5 Ways to Improve Your Health

This topic is very broad and up for interpretation, depending on the diet and lifestyle you follow. If there is one thing I have learned over the years of studying health, it is that food is only one part of the equation of achieving a healthy state. It’s important to look at our health from a “whole” perspective. Here’s my interpretation of the top five practical ways to improve one’s health.

  1. God

Let’s face it: We really can’t be successful or happy without God giving us the strength and support we need each and every day. Having time with God every day, reading His Word, and joining a growth group or Bible study are all necessary parts of our overall well-being. We need fellowship with both God and our friends so we can walk out life together. When tough times come, you will be so grateful to have a community of believers to lift you up. We also need to remember, from a healthy living perspective, that our bodies are not our own—they belong to God. These vessels are gifts, and we should be taking excellent care of them so that when God calls us to action, we can obey without hesitation. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.”

  1. Stress management

In today’s world, it has become a social status to talk about how busy you are. This “go, go, go” mentality can lead to burnout, heartache, disappointment, anger, poor time management, and more. All of this leads to stress in your life, which in turn leads to extreme stress on your immune system by suppressing it. Overworking your adrenals promotes adrenal fatigue, which, in turn, can cause depression, low energy and other hormonal issues, leading to further health problems and weight issues. Stress is a major issue in our lives and culture, so taking time to rid your life of stress is crucial to your overall health—it’s by far the single most important thing you can do to help your long-term health.

  1. Eat more greens

Genesis 1:29-30 says, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”

Green plants were God’s original plan for our food as His creation. Plants are full of the micronutrients, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals we need to live healthy, disease-free lives. Eat the food God made in its most original form, and try to keep to organic. Stay away from boxed and processed foods, and eat food the way God intended it to be. This one step alone will indeed challenge you, but it can—and will—change your health.

  1. Get moving

Moving and getting the right amount of exercise not only makes us healthier and more confident from an appearance perspective, but it also provides a happiness effect. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, hiking, biking or paddle-boarding with your spouse or friends. The most common excuse people provide for not exercising is that they just don’t have the time. If this is true for you, then you need to go back to No. 2 and remove some stress from your life. You need to make time to move. To start, climbing the stairs instead of using elevators and escalators, and even parking in the farthest parking spot at the store and walking your cart back will give you that little bit of extra movement you may be lacking.

  1. Sleep

Sleep is so vital to our overall health—it’s when our bodies repair, build and refresh. Without sleep your immune system cannot fully operate and your body cannot fully repair injuries or other problems that may be present. Pay attention to the amount of caffeine you take in so that you can be assured of a restful night when you do go to sleep. Also, do not watch intense television shows or movies at night or do computer work—all of these things can stimulate your brain to the point of having a hard time turning off. People who lack sleep often suffer mild depression, anxiety and unmanaged stress.

Remember that none of the five actions above is good if viewed as a single entity—they are to be viewed in the context of part of an all-inclusive, holistic approach to overall health. If you spend intentional time making each of these a part of your everyday life, it will promote health and mitigate the risks of chronic disease and illness.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roxanne Hicks photoRoxanne Hicks is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about healthy living. She has been happily married to her husband Brian for 21 years and together they have three daughters. After years of raising a daughter with type-1 diabetes and helping extended family members battle cancer and weight issues, Roxanne decided to go back to school to learn more about how food plays a role in our overall health and well-being. She graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2013 with a certificate in health coaching. Roxanne then went on to complete the plant-based nutrition certificate program through Cornell University’s Center for Nutrition Studies. Roxanne loves to teach and help people to look at food from a different perspective, and to “see food as a way to heal and care for the amazing body God has blessed us all with.”

Learning Adaptability in the Unexpected

I had my doubts about having kids since my first marriage in 2001. My first husband and I were married five years, and I never had the “urge.” My clock wasn’t ticking—perhaps I was missing batteries. We divorced, and I went into a downward spiral of reckless dating, selfish ambitions, traveling, sex, booze and rock ‘n’ roll. I did what I wanted when I wanted. I was in an identity crisis that would last me seven years. I don’t regret all the time I journeyed through this wonderland rabbit hole, but I presume it could have been less painful. I was struggling, and it took me a long time to unravel my responsibilities.

I met my Vince in 2009 during an event that my best friend, Victoria Thomas, and I were coordinating for the community. It was called Justice Day, human trafficking awareness. He was the sound guy. Sparks flew, and we were inseparable. We eloped 12 months later.

Our relationship started off rough. He had a divorce and two kids. I had a divorce. He had his own struggles. I was in my identity crisis struggling with insecurity, bonding issues, mother wounds and father wounds. I was abused by a female when I was young and therefore struggled with sexual identity issues. I couldn’t keep close female friends and misplaced myself among men. I have a long line of sexual predators, sexual abuse victims, three murders and a lot of emotional detachment in my ancestry. What a legacy! To top it all off, I would have gone rushing back into the arms of my ex-husband at the drop of a hat. Perfect recipe for a happy marriage.

In 2012 Vince and I decided to renew our vows. Life was “surface-peachy” until one month before our renewal when my ex-husband suddenly passed away. I went into a deep depression. I lost my mind. Then, as I was well-trained to do, I stuffed it as far down as I could. I smiled and went on planning my beautiful vow renewal.

Two days after my vow renewal (which was lovely), my cup runneth over. I got our cell phone bill and WHAMMY. It showed me that Vince was corresponding with another cell phone user way more than me. I went into a panic attack, and I was spinning out of control. When I got in touch with Vince, he slowly confessed his need for an unbiased connection—I was in my basket of stuff, and he needed an outlet. Amid the news of the emotional affair, Vince also admitted his closet drinking to numb his pain. We were in bad shape. We did the only thing we hadn’t done yet: We exposed ourselves to our pastors, ran to Jesus, dove into community, became very vulnerable, booked into counseling and lay in ICU for the next year.

After a year of intensive work, we said our little prayer: “God, we are making plans, but please direct our steps. Amen.” And then scheduled a vasectomy for Sept. 9. However, two days before the procedure, my period was late. I took a pee test and WHAMMY. What the heck?! No way. Holy schnikies, PINK. Oh Lord. (I didn’t really respond too much.)

I thought for sure I would miscarry and this whole thing would end. There was no way I could bond with a baby. I didn’t have the capacity. I was barely out of intensive care. The kicker came when I saw she was a girl! I went home, sat alone and I lost my cookies. It was the first and last time I cried in anger about my pregnancy. It came with a vengeance. Wailing. I was so mad at God: “How could He do this?! I would never bond with a girl! She would end up a victim. How would I protect her in this family legacy? This was horrid. God is cruel.”

The rest of my pregnancy I was completely detached and “un”expecting. Livvy Lou Luchetta came into the world May 23, 2014, at 42 weeks and 1 day gestation. The day after she was born, I was smitten. I cried and cried. I fell in love—deep love. I found compassion. I found a new understanding. I finally understood love. I began to forgive people. I started seeing things through new eyes. God even started to heal my relationship with my own mom. And I could bond! This was a creative, unexpected, miracle blessing from God.

When we had Livvy, Vince and I were so blessed to have five weeks off together. During that time, we found new direction. We decided that both of us needed to raise Livvy. We would do whatever possible to bring her a simple, organic life, loving God and loving people. Her mom and dad would share the intentional task of resourcing her life into adulthood. Vince and I both changed our work hours down to part-time and simplified our expenses. We made purposeful, value-driven decisions to shrink the gap of disconnect between what we want and what we have. The path we have chosen for our family is not easy, but it’s life-giving and fruitful.Luchetta Family photos

Not everyone can copy what we have done, but anyone can bring their own vision closer to reality by taking intentional steps. You may be surprised by the unexpected. I hope that my days with Livvy will be life-giving and teach her adaptability in a world of unexpected outcomes. Her life has taught me that very lesson.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Bio photoBethany Luchetta has been doing Real Estate for the last 10 years. She is currently a business owner and Real Estate Broker for Feel Good Property Management & Sales in Carlsbad, California. She has been married for 5 years to her hubby-poo, Vincent. Together they have a vibrant toddler, Livvy Lou. They are also blessed with Vince’s two older daughters, Paige (11) and Makayla (15). Bethany loves to write and will one day return to finish her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy so she can help other families navigate the adventures of life.

Finding My Way Home

My name is Kasey Pockell, and I am a military wife, a working mother of 6-year-old twins and a daughter of our Lord and Savior. Although most days are incredibly full, I am thankful for the job I have to help provide for my family, a family to love and a husband to support through the journey that has been so graciously laid out for me. I didn’t grow up in the church and can only remember two times as a child ever going to church. Neither was under good circumstances. By the time I became an adult, it seemed I was far too behind to ever “catch up” to be a Christian. But God had such big plans for me. He created this amazing man that would steal my heart and help me to find my way home. I met my husband a few months before he was leaving for boot camp, so we both knew our friendship was a temporary one. God had a different plan. Brandon did leave nine months later, but what I was not prepared for was his taking my heart along with him.

I don’t know that anyone can prepare for a long distance relationship. All I can say is that for Brandon and me, some of our best communication over the years has been via email and letters. It is hard to describe the excitement of opening up the mailbox to a handwritten letter from the one you love and long for. I credit much of our ability to face challenging situations and come together to the many months we had to find a way to connect with very limited resources. When Brandon received his first set of orders for San Diego I knew that in order to be together I would need to relocate. And thus began our journey. The next four years would push us far beyond our limits and test us as individuals and as a couple. We went through two deployments, which, if I am truly honest, nearly broke me. I did not know the Lord, and I remember living in fear and suffering with such anxiety it was hard to breathe some days. My husband would email me seemingly so calm and would say, “Have faith, Babe. It’s all going to be okay.” I wanted to jump through the computer and strangle him … Have faith? What did that even mean? And why aren’t you as worried about everything as I am? Oh those were some days of struggle! By the end of the second deployment I was ready for Brandon to be home and to finally start a family of our own. His four-year contract was complete and, just like that, without a plan or a clue as to what was to come, he was officially a reservist. In less than a month we were pregnant. So with our lack of planning career-wise and then the amazing news that we were having not one baby, but twins, the Lord knew we needed to be brought back home to our roots, ultimately to find Him.

One chilly April morning we walked into a hospital in Spokane as a couple, Twins newbornand three days later left as a family of four. That was my moment. Seeing my beautiful and healthy little babies was the defining moment when I knew there was something, Someone much bigger than this world, or me and I wanted to know Him. Finally, the fear of not knowing anything about religion or what it even meant to be a Christian left me. I wanted and needed to know more, if not for me then for these little lives that were truly so precious. I could not imagine not thanking the Lord for this miracle. I was finally ready to put pride aside, and I began to ask my husband questions. He was raised in a Christian home and was very patient with all my curiosities. He was very gracious and excited to go down this path with me. He went on a mission trip that would prove to be another pivotal moment. It pushed our faith to a whole new level. I returned to that same mission a year later and saw the building he and his team had begun and how far things had progressed in a year’s time. Shortly after he returned from his trip, we were both baptized. He was baptized first, and then he baptized me, no one I would have rather been on this journey with. His ability to encourage me and show me grace in my moments of insecurity helped me to continue seeking the Lord each day.

When we were blessed to receive active duty orders back to San Diego in 2013, I knew this was the second chance for which we had been praying for four years. We were here about five or six weeks when Brandon deployed with his current ship. Oh what a different experience this nine-month deployment would be from the first two we had previously walked through! We soon discovered a church that felt like home, and instead of Welcome homeworrying 99% of the time, I prayed. I am thankful for the time of reflection and growth that this deployment brought. I learned to lean on the Lord in ways I had never experienced before, and for that I am grateful. As we prepare for another nine months apart, I reflect on where we have been and how far the Lord has brought us. I know that the time apart will not be without struggle, but “these trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” 1 Peter 1:7 NLT.

When people say, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never be a military wife,” I find myself struggling to explain that it is truly the most rewarding and honorable thing to stand by someone who stands to protect our freedom every day. I live a blessed life, and I know the sacrifice that was given in order for me to live it. I praise God every day for the courage to grow in Him and the strength to raise my children to know Him and love him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Family PicHello, I am Kasey (with a ‘K’) Pockell, originally from Spokane Washington. I currently enjoy the art of juggling working full-time, raising 6-year-old twins and all the activities that go along with them. My husband and I recently bought a home in San Marcos, which has ignited the designer in me. Thank you Jesus for such passion. We are getting prepared for our fourth deployment, which is fast approaching early next year. We look forward to connecting more with our church family and community.

The Source of My Worth

Identity in Christ. This is an area I fought and struggled with when Joe and I first started attending The Father’s House in January 2004. I was far too concerned with what others thought of me and felt that I needed to look and do everything perfectly to have value. Learning the lesson that my value lies simply in being a daughter of the King was something that I grew to feel confident in, and because I had struggled so greatly, it’s an area I’ve devoted a good amount of time in prayer for my own daughters.

I thought this was a battle that I had fully conquered (with God’s beautiful and loving help, of course), until I became pregnant with my 5th daughter. I am usually sick in my pregnancies until around 16 weeks, so when it hadn’t worn off by week 20 I started initially to feel just kinda bummed. Then around week 24 I was suddenly hit with depression. I prayed and asked some people to be praying for me. Then our precious Lord so sweetly helped me to realize the source of my depression. In one word it was worthlessness.

You see, I take great delight in serving my family and taking care of them. I also love to help others through bringing gifts and meals, and here I was, pretty much full time sick in bed for six months. I hadn’t been able to do the things that I so greatly enjoy doing, so I was not only mourning that but also realizing that I had an unhealthy worth attached to it. There is nothing like being sick in bed for months to really check the source of your worth if you enjoy taking care of others as I do.

In my private crying out to the Lord and through some texting with a close friend, I was able to see this precious lesson the Lord was teaching me through this time. I am a daughter of the most high King and even if I was to never again be able to serve my family or anyone else in this life, my value is just the same. It cannot be earned or even maintained. It simply is because that is how my precious God made it to be.

My friend encouraged me to soak up this forced time of rest and let my children learn to serve me and our family the way that I had always done. This was a huge turning point for me. Being able to lie still without guilt is huge! I mean, there is always a to-do list that’s miles long that I can never seem to accomplish, and now I am lucky if I cross one thing off my list in a day. Lying in bed directing traffic may sound wonderful to some, but it was misery for me. I’m learning to embrace it, though. I see the value in my children learning to work hard around the house and grow in compassion for me and for each other. I cannot tell you how precious it is when I receive texts from my teenager asking if I’m doing ok, or when any of them willingly doing more than their fair share to help around the house. Even my 2-year-old notices when I’m especially sick and lays her sweet little hands on me and prays.

Believe me, it isn’t always this picture perfect, but I can look at all God has been accomplishing through this time (not to mention growing a sweet little baby girl) and feel content. I trust my God so completely. He has proven himself trustworthy time and time again. No trial ever has been or ever will be wasted.

So may I encourage you, if you’re feeling down on yourself in a certain area, cry out to God about it. Get prayer from a trusted friend and/or elder at church. All He wants is to bring you into more freedom so you can fully feel and express His love to this dying world. I pray right now, sweet sister who is reading this, that God, the greatest gentleman ever, would so sweetly show you an area where you might have undue attached worth. I pray that he would bring healing to any hurt you have in that area, and that you would trust it to Him. Amen. You are beautiful and oh so loved, precious daughter of the King! I pray you know it deep within your heart and live each day confidently in that knowledge.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

unnamed-2My name is Andrea Pinner. I’ve been married to my handsome husband for 16 years. We got married shortly before we both turned 20 and it’s been a challenging and beautiful ride. God has used our complete opposite personalities and giftings to bring great refinement and glory to Himself. We have four wonderful daughters and I’m pregnant with our 5th daughter due in January. I am passionate about sharing the love of Christ practically with those around me, and encouraging women in the struggles we all face so we can overcome them in Christ.