Special Guest: Melissa Johnson

Melissa Flores B&WThe wicked seize every opportunity, while believers shrink back in fear. When a door opens we draw back and wonder, “God, is that you?” This sounds noble and even somewhat humble. However, the Lord reminded me in prayer that when I ask for a door to open, I should not be perplexed when it does. This is nothing short of unbelief on my part.

“You doubt me.” The Lord spoke recently, awakening the awareness of a faulty mindset. “You pray and ask me for open doors… and I open them. I’ve opened a number of them. But, you miss the opportunity by giving into insecurity or doubt. Don’t you know all good things come from above? I am the source of all good opportunities. Satan cannot and will not produce a potential blessing.”

It all became clear as these scriptures flooded my mind:

  • James 1:5-8 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
  • James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
  • Luke 16:8, “Worldly people are more clever than enlightened people in dealing with their own.

The unrighteous lay hold of any opportunity that halfway looks like a winner. Meanwhile, we righteous pray, fast, wait, and waste away while door after door opens and closes in our faces. No wonder we don’t prosper! If we knew the will of God for our lives, or at least some semblance of His plan, we’d jump on every available chance to advance it. There’s no shortage of light on the path of the upright. We do not walk in darkness as children of the light. It’s time to live by that light – to stop calling fear faith. I choose to act the moment the door cracks!

Melissa Johnson is the General Manager of the He’s Alive Radio Network, Grantsville, Maryland. She is also the morning drive radio host of the AM Cafe’ on www.hesalive.net. Melissa is a minister, author and avid connoisseur of all things cocoa and coffee bean. Co-founder of the Flores household with hubby, Jonathan in 1994, she is the proud mother of one intolerably bright 16-year-old daughter, Madeline. For more information on Melissa, visit her website at www.definingwords.com

Warm Autumn Chili and Cornbread Combo

Temperatures are dropping and your appetite is rising, so how in the world do we tackle those hearty hunger pains and keep warm at the same time? Whether you’ve spent the day working in the crisp outdoors or your planning on tailgating at your favorite college or professional football game, here’s a winning combination guaranteed to satisfy your palate and warm your bones!

KC’s Chili

Serving Size – 12

1 1/2 lbs. Hamburger, Browned

1 Can of Tomato Juice (46 Ounce)

2 Small Cans of Tomato Paste

1 Can of Tomato Sauce

2 Cans of Diced Tomatoes

1 Can Tomato Soup

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Green Pepper, Chopped

1 Onion, Chopped

3 Tablespoons of Chili Powder or to Taste

1 Can Baked Beans

1 Can Kidney Beans

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot; Simmer until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally

OR

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker; Low setting for 6 hours

KC’s Cornbread

Serving Size – 6

1 Pack of Martha White Sweet Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix (7 Ounce)

Heat oven to 400 Degrees F

8 Inch Ovenproof Skillet or Square Pan. Grease with shortening or spray with no-stick cooking spray, then place in oven for 7 to 8 minutes or until hot

1/2 Cup of Milk

1 Egg, Beaten

Combine cornbread mix, milk and egg in small mixing bowl; stir until smooth; pour into hot skillet or pan

Bake at 400 degrees F for 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown

KC’s Beverage Selection

Serving Size – 1

8 Ounce Glass of Warm, Spiced Apple Cider

Fancies of Fall

Autumn is in full swing at the Rhoades household. Oh, how we love this time of year! The crispness of the air, the changing colors of the foliage, the migrating geese, the scent of burning leaves, and the harvesting of the crops provides us the awe-inspiring opportunity to celebrate the blessings of the past while preparing us to find relentless courage for the cold, icy season to come.

So, how do we celebrate this season of change? Here are some creative ideas we’d like to share with you:

1. Home Decorations

Karen and I love the warm and cozy atmosphere fall decorations bring to our home, and while purchasing commercial, retail products is an option, the prices can quickly add up. Some inexpensive decorating ideas we have used in and around our home include pumpkins, gourds, hay/straw bales (outside), apples, ornamental flint or Indian corn, colored leaves, wheat, and grapevines to form decorative wreaths.

2. Autumn Scents

Don’t you enjoy the phenomenal odors we associate with this special time of year? We certainly do and candles, oils, plug-in aroma dispensers, and natural baking odors are a great way to immerse yourself into the spirit of the season. Scientists have proven the powerful effect odors have on our psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physiological well-being and they also serve to evoke those precious and endearing memories associated with celebrations of the past. The smell of fresh pumpkin, spices, burning wood, bread, and baked goods can bring a sense of relaxation, decreased anxiety, and recapture moments in grandma’s kitchen or beside the glowing fireplace.

3. Seasonal Foods

As the temperature drops and the nights grow longer, it’s natural to seek those warm and appetizing comfort foods. Who doesn’t want a nice big slice of pumpkin pie or cranberry bread with a big mug of warm apple cider or hot chocolate or a big bowl of butternut squash soup? The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice your health in the process. Recipes are available to provide you the same great tasting cuisine while keeping your body in check. A simple internet search or a stroll through the cookbook section of your local bookstore can provide you with a variety of resources where you can locate delicious, low-calorie, seasonal delights. Always remember, moderation in everything.

4. Seasonal Traditions

There are a variety of ways you can celebrate the autumn season with your friends and family! Don’t forget to visit that corn maze and/or local pumpkin patch, fall festival, haunted house, or find a local farm for a good old fashioned hay ride. Most importantly, make it your tradition and create a memory to last a lifetime!

We trust you are enjoying this autumn season and hope these ideas will help you create a warm and welcoming home and seasonal experience for you and your family and friends.

Happy Autumn!

The Old Mystic Inn

The Old Mystic Inn II B&WWhat exactly influenced our decision to visit The Old Mystic Inn remains a topic of conjecture, but one thing was for sure – we were battle weary and in desperate need of a few days of rest and relaxation.

Perhaps it was the delightful experience of our previous visit to the greater northeastern United States and our enchanting encounter with the quaint, historic town of Mystic, Connecticut or the quintessential country colonial decor, the white picket fence, the gazebo, and the promise of shade under the large maple trees surrounding this serene resting place. In some way, it may have been the soft, inviting photos of the guest rooms, and conceivably, the whispers from the voices of famous New England authors calling to us from the old book stacks that once lined this classic abode. Whatever the case, it was one of the most gratifying and refreshing experiences we’ve shared and one we look forward to repeating in the near future.

Our rendezvous with respite included a warm and inviting welcome by Executive Chef and Owner, Mr. Michael Cardillo, Jr., relaxation in the cozy, common areas of The Keeping Room, The Parlor and The Library, and a dreamy night’s sleep in The Emily Dickinson Room, where a shuttered bay window provided a delightful view of the autumn leaves dancing in the morning sunrise. There was no need to set an alarm clock, as the aroma of a freshly prepared, exquisite gourmet breakfast of eggs, grains, and fresh fruits wafted from The Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dining Room below, inviting us to discover the possibilities of a new day.

While the peaceful surroundings of The Old Mystic Inn embraced us in its consoling and solacing arms, beckoning us to linger for just a while longer, it conversely enticed us to explore the charming and scenic attractions of vintage downtown Mystic, including The Mystic Seaport (The Museum of America and the Sea), The Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, whaler cruises, historic art and Indian museums, golf courses, cider mills, lighthouses, and of course, a wide variety of pleasant surf and turf dining establishments, including the infamous, Mystic Pizza.

As an Editor’s Pick in the Yankee Magazine Travel Guide to New England, and a 2013 winner of Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, The Old Mystic Inn also provides special packages, including personal and family celebrations, picnic lunches, The Perfect Storybook Wedding, and Afternoon Tea. An affiliate of Bed and Breakfasts of the Mystic Coast & Country, Karen Brown’s Guide, and MysticBandB.com, the inn offers reasonable rates and competitive prices, and is well worth the investment.

Thank you Michael Cardillo for sharing your excellence in hospitality with all of your guests. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

To learn more about The Old Mystic Inn, visit: www.oldmysticinn.com

Is It Too Late To Start Exercising Now?

Laurette Willis 072213 B&WPerhaps you haven’t exercised in a l-o-n-g time.

Maybe your schedule at work or home demands too much of your time or you simply fell out of the routine. I have good news for you! If you haven’t exercised in months, a year or ever—it’s never too late to begin making fitness a part of your life.

I know. For most of my life I hated exercise and did not follow a sane food plan. I fought excess weight and overeating since I was a child. As a teenager, I tried lots of kooky diets. I even went on a water fast for 10 days (and believe me, there was nothing spiritual about it; I just wanted to be “skinny.”). I became skinny all right. I also developed pneumonia and looked horrible. The weight piled back on shortly thereafter, with an extra 10 pounds on top of it!

After I came to Christ in my late 20s, the Lord delivered me from alcoholism, helped me quit smoking, redeemed my life from the deception of the New Age movement (metaphysics, mysticism and yoga), and brought a loving husband into my life. But overeating and lack of discipline continued to plague me.

“Father,” I prayed, “You have removed so many negative things from my life. Please help me overcome this, too.”

Victory in this area did not come as quickly for me as it did for the other addictions which had held me captive. In fact, the fruit of self-discipline is something I must be conscious of walking in every single day in order to experience the freedom the Lord promises us.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

For me, freedom from “couch potato-ism” and overeating is a choice I have to determine to “stand fast” in daily. Thankfully, the more I “exercise” self-discipline, asking for God to help me, the more I find myself actually wanting to be more active, eat more healthful food and saner portions.

Do we have to exercise?

Well, that’s up to you. If you want to be what I call a “fit witness” for Christ, have a healthy body (“the temple of the Holy Spirit,” according to 1 Corinthians 6:19), full of energy and strength to do all the Lord is calling you to do, it is certainly advisable.

You may already know some of the problems associated with not exercising:

• weight gain

• decrease in flexibility, strength and balance

• increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels

• aches, pains and other medical issues

Hey! You told me there was good news…

There is!

Even if you’ve not been consistent in years, beginning some regular exercise now can help in a number of ways:

• reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis
• relieve stress, anxiety and depression
• achieve and maintain a healthy weight and fitness level
• strengthen bones and joints
• strengthen the immune system
• increase energy levels
• decrease risks for various diseases (including diabetes, colon cancer, plus high blood pressure, stroke and degenerative diseases associated with age)

While plastic surgery is only skin deep, exercise benefits us inside and out. Some encouraging news for those of us over 30 years of age appear to gain the most benefits from exercise. After the age of 30, the body responds quite well to the overall “tune-up” exercising brings.

So, why don’t we “Just Do It”?

I could tell you all the things the world tells us to do to motivate ourselves—all of which boil down to a Nike-inspired, “Just Do It!”

It’s not that easy though, is it? That’s probably why research from Johns Hopkins is predicting that there could be a 75% obesity rate in America by the year 2015.

But we don’t have to be part of that statistic. As believers, we can lead the charge to change. We can be “fit witnesses” for the Lord, leading others to health in spirit, soul and body through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Does the Bible have answers to help us with weight and exercise? Yes!!!

Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Patience, faithfulness and self-control are the three fruit of the Spirit I’ve found most helpful in going from being a “couch potato” to someone who actually enjoys walking and getting some exercise in every day.

You already know how to yield to the Holy Spirit and the fruit He is developing in your life in some areas.

For example: When someone on line at the grocery store is taking a long time paying for their purchase, you don’t throw a wall-eyed fit anymore, do you? You don’t stomp your feet, jump up and down and bang your shopping cart into the register, do you? Of course not!

You’ve learned to yield to the Lord and the fruit of patience. “Okay, I’m letting patience have its perfect work in me. The Word says it’s by faith and patience that I inherit the promises of God. All right! I’m up for that!” You may not do that spiffy a job of it, but at least you’re trying.

Why not plant some seeds toward developing the fruit of patience, faithfulness and self-control in the area of exercise, too?

Here’s an idea:

1. PLAN:  Tomorrow—or today—plan to take a brisk walk for 20 minutes. Or do a quick workout (there are several quick exercises and workouts with accompanying scriptures online which you can do at home or the office at my website www.PraiseMoves.com ).

2. TIME: Choose a time you will get some activity in.

3. ASK: Speak to the Lord and ask Him to help you keep your commitment to honor Him by taking good care of your body (the “temple of the Holy Spirit”) by doing some physical activity for 20 minutes.

4. DECIDE: Make the decision now that when the time comes to fit the activity in, you will NOT yield to any excuses, but yield to the Lord.

5. YIELD: When the time comes, dedicate the time to the Lord, and go for that walk, Christian Fitness workout, or whatever you’ve purposed to do.

6. PRAISE: Praise the Lord for His faithfulness to you as you have just begun a new habit. Go through the steps again for the next day, and the day after that.

With time and practice, the fruit of faithfulness, patience and self-control will become more fully developed and you’ll find yourself actually looking forward to moving your body and praising the Lord! By giving your time and yourself to the Lord in this way, you’ll find His grace sustains, maintains, contains and retrains us to be all He’s call us to be.

And now I’d like to invite you to get my free guide, 5 Simple Steps to Looking & Feeling Fabulous, at http://www.5StepsGuide.com.

Christian Fitness Expert and Certified Health Coach
Laurette Willis is the Director of PraiseMoves Fitness Ministry with DVDs,
Training, and Classes by Certified PraiseMoves Instructors on six continents (
http://PraiseMoves.com).

*Disclaimer: This forum is intended to provide general health and wellness information only. It is not a prescription and/or endorsement for any specific health/medical brand, product or program. You should ALWAYS consult your physician before starting, changing, modifying, or stopping any non-prescription and prescription medications, herbs, treatments, alternative therapies, exercise/wellness programs, physical and/or psychological therapies.

Special Guest: Hannah Webb

Hannah Webb 072213 B&WNot too long ago an inquisitive individual asked me a series of questions, “Do you feel like you have missed a lot of your childhood by growing up on the road? How in the world did you prepare for Miss North Carolina?” and my favorite, “Do you ever get tired of being on the road?”

Growing up on the road with the two greatest parents in the world, it has been the ultimate joy and honor. Starting my high school years as a “new” homeschooler and taking a full time position with the Rick Webb Family Music Ministry, I feel as though I gained an education that a majority of my peers will never have the opportunity to experience. That education that the Lord has so graciously given me is something that I do not take for granted and each day I am humbled by the fact that He has awarded me this opportunity.

As a child, growing into a young woman, I developed an introverted, shy personality and gained an excessive amount of weight. Answering the call to music ministry at age 16 was a major “feat” for me, as it was a personal battle just to step on a stage. Just a little over a year ago, I took on a brand new journey of my life after I competed at and won the title of Miss Gaston County, a local preliminary competition to Miss America. Loosing over 90 pounds and “stepping out of my comfort zone”, the Lord has released me of many insecurities that I had developed over the years. I have taken on a completely new healthy and active lifestyle and my goal is to inspire and encourage others to take care of the bodies that God has given us as 1 Corinthians 3:17 states. So how did I prepare for Miss North Carolina while on the road? I educated myself on proper health and fitness and I made the extra effort to take care of myself, despite the unhealthy choices on the road.

When I was 17 years old, I experienced poverty for the first time when Compassion International took me to the Dominican Republic. I came home and started personally sponsoring a little girl from Indonesia named Irma. I truly believe that the letters from my little “Indonesian sister” has played an enormous part in my growth. In January 2013, I was able to experience poverty, again, at its lowest in Haiti. Witnessing the light that Compassion is in such a dark country made me fall even more in love with the work and ministry of this incredible organization. I also fell in love with a little girl named Kelida and started sponsoring her, as well! Being a sponsor of two children while being apart of a faith-based ministry gives me an opportunity to trust that the Lord will provide the money to send … and boy, does He! What a blessing Compassion International is!

When I sit back and think about the Lord’s timing, I am blown away at how incredibly perfect it is. I imagine the Father chuckling to Himself as we fret over situations that are out of our control and then at our astonishment when He shows up. As a “Doubting Thomas”, I have finally learned to wait for Him to reveal His awesome wonder. Do I get physically tired while on the road? Yes. Am I constantly on my toes, like a game, waiting for a new blessing to arrive? Absolutely and I am re-energized each time I think of what an amazingly, precious God I have the privilege of serving.

I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24 

Hannah Webb is a Christian Music Artist with the Rick Webb Family

and Miss Gaston County (NC) 2012.

www.RickWebbFamily.com

www.Compassion.com/HannahWebb

www.HannahKathrynWebb.blog.com

www.Twitter.com/HannahKWebb

www.Facebook.com/HannahKWebb

Cool Summer Salad Combo

Are you looking to avoid the preparation of large, warm meals during these brutally hot and humid summer days? You’re not alone! Firing up the oven on afternoons such as these is a recipe for disaster as temperatures rise and appetites wane. Keeping adequately hydrated and nourished can evolve into a dilemma as we seek to trade off the excess heat, so here’s a favorite combo we think you’ll find light and refreshing on the warmest of days!

KC’s Chicken Salad Sandwich

Serving Size – 2

2 Cups of Freshly Cooked Chicken (Can be Substituted With Canned Chicken To Avoid Heat)

1 to 11/2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

1 Stalk Freshly Chopped Celery

Onion and/or Garlic Powder To Taste

Salt and Pepper To Taste

Mix Well

Served on Bread of Choice and Topped With Lettuce and Tomato

KC’s Cucumber Salad

Serving Size – 2

1 Medium Freshly Sliced Cucumber

1/2 Small Freshly Sliced Onion

*1 Small Tomato, Small Wedges (Add Just Before Serving)

1 Tbsp of Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

1 Tsp of Vinegar

Salt and Pepper To Taste

Chill Before Serving

*Optional

KC’s Beverage Selections

Serving Size – 1

1 – 8 Ounce Glass of Iced Tea or Mint Iced Tea OR

1 – 8 Ounce Glass of Water Served With a Wedge of Lemon or Lime.

Back To Basics

Is your frustration with money (or the lack thereof) keeping you from attempting to create a warm and welcoming haven for you, your family, and guests? Perhaps you have a plan for a major house renovation, but you’ve abandoned the idea because you’re discouraged with the tallying of the estimated costs and now you don’t feel you can do anything. Well my friend, take heart, because while you are budgeting and saving for that next big project, here are a few small things that can make a difference:

1. Keep it clean. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mobile home or a million-dollar mansion, keeping your environment clean and fresh can make all the difference. My, what a little soap, water, and elbow grease can accomplish!

2. Keep it organized. Organizing your surroundings will often times help you organize your thoughts, yours actions, your days, and your lifestyle. Take advantage of “to do” lists, files, folders, drawers, and totes to keep you on top of your busy household and schedule!

3. Un-clutter. Schedule times throughout the year and unload the excess baggage. Donate items that are in good condition to the local thrift store, church care closet, or to someone you know who might be able to use them. If you’re looking for some extra change (to save towards that big project) or want to donate some funds to a worthy project, have a yard or garage sale

4. DYI (Do It Yourself) projects. Changing or updating fixtures on kitchen cupboards, lights, switches, etc., can give any room a new appearance. A little fresh paint can provide a new look or dimension to an old space or item. Simple throw pillows can add a different element to living spaces. Restoring old furniture or an antique can give any room or the outdoors a fresh look and a bed and breakfast feel. Adding flowers, greens, and mulch around shrubs, walkways, and/or trees can totally redefine your outdoor landscape.

Making small, gradual changes will allow your living spaces to take on a whole new personality and charm, while providing you a relaxed and comfortable surrounding that will simply welcome you home.