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Have you ever had the "peace that surpasses understanding?"

What is the peace that surpasses understanding?  Is it even possible to have peace when everything seems so upside down and topsy turvy?  I read a lot of mainstream news and non-mainstream news, and to be honest with you there is a great deal of suffering in the world on a daily basis.  My heart hurts to see it.  I sometimes cry when I read the stories.  I listen to the stories told in my office and know that life can be full of heart wrenching pain.  Yet, there is a promise that we can have peace within our hearts that wouldn't otherwise be attained.  

Hold onto the promise that “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  Our hearts can break, our minds can become confused and illogical in the face of grief and heartache.  Yet, God promises to hold you together, to keep you at peace.  What good is it to have riches and things if our hearts aren't at peace?  Seek peace in the new year by believing in the promise handed to you that you can have peace even when life doesn't make sense.  

May 2015 be filled with peace in your hearts even in the midst of life's challenges.  

Blessings and peace-  Gretchen 

by Gretchen Flores

When Life Feels Like an Uphill Climb.

Sometimes it feels like life is an uphill climb along a steep, cold mountainside with unforgiving inclines and steep turns.  When will life get easier?  Just when it looks like a breakthrough is near, another challenge presents itself; another rocky path with limited vision for the path ahead.  

Sometimes I would just like a few moments to catch my breath!  I want to stop, lean against the mountainside, take in deep breaths to get my strength back.   Life's coldness chaps my face from the blustery wind, and I long for hot chocolate and a blanket around a warm fire.  A good rest and some food will help for the journey ahead.  

Very few people make it to the top of Mount Everest.  It is a challenge fraught with steep inclines, fierce and unpredictable weather, frigid temperatures.  Even if you make it to the top there is no guarantee you'll make it back down.  Yet many still set out to give it a try.  

Life often feels that way; unpredictable, fierce, up-hill.  It's easy to get discouraged.  It is tempting to quit, to tune out, to numb ourselves.  Isn't life supposed to be about happiness? Isn't it about attaining things and feeling accomplished?  That lady looks so perfect and happy in her new car on the commercial?  Certainly I should be able to attain that!   

In reality, we are all on this challenging journey and face a variety of hardships day after day. Fellow travelers, life is hard, often unfair, and feels like an up-hill climb.  But there is hope.  We have a future to look forward to that will make it worth staying with it.  Where can you find the strength to keep going?

God's word promises to give us "hinds feet" for high places for the mountainous terrain our life, "The Lord God is my strength, and he has made my feet like hinds' feet, and makes me walk on high places."  Habakkuk 3:19 

What in the world is "hinds feet?"  A female red deer, whose home is the mountains, have hinds feet to enable them to gracefully walk on the roughest terrain.  They live in the high mountain regions.  Their rear feet (or hind feet) step in exactly the same spot where the front feet have just been.  With single-focused consistency, the hind feet follow the motion of the the front feet, making it the most sure-footed of all mountain animals.

When we lean on God for strength he enables us to walk like the deer in rocky, mountainous, often treacherous terrain.  What troubles are you facing?  Do you wonder how you are going to navigate it?  Seek God's word for strength, pray for help, and God will give you "hinds feet" to enable you to keep going.  He will help you to find your way through the precarious challenges you face.   He will steady you as you trust him and he will keep you from falling.  You may even look as graceful as the red deer!  Someone else may wonder how you do it, even though you personally know how tough it is.  

Blessings to you as you face life's challenges.  May you be granted "hinds feet" to keep you steady on the mountaintops of life.  Hang in there and don't give up.  

-Gretchen 

 

 

by Gretchen Flores

Wearing an attitude of gratitude, an antidote for holiday blues.

Wearing an attitude of gratitude, an antidote for holiday blues.

I have tough days.  I am not always as resilient as I wish I was.  Sometimes I struggle, and there are some days I can really cop an attitude (yes, me).   It is much easier to dwell on the things that aren't going "right." I often only notice the gap between my ideal and what is real in my life.  It can be tempting to ruminate about it.  Very tempting.  "I wish..."

Developing attitude of gratitude is one antidote to the "poor me" syndrome.  It gets me back on track to choose to focus on

by Gretchen Flores

How to Know if You are With a Narcissist.

Think you could spot a Narcissist from a mile away?  Don’t be so sure!  Narcissists are very charismatic and can seem superbly warm and engaging.  They can be the magnet of the party and they are able to get things done.  They can have world class manners and a style that seems friendly and enjoyable.  Narcissists can be the type that will help you out with anything… at least until you set a healthy boundary. 

by Gretchen Flores

My top 5 Tips to battle Depression

We all have our ups and downs.  When we get down it can feel pretty overwhelming and it can be a long battle to overcome what got you there.  Life beats us down, we neglect our health, we get tired...and depressed.  Here are a few tips to battle the blues:

1.  Probiotics-  Did you know that there is a connection between poor gut health and depression?  There are many ways to add probiotics to your diet; yogurt, Kefir (fermented yogurt drink), supplements.  Make sure your brand is high quality.  Not all brands are the same quality, you could be throwing your money out the window with no good health benefit.   For example, low fat yogurts with

by Gretchen Flores

Stop! Don't Peel!

Stop!  Don't Peel!

Guess where most of the nutrients of a carrot exist?    

The skin or outer layer!  

The power of a crunchy carrot with the skin on, is deliciousness with no guilt!  A satisfying carrot crunch means powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, most of which exist along the outer portion of the carrot where most of us peel it off (collective gasp!).  

Ever wonder why some diet programs say to avoid carrots?  I think it is because most carrots have had many nutrients peeled off by the manufacturer, or you.  Without the peel they are a sweeter variation of veggie.  Those baby carrots are even known to be washed in a bleach solution to keep them fresh...ewe!!!  So not only have they l

by Gretchen Flores

Honey Mustard Recipe

Mmm... mustard!  I can hardly wait for the summer BBQ's!  One of the best part of a good BBQ is a hamburger or hotdog slathered with delicious mustard!

I have been spending a lot of time studying nutrition these days.  I realize how important it is to both physical and mental health.   I love mustard, and can't wait to try different variations on this. I also think it would make a great gift (just add a ribbon to the top of the jar).  

 

Here it is: 

by Gretchen Flores

Being a mom is hard...but very rewarding.

Being a mom is hard...but very rewarding.

I definitely have down days as a mom.  The contrast between ideal and real is all too evident sometimes.  As mom's we can't help but have a vision for our kiddos that involves their success in school, sports, friendships.  We want to walk around every day as people notice how amazing our kids are, to the point that they can't help but stop us and say, "Your kid is just so wonderful!"  Then in response, you desire to remain humble so you say, "Oh you are too nice," then they 

by Gretchen Flores

"She let herself go..." and Other Annoying Misperceptions.

"She let herself go..." and Other Annoying Misperceptions.

One of the most common issues my female clients face is guilt about taking care of themselves. When I get all up in her grill about self care, phrases such as, "I feel so selfish," "I can't because I feel guilty" start to surface.  

I get really annoyed when I hear the phrase, "She let herself go," because I know that is not the case.  The real issue is that she is putting you first and her family first, her house first, her friends first, meals first, laundry first, groceries first, the kids homework first.  Anyone who asks for help comes first and she comes last (of course this is all done with a smile on her face).  She cares so much about others that she cannot seem to get around to taking care of herself.  She's last on the list and there are only so many hours in the day.  

by Gretchen Flores

Wandering...am I lost or finding my way?

Have you ever thought you were on a long detour only to discover that it was all a part of preparing you for something meaningful later on?  There have been times in my life I have wondered, "what the heck am I doing this for?"  Then, years later I see that I needed that skill, or experience, for something God was preparing me to do.

We have choices in those situations;  

  • To express frustration
  • To become discouraged
  • To let bitterness take root
  • To seek God's presence
  • To trust
  • To pray
  • To persevere

Can you think of anything in your life that was preparing you for the future?  Sometimes endurance is what is needed.  We are so used to quick fixes and solutions.  Shoot, you can microwave meals in 5 minutes, go to a drive-through for lunch, pick up ready made pizza.  We sometimes forget that life's lessons don't come that way.  

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other." Romans 15:5

May God bless you on your journey.  

Gretchen

 

by Gretchen Flores