Be Totally Fit for Life!

 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV


The posts on this website are for informational purposes only. Please, check with your health care provider before trying any new exercise or weight loss program. You will find articles about health, nutrition, exercise, relationships, Christian wellness, self-image, the Bible, and hazards of the New Age movement prevalent in the general health, fitness, and wellness communities. My hope is to encourage you on your journey to total health as you live out your Christian faith.

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Mission Critical: Learning to Read Your Health Status

Posted on April 2, 2020 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Cockpit panel photo by Charlaine Martin, February 2020. All rights reserved.

My hubby is a pilot, so we love to cruise the sky in our single-engine plane on gorgeous days. Since he is teaching me to fly, I had to learn to read the many gauges on the instrument panel. It is easy to stay on course when there is a gentle breeze, but some days I feel like a toy batted around the sky by an invisible kitten. Then there are days the wind speeds could knock the plane out of the air, which certain speeds indicate a ground excursion in our car or on foot would be a better decision for us.

The instrument panel is critical because it shows me where we are in air space on a map. I also can see conditions of the plane itself like carburetor, engine, and oil heat, and fuel levels. One time, we took off, set for a beautiful flight around the edge of the Great Lakes bordering the Thumb of Michigan. No sooner had we taken off, my hubby checked the gauges that gave indications of our plane conditions. Suddenly, he exclaimed, “We have to make an emergency landing!” He radioed the airport, letting the airport personnel know we had to land immediately. No stall horn sounded an alert for the emergency, so I was confused. When we landed, he taxied the plane over to the building. Two elderly pilots sitting at a picnic table in the building’s shade hobbled up to our aircraft when the propeller stopped. I listened in on their conversation to discover we had a runaway prop. What this simply meant is our engine would torque out of the cowling and our propeller soon to fly off without us. This particular hazard has been the source of many crash deaths for pilots. Dying certainly wasn’t in our plans that day. It must not have been in God’s plan either.

Mission Critical: Check All the Indicators

If we only gaze outside of the plane, without checking our instruments, we could miss critical indicators of danger, such as the near-accident my hubby diverted. If we only stare at the instrument panel’s gauges, we miss important information from our environment, like rain, ice, other planes on a collision course with ours, and our destination’s runway lights necessary for a safe landing. We need the whole picture from both the gauges and the environment to pilot our plan safely to our destination.

Our health and faith journey is similar. We have indicators that give us information about our health status. Some of them we use like how our clothes fit and how much we weigh. Some of us use our body composition as an indicator of our health status. Others have health numbers from the doctor’s office like blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, cholesterol, and others, which might be highly personalized. There are some indicators that we are in danger like the conviction of Scripture passages, input from a family member or friend, and our own emotions. All of these come into play for our total health package.

Mission Critical: Read All the Gauges for Total Health Status

I had indicators that my health was in danger but failed to recognize them for what they were. I barely kept my weight up to 115-120 lbs six years ago. It wasn’t until three almost four years ago I discovered my immune system was working overtime. I could eat an incredible amount for my size yet didn’t gain an ounce, indicating something was wrong. There were other gauges like my heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar, which often plummeted. I spent more time in bed than ever. My doctor chased down a symptom here and another there, but never found exactly what was behind the symptoms. When I had my heart attack, the ball for progress began to move. As my cardiologist began working with me, we came to the conclusion I needed to see a rheumatologist. She did extensive testing that revealed the source of my problems: an autoimmune disease. If I kept chasing down symptoms and never figured out the underlying issue, I might not be here today.

Mission Critical: More than Meets the Eye

The same could hold true for you. Those numbers on your scale and how your clothes fit aren’t the only gauges you need. You have a whole control panel and the environment with which to work. Sometimes, we forget other factors like the health of relationships, faith in God, and emotions are out on the horizon, indicating a potential wreck. One ministry couple came to me for a basic exercise program. Both were considered overweight, which is why they wanted to lose weight and improve their health. When I measured their hip-to-waist ratio, I could see their potential for heart problems, but when I took their blood pressure, I realized I couldn’t safely work with them. I sent them to see their doctor because their blood pressure was dangerously high. When they came back to me after starting blood pressure medication, they thanked me for protecting them from impending danger. What did I do? I looked at two gauges. They didn’t know a health time bomb was quietly ticking away. Once they got their blood pressure down, they began to exercise. Not only that but in our discussions, I shared my previous church ministry experience with them. They began to reduce their stresses with church ministry. Total health takes a comprehensive approach to our health—physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual—to be totally healthy.

Mission Critical: Help from the Control Tower

Sometimes we need someone to help us check all the indicators for total health. Health coaches are a valuable resource, as are personal trainers and doctors. Recently I offered free Healthy Lifestyles for six weeks, “Off to a Great Start” to you. I never heard anything from you or anyone else who reads these blog posts. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of a comprehensive Christian approach to health improvement and weight loss? There are no strings attached. I’m not selling anything, but I have dropped one of the groups offered. I’m simply sharing what I can during this stressful time with COVID-19 looming on the horizon if it hasn’t already affected you and your family. Simply email or message me that you want to take advantage of this gift. I would love to see you learn how to use the tools to keep yourself from crashing your total health.

Healthy Lifestyles Group Online

Register by emailing me at [email protected]

Tuesdays at 12:30 pm

Facebook live on Be Totally Fit for Life! Healthy Lifestyles Free


May God bless you!


Making the Most of Sheltering In Place

Posted on March 25, 2020 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

I am sitting at my kitchen island right now, writing this blog post while my engineer-hubby is on a web-based conference call with his team. We’ve stocked up our groceries and other necessities while protecting ourselves from potential infection of the Coronavirus. In the meantime, I will be doing online Healthy Lifestyle coaching with my group and getting my garden ready to go. There are indeed pluses to living in the middle of nowhere.

As you know, many states and communities have issued a Sheltering in Place orders. Michigan has Stay at Home orders from our governor. Police can stop people for being out and about for no reason. Why? Because these officials are trying to slow, or halt, the spread of the Coronavirus while protecting our most vulnerable people. Now, how many of you wished you could stay home instead of going to work or school?!?! Your prayers are answered.

If you’ve been overwhelmed by the information circulating on the internet and social media, you’re bound to be confused by what works and what doesn’t. Always go to your national, state, and county websites for information that impacts you and your family. You can check with the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization for more information to help keep yourself and your family safe.

The information I share here is for informational purposes only. I am not a medical professional nor a government worker. I am a personal trainer and exercise instructor who writes. Even though I do my research, always check out what I’ve said with reputable resources and references. I’ve shared links below to help you find what you seek.

Helps and Tips

Trying to stay healthy and meet your health and weight loss goals can be tough right now. I will offer six weeks FREE for Healthy Lifestyles Group Coaching next week on Tuesdays at 7 pm EDT, and Thursdays at 1 pm EDT. These groups last for one hour. Respond by emailing me at [email protected] to tell me that you want to take advantage of this offer. Please, do not sign up at the Web Store! I am not able set it to handle free offers. I will respond by email to let you know if you made it, or I will give you a coupon for the next scheduled Healthy Lifestyles 12 Week Groups. Space is limited, due to limits with the venue, so this is first-come, first-serve. If you find out there are no more seats available, I will give you a discount coupon that is equivalent to the next Healthy Lifestyles Group offered in the future.

Exercise at Home

I am not teaching group exercise classes yet since I cannot guarantee from day to day if I am well enough to lead one. Instead, I will give you some places you can go for online classes. Do be careful with Youtube exercise videos because not everyone teaching online is certified!

If you are going nuts because you can’t go to the gym, working out at home can help. I have some links for home workouts for you with good Christian ministries.

Faithful Fit  From what I understand, there are a variety of workouts that are free. Check it out to learn more.

PraiseMoves  The classes available are PraiseMoves (the Christian Alternative to Yoga), PraiseKicks (kickboxing aerobics), Mira! (Christian alternative to Zumba), and the Bold and Beautiful Workout (I think it might be a much more intense workout like HIIT, maybe?). Several instructors teach online. There might be some Youtube free workouts, too.

Revelation Fitness offers a variety of workouts. Check their website to learn more.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Tips

Soap is an essential part of germ defense along with social distance. Wash 20-30 seconds with good hand soap (CDC). Wash exposed clothing in your washer with a good, not cheap, detergent. I use Persil, but major brands will suffice. The reason I say this is because major brands’ ingredients are consistent. I set my wash a little longer than usual. I’ve heard suggestions about adding a bit of bleach to your laundry, but it could unduly ruin some clothing.

Of course, everyone is concerned about killing this doggone virus. Whatever you do, do NOT mix bleach, ammonia, and alcohol together!!! Think about high school chemistry. You could accidentally put off a deadly gas from any of those combinations. Also, do not drink bleach, ammonia, or any other chemical not approved for human consumption!!!! This concern includes chloroquine used in fish tanks. Doing so could be deadly.

Alcohol-based Cleaners

Hand sanitizers are primarily 90%+ alcohol. Don’t wash it off, but let it dry on its own so it can do its job. If you can’t find any, you can make your own. This article in Newsweek has a video that shows how.

I keep a spray bottle of 91% alcohol to spray items exposed to possible Coronavirus, etc. Allow the item to dry on its own.

I’m not sure about the key ingredient in Lysol, but I bought a bottle and put it in a spray bottle. I sanitize doorknobs, counters, toilet handles, sink faucets, and any hard surface with an old washcloth.  Follow directions on bottle. The washcloth goes to the laundry when I am finished.

Bleach-based Cleaners

You can wash items sick people use with bleach to disinfect. I learned these tips working in a daycare years ago. If washing dishes by hand, first wash dishes with dish soap, then rinse, and place rinsed dishes into a bleach-water solution. Fill one side of the sink with hot water and add ¼ cup bleach and allow the dishes to sit in it for about 10 minutes. Rinse again and allow to air dry. You can also do this with toys. Washcloth toys in your washer whenever possible in hot water with some bleach added. Dry thoroughly before allowing a child to play with them. Dishwashers are best whenever you can wash dishes and dishwasher safe toys because they sanitize. Check labels first. For more, check out WebMD


Multi-level marketing groups have their reps swarming like vultures right now. Don't fall victim to their marketing schemes. Most of these have not been shown effective for a lot of illness, the Coronavirus included. Buyer beward!

Essential oil buffs, I hate to break this to you, but ESSENTIAL OILS HAVE NOT BEEN PROVEN TO KILL THE CORONAVIRUS (CNBC)! I like using them for various reasons, but I know better than to swallow the claims of the companies and representatives who sell them. I don’t care whether you have DoTerra, Young Living, or any other brand, please, do not rely on them to do the job for this virus. If you want to check the reliability of essential oils, please go to NIH and Mayo Clinic to find out what they have been proven to do and what they aren’t proven to do. It is my understanding that some, but not all, offer antimicrobial properties according to NIH, but not necessarily against this virus. Remember, it is pretty resistant to many treatments. Use proven treatments that are recommended by the CDC and WHO.

Healthy Meal Planning with Reduced Food Availability

Recently, I decided to order groceries from a large grocery chain store in our area, and then pick it up curbside. It was easy to order; they sent a confirmation via text and email. Picking it up was easy. The sticky point right now is not all the items were in stock. I only got 1/3 of the groceries I ordered. We went to a small local chain nearby to pick up more of what we needed, but it meant exposing ourselves to more people. Some stores will be better stocked than others, but it certainly is worth a try.

Grocery Pick-up and Delivery Options

You need an app or internet access for their website to order and a credit or debit card. Make a list before you start ordering. Think two to four weeks’ worth of supplies. Some items will be in-store only like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. You can allow substitutes or not and give instructions. They will send you a confirmation of your order, but your card will be charged on the actual total of your groceries. You can pick your day and time for pick-up, but many are two and three days in advance. When you pick up your groceries, there is a designated pick up area. Take your confirmation with you so they can make sure you are the one who ordered the groceries. Use good sanitization practices and social distancing, but check your order against your receipt before you leave. When you get home, have a good plan to sanitize your hands, coat, and bags before taking them into your home.

Online meal services are another option. My daughters use them. One of my daughters gave me the name of one she uses and a link you can use. She said that you and she would each get a free pound of beef for following her link to order at Trifecta They offer keto, Paleo, vegan, and classic clean eating, along with gluten-free and allergy-friendly. Of course, there are many others. My other daughter recommends Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Green Chef, Gobble, and Every Plate. Rachel loves Hello Fresh best, but she said they are all good. Gobble and Every Plate are less expensive. I discovered Purdue Farms has online ordering at Purdue Farms. I don’t have affiliate links here, just from my daughter, Lauren. She is a single parent, so if you order from Trifecta, please help her out by using her link. Thanks!

Meal planning can be a challenge when you are limited on ingredients. How many ways can you use oatmeal, eggs, potatoes, and many other basics? Of course, you may not have something like eggs or yeast, so what works? Try the chart at Email me at [email protected] for my free meal planning sheets.

Are you looking for healthy recipes? Some great links are WebMD, My Fitness Pal, and Spark People. Get family members involved. It can be fun!

Faith Value

When I wrote last week’s blog/devo, it took a different direction than I originally expected. Initially, it looked like the message would be how you can let Jesus shine through you because God put you here now. I always do my research in Bible dictionaries, lexicons, and commentaries. I also use the notes in my study Bible before I write. Please, don’t think I’m an End-timer, but I do believe we are coming closer and closer. to Jesus coming back. Hopefully, you found what God wanted you to glean from it. I would like to leave you with Ephesians 3:14-21. The most important part is to remain rooted and grounded in Christ and to redeem the time. For the Devo on this passage, watch for it over the next week on

May God bless you, abundantly!

Note: All resources are linked.




Why am I Here Now Experiencing A Worldwide Crisis?

Posted on March 19, 2020 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Photo by David Marcu from Freely Photos. 

Read: Esther 4

Focus Verse: Esther 4:14 NIV "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"


I usually avoid dealing with current events plastered everywhere, mostly because people get sick and tired of hearing about it. I felt led, though, to consider the whole Coronavirus pandemic—a worldwide epidemic of an illness we know little about which continues to infect people claiming the lives of a reasonable percentage of those who fall ill. The general population has gone berserk over the need to prepare for quarantine over two to three weeks. I think toilet paper will be the currency of the time for swapping other needed items like bottled water or hand sanitizer. This pandemic is undoubtedly an adventure we are all experiencing together—like it or not.


Churches, schools, and businesses closed to protect people in our area. I went to my mom's apartment tucked away in a Catholic charity seniors' community last week. When I arrived, a gentleman who works in the kitchen stopped me to let me know I must check-in at the office due to Coronavirus concerns. I passed their test. Now they are in lockdown. My hubby was supposed to be working from home with me. Instead, he headed to work Monday with mask in hand to oversee the interns' work. Now he has my kitchen island set up as his remote workstation. His company in the automotive industry works with people from many countries who are drastically affected. I stocked up for two weeks-- not a year-- on basics. I made my own hand sanitizer, bought PUR filters for my water pitcher to leave bottled water for others, and have a small stash of masks that I bought before the craziness began. Oh, yes, we have toilet paper. No, I didn't clear out the store's stock. While on social media, an overzealous old-school Christian said that churches who close are not in the will of God. Really? We went to church in our PJs online, as did many others.We did prayer and Bible study with our pastor on Facebook Live with twenty-six others. What an incredible mess! Everyone and their neighbor is asking, "Why am I here now in this worldwide crisis?"

One Woman Saves a Nation

As people argue, clamor, and fingerpoint, let me draw your attention to the book of Esther for the background of our passage today. Esther was a young woman, probably a teenager, orphaned, and raised by her Uncle Mordecai. The Jews exiled in Persia since the reign of Nebuchadnezzar lived among them. King Artaxerxes set up a long, elaborate celebration and asked his favored wife, Queen Vashti, to come before him. He wanted to display her magnificent beauty for all in attendance to see. She refused, so he banished her. Then he sought out another wife by having all the young virgins of his kingdom brought before him that he might replace Vashti. Mordecai instructed Esther not to reveal her Hebrew heritage when she went with the other virgins to the King's palace. These young women underwent lengthy beauty preparations before each one could go to the King for his approval. Esther had a natural beauty of her own, and the preparations must have made her radiant. She followed the eunuch's instructions carefully and was presented to the King. The one who pleased the King the most was Esther. He crowned her as his new Queen.

Esther further endeared herself to the King when she revealed to him that two of his eunuchs plotted to take his life out of anger. They were hanged to death as a result. Haman, an Amalekite descendent, was appointed to a high position of authority after this event. Everyone in Haman's presence must bow down to pay homage to him. The only one who would not was Mordecai, Esther's uncle. Furious, Haman talked the King into making a law that all the Jews in the kingdom should be killed on one specific day. The King sealed the decree with his signet ring. Little did he know this would include Esther, his favorite wife, and Mordecai, who revealed the eunuch's plot to kill the King.

Now let's turn to our passage in Esther 4. At this point, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes as a sign of mourning over this announcement. He sent a message through Hathtach, Esther’s eunuch attendant, requesting she plead for the lives of her people before the King. One problem: anyone who comes before the King without his summons would be put to death that is unless he holds out his golden scepter to that person. Mordecai reminded her that this decree would include her life as well if she didn't go before the King to plead for the Jews, her people. He alludes to God's deliverance by someone else from somewhere else if she chose not to do this. So she agreed knowing that either way, she could die. The critical line in this passage is this: "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 NIV. So she did. The King held out his scepter for her and she placed her hand on it. After a series of events, the Jews' lives were spared, and Haman was hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai’s death.

Here are some insights that stand out to me in our passage:

1. Mordecai observed God's Law to have no other gods when he refused to bow down to Haman, causing a death sentence upon all of the Jews.

2. He observed the King's law about not going past the King's gates in sackcloth and ashes. He followed his own faith practices of fasting and mourning while obeying the King's law.

3. He mourned the imminent destruction of the Jews. Remember, the Jews were in exile due to idolatry, so their fate was in the hands of a foreign king. His faithfulness to God's command brought woe upon his people initially.

4. God put Esther in the position of Queen with this gentile King, who held the lives of the Jews in his hands. She was placed in a favorable position when she found out two eunuchs' plotted to kill the King because of what happened to Vashti.

5. Esther knew the King's law but chose to put her life in danger. First, they agreed to fast (and pray) for each other for a set amount of time before she would go before the King.

6. Her life hung in the balance; either way, she chose to go. She placed the lives of the Jews, her people, above her own to save them.

7. God gave Esther favor in the King's eyes and heart. He extended the royal scepter to her, which protected her life and preserved the lives of her people. God blessed her faithfulness.

By the way, did you know that Esther's reign as Queen in Persia overlaps the last portion of Daniel's service to the King of Babylon, part of the ministry of Ezra's rebuilding of the Temple, and the prophet Jeremiah's ministry? Since she was young, she didn't live in the King's palace the entire time as these three men of God, but they all intersect on the biblical timeline at one time. God used each of these godly people in different ways to different Jewish exiles overlapping in time. Incredibly gifted and called to different places of service, God used them for the preservation of His people.

What About Now?

Consider this passage during our times of uncertainty. Although we still live in our homes in our country, we are all in the same boat right now. We all have the potential to become ill with COVID-19. But here are some other considerations as well. We have faced so many disasters all over our planet. Just in the past two years we’ve been affected in various ways carrying ramifications for years to come. The locusts from Africa and the Middle East will affect the food supply, which is already scarce for them. It may affect ours, as well. This plague of locusts spans from Africa to Israel (New Yorker). The Australian fires have a global impact on our climate (South China Morning Post). The culdara my hubby and I walked across in Hawaii in 2017 erupted in 2018, killing people, causing climate changes, and affecting our food supply (New York Times). Our economy across the globe has tanked, causing severe financial insecurities (CNN). Christians are being persecuted globally (Christianity Today). Israel recently called for prayer at the Wailing Wall to petition God located where they believe the Holy of Holies is buried. Atop the Temple is a Muslim shrine, a sign of overtaking Jerusalem in 1,517 AD (History), although Israel has been a country since the '50s. All of these events will affect us in some way. We have yet to see it come full circle. Are we in End Times? Maybe. I don’t know for sure, but we come closer day by day.

Our own country is a sin-filled mess. We allow women to kill their unborn babies to be sold as parts on the altar of personal choice. We embrace the distortion of marriage and family in the name of tolerance. Our young people are in fear of their lives in public schools every day because of school shootings by the spirit of rage. Our churches aren't the safe faith havens they ought to be due to being open-minded allowing false gods of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Self to take over the sheepfold. We place idols on the altar of our hearts rather than God. We practice the religion of St. Mattress rather than gather with other believers in our churches. We love money and power rather than our God. For the very reasons Israel was taken captive by pagan armies, we teeter precariously. We live in perilous times.

The reason the Jews were in exile in Queen Esther's time was a time of God's judgment. They had given themselves over to idolatry, and He judged them through foreign armies. Are we under judgment? Good question, but I can't answer it. Honestly, I don't know. But I do know this: we are called to be set apart for His faithful service at this particular time in history. We live now because God chose us to live now. We are born for this time with God’s purpose. We must turn to God, do what He has called us to do, and point people to Jesus as Savior. Just as Esther was born for such a time as then, we are born for such a time as this.

What Does This Mean for Us Now?

There is a valuable application of this passage for us today. We simply need to understand the "Then" to apply it to our "Now". Here is how we can respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic and other disastrous events:

1. Fast and pray like Esther and her Uncle Mordecai did. It is always wise to confess our sin to God because He is faithful and just forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Acknowledge and praise God for His power and dominion over all things. Turn the whole issue over to Him, let Him take care of it, then do what you can to serve others and God, practicing God's commands, the laws, and policies during the time.

2. Be open to doing something God wants you to do that might make no ordinary sense. Not everything God does follows human wisdom. This is often how we know, when we look back to see the result, that God was in it.

3. Don't do anything foolish. Do follow God and His Word and our current laws regarding the calamity at hand.

4. Set aside your agenda for God's. God will usually interrupt your plans when calling you to follow His plan (Proverbs 19:21).

5. Confirmation usually comes from God's people, circumstances, and the Bible.. Do prayerfully discern before you act. God would never contradict His nature. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

6. Praise God for all that He is and does in your situation. Abide in Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). See my blog post, Abiding in the Lord.

7. Stay rooted and grounded in Christ (Ephesians 3:17-18 ). If you don't, then you may become prideful in what you do or panic if you can't see any way around or through the difficulty. You are not the only one God is using during this time because He coordinates His people and their service for His purposes. 

Regardless of whether we are under judgement, remain closely connected with God. Clear out any idols in your heart. Ask God's forgiveness for any sins you have committed, both knowingly and unknowingly and turn away from it. Commit your heart to the Lord God and Him alone. Help others during this difficult time as you point people to Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). And know this: You were indeed born for such a time as this.

May God bless you with peace, fully confident in His power, dominion, and omniscience. 


Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, Center for Disease Control. https: //

"Rabbis call for mass Western Wall prayer for coronavirus patients" by TOI Staff and Agency. The Times of Israel.February16,2020.

https: //


"A UN Locust Forecaster Explains the Crisis in East Africa," by Matt Steib. Intelligencer, New Yorker Magazine. March 14, 2020.

https: //


"The Global Impact of the Austrailian Fires" by Pablo Robbles. Climate Crisis, South China Global Post. January 17, 2020.

https: //


"America’s Most Hazardous Volcano Erupted This Year. Then It Erupted and Erupted" by Robin George Andrews. Science, New York Times. December 12, 2018.

https: //


"Is the Epic Stock Market Crash of 2020 Officially Here?" by Harsh Chauhan., Market News, CNN.January 6, 2020.

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"Top Christian Persecution Open Doors 2020 World Watch List", Christianity Today.



"Why Jews and Muslims both have Relious Claims on Jerusalem", by Becky Little. History Stories, September 1, 2018.

https:: //

NKJV Study Bible, notes for Esther 4. Copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Biblegateway.

The Open Bible, New King James Version. Visual Survey of the Bible, page xvi-xvii. Copyright 1983, 1985, 1990, 1997. Nelson Bibles, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 

Zondervan Bible Commentary (One Volume). Notes on Esther 4. New International Bible Commentary. The International Bible Commentary. Maps by International Mapping. Copyright 2008.


Springing into Spring: Renewing Outdoor Activity with Arthritis

Posted on March 12, 2020 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Spring brings warmer temperatures with variable weather patterns. I've been feeling those variations lately with painful, inflamed joints. It is raining outside this morning, causing stiffness, pressure inside the joints of my hands and feet, and they are red and puffy. Making a fist is difficult. Walking barefoot is ouchy. Days like this make most people with arthritis wince at the thought of exercise. Even with arthritis, exercise, and physical activity outdoors can help reduce disability related to arthritis when done with specific tips in mind (WebMD).

Tips for Safe Exercise and Outdoor Activity with Arthritis

When I led Arthritis Foundation exercise and Self-Help classes, I gained a valuable tool box of helps for fibromyalgia and arthritis that I currently use today. Here are several tips from many sources that might benefit you:

1. Find out what activities are safe for you to do. Observe any modifications or limitations recommended by your healthcare provider. This blog post should not be construed as medical advice but used for informational purposes only.

2. Take medications as directed. Your doctor prescribed medicines to help control your arthritic conditions. Please, do not discontinue taking them without talking with your doctor. Taking pain meds about one hour before exercise, if possible, can be useful in reducing pain and swelling during activity.

3. Wear well-fitting shoes made for your activity (i.e., walking, running, cross-training). You will need shoes with support and cushion to protect lower body joints and back (Healthline)..

4. Wear comfortable clothing that wicks moisture and makes movement easy (Healthline). Damp cold clothing from sweat is very uncomfortable and could cause chilling. Also, tight binding clothing can restrict movement. You want to enjoy the activity!

5. Use sunscreen, a hat, and eye protection. Avoid peak heat and sun times of the day. Some arthritis types and the accompanying medications cause sun sensitivity. I wear UV protective clothing and use sunscreen on exposed areas when the UV index is high, and I am out in the sun for an extended amount of time.(

6. If gardening, yard work, or specific activity that uses joint-friendly tools or equipment:

a. Use ergonomic, soft-grip handles on gardening tools, golf clubs, and bicycle handles. I have several tools with cushioned grips. I also use a garden scooter that is low with a comfortable seat and a basket carrier on the back so I don't have to kneel.

b. Use a kneeling cushion or cushioned seat for gardening. You might consider using elevated raised beds for your garden, so you reduce the risk of falls.

c. Use back-saving totes and carry bags. The handles are cushioned and rest across several joints of the hand, shoulder, and back to avoid             overloading one or two vulnerable joints. Use proper lifting techniques or find totes or bags with wheels.

7. Wear backpacks with wide comfortable straps worn on both sides protects your shoulders and back when hiking. Take a walking stick for           better balance on uneven terrain (Arthritis, Nordic Walking).

8. If cycling, find a bicycle that fits your needs. Riding on well-lit, well-paved trails is safer than riding on the street or road. If you have balance issues, there are specific bicycles that take the concern of falling out of your mind. Wear a helmet, bicycle gloves, and take a water bottle.

9. Balance loads you carry on both sides of the body. Instead of carrying everything at once and mostly on one side, make more than one trip and carry loads on both sides of the body to reduce wear on painful joints.

10. Prepare for inclement weather or find indoor activities instead. People with Raynaud's Syndrome are particularly vulnerable to cold, rainy days. Wear rain gear and clothing, hats, gloves, and shoes that keep you warm and dry.

9. Take time to gently stretch after you finish activity (CDC, WebMD). Relaxing the muscles surrounding painful, damaged joints reduces pain levels and help reduce the risk of injury.

10. Pace yourself and take rest breaks (Healthline). You will be able to enjoy your activity more if you don't wear yourself out or cause yourself so much pain that you have to quit early.

On bad arthritis days, take it easy. Any activity that pulls against or puts a lot of pressure on your sensitive joints can wait until a better day. Painful joints need protection from substantial impact or heavy loads. Inflamed joints need gentle movement rather than higher energy heavy-load work. When inflamed, you will probably be exhausted anyway since your immune system is active, so alternate any work you do with rest breaks as your body tolerates. Try gentle range of movement exercises to reduce stiffness (Arthritis, Gentle Moves).

If you have pain after your activity, then modifying or changing activities the next time may help reduce severe, stabbing, throbbing pain, redness, swelling, and limping. Some achiness that lasts less than an hour after exercise may be normal for you but talk with your doctor about pain guidelines (CDC).

Questions: What outdoor activities do you enjoy? How to you manage your arthritis condition to prevent being side-lined from what you love to do?

Outdoor activities are an excellent way for people with arthritis to get exercise and feel better. Hopefully, these tips help you have a great time moving outdoors. May God bless you!


"Gentle Moves for Rest Days" By Mary Anne Dunkin, Healthy Living. Arthritis Foundation. https: //


"Vigorous Activities Cuts Arthritis Disabilities" By Miranda Hitti. WebMD. https: //


" Why Try Nordic Walking" By Sean Kelley. Arthritis Foundation. https: //


Arthritis Basics: A Physical Activity Overview" CDC. https: //


"Enjoy Outdoors with Rheumatoid Arthritis" by Gina Mara. Healthline. https: //

"UV Exposure: What You Need to Know" Lupus Foundation of America. https: //


10 Ways to Drop that Last 10 Pounds

Posted on March 6, 2020 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay

You would think weight loss is simple: Calories in, calories out. Burn more calories than you take in. Simple? Nope. There are plateaus—where our bodies rest, and there are valleys—where we want to give up. Our bodies have self-preservation switches that turn on at the least desired times. Everything in between can be tweaked. When done correctly, these tweaks can help you lose those last few stubborn pounds off your body.

My Boaz learned about this over the past few months. He was concerned about developing type 2 diabetes since his family has a history of this disease. He loves carbs, but the carbs he was consuming also have fiber, so the effects took longer. Too many carbs yield adipose fat added up around his middle. It is also a recipe for developing diabetes in people predisposed to it. When he came home one day, he asked me, “Char, I need help reducing my blood glucose. How can I do that?” I smiled and went to work. First, we cut out bread, pasta, soup, beans, corn, and potatoes. He began losing weight three to five pounds a day. I was concerned that his blood sugar would drop too low, but it didn’t. I looked up the glycemic index and only bought fruits and vegetables for him from the low-glycemic category. Unfortunately for him, his body was so sensitive to sugars and carbs that he needed to stay in the lower half of the low-glycemic category. His foods were extremely limited. Next, I calculated his protein intake, which doubled his previous protein intake. We stayed with lean meats, low-fat dairy, and raw nuts. Those pounds melted off overnight! We also tripled his water intake. Less diet soda, more water. Ta-da! Forty-five pounds vanished over six months. His blood glucose levels are beautiful! He also got back to working out on the elliptical three days a week again. Now he is on maintenance mode.

He learned there are properties to certain nutrients that make a difference in metabolism. He also learned that our bodies have protective mechanisms that keep weight on our bodies for emergencies. Calories in and calories out has qualifiers. This is why I don’t count calories, even though I’ve gained ten pounds due to less physical activity because of autoimmune disease activity. You can tweak calories, but you should never go below base metabolic rate-- estimated at 1,200 in general. If you do, you risk burning your muscle as fuel. Those who are prone to anorexia and bulimia may fall into unhealthy weight loss habits that put their health at risk. You can utilize several other factors and leave your calorie intake at no less than 1,200 calories. You should discuss your weight loss plans with your medical provider to find out what is safe for you to do, and what is not. Health conditions, heredity, medications, and lifestyle needs (i.e., work and family) all play a part in what you can do toward your weight loss.

I don’t recommend doing these tips for everyone. This blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice, nor should you necessarily do these tips without consulting your healthcare provider. Your metabolism and family history is unique to you. If you are struggling to get those last few pounds off, here are seven ways to torch those last few pounds:

1. Cut down, but don’t cut out your carbs. We need carbohydrates to burn initially during our workouts, but too many ruins your hard work. We usually need 45-65% of daily calorie intake from carbs (Healthline). You need to know how many carbs you should consume daily for the best health benefits. For faster weight loss, intake can be between 50-150 grams, but this isn’t a good place to stay for the long haul (Healthline). If you feel shaky during or after your workout, you might need more, so stash a small snack with protein and carbs in case. Stay away from refined carbs like cookies, white bread, etc. Accompany your carbs with a bit of protein to regulate its uptake into your system.

2. Increase lean protein intake. Increasing plant-based proteins may promote fat burn, but animal-based proteins like whey protein from low-fat dairy are helpful, too. These build up your muscle which burns more calories. You get protein from meat, eggs, dairy, legumes (also contain carbs), lentils, quinoa, hemp seed, and soy (Medical News Today). We should consume .73-1 grams per pound of body weight per day for low to moderate exercisers (NASM). If you know how many grams protein to consume, this will help protect your kidneys from damage while promoting weight loss. Consuming adequate protein enables you to feel full longer, which also reduces overeating. Add protein with the carbs you eat for the best steady uptake of your carbs.

3. Incorporate more physical activity into your day. Even though you workout, little things like taking stairs, walking more, and doing physical household and yard chores increase fat burn and build muscle. (CDC)

4. Increase water and fiber intake. Water, tea, and coffee add water without adding calories to your body. Do be careful with caffeine since it acts as a diuretic. Water is utilized by the body all the time. If you work out for longer than an hour, you should consider adding electrolytes by drinking an electrolyte sports drink. If you are dry when you should sweat, you are probably dehydrating.Water also aids the transport of nutrients and, when taking in fiber, helps the digestive tract do its job effectively. Fiber and water help you feel full, making you less apt to overeat. Get most of your fiber from fresh produce and whole grains. (WebMD)

5. Take stress breaks. Cortisol levels peak during stress. If we can’t get away from it or get it to stop, then we pack on the pounds and begin mindless comfort munching (Everyday Health). Step away from your desk or work station periodically. Get up early enough to reduce the morning rush, which is also a great time to read devotions and pray. Consider uplifting Bible passages to read or memorize for your day. Play music you like on your way to and from work.Give yourself a bit of downtime before bed. If you jot notes to yourself for tomorrow, you don’t take stresses or tasks to bed, which interrupts your sleep.

6. Increase your sleep time to 8 hours. This is a tough one for those who commute an hour or more every day for work, but it is doable. My hubby travels 1 hour 20 minutes to work every day, so he goes to bed at 8:30 pm to get up by 4:30 am every morning. He is more alert and feels better than when he was only getting 5-6 hours. You will feel better able to resist cravings, concentrate, and have a better mood with 8 hours of restful sleep (WebMD). Increase your light during the day, and reduce your light level at night to change your circadian rhythm. Give it a week to see the pounds start shedding from your body again. The tricky part is when you have family members who won’t cooperate with your sleep needs. Encourage them to remain quiet when you go to bed if they choose to stay up longer. Children need sleep, so getting them into your routine will help them learn school lessons and aid their growth and development.

7. Change up your exercise routine. Try intervals, Tabatta, HIIT, kettlebells, Spinning, or Functional Training classes. Change how you work out. These forms of exercise rev your metabolism by alternately working the aerobic and anaerobic pathways in your system. Check with your healthcare provider to know if these exercise forms are safe for you. If not, ask about functional training (VeryWell Fit) and what limitations you should observe. It is much like working hard between steady and hard, driving activity (Today). Your body adapts to your exercise within two weeks, so change how you burn those calories to kick your weight loss into gear.

8. Lift more weight. Light, regular weight increases build muscle fiber, which in turn burns the glycogen stores in your muscles. When this happens, you burn fat (Livestrong). Compound sets use more muscle fiber and also burn calories.

9. Hit the pool. Even though your heart rate doesn’t increase as much as on land, the variable, balanced resistance recruits more muscles for the work. This type of exercise helps burn calories effectively (Swim and Sweat).

10. Give your struggle to God. He is the One who created you and knows you thoroughly. There is much more to us than just our bodies. Allowing God to come into your weight loss efforts reduces anxiety over meeting your goals (1 Peter 5:7). Sometimes He points out what is real versus what is not, or He could change your course (Proverbs 16:9).



How Many Carbs Per Day to Lose Weight? by Chris Gunnar.


How Much Protein Should You Eat per Day for Weight Loss? by Brad Deiter.  https: //


What to Eat on High Protein Diet? on Medical News Today. https: //


Physical Activity for Healthy Weight Loss on CDC. https: //


Sleep More, Lose Weight on WebMD. https: //


How Stress Can Lead to Weight Gain and How to Fight It by Amy Gorin, RDN on Everyday Health.

https: //


What is HIIT? This High-intensity Workout Helps You Burn Maximum Fat by Stephanie Mansour onToday. https: //


Why Functional Fitness Exercises Should Be Part of a Weight Loss Plan by Malia Frey. https: //


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® 


Can You Really Lose Weight by Weight Lifting? by Leah Groth on Livestrong. https: //


5 GREAT BENEFITS OF WATER AEROBICS on Swim and Sweat. https: //


#COMMITYOURHEART: Putting Godly Self-Care into Practice

Posted on February 28, 2020 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

When I had my cardiac event, I learned a difficult lesson about caring for myself. This “heart attack” landed me in the hospital with troponin levels at 17, which is extremely high; I mistook a coronary artery spasm for an allergic reaction and used my Epi-pen. This spasm caused tightness in mythroat and difficulty breathing. To make a long story short, the adrenalin in the Epi-pen increased the intensity of the spasms, which lasted for two long, miserable hours, making my cardiac enzymes soar. It wasn’t a good situation.

I learned my first lesson: our bodies are more fragile than we care to admit. Just because I’ve taken care of my body for the past 20+ years, after eating junk and not exercising, things can happen to our bodies that are out of our control. In my case, my genetics set me up for potential autoimmune diseases. When coupled with certain viruses and environmental hazards, even the healthiest people can become chronically ill. One of my symptoms for autoimmune disease is coronary artery spasms. I was strong, fit, and doing great even with fibromyalgia until certain triggers flipped specific switches on in my DNA. I was in denial of how fragile my body really was.

The second lesson I learned: don’t go into denial and wave off the doctor’s recommendations. At first, when I was in the ER, the doctor kept referring to a heart attack, and I kept trying to correct him by insisting I had an allergic reaction. Evidently, I was a normal heart attack patient because many deny they are having a heart attack assuming it is something else. After I accepted that I was having one, I didn’t expect to have such difficulty after I was released to go home. I had a heart catheterization, which meant that I had a small device in my groin to prevent the artery from popping open. As soon as I took the stairs at home, I realized how badly that hurt! Unless absolutely necessary, I stayed on one floor. Also, I thought I should be able to go back to normal quickly. My endurance was next to nil. I wore out easily, which meant I needed a daily nap. It seemed ridiculous, but the doctor was right. I needed to learn just how fragile my body could be and how to take proper care of it in its new condition.

The third lesson I learned: never underestimate God’s hand in events like this one. God used this cardiac event to keep me from rescuing my daughter and grandkids when they left an abusive situation. I was stuck in a hospital bed when my daughter called to tell me she and the kids ran from domestic violence. I was caught by surprise because she covered up the violence she and the kids endured. I was absolutely helpless to go to her aid. Instead, God had her learn the governmental support system where she lived and to learn about living independently. He provided the right people at the right time for her. In those moments, God revealed Himself to her in a big way. I had to give them and this challenging situation over to God. I did go see her and my grandkids to help them as best later. God always works things together for our good for those called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 ).

Yes, our bodies are much more fragile than we care to admit. I felt pretty invincible into my 50’s until then. Figuring it all out was quite a balancing act of acceptance, becoming dependent upon God in my weakness, and still caring for my family. Your body is also fragile, so taking care of yourself is important to be able to do the things you need and love to do.

Although it might seem self-indlugent, we aren't talking about the world's view of self-care which puts you first above all else. You are important, and your needs matter to God. Good self-care from a Christian viewpoint is critical to living a healthy lifestyle and to be available for our families, friends, communities, and churches. A few considerations about godly self-care:

1. You don’t need to wear a superhero cape. The Holy Spirit already has this covered. Let God guide you when you should set someone else’s needs above your own and when you need to care for yourself first. (2 Corinthians 12:10) I always learned as a lifeguard that one drowning person cannot save another. 

2. Get adequate sleep. It’s amazing how much better you can function when you are well-rested. You can think more clearly, have greater energy, and better focus.

3. Get adequate healthy nutrition and exercise. When your body is properly fueled and strengthened, you can help your neighbors and church family easier. You  will also be able to work, take care of your family, and many other tasks each day.

4. Stay well-connected to God. He will give you the discernment to know who, what, when, and how to help. You can say, “No,” to things, that although good, might not be yours to do. You can concentrate on what is truly important for you to take care of, working within your gifts and talents. (1 Corinthians 12:28-30)

5. Never underestimate God’s ability to select others for a task instead of you. The body of Christ has all parts working together. You are only one part of the body. Be the best nose, pinky finger, or earlobe you can be. (" target="_blank">1 Corinthians 12:12)

6. Keep your family relationships healthy. Loving, respectful attitudes at home are supportive, not demanding. Your family is there for you when you need them, and you will be there for them when they need you. (Ephesians 6:1-4, 1 Peter 3:1-7)

7. If you have chronic health conditions, properly caring for your body in it’s new normal is critical. It puts you in a better position to minister to others and serve God within the context of your disease. (1 Timothy 5:23)

When you take care of yourself within the context of Christian faith, you are better able to serve God and others more effectively. (" target="_blank">Ephesians 2:10).



For discussion: What will you do to make godly self-care more of a priority in your life?


May God bless you!


Looking Through the Eyes of Love

Posted on February 20, 2020 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Photo by Charlaine W. Martin. All rights reserved.

 Note:This post also appears on as "Abiding in Christ: Looking Through the Eyes of Love".

Read: 1 John 4:7-18


Focus Verse: Psalm 85:10 NIV


Love and faithfulness meet together;

righteousness and peace kiss each other.


#COMMITYOURHEART to your spouse.


My husband and I love emojis with hearts. Our texts to each other include them every day. One of my favorites to send him is the smiley with heart-shaped eyes. It might seem kind of corny, but this is our modern equivalent to sending each other love notes scented with perfume or XOXOXO at the bottom of the note. Yes, even mid-lifers do things like this with each other because we love each other deeply. In our world of easy divorce and cohabitation without commitment, the greatest need for marriages today is the tremendous abiding love of Christ.


Now here is something I should share with you– I’ve been married before. My first marriage was great, but then my heart shattered. My first husband valiantly fought terminal cancer and passed on to eternity with God. We enjoyed almost 30 years together before he went home to Jesus. So I had preconceived notions about what my second marriage should be. My second hubby, my Boaz, was hurt badly in a marriage that ended in divorce. Unfortunately, his idea of marriage was smudged with pain and distrust. Neither one of us liked living alone, so seeking out a godly spouse was important for each of us. We viewed each other through faulty lenses that distorted what our marriage should be until we discovered that we needed to put on our Love glasses—rose-colored heart-shaped lenses because of our faith in Jesus Christ, who drew us together in the first place.


Dig Deep


In our passage, the word abide doesn’t appear, but “lives in,” meaning to abide, appears five times, in verses 12, 13, 15, and 16b. By being born of God, we are God’s children who live in Him and He in us. Because of this, God expects us to love each other because He is love. We should display the same characteristic of love that God displays for us. God gives us the ability to love each other, even when we cannot love by our own power.


The Eyes of Love are a wonderful, graceful filter God gives us. They help us see what we ought and ignore what we ought. Neither of us is perfect; both of us sinners saved by the love Jesus demonstrated on the cross for us. As brother and sister in Christ, we can love because He first loved us. Abiding in Christ allows us to be more open to view each other—faults and all- – through His eyes and heart. Here are a few ways, primarily from 1 Corinthians 13, I’ve discovered our Love glasses help us:


These incredible Love glasses put our arguments in a different light. The vast majority of the time, those arguments look pretty puny when we examine them through our faith in Christ, that is, our Love glasses. Instead of fighting to win, we can argue for a solution. We can trust that the Holy Spirit works in each of us to bring about a greater unity that Christian marriage should enjoy. Certainly, sparks fly as “iron sharpens iron,” but no one gets burned. Rather, we stop and say, “Oh! Something that needs our careful attention.” It will indeed hurt a bit, but we can begin to open up to becoming a better spouse for each other. We can meet each other in the middle through love and peace, embracing and kissing each other anyway because righteousness and peace reign in our hearts.


Sometimes, when he compliments me by telling me how beautiful I am to him, I think he is wearing rose-colored glasses with heart-shaped lenses like the smiley emoji with heart-shaped eyes. When I tell him how much I love him and how handsome he is, even after he says or does something that annoys me, he often scratches his head and chalks it up to my Love glasses. How are we able to do this? Because the love of Jesus gives us the Eyes of Love through which we may see each other.


Perfect love drives out the fear of failure, pain, and disappointment so that we might see each other as Jesus sees us, bringing us two distinctly different people together as one. One special note, though. If you are enduring abuse in any way, the Eyes of Love can still help you see your spouse for whom he or she is: someone who is hurting badly and should stop hurting you. By all means, leave for your safety. Perfect love casts out fear. You can insist he or she go through extensive counseling to find healing and wholeness, but you also need healing for yourself. Prayerfully allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct both of you through this process.


But for the rest of us, becoming one as that three-strand cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12) takes time, regularly forgiving and asking for forgiveness, while changing our attitudes and behaviors for the betterment of the marriage. The two becoming one must have Jesus central in the relationship, which creates the strong cord of three strands.


Put It into Practice


Step back to view your spouse with the lenses of Love, heart-shaped glasses from the Bible. What unique qualities do you love about your husband or wife? Do you see conflict as debilitating, or a way to bring about greater unity in your marriage? In what ways can you use your Love glasses to build a greater unity with the bond of peace? Intentionally, find ways to demonstrate love to your Sweetheart. Rather than bristle at annoyances, try focusing on specific qualities you admire about him or her. Find ways to build a bridge during arguments by looking for solutions that benefit your marriage.


Prayer: Precious Lord, thank you that we can see each other through the eyes of love—the love you have shown for each of us. May we grow closer to each other and closer to You. Amen

Question for Discussion: How do you use your Love Glasses with your spouse?

May God bless you!


Reclaiming Balance with Healing Grace

Posted on February 13, 2020 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (2)


Image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 from Pixabay..

*Note: I have the privilege of sharing this guest post with you by Donna Chacko, MD of Serenity & Health. She comes from a different discipline with a similar Christian view as mine. As with all guest blog posts here at Be Totally Fit for Life!, they may or may not reflect the thoughts of Be Totally Fit for Life! or Charlaine Martin. All content of this post belongs to Dr. Donna Chacko.

During the years I worked as a family medicine doctor, I knew I had work to do if my nurse wrote the word “dizziness” on the patient intake form. For one thing, the list of potential explanations for dizziness is very long. Also, patients experience and describe dizziness in a wide variety of ways, such as sensations of whirling, weakness, falling, unsteadiness, lightheadedness, or wooziness. It is often not straightforward.

Let me talk specifically about the sensation of being imbalanced, that is, not being able to easily maintain an erect posture and walk in a straight line without weaving or falling.

Maintaining balance is an amazingly complex process. Multiple body systems must work together in order for us to stand up straight and walk without falling down. These include: inner ears, parts of the brain, peripheral nerves, eyes, and the musculoskeletal system. Problems in any of these systems can create sensations of imbalance. The diagnosis might be numb feet, a virus in the inner ear, or one of dozens of other ailments. My task in the clinic was to combine all this background information with a detailed history and physical exam, so that I could find a diagnosis and offer the right treatment.

Sorting out how to achieve balance requires an understanding of the many ways our body parts and systems interact. I shared my own experience of improving balance and reducing fall risk by building muscles. Consider the role of vision. Try a one-legged standing posture, gazing into the distance. Then hold the same position with your eyes closed. For most of us, the latter is much more difficult. Similarly, have you ever tried holding a balance position if you are agitated?

We all face challenges when our lives gets out of balance. It is not so easy to recognize that imbalance is the problem because it presents itself in many ways, such as stress, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, tiredness, pain, high blood pressure, headaches, or depression. These ailments flourish when any part of our lives is out of balance.

Do you have any of these symptoms? Most of us do at some time or another. Ask yourself, “Is my life in balance?” There are many compartments of our lives where we need balance. Every day we have to decide how to prioritize our time and energy between many dualities, including, but not limited to:

• work vs. play

• alone time vs. family time

• time alone with God vs. community worship and prayer

• faith vs. works

• charitable giving vs. saving

• time for your own interests, such as exercise vs. responsibility to others

• time for sleep vs. getting things done

This complex process of finding a balance requires an intentional commitment to do so. The cool thing is that creating balance in one arena will frequently make the other parts work better as well. A simple example is how much nicer we are when we get enough sleep.

Unfortunately, too often we stay on autopilot until the mental and physical suffering that comes from chronic imbalance finally causes us to stumble or fall down, making it clear we must make a change.

What is a better way to proceed?

• Watch for the symptoms: stress, insomnia, irritability, pain, or any other ailment that bothers you. Listen to your body so you will be able to more promptly recognize and admit to these problems.

• Acknowledge that these symptoms are probably a warning sign of an imbalance in your life.

• Ask yourself what is wrong and what to do about it.

Because we are stressed and too busy, we must dedicate time to this process of discernment and healing. Commit time to pray, to listen, to walk in nature, to read the bible, or enjoy silence—every single day. I believe this is the hardest and most important step. You can start with a mere ten or fifteen minutes a day.

Only by committing time to this process will you open your body, mind, and spirit to God’s word. Even then you may not clearly understand what to do about the problem or know what God expects of you. But, it doesn’t matter. By slowing down and trusting God with some of your time, you not only opened yourself to healing grace , but you also reduced chronic stress in your life. If you keep listening with the intention of following His will, you already are doing His will. Thomas Merton’s beautiful prayer reminds us it is our intention to know God’s will that counts most.

Consider taking new steps to find balance and also become more more holy and healthy. Where are you being called? To more prayer? Less screen time? Joining a church? Changing your diet? Volunteering at the food pantry? A new job?

I firmly believe the path that leads to serenity, health, and God is straightforward. Pray to Jesus, give Him time, and trust Him to walk with you as you try new steps. He is waiting with open arms.


God bless.




 P.S. Would you like more info about living a balanced God-centered life? I am happy to offer readers of Be Totally Fit for Life my free guide called Three Keys to a Holy, Happy, and Healthy Life. I love to share what I’ve learned during my journey as a doctor and a Christian because I think it will help you find your own path to abundant health.


Dr. Donna Chacko promotes health of body, mind, and spirit through her website, her blog and programs at her church and in her community. She previously practiced medicine for forty years, first as a radiation oncologist and later, after re-training, as a family medicine doctor. What she learned taking care of immigrants and the homeless in Washington, D.C. continues to influence her programs. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother, and lives in University Park, Maryland.

Photo by Grant Williams.

 Photo by Grant Williams.

Abide in Christ: Give Him Your Heart

Posted on February 7, 2020 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Photo from Freely Photos.

Special Note: Due to technical difficulties with this webserver, this blog post also appears at

Passages: 1 John 2 (also, see John 15), Matthew 11:25-28


Focus Verse: 1 John 2:5-6 ESV “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”


The month of February is Heart Month. If you followed me last year, I ran a series of memes with #COMMITYOURHEART. This year, I bring you a Commit Your Heart series of blog posts.


One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past three years through my illness is to weed out tasks and obligations that are less important in my life. Sometimes, I find myself stuck in bed due to fatigue and pain. I have to rest. In those moments, I remember my Word of the Year: Abide. In what or Whom? In Christ. Seriously, I am more of a Martha than a Mary (Luke 10:38-42). On any given day, you will see me scurry around trying to get everything done on my To-Do List. I can’t scurry around when I am down in bed. I have to slow down and abide in Christ. As I’ve come to spend more time abiding, I can see how I can abide in Christ as I churn through my To-Do List — abiding in Christ envelopes all of our being permeating all of the aspects of our lives. Let’s look at what it means to abide in Christ and how it plays out in daily living.


Digging Into God’s Word


Most people think of the famous John 15 passage that defines the word abide, which means to remain in or with Christ. Just as a branch on a grapevine must stay firmly attached to the vine with its roots drawing up life-sustaining nutrition and water, we must remain in—abide in– Him. This teaching of Jesus is indeed essential, but I’ve covered it a few times in the past. Feel free to read it for yourself. This time, I want to show you what happens when we abide in Christ.


Our primary passage, 1 John 2, gives us a clear view of what it means to abide in Chris as taught by Jesus. Abide appears ten times in the English Standard, New King James, and King James translations. In the New International Version, the word remain is used in its place. Think of the term abode meaning home. We could easily see this passage as saying, if we make our home with Christ, we will observe these results.


In response to the salvation we have by His shed blood, we are to obey His commandments. The longer we abide, or live with Him, the more we live like Him. It isn’t something instantaneous, but a process. If and when we do sin, Jesus Christ advocates for us to God the Father. The more mature we become in our faith, the more like Christ we live.


Paul uses contrasts, but I will set aside the negatives for this study, that we might see what happens in our abiding in Christ. The light of Christ dwells in us as He is the Light. Not in a New Age sense as in energy presence. Jesus, the Word, illuminates our way in life. His teachings inform our thinking and actions. His Word becomes part of us.


When we know Christ as our Savior, our sins are forgiven. We come to know God in our childlike faith, and then we become strong. We can resist the evil one by resisting temptation as we grow and mature. In our mature years, we come to know Him on a more profound level as we age. All of this happens because He abides in, resides in, us. We are in a continual growth process in our relationship with Jesus Christ that leads to greater maturity spiritually.


A new Heaven and new Earth are created for those who know Jesus as their Savior to live forever with God ( In Revelation 6:14; Revelation 20:11; Revelation 21:1; Matthew 24:35, all of the passages refer to the old heaven and old earth passing away, that is, ends. Only those who abide in Christ will live forever with Him; therefore, we shall not love this world.


As those who are anointed, meaning set apart for Christ, we have His knowledge. He makes things known to us that non-believers will not understand. In John 17:6-18, Jesus talks to God the Father, about His disciples and those who will believe because of their testimony. He has protected them, and made known to them His word, and asks for them to be able to resist the Evil One. They are sanctified in truth, meaning they have been cleansed to go out, set apart—anointed—to share His truth in a world that hates them because it hates Jesus. We are those who believe because of His disciples’ testimony. We are anointed—set apart—to share His Word in this world who will hate us because it hates Him. We can resist the Evil One because He asked God the Father to enable us to do so. We have His understanding, His knowledge because we abide in Him. We receive eternal life.


Jesus says that we will not shrink back in shame at His coming when we abide in Him (v.v. 28-29). Something will happen at that time that will make it difficult for those who bear His Name to stand. Could it be due to the anti-Christs who are opposed to Jesus? Very possibly so. Instead, we may be able to stand confident, boldly, His. In Matthew 11:25-28, we will get tired and worn down, but Jesus offers us rest.


Take It Home


As believers in Christ, who abide in Him, we have many blessings that come from our deep relationship with Jesus:



  1. We have a relationship with God, the Father because we are His children.
  2. We will be strong and resist the Evil One.
  3. We have His knowledge and understanding of His Word.
  4. We are anointed to share His Word even in the face of opposition.
  5. We will remain strong in adversity, unashamed at His coming.
  6. We have eternal life with Him on the New Earth.
  7. Everyone will know we are His.
  8. We have salvation and our sins forgiven.
  9. We will love each other with His love.
  10. We have rest because Jesus offers us rest.


Abiding in Christ has its challenges but comes with rewards beyond measure. We abide in Christ because we have accepted His death on the cross for the payment of our sin, and He lives in us today. We are called to read and obey His Word, living His teachings every day. We’ve been anointed to share His Word with others, even when it isn’t popular to do so. We’ve been called to stand firm to the very end, resisting the temptations of Satan, because we have been strengthened by God to stand firm. We may have an intimate relationship with God as we mature in our faith. We must remove the distractions to abide in Him.


Live It Out


Show that His Word lives in you by living a life free of sin by living according to Jesus’ teachings from the Bible. Read the Bible and prayerfully consider what you’ve read means for your life. Put what you learn from the Bible into practice. When you do sin, repent– turn away– from the sin you’ve committed. Recognize sin for what it is and admit what you’ve done to the Lord. Ask Him and those you’ve offended to forgive you for what you’ve done. Make a plan to avoid committing this particular sin again. You will overcome evil by remaining Christ. You will become wise and confident. You will be secure in your faith. Nothing will shake it. You will know, not just know about God, having a strong relationship with Him because of your abiding faith in Jesus Christ.


This means that things of this world won’t draw you away from God, rather to Him. You won’t be tempted to follow anything other than Him, pursuits that keep us too busy for Him, nor those things that He doesn’t want us to do. We will be less like Martha and more like Mary.


Make Your Commitment


What about you? What distracts you from your Savior and Lord? I would like to challenge you to Commit Your Heart to Christ, who laid His life down for you and rose from the dead to offer you a New Life. Abide in Him today. Will you do so right now?


May God bless you!




The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®;). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


NKJV Study Bible Copyright 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Healthy Lifestyle Bowls

Posted on January 29, 2020 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (2)

Photo by Charlaine W. Martin, 2020.

If you remember from a previous post, my Boaz and I enjoyed putzing around Sanibel Island over Christmas break. We discovered an incredible placewhere I could eat nestled in the Bailey Shopping Plaza next to the bicycle rental store. They did an awesome job handling my food to avoid cross-contamination for this celiac and multi-allergy girl. My hubby also found some delicious low-carb offerings as well. Spoondrift Island Bowls sparked some ideas I thought you might like to try.

So, I decided to try making my own bowl at home. Much to my delight, I found this as a great way to use small amounts of leftovers from my fridge. In the bowl pictured above, I used up some Fiesta Pepper filling (lean ground turkey with a Tex-Mex flair), cilantro-lime rice, romaine lettuce, carrots, diced tomato, and broccoli, drizzled with a mango vinegarette dressing. My bowl was around 300-350 calories. MMMM! It was out of this world! Char’s Healthy Lifestyle Bowls are here to stay.

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine sure did while I put this delish dish together. You can easily make your own. Here are some options you can try:

Base (any or all)

Romaine Lettuce

Baby Spinach


Basic Salad Mix 

Protein (Pick one)

Leftover cooked lean meats like Chicken, Turkey, Beef, or Pork.

Tofu, cubed and cooked

Beans like Black, Pinto, Garbanzo

Carb/Carb Substitute (Pick one or two)

Brown, Wild, or White Rice


Riced Cauliflower-Broccoli Mix

Zucchini Noodles (steamed or sauteed in light vegetable oil) You could also try squash or beet noodles.


Veggies (Go crazy!)

 Fresh cut tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, carrots, peas, etc.The sky is the limit here!

Leftover steamed or roasted squash, broccoli, onions, peppers, Brussel sprouts, etc.

Sauce (Go light)

Any light salad dressing (not non-fat) works like balsamic vinaigrette, mango, roasted red pepper, sundried tomato, etc. Only drizzle lightly or your calorie count could go overboard.

Toppings (Go light)

Light Sour Cream or Dairy Substitute


Chopped Natural Nuts, Dried Cranberries, Raisins

Low-fat Cheese or Cheese Substitute

This is another category that could spike your calorie count, so sprinkle lightly!

 Now, for the moment you've been waiting for: pray and savor the fresh flavor! 

If you make a Healthy Lifestyle Bowl, go to our Facebook page and share a photo of your tasty creation! All who share photos of their Healthy Lifestyle Bowl will be placed in a random drawing for the book, "Designed to be Well" by Erin King Youngkin. One entry per person. Drawing will be held Friday, February 7, 2020. Winner will be notified Monday February 10, 2020. The winner will have 48 hours to respond back to winner notification; otherwise, in case of non-response, another winner will be drawn.



Thank you, God, for the amazing array of healthy foods you have given us to fuel our bodies and enjoy. May I become a better steward of all that you have given me, including my body. Please, guide me on my journey to total health,and  to keep you central in all I do. I love you, Lord! In Jesus’, Amen.