Most Valuable Player = Motivate Validate Praise That’s ME (and all my TOPS friends!)
What is TOPS?
TOPS is a national organization designed to help folks like me Take Off Pounds Sensibly and keep those pounds off. It is not a diet program, but a supportive organization that focuses on Mind Over Platter. Sensible meal choices, portion control, and self-control are three of the ways TOPS encourages reaching and keeping healthy weight goals.
I joined TOPS in 2012 shortly after Bob & I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. I saw myself in those anniversary photos and said, “Who’s that???” I had gained 20 pounds in about twenty years – a pound a year. It just crept up so slowly that I didn’t notice how out-of-shape I was! See those chubby cheeks? I needed help to get back to my goal weight.
Today I am back down those 20 pounds and am encouraged each week when I go to my TOPS meeting to keep the pounds off. I have to face the scale and tell my TOPS friends (most of whom are KOPS – Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) whether I gained, lost, or “turtled” this week. (Turtling is staying the same.) That accountability is important to me.
I was the happy TOPS “Best Loser” today. Every 1/4 lb. counts. I lost 1/2 lb. (Yay!!) It’s so easy to put the pounds on this time of year. I think of my TOPS friends and that scale every time I put a piece of candy or a Christmas cookie in my mouth. I am not asked to deny myself… Just be smart about how much and when I eat those sweets!
Is Weight Watching Part of Your Routine?
If, like me, you have to watch what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat – or you are prone to gain unwanted pounds, you might also look into seeing if there is a group like TOPS in your vicinity. The dues are only $5 per month. There are no foods you have to buy. No extra costs. Just a wonderful group of supportive friends. I am so grateful to my TOPS friends.
I encourage you to seek friends who are MVPs for you, too. Motivators Validators Positive friends who Praise and encourage you.
Winnie the Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
Yesterday at church, the smallest people there took up the largest place in my heart… and the hearts of the congregants. I didn’t have my camera with me to show you a picture of the “Terrific Tuesday” children who sang Christmas carols to the congregation and recited a memorized Bible verse into the microphone. But, you just have to imagine these three darlings along with five others ranging in age from 4 to 10 – – – singing and reciting praises to our Lord. It was glorious!
Ruby, Cord, and Hailey were joined by five others yesterday as they sang, “Father Abraham,” and “Silent Night,” and synced hand motions to “I’ve Got Peace Like a River”… Oh my! Every face in the church was bursting with God’s JOY as we watched these darling little ones.
Elaine Hundley, our Pastor Steve’s wife, delivered the sermon. Steve is off in Virginia at his mom’s side as she lies dying. As we pray for Steve and his mom, Faye, our congregation also is mourning the death of Reverend Jean Johnson, who died after a difficult surgery and related difficulties. She had been the pastor here in the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church for 32 years.
If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen and internalize the sermon. Elaine called her sermon, “Second Chances” as she talked about Zechariah’s muteness due to unbelief – and the second chance he received after acknowledging his baby boy’s name is John. In my notes, I focused more on the message to Mary – and her response to Gabriel and to God. Here is what I wrote as I discerned the message yesterday. I called it Believe and Trust:
Based on Luke 1:26-56
Think about Gabriel’s messages To Zechariah and to Mary. He told each their child’s name And spoke as if a voice from a fairy.
Zechariah was a priest and he Should have believed the voice. But he doubted – and became mute. Like Zechariah, we have a choice.
We can believe as Mary did, Or doubt as Zechariah chose to do. The result of Mary’s faith Was rich in blessings. So it is with you.
When God speaks to us, we know Blessings are ours – if we trust. Through faith, we are free to rejoice; We are free to believe – We must!
Mary’s song speaks as if God Already has done what He said. She praises the gift of His Son. She didn’t look on her fate with dread.
Sometimes, like Mary, we face unknowns. Like her, we are called to accept The challenges God gives us as gifts. Know God’s in charge, so have no regrets.
Christmas is a season in which, as we light the Advent candle – there is a new focus each week. We await the birth of the Christ Child with a focus on JOY this week. I pray you find JOY in this day – and project nothing but HOPE, PEACE and JOY to all you meet.
As Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” What’s taking up room in your heart today?
Look for the smallest ways to believe, trust, and spread the Good News! Wheeee!! Take JOY into your heart! (It’s no small thing.)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I hope it brought you JOY today. See ya later.
The season of Christmas is one of my favorites. It’s a time to socialize with friends and to shop. It’s a time to enjoy the great outdoors on the slopes. It’s a time for cards and cookies and eat ’til you pop!
What are you up to? What’s your favorite kind of fun this time of the year? Have some “Christmas Time Fun” and tell me all about it!
I have a dear friend in California who is sending inspirational scripture with music and devotionals each day during this season of Advent. Today she sent a link to a song that started my day with a smile.
The song, composed in the minor key, is perfect for this season. Do you know it? The choir and soloists are superb:
“Come to set us free, come to make us your own. Come to show the way to your people, your chosen. Open our lives to the light of your promise. Come to our hearts with healing, come to our minds with power, come to us and bring us your life.”
For me, Advent is the season of Adventure – a season of reaching out to others in love while we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child each Christmas.
I know many of my readers are people of other faiths, and I respect your right to worship the One God in your chosen way. But, I hope you feel a sense of greater love, more generous giving, and the promised peace during this holiday time of the year. I hope the drama, the stress, and the conflict are minimized in your life… and you can find JOY in the hustle and bustle of the season.
Gracious God, Be with my Word Press friends this season. Bring them JOY and PEACE. Help them live with compassion and reach out in love. In His name I pray, Amen.
Happy Second Sunday of Advent, my friends! It’s the Sunday devoted to the subject of JOY.
Last year at this time, as I looked forward to Christmas and New Years, I was thinking about what to give for presents. I also gave thought to what I was wishing for… what I was expecting for Christmas and for the year to come. I posted this wish for 2019:
Joyfully, I can report that we have been blessed with good health and a wealth of friends and loving family, and blissful days. Not EVERY day was perfect, of course, – we all face challenges from time to time – but I am eternally thankful – daily for the JOY and peace and the love that are mine.
And now we are back in that holiday season again – looking forward to Christmas and the new year. As a congregation of worshipers, we all were drawn into that expectant mood today.
Here are my sermon notes. (If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know I take notes poetically as I listen to the sermon each Sunday.)
Today in church, Pastor Steve Hundley’s message was titled, “What Are You Expecting?”
What are you expecting for Christmas? Reindeer on your rooftop or Santa Claus Coming down your chimney? Better reset your sights because…
Clyde came dressed up as Santa. He was a crusty old guy, And he looked like Ghandi. But the problem was, he was high.
Clyde was high on Moonshine. He was a jolly old soul, But I was not impressed. Clyde was far from my expected goal.
I was expecting the real Santa, And I knew Clyde wasn’t he. Like expectations of Santa, The world is waiting expectantly…
For the birth of a Savior King, And instead here comes a baby, Born in a lowly stable. He’s not the King He’s s’posed to be!
John the Baptist predeicted The coming of this Royal King. He spoke of confession and judgement. He told the world about everything…
God’s prophets of old had proclaimed, “A Savior of Priestly stock would come.” John was so convincing, folks thought He might in fact be God’s promised Son.
But John assured them Jesus was The Savior King they’d waited for. Even though Jesus was loving and kind, Not the Leader with sword. They wanted more…
More of what they had expected. “Are you really the One?” they inquired. “Don’t look elsewhere; just see what I’ve done – Go,” Jesus said. “Go and be inspired.”
Jesus reminded them that He was Indeed doing what Isaiah said: “The blind will see; the deaf shall hear; The lame will walk. Believe I AM Christ. GOD IS NOT DEAD!”
Have a Wonderful Sunday! I hope you are expecting the Risen Christ! He’s coming again, you know.
What do you think might be three things you need in life?
You NEED food, air and water. But do you need to impress? Is recognition one of your needs? That’s linked to that need to impress.
I found this quote some time ago and saved it. Sorry I don’t know who said or wrote it:
“To thrive in life you need three bones. A wishbone. A backbone. And a funny bone.”
I saved the wish bone from our Thanksgiving turkey! I’m waiting for the right person to share it with.
I’ve got the funny bone – carry it with me always.
Think I’ll borrow that backbone up there! (Actually mine is pretty sturdy!)
How about you?
It’s been a busy season in these six days of December so far. What have you been up to?
Today I invited a friend come to our house mid-day, and she helped me decorate our Christmas tree.. It looks great, don’t you agree?
Last night we helped my friend, Bernice, celebrate her 87th birthday. Take a look at her. Don’t you agree she could pass for 70?
This morning I baked cookies to donate to our Madison County Library. They gave them to people who came by the Library during this afternoon’s “Christmas Stroll” in Ennis.
After baking cookies, I met with our Madison County Writers’ Group – and we spent a delightful hour and a half together. We started with a “Free Write” on the topic we drew from a hat… My Favorite Season. We had 15 minutes to create an essay, poem, or some kind of reflection on the topic. This is what I wrote:
My Favorite Season
Seasons come and seasons go There are winters, summers, falls and springs; But the season that appeals most to me Is the one that stays because of what it brings.
It brings my favorite music and stunning colors. It brings loving generosity and untold joys. It prompts people throughout the world To open hearts with gifts for needy girls and boys.
The trees all sparkle with snow and lights. The houses hang wreaths and let candles glow. The bells ring out to announce the reason For my favorite season: the birth of Christ, you know?
The season brings out the best in us. It helps us open wide our arms in love To show gratitude for the gift He promises Eternal life with our God above.
After Writers’ Group, I went home to do the Christmas tree decorating before going to meet with the “Ennis Ringers.” We had our picture on the front page of the local paper this week. Can you see me front and center back row?
The Madisonian, our local newspaper published a nice article about us this week. I am first in the picture below. My bells are the smallest ones (notes of F and G ring out when I am in the right spot in the music).
I would post a video so you can hear us, but for some reason, WordPress is not allowing me to include it here. I’ve posted videos in the past, so I don’t understand the glitch.
Oh well, maybe it will let me post the video tomorrow. As the news article indicates, the “Ennis Ringers” will play again this Sunday at our church.
Yesterday I had fun at our annual Madison Valley Woman’s Club Christmas luncheon. My buddy, Lucy Ennis can be seen here in red with one of our new members who is an activities director at our local nursing home.
The ladies from the nursing home really went all out with their Christmas costumes. There’s evidence of that “Funny Bone” we all need!
Below is one of my favorite people, Bev Claussen. Her reindeer antlers light up and blink!
Remember a second bone we all need is a “Back bone.” Our Woman’s Club Executive Board is the “back bone” of this very active group of ladies. They provided a delicious lunch for the more than 50 ladies who showed up for this event. (Remember, we are a community of only 1,000 residents in Ennis – so this is quite a lively organization!).
Besides the back bone and the funny bone, we need a wish bone, right? And we need food, air and shelter. Here you see the food; earlier you saw the butterfly that adorns the air we breathe. And in my home, with the tree decorated, you witnessed my beautiful “shelter.” What about the wish bone?
Before she blew out her candles. my friend, Bernice made a wish.
I don’t know what her wish was, but I know my wishes are for you:
May you always have all the good food, clean air, and lovely shelter you need. May you always have a back bone, a funny bone, and a wish bone. And May the bells of joy ring in your land and bring you peace…