Saturday, June 28, 2014

How Can You Lose Weight on Vacation?

Summer time brings vacations. Often, this comes right in the middle of our weight loss plan. We eat healthy, lose ten pounds or thirty, and then comes vacation.

Though excited, we worry that all those pounds will return. At best, keeping up our weight loss is impossible. Why, we can't even expect to maintain, can we?

Yes, you can.

Without giving up all the fun.

And, have the vacation of your life.

Here's 10 suggestions:

1. Where's the action?
     Going to the beach? Plan on swimming, snorkeling, or running along the beach. Running in that sand gives resistance and burns lots more calories. Swimming will use up twice the amount of calories walking on land will do. How about organizing a sand volleyball game or joining in with someone else?

     Like mountains? Bike. Hike. Plan a new route each day, some shorter, some longer. Buy that pretty suncatcher as your reward for finishing the longest trail. Join the kids in horsebackriding. Don't just watch them. And, when they beg to do the super water slide, say, "sure," then join in.

     Is cities your thing? In Boston, do the walking historical tour. Trudge over the areas where our forefathers fought. In New York City, hike from the Empire State Building to Central Park. In San Francisco, hike from Chinatown to Fisherman's Wharf. Walk the full length of the riverwalk in downtown San Antonio and then hop on over to the Hemisphere Tower.

2. Visualize.
     Our minds play tricks. Once fat, always fat. When we see ourselves as fat, what difference does it make to eat and gain a little more? Why take our loss so seriously?

     If you've lost five pounds, lift a 5 lb. sack of sugar. If you've lost twenty pounds, pick up a 20 lb sack of dog food. If you've lost a hundred pounds, balance a small woman or larger child on your back, and see how far you can walk. See how hard it is to climb stairs. This can keep a picture in your mind of how important it is even when you're not thinking lose weight.

3. What's your goal?
     If your goal is to stay the same, make it a real goal with an exact number and exact date. Never leave thinking I'm going to eat whatever I want. If you do, you might return several pounds heavier, get discouraged, and give up.
     A goal motivates. Our mind keeps working even when we're not consciously dieting. 
     Goals should be specific (weigh 1 lb less three days after returning home), be written, (Yes, it's important), and be forgiveable (In case you miss it by a bit).

4. Keep a Log.
     Journal. Play like you're a travel writer and will need to remember the details. Plan on sharing experiences with someone when you get home. What did you feel while standing looking out over the vast ocean? What was your favorite restaurant? What was their specialty? How did you make it lighter?

5. Take your first-aid kit.
     Pack lots of fruit, veggies, cheese sticks, and if you have a cooler, take some yogurt or cool your watermelon.

6. Stay hydrated.
     No matter where you go, drink lots of water. Sometimes, a bottle of water knocks the munchies better than anything. Sip instead of bite.

7. Set ground rules.
     Tell your family or friend that's going with you that you expect for you all to get lots of exercise.

8. Watch the salads.
     Our solution to eating healthy is usually get salad. Have you ever looked at how big lots of salad-eaters are? Let me tell you, it's not the lettuce. It's the dressing, the croutons, the nuts, the pasta. Sometimes, a small hamburger is really your best choice. Think about it.

9. Don't be a loner.
     Put your focus on the people you vacation with. Use the time to have a real heart-to-heart talk with you mate. Find out what's troubling your child. Listen to your friend. Fellowship, not food, should be the priority for eating.

10. When is it time for a treat?
     Food addicts have favorite dishes and places to eat wherever we go. What's yours? the best ribs in the west, all the catfish you can eat, their famous blackberry cobbler, peanut butter fudge? Decide when you will have that. Don't skimp. Don't deny yourself. But, have it only once. Make it a real treat.  

Any other tips? Leave a comment and let me know. Or, let me know if you've tried any of mine.      

Friday, June 27, 2014

Amazon Review on Divine Dining

Wonderful to check on Amazon and find a new review for your book, especially if it's a good one. I just had to share.

5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT DEVOTIONAL OF ENCOURAGEMENT May 29, 2014

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Book stores, both brick and mortar and online, are filled with devotional books, daily scripture books, and books of encouragement on just about every subject you can think of. Author Janet K. Brown’s DIVINE DINING 365 DEVOTIONS TO GUIDE YOU TO HEALTHIER WEIGHT is one of the best devotional books I’ve read.

Okay, I admit I’m a sugarholic. Anything sweet, especially chocolate, calls to me. I also admit that I’ve never had a weight or overeating problem. I try to eat healthy foods, except for the sugar, of course. So why does this book appeal to me? First, the author starts each day’s[devotion with a scripture. These verses from the Bible apply to all aspects of our lives, not just what we eat. For instance, we read on June 15, John 15:6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Next, the author tells a short story relating to this verse and how she applies it to her life. She closes with a prayer. She does each day of the year this way, with stories and her experiences. And there’s something there for everyone.

I could go on with other great examples, but you’ll enjoy DIVINE DINING more if you read it for yourself. I think you may see similarities to your life in some of the stories. I have. This would make a great gift for friends and family, especially those struggling with a difficult issue in their lives. The book will help them realize they’re not alone and with God’s help they will succeed in achieving their goals. Why not pick up a copy for your local library and your church library, as well as for your own?

Links to purchase book:
Thanks, Beverly Stowe McClure, and many others for all the reviews and comments about this devotion book.

Watch for September. #Divine Dining will be on Smashwords with freebies.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Diane Huff Pitts is my Guest

Today, I welcome Diane Huff Pitts. Her first release is a novelette that was published in connection with multi-published author, Kathi Macias. How wonderful to make new writing friends like Diane. I'm so excited for her. Diane, Writing with God's Hope blog has a few questions for a new writer. Here we go:

        1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for the privilege of an interview! In the past I defined who I was by     talking about what I did. Over the years, I’ve held a number of titles-- friend, wife,     mother, musician, educator, physical therapist, and writer. Hopefully, anything about    me is linked to God. For many years I derived my significance from what I could do rather than what my Creator and Savior says about me. That truth is the heartbeat            of my writing.
     2. Did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?

                               Writing is hard work. The adage “Don’t quit your day job” is true. I worked two jobs as a physical therapist and university instructor while trying to write. Over the last decade, I never stopped writing, but I pushed writing for publication to the back burner. I struggled with family demands and self-doubt. Would anyone read what I wrote? Do I have something worth saying? God, are you in this?
  When you are called to write, you can’t escape it. I like to think I’m a receptive student of the craft. As long as God allows, I will write.

      3.What gave you the idea for this book?

         The Summer’s Dance” in the Summer in Sweetland series is an extension of being a health educator as well as helping me cope with changes in my family. Some of my family members moved to assisted living facilities (ALF). Many of my patients live in an assisted environment. The general public doesn’t fully appreciate the amazing things--funny, endearing, and courageous--that occur in that environment. I decided to weave a story to applaud these residents whose lives have meaning and give our communities strength. Mystery, comedy, and light romance. You’ll find it all in “The Summer’s Dance.”

                        4. How do you feel this book will encourage readers, or did you have something in mind like this when you wrote it?

   I definitely wanted to encourage my readers. That’s another intent of my writing. In the South we have a saying--Living in High Cotton. We can all live in high cotton if we feel our lives matter. For me, high cotton is feeling a sense of inner wealth, not financial wealth or luck. Our significance is not dependent on what we do. In our frailty and weakness, we are the strongest because the light of Christ can shine through fractured lives.

        5.How did you find your publisher?

   Kathi Macias assembled a team of writers for the Summer in Sweetland series and invited me to participate. Kathi and her coeditor Anne Baxter Campbell are interested in mentoring writers like me. Helping Hands Press is the publisher for this endeavor.

                        6. What are the pluses & minuses about doing a novelette? Would you do it again?

   The volumes in the Summer in Sweetland series are 8,000 words. I am learning to adjust my storytelling to varied word counts and not sacrifice the essence of the tale. Believable, multilayered characters is the challenge with shorter word counts.

                           I love what I do. When I wake up thinking about storylines, I know the time is worth it. Would I do another story like “The Summer’s Dance”? I’m working on it right now!
            WWGH:  This is Volume Two of the Summer in Sweetland series. I know there's a Volume Three. Glad to know you're working on another one.
Diane Huff Pitts grew up in Selma, Alabama–the crossroads of southern living and the Civil Rights Movement–then moved to Mobile, Alabama. Both locales shape her writing.
A lifelong learner, Diane reads constantly. She picked up a few degrees along the way: nursing and physical therapy from the University of South Alabama and a doctorate from Des Moines University. Although no longer teaching at South Alabama, she is a certified clinical instructor for doctoral students in an outpatient physical therapy setting.
Diane and her husband Darrell live in a close-knit community outside of Mobile. Their lives are enriched by three sons, a (new!) daughter-in-law, and two rescued dogs. She is active in the teaching and music ministry of a local church and sings with a multicultural women’s chorus from Mobile.
         Find Diane at these links:
And your story in this Volume is "The Summer's Dance."
            Virginia Danforth Livingston isn’t born into money but has access.  The world unravels around Virginia with one ring of her doorbell. Will the matriarch of Sweetbriar mansion and founder of Livingston Investigations lose Sweetbriar and with it her identity?
            Across town at The Breckinridge, Dr. Bernard Thompson meets his match when Virginia shows up in the assisted living facility.  Small town problems become big ones when things start disappearing. Mysteries abound. Does Geraldine Gibson, the quirky lady in purple, have the answer?
            Can the unlikely trio of Virginia, Bernie, and Geraldine find the culprit or is there bigger fish to fry?
            Volume 2 gives us a bird’s eye view of Sweetland and neighboring New Beckton. Characters you come to love are right over the backyard fence in Sweetland, and after the summer’s dance, life is never the same.
    For me and others who would like to purchase this great book, the link is:
    Thank you for stopping by today, Diane. I enjoyed getting acquainted.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dad Finds Jesus

(This is a true story and a salute to my dad today)

     “Churches are filled with hypocrites.” Dad stomped out of the house to go back to work.

     Mom’s head drooped. A tear trickled at her temple.

     My jaw relaxed. My teenage rebellion slipped from my mind and evaporated like the sweat on my forehead. “I’m sorry, Mom. I’ll sit with you in church.”

    My petite mother reached up to hug me. “You kids disturbed others in the service last Sunday.” She rubbed the bridge of her nose. “You can’t do that.”

     Talking too loud was my friend, Margie’s fault, but I had gone along  with it. Enveloping Mom’s tiny frame with my embrace, I patted her back. “I’m sorry. But, if you let me sit in the back one more time, I’ll be quiet. I promise.”

    She pulled away with a harrumph.

    Tightness seized my jaw again. I gritted my teeth. “Dad should sit with you. Then, you wouldn’t have to sit by yourself, and I wouldn’t have to move.” Dad was my hero. I hated Mom’s critical attitude, but right now, I was mad at him.

     “The reason you must sit by me is your own actions, young lady.” Mom grabbed her shears and headed toward her vegetable garden. “Want to help me this afternoon?”

      “No. Is it okay if I go to the station? I’ve got more tickets for the school carnival to sell. Thought I’d ask Uncle Check.”

      Mom’s shoulders slumped. “Sure. Be back by three.”

     I walked the two blocks to the station and garage owned by my father and uncle. When I trudged up the left side, I spotted Pastor Sutton talking with Dad.

     Stooped over to check the tires, Dad looked up squinting at the sun. “Need all four tires replaced, Pastor.”

     The man frowned. “Could you wait for payment until the end of the month?”

     "Sure. I’ll install them now. Shouldn’t be more than an hour.”

Mom always berated Dad for being too soft-hearted. That’s one thing I loved about him.      

     A smile burst from Pastor Sutton. He clapped my dad on the back. “Thanks, R. O., I can always count on you.”

     Dad’s eyes widened when he looked my way. “How’s my girl? Come to help out?”

     I pulled out my tickets. “I’m selling carnival tickets. Pastor Sutton, can you buy a ticket from me? I’m trying to win the grand prize.”

     The pastor’s eyes twinkled. “Sorry, young lady, but I’ve already bought four for our family.”

     I nodded, gave Dad a hug, and headed to the garage to find my uncle.

     Sunday morning, Mom and I drove to church. We hadn’t spoken anymore about seating arrangements, but I knew I’d be sitting with Mom and not with my friends. Today, I didn’t mind since I would walk forward and put sixteen pennies in the birthday bank. Last week marked my big birthday celebration.

     Pastor Sutton wasn’t there. A new preacher, Brother Plemmons, brought the sermon. After church, my mother and I met the new pastor. I liked him. He was younger and repeated my name as if storing it in memory.

     I dropped my hand and turned toward the door. “Where is Pastor Sutton?” I asked Mom.

     “He moved and took another church.”

     All week, I studied on the change of pastors. On the way home from school on Tuesday, I had the bus drop me off at the station. As I drug my book bag toward the office, I spotted the new pastor. I hid behind the cases of drinks and watched.

He wrote a check and handed it to my dad. “Thanks, Brother Thornton. I’d like to give you a personal invitation to our church next Sunday.”

     I expected an immediate, “no, thanks,” but instead my dad clutched his chin, something I often saw him do. “Thanks. My wife and daughter go to that church. What happened to the other preacher?”

    Pastor Plemmons rocked back on his heels. “Don’t know. Will you come? We need more good men to help me and God build something great.”

    A strange expression crossed Dad’s face. His chest swelled. “Thanks for paying for your battery right away.”

     “Only fair. You did the work.” The preacher's lilting tone sounded like he was smiling. He turned to leave.

I had no choice but to step forward.

“Janet, so nice to see you again,” Brother Plemmons said.

     Dad rose and followed the pastor. He dropped his arm around my shoulders. “I’ll see you Sunday.” He smiled down at me.

     The next Sunday, Dad did go to church with us and sat beside Mom and me. Even though Mom said I could sit with Margie, I chose to follow them. It was a special occasion. Mom and I had attended that church all my life, but never with Dad.

     Two months later, Jesus saved my dad. I was one proud sixteen-year-old. I think he had to see Jesus evident in someone from church before he could meet Jesus at the altar.

Before my seventeenth birthday, Dad began teaching high school and won many teenagers to Jesus in the next thirteen years of his life. When Dad died, we asked Pastor Plemmons to preach the funeral.

Thank you, Jesus, for saving my dad.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yeah! Angie Brashear is Here

Angie Brashear's debut novel, Of the Persecuted, is out. What an exciting time for Angie, and I'm blessed to share it with my Writing with God's Hope blog followers today.

Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.
Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.
Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?
How about that intriguing cover? Doesn't it make you want to open the book?
I asked Angie to write a short devotion, and kind lady that she is, she agreed. She calls it, "Tha-Reee!"
In recent weeks my sons have spent their evenings watching the NBA Finals, energetically cheering on the San Antonio Spurs. Most game nights, their animated antics interrupted me as I attempted to prepare for the release of my debut novel, Of the Persecuted. But it was difficult to get irritated with my handsome, blond blessings. This held especially true when they jumped off the couch screaming "Tha-Reee!" every time the San Antonio Spurs hit a long shot.
My boys love basketball. They appreciate fundamentals. Dribbling. Pivoting. Passing. Well-executed shots. Not traveling. Not double-dribbling. Not two-handed shots. Not selfish shots. They admire players who’ve gone down in history as executors of such fundamentals—Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, and my own personal favorite, John Stockton.
Their love for basketball, and for three-pointers led me to think about the best "Tha-Reee!" of all time—the Trinity. One God, three distinct persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Like time, God represents past, present, and future. One is not separate from the other. He is a Father to the fatherless. He is a Savior for the lost. He is a Guide in prayer and truth. God’s plan for us is the best well-executed shot of all time, guided by His fundamentals outlined in scripture.
To non-believers, the Trinity may be a difficult concept to grasp. It certainly was for me before the Lord saved me in my early twenties. But it makes perfect sense when you open your heart to the One True God. Believe me. Seek Him and you will seek no more.
So while the NBA Finals are in full swing, the best "Tha-Reee!" of all time dominates all of our seasons. And we are grateful.
When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at,, and
Now, for how you can purchase this interesting-sounding book:
Anyone have a question or comment for Angie while she's visiting?
I've ordered my copy of the book. Can't wait.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Really? On Vacation?

Why do we suspend healthy living for vacations?

To make them special?

To disrupt or change normal life?

To taste dishes from other places?

I submit the real reason is that our why isn't big enough, strong enough, or important enough to us.

What is your why?

     Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
     If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
                                1 Cor. 3:16, 17

Enjoy different flowers on your trip

Why do you want to live healthy, lose weight, exercise?

The need to lose weight isn't a laughing matter though many treat it as such. Bible-based churches attract with food more often than prayer. I'm not suggesting that having a pot luck or dinner at church is wrong, but I'm saying that shouldn't be our emphasis. Any compulsion, whether it's to overeat or stick a needle in a vein, defiles the body (God's temple).

When was the last time the church offered a class on gossip or a study on how to gamble? Yet, we trot out our richest cakes and most luscious pies. We offer donuts to an overweight evangelist when he or she is trying to please God with healthy eating.

This may be where I lose a lot of you. Please if you fall on the other side of this controversy, let me know. I want to hear from you.

I can only tell my own experience. Losing weight is a problem requiring physical, mental, and spiritual changes
Look for strange sights to get your mind off food

A diet focuses on the physical, what we eat, how much we exercise, what foods we avoid.

Visualizing, goal-setting, and support groups take care of our need for mental growth.

How do we fix the spiritual element?

We don't.

Only God can fix us spiritually.

Our job is to keep the lines of communication open.

Back to my original question. If the Lord is guiding us into healthier choices to keep His temple clean and useful for His purposes, why should that effort be suspended for vacation.

1. Find other ways to make trips special. Tours, friends, intimacy with loved ones, or even a one time treat of food.

2. Normal life is already suspended. Nothing you're doing on a trip is the same. Using this premise could mean we should also stop being a Christian because that's our normal life.

3. By all means, try out different dishes from other states or countries. An occasional few bites of baklava will not end our weight loss. It's the constant overeating compulsion that throws us off track.

4. Pray more than usual for guidance. Spend quiet time in the mountains or on the beach drawing nigh unto Your Creator.

5. Add extra exercise to your "out of the ordinary" routine.

6. Remember, God loves you. You are special. Take care of you.

Meet new friends. Use your mouth for talking.

Because God reigns. He controls you. You are His.

If that's your why,  then overeating on vacation sounds ridiculous.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

June Foster visits today.

Today, I welcome June Foster to Writing with God's Hope blog. We recently became acquainted online. Her latest release might stir controversy, but I doubt the reader will find it boring.

When asked to supply a devotion, I found June "instant in season and out of season." She gave no less than three devotions to peruse. I enjoyed them all, but the one below goes along with Foster's latest release, Ryan's Father. 

Ryan Reid is a first-grade teacher and a Christian with a heart for neglected kids, but a chance encounter during an earthquake with Sandy Arrington, a beautiful young nurse, rocks Ryan’s carefully guarded world and unearths the secret he has held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a battle he always hoped he’d never have to face.

Here's the devotion that helps understand where Foster is coming from with this book.
Spiritual Armor

I've received a lot of feedback on Ryan's Father, my novel which came out January 15 of this year. Ryan is a young Christian man who loves the Lord and wants to serve Him. But when he is forced to admit he has same sex attraction, he begins a journey he thought he'd never take.

Mostly I've received positive feedback about how this subject needs to be broached from a Christian worldview. I've heard from two gay men that said my book was an encouragement and brought hope. But another gay man who, I might add, is a precious Christian who loves God, told me he no longer believes a homosexual can change and is now living in a relationship with another man. My heart goes out to him.

One of the points he brought up was how he'd gone through ex-gay therapy which only drove him to depression. I looked up this reparative, so called "pray the gay away" therapy. Much of it is based on behavior modification such as spending time with heterosexual men and avoiding women unless it's for romantic reasons.

What does all of this have to do with spiritual armor? I think reparative therapy is missing something. Ephesians 6: 14-17 says, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."

Romans 1in the Word tells us that men committing indecent acts with other men is a perversion and a sin. But Romans 6 tells us we are no longer slaves to sin. God wouldn't say we are no longer slaves to sin if He didn't mean it.

It seems to me that the ex-gay therapy is lacking an important element. The sword of the Spirit. Prayer is mentioned at the end of the above Bible passage, but as important as prayer is, it's not part of the armor. Hold God to His word. Seek change based on what the Bible says, not emotions or prayer alone. Utilize the Spiritual Armor of God.

I agree, June. Without the Holy Spirit we have no power. I like your use of spiritual armor to combat the sin of homosexuality. It's our only protection against any addiction or compulsion.
June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July.  Ryan's Father is available from WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, is available from June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives.
Contact June Foster at:

Thanks for stopping by Writing With God's Hope blog today, June. I enjoyed making your acquaintance. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy of Ryan's Father.
Does anyone have questions or comments for June?