52 devotions celebrate the beauty of our uniqueness and include practical tips for healthy recipes, exercise plans, and wellness suggestions.
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About the Author
Michelle Medlock Adams is an awardwinning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. She is an author of over 60 books and more than 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University. Her book, God Knows You, won “The SELAH Award” for best children’s book in 2014 and “Book of the Year” for 2014. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, they have two collegeaged daughters, Abby and Allyson, as well as a small petting zoo. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
Read an Excerpt
Love & Care for the One and Only You
By Michelle Medlock Adams
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2015 Michelle Medlock Adams
All rights reserved.
AVOID THE COMPARISON TRAP
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A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
RECENTLY WHILE TRAVELING from Asheville, North Carolina, to Indianapolis, I was perusing a copy of a women's magazine to pass the flight time when I came across a picture of Jennifer Aniston.
She looks amazing, I thought.
Then I read her age — she's exactly my age!
No way! How can this be? She looks like she could be in her midtwenties! Look at those abs!
Not only that, she has perfect skin and gorgeous hair, and she seems like the "girl next door" whom you would actually want to be friends with ... (Insert sigh of hopelessness and discontent here.)
It was at that very moment, I fell smack-dab into the Comparison Trap.
Nothing against Jen — I am actually a big fan — but here's the reality: She is paid to look gorgeous. My good friend said it best, "Look, if I had a personal trainer to motivate me and help me get into shape and a personal chef to prepare healthy yet yummy meals for me every day, I could look amazing, too!"
Here's another dose of reality. I once helped a former model write her memoir, and she told me that even famous models are airbrushed and enhanced for magazines and catalogs.
Think about that for a moment. If these 5'10", 108-pound models, who are quite underweight by all recommended standards, are being Photoshopped to improve their "imperfections," when we see the final product in the pages of our favorite fashion magazines, their images are truly perfect ... as well as perfectly unattainable.
In other words, we're being set up to fail. We look at their "perfect 10" bodies, and then we study our own physiques and think, Well, forget this! I can never look like that, so I think I'll just drown my sorrows in a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Ever been there?
It doesn't have to be a celebrity comparison that causes us to stumble on our journey to a fabulous, fit, and healthy version of ourselves. It might be a best friend who just lost thirty pounds and meets you for coffee wearing hot, skinny jeans, causing you to feel like "frumpy friend."
Don't be jealous; instead, celebrate her transformation. Be inspired, not envious. And don't waste any energy comparing your backside to hers — it's a futile activity that will only end with another pint of ice cream.
That's why this comparison trap is so damaging. It can totally derail us. One discouragement detour leads to another, and before you know it, you've given up. So, ladies, stop comparing yourself to your BC (before children) self; stop comparing yourself to celebrities; and stop comparing yourself to your friends.
You are an original! You are uniquely wonderful! You are valuable! And, though you may not be the exact weight you wish to be or have the backside you once had at twenty-two, that doesn't make you any less valuable.
It's okay to have weight-loss goals — realistic, non-Photoshopped goals — and push forward to achieve a healthy, fit body, but comparing yourself to others will only make that journey less enjoyable.
It's time we start loving ourselves again. It's time we see ourselves through the eyes of our Heavenly Father. It's time we celebrate every inch of ourselves — even if there are more inches there than we'd like. It's time we strive for progress, not perfection.
Praise God that you have another day to live this amazing life. Praise God that you have the gift of eternal life because He sent His Son. Praise God that even though you're not perfect, you are perfectly loved by Him!
It's a great day to be alive, so go out and live it — free from self-loathing and the fear of judgment — and determine you'll never fall victim to the Comparison Trap again.
POWER PRAYER:Father, help me to see myself through Your eyes. And help me to stop comparing myself to others and simply be the best version of myself. I love You, Father, and I'm thankful that You love me just the way I am. Help me to strive for progress, not perfection, and to enjoy the journey on the way to a happier, healthier me. In the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
HEALTHY HINT: Celebrate the little victories! In order to do that, you'll have to compare where you are today to where you've been and where you're going. But that kind of comparison game is a good one because you're celebrating progress. For example, if you have been walking thirty minutes every night for the past month and you can now zip up a pair of pants that you couldn't fasten before, celebrate that progress. Whoo-hoo! You might even want to start a Progress, Not Perfection Celebratory Journal to track your positive changes.CHAPTER 2
GIMMICKS AND FADS AND LIES, OH MY!
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"I the Lord do not change."
Malachi 3:6 (NIV)
YOU KNOW WHAT SENDS women screaming from dressing rooms across America?
Bathing suit season.
The thought of wearing a bathing suit in public makes normally sane women do really ridiculous things in order to lose a few pounds before bathing suit season.
I admit it — I am, occasionally, one of those women.
So, when I recently read on a magazine cover, "Eat a can of pineapple before you go to bed and speed up your metabolism!" I immediately ran to the store, purchased ten cans of pineapple, and began downing a can before bed each night. Of course, I didn't lose any weight and all of that acidic pineapple left my mouth with small blisters.
Later, I read in another magazine that drinking a spoonful of apple cider vinegar before every meal would promote better health and weight loss. (The verdict is still out on that one ... I'll let you know.)
And just the other day I saw a news report touting the amazing weight-loss benefits of Wu-Long tea. The article said it was safe and all-natural, so, as you might have guessed, I ordered some of that too.
It seems that every single day a "new and improved" product debuts and claims to be a great aid in promoting weight loss. Or a new study reveals that what we once thought was a good, safe, effective vitamin to aid in carb blocking is actually harmful to one's health.
It's hard to know what to believe!
Obviously, new information is discovered. New studies emerge. New products are invented. Sometimes, it seems almost impossible to keep up with current diet and health trends and differentiate between truth and myth. (I know because I write a lot of articles in the health and fitness market, and it's ever-changing!)
In a world of empty promises, crazy gimmicks, and bogus studies, aren't you glad that God's Word is true and that He never changes? I am so thankful that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I am so grateful that I won't wake up tomorrow and discover that grace is no longer available to me or that prayer works only on Tuesdays.
Yes, things are constantly changing in many areas of my life (especially my body since I hit my midforties) but not in one — my relationship with God. He is my stability, my rock, my love, and my firm foundation. His love is never-ending. His favor is limitless. And His mercies are new and available to me every morning.
And guess what? They're available to you, too!
So if you're feeling a little frazzled, overwhelmed, or confused by all the craziness of the world or simply a little mortified that you actually wasted money on the "lose weight while you sleep" formula, spend some quality time with your Father today. You'll come away completely refreshed, assured of who you are in Him, and ready to face the day.
Now, I've got to run ... the FedEx guy is here with my order of Wu-Long tea ... for research purposes, of course. ;)
POWER PRAYER:Father, thank You for being the same yesterday, today, and forever. I am so thankful that I can count on You — no matter what. Help me to trust You more, Lord, in every area of my life, and help me to develop better discernment. I love You. In the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
HEALTHY HINT: Instead of jumping on the "diet fad wagon," try eating a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber.CHAPTER 3
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
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Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN or grandchildren, you are probably keenly aware that they are very observant. (Trust me, they're watching and copying your every move.) And since children learn by example, wouldn't it be great if our children saw us enjoying happy, healthy, whole lives? Wouldn't it be awesome if our kiddos saw us making exercise a priority?
With approximately 25 percent of today's children falling into the "obese" category, we need to find fun ways to encourage fitness with the little ones we encounter because their healthy habits begin at home. Here are five family-friendly fitness ideas you could implement into your family's routine:
1) Scavenger Hunt
List ten things for your children to find, such as an acorn, a bird's feather, a dandelion, a mushroom, etc. Then, go into the woods and look for all of the items on the list, rewarding the winner of the scavenger hunt (the one who finds the most items) with the fun responsibility of choosing next week's family fitness activity.
If you don't live near a wooded area, you can have a "city scavenger hunt" by finding various urban items simply by pointing them out as you walk through the city as a family. For instance, you could have your children find a "yield" sign, a parking meter, a bus stop, etc.
2) Ultimate Frisbee Competition
Take your friendly Frisbee competition to a public park, and it might just turn into a massive competition with new friends and other families. Playing Frisbee involves running, jumping, diving, and throwing ... great exercise and great fun! If you get enough people involved, you can even enjoy a fierce game of Frisbee football!
3) Family Fitness Challenges
Once a week, have a fitness contest and award a traveling trophy to the weekly winner. Then, let the winner keep the trophy in his or her room until the next fitness challenge. The kids will love this, and a little friendly competition is a good thing! Need some ideas for events?
a) King or Queen Cruncher: See who can do the most abdominal crunches in a minute.
b) Fabulous Flexibility Award: After stretching out, see who comes closest to touching his/her nose to the floor in a straddled position.
c) Push-up Champ: See who can do the most push-ups in sixty seconds.
d) Plank or Plop: Have everyone get into a plank position, and see who can hold their planking position the longest.
e) Top Jump Roper: See who can jump rope the longest without tripping or stopping.
4)Jump, Jump, Jump!
Speaking of jumping, how long has it been since you jumped rope? Not only is this activity a great workout, but your kids will get a kick out of seeing their parents jumping rope. Let your children teach you some of the jump-rope chants they know, and then teach them some chants from your playground past.
You can also practice counting and memorization while jumping rope. Here's some more incentive. A 155-pound person will burn approximately 372 calories for every 30 minutes of jumping rope. So, jump it up!
5) Walk and Talk
Even if your children are very young, not very athletically inclined, or too old to participate in the above fitness activities, they can walk alongside you.
Use your family walks to talk with your children about their hopes and dreams or pray with them about their concerns or fears. If they aren't feeling too talkative, use the time to impart wisdom, quote favorite movie lines to one another, make up stories together, etc.
You can also allow the younger kiddos to push their dolls in strollers. Oh, and don't forget Fido. He's a part of the family, too, right?
It's time we quit telling our kids to "go outside and play" and instead ask them to "come outside and play!" Whether you engage in some of the activities mentioned above or simply shoot some hoops with your children, you'll be making memories and burning calories. Your body and your children will thank you.
POWER PRAYER:Father, I am thankful for the body You've given me, and I am asking that You help me in my endeavor to live a healthier lifestyle. And, Lord, please help me to set a good example for my children, encouraging them to be fit in every area of their lives — spiritually, physically, and mentally. In the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
HEALTHY HINT: It's also a great idea to train as a family in preparation for a big race. Ally, my youngest daughter, and I trained and ran in the Downtown LA Turkey Trot a few years ago, and it was a blast! It was such a sense of accomplishment to cross the finish line right behind her.CHAPTER 4
ENJOY THE JOURNEY
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Look here, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
James 4:13–16 (NLT)
I RECENTLY HEARD of a study involving the top CEOs of the biggest companies in the world, and one common theme was apparent. When interviewed, the majority of them said something like this: "If I could do it all over again, I would take time to stop and smell the roses. I would take more walks with my spouse. I wouldn't be so stressed and uptight. I would slow down and enjoy the journey more."
This intrigued me, as I am also very career-driven and goal-oriented, so I researched this topic a bit more and stumbled upon an article about Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Ware, who cared for those who were nearing the end of their lives, wrote: "All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
After pondering, processing, and praying about all of this, I've come to this conclusion: Being driven is a good thing, as long as you take time to take care of yourself and enjoy the journey in all of your "driven-ness."
That's how we should live life.
We shouldn't be so consumed with our goals in life that we miss the privilege of living. It's important that we take time today and every day to appreciate the people and the blessings that God has given us. If we don't, when we finally reach our goals, after neglecting our friends and family along the way, we'll have no one to celebrate with us. Or we will have worked so hard and so long to accomplish our goals, that we'll be too tired or in too poor health to savor that success.
You know, I often hear people give the excuse, "If I had time, I'd exercise but I'm just too busy with work." My response is always the same, "Work will still be there tomorrow but if you don't take care of yourself, you may not be."
Okay, that may sound a little harsh, but it's true. No matter how driven we are in our careers or how busy we are chasing after our dreams, we have to make time for taking care of ourselves. That means you need to work in a workout on a consistent basis. It also means you should treat yourself to a massage and a pedicure once in a while. And it means you should make time to enjoy the loved ones in your life.
We really can have it all, if we do it God's way. Allow Him to prioritize your life and direct your steps. And don't be in so much of a hurry that you forget to bask in the beauty of the moment.
Every day is a gift, so treat it as such. Then, when we get to the end of our long, healthy lives, we won't have any regrets, only sweet memories of a life filled with love, laughter, success, and satisfaction.
Here are five things you should take time to do in the near future:
1. Read a book to a special child in your life.
2. Take ballroom dance lessons with your significant other. (It's fun and a great workout — get your foxtrot on!)
3. Watch the sun set, and thank God for painting the sky so beautifully.
4. Take your dog for a walk. (You'll have quality time with Fido and burn a few calories.)
5. Do something silly and fun with your family, like have a picnic in your living room or wear your pj's all day on Saturday while having a movie marathon.
POWER PRAYER:Father, help me to take time for myself and enjoy this wonderful life that You've given me. Help me, Lord, to be able to set boundaries where work is concerned and better prioritize my life so I can enjoy some downtime. I love You. In the Mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
Excerpted from Love & Care for the One and Only You by Michelle Medlock Adams. Copyright © 2015 Michelle Medlock Adams. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Avoid the Comparison Trap,
2. Gimmicks and Fads and Lies, Oh My!,
3. Set a Good Example,
4. Enjoy the Journey,
5. Keep Looking Forward ...,
6. Watch Your Words,
7. Change Your Mind-Set,
8. Exercise Is Worship,
9. Write the Vision,
10. Don't Fear the Light,
11. You Are Wonderfully Made,
12. Working on a Testimony,
13. God Adores You,
14. Don't Miss Out,
15. Come As You Are,
16. Find Time for Fitness,
17. Bonus Points,
18. Do the Do's!,
19. Get a Fitness Friend!,
20. You're Almost There ...,
21. Just a Closer Walk,
22. Don't Be Peanut Butter & Jealous,
23. Little by Little,
24. Make the Most of Your Time,
25. Get Sweaty Together,
26. Here Comes the Judge,
27. Confidence Is Attractive,
28. Get a Fresh Start,
29. Very Tempting ...,
31. Hang on to Your Hope,
32. Got Water?,
33. Grace for Today,
34. Keep on Keeping On!,
35. Too Blessed to Be Stressed!,
36. Only God ...,
37. God's Got Your Back,
38. Yo-Yo? No! No!,
39. Your Words Frame Your World,
40. Your Goals Are Within Reach!,
41. Winner or Whiner?,
42. Buzzards Schmuzzards,
43. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone,
44. Do You Have a Focal Point?,
45. Misplaced Priorities ...,
46. Enlarge Your Circle,
47. Rest Up!,
48. Don't Buy the Lie,
49. The Real Deal on the Meal Deal,
50. Get the Right Perspective,
51. A Cleanse Does a Body Good,
52. Will It 'Til You Feel It!,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I think I should preface this review with information about myself in order for a reader to consider my viewpoint when making her own decision about this book. I’m 62, hate to exercise and overweight. I personally know the author and she’s authentic in her faith, healthy lifestyle, and wears lipstick to bass fish. I read the first several of the 52 inspirations and I was inspired to take better care of myself through Michelle’s encouraging words and scriptural basis for self-care. I thought, “This book is great!” Then it seemed several devotions focused on outward appearances, how we perceive ourselves looking in the mirror and I was disappointed. I continued reading and the devotions covered every facet women face in loving and caring for ourselves. I truly believe Michelle covered it all: the comparison trap, disappointment with what we see in the mirror, loving ourselves because we are special to our Heavenly Father, lack of time to exercise and more. Michelle tackled each obstacle with encouraging words, Scriptural back-up, a prayer, a call-to-action (Work your Words), a Healthy Hint and in many devotionals, including the one with our excuses not to exercise she gave us multiple ideas how to overcome those challenges. I’m rating this a 5-star because I believe whether you’re young or older, active or not, there’s an inspiring message and a method for loving and caring for ourselves - 52 times to be exact! I received this book free from the author in exchange for my honest review.
I am loving this book. I'm a busy mom of 2 preschoolers and a full time Social Work student, so exercise, sadly, isn't my focus in this season of my life. The wonderful thing about this book is, it's not focused on marathon running or bulging biceps. It speaks to every woman's desire to be happy and healthy, for her family and for herself. For example, the simple importance of staying hydrated is explained and encouraged, without being preachy or speaking above the average woman's head. I didn't know dehydration was a common cause of anxiety. Maybe next time I will reach for a bottle of water instead of going straight to the anxiety pill. The book relates my physical health to my everyday relationship to God. I feel both encouraged and reflective when reading the daily devotions. I recommend this book to stay at home moms, college students, busy working moms, and anyone who desires to be happy and healthy, both physically and spiritually. I will definitely be reading more of Michelle Medlock Adams' books in the future.
Inspirational, Motivating, Encouraging book! This book is exactly what this busy mother of four needed! Making my own fitness a priority is something I knew I needed, but hadn’t quite figured out how to achieve, given my demanding and sometimes hectic daily schedule. But Love and Care of the One and Only You gave me practical insights – words, actions, ideas, and tips – to help me get started along the road to fitness and heaps of encouragement to help me stay on track. Love and Care of the One and Only You highlights the connection between physical and spiritual well-being. One of my favorite quotes is from the jacket of the book. It says “By choosing to take care of ourselves, we are honoring the gift of the life and body God has given us.” My fitness journey is no longer about attaining a certain size of jeans. It’s about growing in faith, being healthier and happier, and honoring God. How can I NOT make that a priority? I read it once all the way through and now plan to reread it as a daily devotional.
LOVE & CARE For The One and Only YOU By: Michelle Medlock Adams Always the cover either catches my eye or it doesn’t. I was curious as to why the food was on the cover of the cover. So that is what caught my eyes as to what food had to do with Love and Care for you. The cover told a story I had to sit and study it for a little while and it told why. Well of course if you think about it the food you eat has a lot to do with your health right? One of the things that caught my eyes where the words “why are you wasting time to fill a God size hole with a sin size pieces? We are trying to fill a God sizes hole with FOOD. Do you know what she is getting at? Well let me tell you she is saying when you are sad, lonely, hurt and just not proud of yourself or even when you are trying to have time with God? Oh yes I am guilty as charged I eat while I read my Bible or talk to God. Well Shame on me that is my time with God not food, what I can’t keep my hands off of food for an hour to spend time with God the one that loves me and gave his only son for me. Didn’t Jesus fast for 40 days to be with God, didn’t Jesus show us how it is best to please our Lord and get close to him? There are powerful prayers at the end of each chapter to help you grow. Also there are WORK YOUR WORDS and HEALTHY HINT this is so helpful and I think you will truly love the prayers along with the work your words and the healthy hint after each chapter. They truly are a great part of this book and should be a great part of our lives as well. I recommend this book highly. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all but I really loved the book and her style. I don’t think you will regret buying this book at all. A lot of great information and prayers are powerful God listens to our prayers. I know this book will be where I can grab it again and again to read the prayers and hints. I received this book free from Worthy Publishing for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own and no one else’s. 5 Stars ISBN: 9781617956706
Everyone who has ever flown on a plane has heard the instructions to take care of your own oxygen in case of an emergency before helping the person next to you. This book is devoted to learning how to take care of the body that God has given you. There are 52 devotional type chapters. The book can be read all at once or spaced out, with one a week, over the entire year. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse and the author's comments and thoughts. It ends with a Power Prayer, a section called Work Your Words, and a Healthy Hint. The Work Your Words is a sentence or two that is to be repeated by the reader to change the mindset of how you think about yourself, to place positive thoughts into your mind. The Healthy Hint is taking something from the chapter and making it applicable and gearing you towards better health and care of your body. I loved the lay out of the book. It wasn't daunting to think about applying everything all at once. Each chapter was simple and yet could have a profound impact if each concept was applied. Instead of being discouraged at how badly out of shape and unhealthy I was, I felt empowered and energized to get back to where I needed to be. The author was very motivating. This would be a wonderful book for anyone who wants to take better care of themselves. But it would also make an excellent gift. I received this book free of charge from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.
I read through this book quickly the first time as each devotion introduced a new way to easily take better care of myself. I am now going through the book at a slower pace to really absorb the information and put it to work. I really love that each devotion ends with scripture and a healthy tip. It is easy to implement the changes as no expensive equipment or specialized food is required. With God, this inspiring book and some perspiration I can joyfully make changes to create a better, fitter me.