About Me

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My journey as a writer began as a child. I wrote poems and short stories which were my way of dealing with various life changing events. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. Follow me on Twitter @KIngallsAuthor www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. My first book is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received two awards. All proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. My second book is a novel Novy's Son, about one man's attempt to find love and acceptance from his father. This is an all too common problem in our society. My third book, Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is about the love affair between this great American sculptor and his model. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2017.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

THE EVOLUTION OF GRATITUDE



I was so impressed with this article that i chose to re-blog it from Reblogged from ALK3R: when it appeared on "When Angels Fly." I hope you find some information and lessons of life, just as I did.

                   THIS ARTICLE APPEARS TO ESPECIALLY APPROPRIATE AS WE   
                                              CELEBRATE EASTER TODAY


                THE EVOLUTION OF GRATITUDE


Bildergebnis für Gratitude
How did gratitude evolve? Researchers are starting to trace this common human emotion all the way back to primate behavior.
“Thank you.” Two simple words, among the most repeated on a daily basis. When I travel to a foreign country, it is one of the first phrases I learn, just after “hello.” When children start making verbal requests, their parents quickly teach them to say “please” and “thank you.”
Plenty of research shows the benefit of saying thank you, as well as of other expressions of gratitude. Gratitude is one of the fundamentally important parts of human life, and comparative psychologists like myself are always interested in where these things come from, in the grand scheme of things. How did we as humans end up as a species for whom gratitude is as much a part of our social relationships as gossip?
It turns out this question is centuries old, with Darwin himself suggesting that humans and other animals share the “same emotions, even the more complex ones such as jealousy, suspicion, emulation, gratitude, and magnanimity.” And—at least for gratitude—some initial research by my colleagues and I suggests that Darwin might be right.
Searching for gratitude in primates
Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees foshie / CC BY 2.0
How do you systematically look for evidence of gratitude in species that can’t say “thank you”? Since you can’t ask them how they’re feeling, you observe behavior—and the behavior that we researchers believe reflects gratitude is called reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the exchange of goods and services between two individuals over time, often characterized as “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” This kind of mutual arrangement can be beneficial to both parties, making them more likely to survive.
Robert Trivers, who introduced the theory of reciprocal altruism in 1971, suggests that gratitude is the emotion that regulates our response to altruistic acts by others (and motivates our response in kind). As gratitude researcher Michael McCullough has explained, the positive feeling of gratitude can alert us to the benefits we’ve received from others and inspire us to show appreciation, which will in turn make others more likely to help us again in the future. In this way, gratitude helps build social bonds and friendships between individuals.
This means that reciprocity may have been fundamental in the evolution of gratitude. In humans, with our ability to express our emotions through language, reciprocity and expressions of gratitude often go together.
For example, researchers set up an experiment where half of the participants thought they received money from a partner, and the other half thought they received it by chance. In the next round of the study, the participants were given $10 and allowed to divide it up between themselves and the partner. Not surprisingly, individuals who thought their partner had given them money were more likely to distribute money back to their partners than those who had received it by chance. When asked why they donated money, they most often said, “to express appreciation.” In this experiment, the participants could not see or interact with their partners, so the only way to express their gratitude was by returning the favor. We may be seeing a very similar phenomenon in our primate relatives—they can’t express gratitude verbally, so returning favors may be the best way for them to do it.
Bildergebnis für thank you on the beach
good deal of evidence suggests that some of our closest relatives, the other primates, engage in reciprocity in food sharing and other domains. For example, in one study we gave chimpanzees a task that required two chimpanzees to pull in a tray of food. It was set up so that the chimpanzees could come and go as they pleased, which meant that one chimpanzee was often sitting there waiting for a partner to arrive. We predicted that passing chimpanzees might just choose to help out their friends, or perhaps the chimpanzees that were the best at solving the task. Instead, the chimpanzees were more likely to help another chimpanzee in need of a partner if that chimpanzee had also helped them in the past. Reciprocity seemed more important than friendship and skill in their choices.
Unlike our closer chimpanzee relatives, capuchin monkeys and humans last shared an ancestor approximately 35 million years ago. This makes them great subjects to see just how far back we can trace the tendency to engage in reciprocity, particularly since they’re highly cooperative. In one task, we gave one capuchin monkey a choice between a prosocial option that rewarded themselves and a partner, and a selfish option that only rewarded the chooser. In this context, they were prosocial about 60 percent of the time. But when we gave them the opportunity for reciprocity, by alternating the roles of chooser and partner from task to task, they were significantly more prosocial, now nearly 75 percent of the time.
Capuchin monkeys
Capuchin monkeys kansasphoto / CC BY 2.0
Even more compelling, we found that capuchins are highly attuned to whether a situation is reciprocal or not. In one variation, we didn’t actually let the second monkeys choose; we chose for them, but mimicked past choices that the second monkeys had made. The first monkeys moved back down to a similar level of prosocial behavior as when they were the only chooser, suggesting that they can clearly identify when another monkey has helped them and reward that monkey for doing so.
Finally, recent research suggests that capuchin monkeys and four-year-old children engage in upstream reciprocity, or “paying it forward,” in a remarkably similar fashion. In upstream reciprocity, receiving a favor makes individuals more likely to donate a favor to someone else in the future. In the case of the monkeys and children, after one individual donated a favor to another, that individual was taken out of the testing area and a new partner brought in. Surprisingly, both the capuchins and the children were more likely to donate a reward to the new partner, if they had recently received a reward themselves. They had no opportunity to repay the individual who had rewarded them before, but instead chose to pay their good fortunes forward. Some researchers have suggested that gratitude is the motivation behind paying it forward in humans, and this might also be the case in capuchin monkeys.
Do monkeys really feel grateful?
I would be remiss not to point out that although it entails high levels of prosocial behavior characteristic of gratitude, reciprocity itself doesn’t necessarily have to involve gratitude. It can occur as a transaction achieved by keeping track of benefits given and received and result in feelings of obligation or indebtedness rather than gratitude. However, there is good reason to believe that something else is going on with other primates.
First, if reciprocity were driven by indebtedness rather than gratitude, primates would have to be keeping track of costs and benefits over time. A lot of researchhas shown, though, that this level of calculation and memory is really not realistic for us or our primate relatives; in reality, these exchanges are more likely to be driven by emotional responses, which are easier to keep track of. Grateful emotions reinforce the relationship between two individuals, and individuals with close relationships are likely to provide favors for each other in the future, no questions asked.
Bildergebnis für Gratitude
Further, if you take away the ability to ask people why they are helping, experiments of gratitude in humans look very much like experiments of reciprocity in other species. What is measured is the propensity to return favors, with gratitude as the motivational mechanism proposed that drives that behavior. When the similarities are this great, it becomes difficult to argue that what we see in nonhuman primates is fundamentally different from what we see in humans. We may not be able to ask primates to fill out a survey, but the similarities in how they act are compelling.
A number of questions could still be answered to make a stronger case that nonhuman primates really do feel gratitude, or some evolutionary building block of gratitude.
First, a great deal of evidence in humans suggests that gratitude is important for forming new relationships, but not so much for maintaining existing ones. If the opportunity arose to study a newly formed group of primates over the long term, we would expect to see reciprocity diminish over time.
Along the same lines, we should also expect to see more reciprocity among non-kin than kin. Since helping your family also increases your genetic contribution to the next generation, reciprocity is not really necessary for motivating that kind of helping behavior.
Finally, all of the research to date uses repayment of favors as the purported way to acknowledge a past favor done. While this is likely the best, most observable measure we have, it is quite different from a verbal thank you given from one human to another. There may be a subtle expression, gesture, or some other communication that other species use to acknowledge kind acts. The trick will be for us to develop a deep enough understanding of other species’ communication systems to discover it.
The GGSC’s coverage of gratitude is sponsored by the <a data-cke-saved-href=“http://www.templeton.org/” href=“http://www.templeton.org/”>John Templeton Foundation</a> as part of our <a data-cke-saved-href=“http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude” href=“http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude”>Expanding Gratitude</a> project.
The GGSC’s coverage of gratitude is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation as part of our Expanding Gratitude project.
We’ve come a long way since Darwin first proposed that gratitude may be a universally experienced emotion. Although we are not yet at the point where we can “speak chimp” well enough to understand their expressions of gratitude, the behavior of our closest relatives certainly suggests that we humans are not alone in the importance we place on gratitude. The research suggests that, in all likelihood, our propensity for gratitude really does have deep evolutionary roots, and it will be up to us to find out how deep they go.
We often blame our worst tendencies, like aggression and competition, on our evolutionary history. It’s important to remember that some of our most positive qualities like empathy and gratitude are also a part of this history. When we discover these traits in our closest relatives, it’s a powerful reminder that the “good” in human nature is deeply rooted, as well.
Bildergebnis für Gratitude
(This article is originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC). Based at UC Berkeley, the GGSC studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. Malini Suchak is an assistant professor of animal behavior, ecology, and conservation at Canisius College. Her research on gratitude was supported through the GGSC’s Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

KEEP YOUR FACE TO THE SUNSHINE




                          "Keep your face to the sunshine
                           and you cannot see the shadows."
                                          (Helen Keller)

       What a beautiful and very meaningful philosophy. To think that such a quote from a 
      woman, Helen Keller who never saw the sun shine. Perhaps her eyes physically did not  
      see the beauty of the sun's rays, her soul/spirit saw them. At a deep level that many of
      us do not reach, she knew that seeing shadows was self-destructive and unhealthy.

      Those of us who have heard the words, "You have cancer" wanted to retreat
      into the shadows. We could not see the sun or rays of hope for a period of time.
      For some of us it might be only for a few days, others months, and a few never step 
      out of the shadows.   

      When I was diagnosed in 2008 with ovarian cancer I went into a cocoon for a couple
      of days grieving and adjusting to what was now my new life. I asked questions. I 
      researched. I prayed. I leaned on the shoulders of friends and let the hugs from them
      and family help me to lift my eyes up to the sunshine.

      In 2014 I was diagnosed again with two tumors, one in the lung and one in the pelvis.
      I was shocked because I felt so good and had no symptoms. I was put on chemo-
      therapy for two years. I continued to live each day to the fullest trying to follow
      God's will.

      The two tumors returned in Oct. of 2016. Two weeks ago I had surgery to remove the 
      abdominal tumor and will start radiation to the tumor in the lung.

      

No matter what challenge we face...divorce, financial ruin, job loss, death of loved ones, 
      etc. I believe we are to keep our face to the sunshine. Or, look up to God for strength and
      guidance. I believe we are to learn from each experience and become stronger. 

                  *I think of Mr. M., Mr. W.,  Mr. B. to name but a few, who have lost their wives
                    to cancer.
                  *I think of dear friends, Marilyn, Marsha, and Donna who buried their loved ones.
                  *I pray for those facing divorce.
                  *I rejoice for friends who found peace and joy though their world had been turned
                    upside down due to financial losses.
                  *I pray for friends who daily face health difficulties due to long term illnesses.

                       All of these people turned their faces to the sunshine and proved to
                                     have the same strength as Helen Keller did.

                                            Enjoy this video and let it lift your soul:
               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIucRL4iQTI&feature=player_embedded


 
                 My thanks to each of you who have been inspirational role models to me.


            **Don't forget that anytime my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir"
                           all proceeds go to gynecologic/ovarian cancer research**


     

Monday, March 27, 2017

HEALTH CONSTRUCTION ZONE



  As some of you know already, I will be "going
         through the health construction zone " for a period of time. 
         I am an 8-1/2 year ovarian cancer survivor, however the 
         cancer returned with a tumor in my pelvis in Oct. 2016.



  Since then I have been receiving chemotherapy drugs plus 
          Avastin which stops the blood supply to tumors. I am
          happy to say the tumor has shrunk to where the gyn-
          colonic-oncologist surgeon is anticipating an uncompl-
          icated colon resection to remove the tumor.



(An image of the colon. Right?)

   My surgery will be Tuesday, March 28, and I will
          be in the hospital for 5-7 days and then an indeterminate
          time of recovery.

   As soon as I am able to be on my computer and have
           a clear mind to write, I will have this site up and 
           running again. Hopefully there will be no detour
           or stop signs; but only "construction complete."



   I have great faith in my gynecologic oncologist
            surgeon, his team of nurses, and most important I know
            that The Great Physician is with me every minute of
            every day. He will also be guiding the surgeons.



   I will try to keep you updated as to how my health is in
           the construction zone. I thank you for your prayers
           and support. I anticipate a beautiful road of life ahead.

                             
 
    Karen Ingalls
              

Sunday, March 19, 2017

HEALTHY/HELPFUL BOOKS ABOUT CANCER

 I am highlighting sources that I have personally found very helpful for any type of cancer. It is also important to take good care of your health, have regular checkups, and listen/act upon any unusual symptoms.

Cancer in any form is a frightening diagnosis. Here are some facts & figures from The American Cancer Society:

  •  There will be 1,688,780 new cases in 2017
  • There will be 600,980 deaths.
  • New cases are almost equal between men and women
These statistics are not to cause fear or dread, but to emphasize the importance of taking good care of ourselves. 
  • Do not smoke
  • Be safe in the sun
  • Eat healthy 
  • Be active and exercise
  • Get yearly breast, pelvic & rectal, and prostate exams (physicians will vary in their opinions about how often these exams should take place). 
  • I advocate for yearly breast, pelvic and rectal exams every year in women of all ages.
  • There has been a rise in cases of colon cancer at alarming rates. Here is a link with a chart of recommended times for screenings: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/acs-recommendations.html
   



 INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FROM CANCER SURVIVORS

      "Cancer didn't bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet." Michael Douglas
                                 
                                        "Don't miss your life." Valerie Harper

                     "It's about focusing on the fight, not the fright." Robin Roberts

      "It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today
                        and the reality of tomorrow." Robert H. Goddard

    "More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the 
                   ever-increasing possibility of living beyond cancer." Sheryl Crow






Ovarian Cancer: You Can Not Be Serious by Janice Coggins




The Unconventional Guide to Ovarian Cancer by Latrisha McFadden







The Truth About Cancer by Ty M. Bollinger






Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani








Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by Karen Ingalls



                All of these books are available on Amazon.

       Here are some Facebook sites for your consideration:
           https://www.facebook.com/noccnational/
           https://www.facebook.com/OCRFA/
           https://www.facebook.com/CancerSupportCommunity/
           https://www.facebook.com/su2c/


                      Some websites for your consideration:
                         www.americancancersociety.com
                         https://prevention.cancer.gov/
                         https://www.cancer.org/healthy.html
                         https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ›
                           


  

KEEP YOUR FACE TO THE SUNSHINE




                          "Keep your face to the sunshine
                           and you cannot see the shadows."
                                          (Helen Keller)

       What a beautiful and very meaningful philosophy. To think that such a quote from a 
      woman, Helen Keller who never saw the sun shine. Perhaps her eyes physically did not see the 
      beauty of the sun's rays, her soul/spirit saw them. At a deep level that many of us
      do not reach, she knew that seeing shadows was self-destructive and unhealthy.

      Those of us who have heard the words, "You have cancer" wanted to retreat
      into the shadows. We could not see the sun or rays of hope for a period of time.
      For some of us it might be only for a few days, others months, and a few never step 
      out of the shadows.   

      When I was diagnosed in 2008 with ovarian cancer I went into a cocoon for a couple
      of days grieving and adjusting to what was now my new life. I asked questions. I 
      researched. I prayed. I leaned on the shoulders of friends and let the hugs from them
      and family help me to lift my eyes up to the sunshine.

      In 2014 I was diagnosed again with two tumors, one in the lung and one in the pelvis.
      I was shocked because I felt so good and had no symptoms. I was put on chemo-
      therapy for two years. I continued to live each day to the fullest trying to follow
      God's will.

      The two tumors returned in Oct. of 2016. Two weeks ago I had surgery to remove the 
      abdominal tumor and will start radiation to the tumor in the lung.

     

No matter what challenge we face...divorce, financial ruin, job loss, death of loved ones, 
      etc. I believe we are to keep our face to the sunshine. Or, look up to God for strength and
      guidance. I believe we are to learn from each experience and become stronger. 

                  *I think of Mr. M., Mr. W.,  Mr. B. to name but a few, who have lost their wives
                    to cancer.
                  *I think of dear friends, Marilyn, Marsha, and Donna who buried their loved ones.
                  *I pray for those facing divorce.
                  *I rejoice for friends who found peace and joy though their world had been turned
                    upside down due to financial losses.
                  *I pray for friends who daily face health difficulties due to long term illnesses.

                       All of these people turned their faces to the sunshine and proved to
                                     have the same strength as Helen Keller did.

                                            Enjoy this video and let it lift your soul:
               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIucRL4iQTI&feature=player_embedded


   
                 My thanks to each of you who have been inspirational role models to me.


            **Don't forget that anytime my book is sold, "Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir"
                              all proceeds go to gynecologic/ovarian cancer research**


     

Monday, March 6, 2017

THE TRAIN OF LIFE

This poem is a powerful one which I thought needed to be shared. The author is unknown and there are several versions to it. The message is an important one and I thank each of you for being one of the passengers on my train of life.


At birth we boarded the train and meet our parents,
And we believe they will always travel on our side.

However, at some station
Our parents will step down from the train,
Leaving us on this journey alone.
  
As time goes by,
Other people will board the train;
And they will be significant
I.e. Our siblings, friends, children,
And even the love of your life.

Many will step down
And leave a permanent vacuum.

Others will go so unnoticed
That we don't realize
They vacated their seats.


This train ride will be full of joy,
Sorrow, fantasy, expectations,
Hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.

Success consists of having a good relationship
With all passengers
Requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
  
The mystery to everyone is:
We do not know at which station
We ourselves will step down.
  
So, we must live in the best way,
Love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.

It is important to do
This because when the time comes for us to step down
And leave our seat empty
We should leave behind beautiful memories
For those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life.
Reap success and give lots of love.
More importantly, thank God for the journey.


Lastly, I thank you
For being one of the passengers on my train.

Monday, February 27, 2017

TOP FIVE SPIRITUAL PLANKS





Once again I am pleased and honored to welcome Nate Stevens as my guest this week. His insight and words of wisdom as to how we each can live more loving and productive lives is well described in "The Top Five Spiritual Planks."





First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).

Planking seems like an easy exercise, until you have to do it.

My wife and I recently started a kickboxing exercise program that includes several timed planking routines, a few of which are front planks, side planks, plank jacks, push-up planks, planks with arm or leg extensions, and side planks with thigh raises. Being an avid gym rat, these “easy exercises” didn’t impress me. I was used to serious weightlifting, so what’s the big deal, right?

When it was my turn, I assumed the position on the floor, nonchalantly waiting for the timer to start. The first thirty seconds were easy. At the one-minute mark, my muscles started tightening. Thirty seconds later, my arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs started shaking. I was determined to beat the clock; however, when I started cramping up, I knew I was in trouble. All in less than two minutes!

How could something that seemed so easy, so core, be so ridiculously hard to do?

While you prepare your answer, here’s a different planking question. Why is it so hard to recognize the plank in my own eye, yet so easy to point out the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eyes?

In asking this question, Jesus instructs us to work on our own faults before trying to help other people with their issues. If you’re like me, performing spiritual planking routines—working on problem areas, weak spots, sinful habits, uncontrolled desires—will keep us busy for the rest of our lives. We won’t have time to worry about other people’s shortcomings. Sure, we may notice their specks and offer encouraging spiritual insights, but our focus should remain on our own planks.

What are some particularly difficult spiritual planking routines? I’m so glad you asked! The following five planking routines will strengthen your spiritual core while enhancing your effectiveness in witnessing to the world.

                                                     The Forgiveness Plank
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). From a kneeling position, bow your head with both arms raised. Hold that position while asking God to forgive your pride. Relieve your spiritual tension by releasing all arrogance, anger, judgmentalism, and selfish perspectives to God. Ask Him to soften you with His wisdom, compassion, mercy, and grace. Then stand upright and interact with people as God sees them. Perform daily reps.  

                                                                                                 The Purity Plank
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). In a kneeling position, with both hands clasped in front, bow your head and hold that stance while asking God to purify your words, thoughts, fantasies, meditations, and dreams. Build your spiritual muscles by rejecting all sources of temptation and presenting all your desires for God’s approval. If you fall midway, apply 1 John 1:9, then resume the activity. Perform daily reps.

                                                                                                The Truth Plank
“Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This routine requires repetitive resistance strengthening. Resist the urge to tell the truth harshly; resist the false pretenses of flattery. Resist the temptation to gossip, slander, or intentionally injure with your words. From an upright stance, speak only what you know to be true, with loving concern for all parties involved. Perform daily reps.

                                                     The Love Plank
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). From a standing position, reach out and become the hands and feet of Jesus. Extend your hands to serve others. Bend forward at the waist, stretching your hands downward to help lift the fallen. Place your hands over your mouth to prevent unkind or false words. Take this exercise to a tougher level by loving the unloving. Perform daily reps.

                                             The Watch-and-Pray Plank
“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes” (Luke 12:37). Brace your inner core to avoid falling into temptation (Matthew 26:41). Maintain a prayerful mindset at all times, in all places. Remain on high alert for the Lord’s imminent return. Perform daily reps.

                                           Happy planking and stay blessed!



Click here  for Book Trailer





Monday, February 20, 2017

HEALTHY CHOICES & SPIRITUALITY



I am pleased to welcome Nate Stevens as my guest on this week's blog.  His book "Matched for Marriage, Meant for Life" is an inspirational and thought provoking book that will provide guidance as one make's decisions to marry. It is also helpful for those already married as they seek out answers to issues in their relationship.

Mr. Stevens presents us today with how we can make healthy choices as we consider our spirituality.




With the start of another year, I face the opportunity to make healthier choices than I made in previous years. From what I am feeling—and seeing on my bathroom scale—I know I have to. If you’re like me, the delicious snacks and extra helpings this holiday season did not work in our favor.

So I face the reality that God gave me only one body. It is my responsibility to keep it in the best shape possible to fulfill the mission and purpose God has for me. Yes, an occasional illness or a serious disease may ambush me; but my accountability as a steward of God’s resources encourages me to nourish and cherish my body, just as the Lord does the church (Ephesians 5:29).

I’m also growing more aware of the unforgiving effects of the pressures of life, ever-increasing age, and pull of gravity. The graying or receding hairline. Wrinkles and varicose veins. Muscles losing their youthful shape and tone. Declining stamina. Chronic or potentially terminal illnesses that require every ounce of resolve to overcome.

But, hallelujah, I have God’s glorious promise that I will one day exchange my weakening physical body for a glorified, renewed, and transformed body in heaven. Until such time, my charge is to take care of this earthly vessel.

I’ve come to realize my body is the temporary physical address where my spirit, mind, and soul reside. I use it to worship God, serve God, and interact with other people. My tangible, temporal body enables my intangible, eternal spirit, mind, and soul to express themselves and experience earthly life. Though my physical body may be “wasting away,” yet inwardly I am renewed every day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

See, our bodies belong to God and He wants us to use them to honor Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Over the years, I’ve heard some people say they can act as they wish since they own their bodies. (e.g., unhealthy choices, assisted suicide, abortion, drug use, etc.). But the reality is, we don’t own our bodies—they’re more like lifetime rentals. My earthly body is the temporary, earthly vehicle I use as the hands and feet of Jesus. What I own is the personal accountability for how I use it.

Now comes the hard part of balancing the abundant life Jesus came to give while also battling my earthly desires and my aggressive enemy.

Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10), not just eternally, but also presently. Of course, that abundance doesn’t imply the accumulation of everything our hearts desire. It is a satisfied, overflowing, and blessed life that requires balanced attention, development, and commitment—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. My responsibility is to avoid anything that restricts or harms my well-being while also maintaining healthy habits—yes, even when I don’t feel like it.

In addition, we have an enemy who wants to defeat us. God warns us that the devil actively and aggressively looks for someone to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Satan doesn’t limit his assault to just our spiritual aspect. He also attacks our minds, emotions, and bodies. If he can derail us from our life purposes through clouded minds, unstable emotions, or poor physical health, he will try.

                                                        So what are we to do?

Commit to physical health and well-being. Take care of the body God gave you. Maintain a healthy diet. Join a gym or a cycling team. Take an aerobics class. Plan a mountain hiking/biking vacation. Partner with your medical professional. Stay active, eat healthy, get periodic medical exams, and maintain overall physical wellness.

Commit to spiritual health and well-being. Take care of the spirit God gave you. Grow in grace and in His knowledge. Spend time daily in His Word, separating yourself from all distractions while listening quietly for His whisper. Join, serve, and worship at a local church. Put on the whole armor of God and align your lifestyle with His moral standard.

Commit to mental health and well-being. Take care of the mind God gave you. Along with daily Scripture reading, read something new every day. Learn a new hobby, skill, or language. Join a debate club. Find out what you believe and why you believe it.

Commit to emotional health and well-being. Take care of the soul God gave you. Find your affirmation in who God says you are. Accept His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Engage those who inspire, encourage, and mentor while avoiding the gossips, discouragers, and truth-stretchers.

Here’s to an awesome year, a healthy lifetime, and a lasting legacy!




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Excerpts from my book, Matched 4 Marriage – Meant 4 Life, Copyright 2011.