use it, the stronger wrong desires become. Only surrendering to God and His will can bring emotional healing forever.”

He read 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness….”

The rest of the meeting blurred. Janet’s mind reran a video of past failures. Surrender her desire for food to God. What did that mean?

The class dismissed. Few spoke as they filed out of the room. Perhaps, others replayed similar defeats. Janet waved at Sister Stack.

She drove to the store and bought a package of Reese’s peanut butter candy.

A boy from church called out “Fat Mama” as she left. She’d show him fat. Anger vied with embarrassment. She popped one of treats into her mouth.

When anxiety subsided, she examined the remaining candies. Did surrendering to God mean she should give up Reese’s?

She loved Reese’s.

As she finished the last of the candies, recrimination gorged her mind as the sweets did her stomach. You pitiful excuse for a human being. No wonder no one likes you. Her stomach tightened. Nausea threatened to divulge its contents.

You're powerless.

Janet had never felt weaker. All the nutritional education, all the encouragement, and all the past failures, nothing kept her from overeating. She remembered Pastor Williams’ words. A fire ignited. All summer, she’d stayed with firm resolve on a doctor’s strict diet, but when she fell, she rolled into the gutter and lay there like a stuck bowling bowl.

Lord, You could help me, if You would.

From the trash, the empty candy package mocked her. Was she willing to surrender if it meant giving up her Reese’s? Her resentments? Forever?

Tuesday night came. Her week of overeating condemned her, but, she needed to go to the meeting.

Sister Stack hugged her. “I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been praying for you this week.”

Tears stung Janet’s eyes. She blinked them away. “I needed it. That’s probably what got me here.”

Pastor Williams overheard as he passed. “Whatever it takes, God stands willing and able to handle our problems when we’re ready to give them up to Him.”

Janet could no longer hold back tears. Her hand shook as she helped her older friend to a chair. “Let’s sit in front. I think I’m ready.”


Two years and ninety-five pounds lighter, Janet stood before her own class of overweight friends. Her hips didn’t bulge beyond the podium. Her spine straightened as God gave her confidence. Her words took on power as she spoke.

“If you’ve struggled with weight and will power, but overate anyway, if you’ve prayed for God to take away your appetite, but He didn’t, if you’d give anything not to be here, but you are, I’m here to say, give up.”

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What's Your Fav?

A recent trip to the Sacramento Mountains in and around Ruidosa, New Mexico stimulated my rolling writer's mind. I found myself using the usual exclamations. "Wow. and "What a beautiful scene." and lots of "Look at that. Gorgeous." My husband and I love the mountains. My heart lifts with adoration for their creator.

Out our trailer's window, a narrow canyon dipped toward a small creek bubbling from recent rain and rose on the far side to deep pines up the mountain. When we set up our campsite, deer grazed nearby--a big buck with a huge rack of horns, a smaller doe, and two youngins--a family of four. We laughed as the dad led the way to jump a fence, Mom and the larger kid followed, but the small one with short legs, dove underneath in pursuit of his kin. The next morning the sun crested the eastern end of the canyon like a video ran by God to entertain us.

One day as I sat thinking about the beauty before us, I remembered the scene I'd left behind at home. Sitting on my own back patio, I had thanked God for the green grass and trees, the multi-colored flowers, and birds diving into our pool for a drink.

Going and coming to Ruidosa, we enjoyed a picnic at a roadside parks with rocky crags and mesquites sticking out at odd angles, and we oohed and ahed over the charm of the area.

The truth dawns on me as dawn appeared over the campground in the mountains, God gave us diverse scenery. He knew we'd tire of the same old thing no matter how beautiful.

I compared that to another of God's creations--us. Not a one of us is alike, but loveliness manifests in varied combinations of physiques, hair color, face shapes, not to mention personalities, both sharp and kind.

I spot the simularity of that premise in our writing. We create varied characters, varied settings, varied problems in our works. We learn from the Lord. Our stories don't have to be the same to be good. In fact, they'll probably differ in many ways just like my back yard, west Texas canyons, and the rocky mountains, but all can inspire and bring pleasure.

What scene do you cherish today?