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How to Deal With the Aftermath of Being Cat-Fished

December, 2016, January, 2017

M A G A Z I N E

How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever!

7 Signs You Are A Drama Queen

Finding the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding in Your Life How to Start Over (Itâ€&#x;s Never Too Late)

6 Men Women Should Avoid How to Cope With Spending the Holidays Alone

Meet Allen Parr 6 Women Men Should Avoid

Social Mediaâ€&#x;s Newest Uprising Bible Teacher

"I Wanted to Die, But God Said No" - A Personal Testimony


Let Us Worship and Bow Down


To the King of Kings

The Christmas Story is the exciting true story of the birth of Jesus. It is a story of hope as Jesus grows to fulfill the mission given to him by God


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64


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Contents December, 2016/January, 2017

Inside This Issue

61

15

 How Do I Turn My Life Over to God -- 15  Don’t Forget to Forget – 21  Are You a Christian Who Has Unplugged – 25  "I Wanted to Die, But God Said No" A Personal Testimony – 29

Relationships:  6 Women Men Should Avoid– 33  6 Men Women Should Avoid– 37

33  How to Deal With The Aftermath of

Image The Beat with Allen Parr

Spiritual Wellness:

Being Cat-Fished -- 41

Personal Wellness:

Meet Allen Parr Social Media‟s Newest Uprising Bible Teacher

 How to Cope with Spending the Holidays Alone -- 45  How to Start Over (It’s Never Too Late) -

45 51

 Finding the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding in Your Life – 57

In The Spotlight:

61  Meet Allen

Parr: Social Media’s Newest Uprising Bible Teacher - 61

10 Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017

Cover Photo Courtesy The Beat with Allen Parr


Also in this issue… 13 Letter from the Editor 22 A Minute with Farnoosh Torabi 39 7 Reasons We Don’t Take Care of Ourselves by Joyce Meyer 67 7 Signs You Are a Drama Queen 69 Look What We Found on Pinterest 75 How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever! 83 Cooking with Judy Kim

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 11


Letter From the Editor

Editor’s Corner

Praise the Lord My Brothers and Sisters in Christ! First giving all glory and honor unto the Lord Jesus Christ for without Him in my life, nothing I could ever do would amount to anything! With every issue, we strive to bring to our readers articles which can enhance and enlighten their walk with the Lord as well as articles to help with our every day lifestyles But even with all of that being said, if we don‘t place God first in our lives, nothing we do will ever amount to anything because we need Him to bless our efforts and steer us in the right direction with our goals With the holiday‘s quickly approaching, I want to take this time to say ‗Happy Holiday‘s‘ to each and everyone of you and pray for a safe, holiday season for all of us. Remember, keep Christ in Christmas because He is the reason for this season of giving and thanksgiving I want to personally thank all of our fans and readers for their continued support of this ministry which is striving and for that I am grateful Our goal is to continue being a resource for Christians and others for years to come and with your support we can keep this publication available free of charge always on our digital platform Pray for us as we continue to pray for you and thank you for reading this issue of Blessed Magazine God bless you! Your Humble Servant in Christ,

Laraine Turner Editor-in-Chief

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 13


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Spiritual Wellness

How Do I Turn My Life Over to

God? By Jack Wellman

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 15


Spiritual Wellness How Do I Turn My Life Over to God? How can we turn our life over to God? What does it look like to do this? What can we do to help us turn our life over to God? DOING THE WILL OF GOD Jesus Himself submitted to the Father and to His will saying ―For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me‖ (John 6:38). Even at the cross He prayed ―Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will‖ (Mark 14:36). Jesus was co-equal in power to God the Father but willingly submitted to His will since ―being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross‖ (Phil 2:6-8) and because of this willful submission, ―God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father‖ (Phil 2:9-11). As you can read, this didn‘t mean Jesus was inferior to the Father but only submitting to the Father. Submitting does not mean someone is less than someone else. CRUCIFYING THE FLESH Turning your life over to God means turning 16 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

your own will over to Him and this means you have to put your own interests behind the interests of God. Paul wrote that ―those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires‖ (Gal 5:24) for it was as if ―our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin‖ (Rom 6:6). Paul went so far as to say ―I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me‖ (Gal 2:20) and so if we ―walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh‖ (Gal 5:16) and we‘ll be in submission to Christ as Paul said ―through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world‖ (Gal 6:14).

Image Credit: Guideposts

DYING TO SELF If we are truly submitting to God this means we are dying to ourselves. That is we are dying to our own desires, wants, and passions of the flesh and turning our lives over to God for Him to use for His purposes and for His glory for nothing else matters in


Spiritual Wellness in this life than to do the will of God. What does this look like? Paul writes ―For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God‖ (Rom 8:13-14). For those who have been born again, they had to first put the old man or woman to death as Paul explains ―Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life‖ (Rom 6:3-4) and ―if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin‖ (Rom 6:5-6). We are set free by the death of the old man or woman because the ―one who has died has been set free from sin‖ (Rom 6:7) and ―if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him‖ (Rom 6:8). That is why ―you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus‖ (Rom 6:11).

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS Jesus told those who would follow Him ―If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me‖ (Matt 16:24) because ―Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me‖ (Matt 10:38). Not only are they not worthy of Christ ―whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple‖ (Luke 14:27). When Jesus chose the disciples He simply told them ―Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men‖ (Mark 1:17). Did Jesus ask them what they thought or if they wanted to do this or did the disciples have to stop and think about it? No, ―At once they left their nets and followed him‖ (Mark 1:18). There is no sign of hesitation on their part. There is no indication that they stopped to talk it over…they simply left their nets and followed Him. It sounds simple enough but by their leaving their nets, they were leaving all that they had ever known. They left everything that was familiar to them; their job security, their earning a living, their family, their friends…everything! I don‘t think we give them enough credit because they did just what Abraham did in a sense as Abraham left all to go to a place he‘d never seen, called by a God that he‘d never known. How about you; how about me? Will we turn our life over to God? If we will, this means that we must be willing to step out in faith and go into areas that are unfamiliar territory to us. CONCLUSION

Image by Church of Latter Day Saints

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 17


Spiritual Wellness If we truly are to turn our life over to God, it means that we will put God‘s will over our own, we will follow Christ wherever He leads us; we will die to our own self, meaning our passions, desires, and wants; we will be crucifying the flesh which is our natural, earthly desires, and we will take up our cross and put to death the old man or woman because we‘ve become new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and all things will be new, like new desires to obey God, new passions for the things of God, and a new will that matches closely to that of the Father. Easy to say but so very hard to do but through Christ, we can do all things (Phil 4:13).

18 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017


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Spiritual Wellness

to Forget! By Vincent Egoro

―This one thing I do forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.‖ – St. Paul. Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 21


Spiritual Wellness Many of us are still brooding over the past. We are still weeping over that lost relationship; that lost job, that misfortune; that death; that betrayal; those wrong words we said; those things we failed to do that led us into failure and so on. But folks brooding over the past, however foolish, devastating, painful it has been is unhelpful and a complete waste of strength and opportunities of the present. There is an old Japanese proverb that says, ―My skirt with tears is always wet, I have forgotten to forget.‖ Unfortunately today, many of us have forgotten to forget and that is why our lives aren‘t growing and we are still experiencing difficulties. If this is the case with you, adopt the attitude of St. Paul who forgot the things that were in the past behind him, whether they were mistakes, disappointments, and failures or they were achievements and success. He left them in their place – behind him and instead focusing on the life ahead of him, the many new possibilities of the future; the new love; the new achievements and channeled all his energy, thinking, and resources towards attaining them. Stop sitting down and complaining about the past and wishing for a better future. The most a wish can do for you is, bring a smile to your face just once. Wishes don‘t come true by simply wishing. Your life will be as beautiful or as ugly as how you live daily…in the steps you take towards turning your dreams into reality. Live your greatest life! 22 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

A Minute with Farnoosh Torabi

Hiding Your Achievements? ―Women use an endless list of tactics to seem less threatening,‖ to their male partners, writes Jessica Bennett. And ―it‘s not necessarily a conscious choice. Women who‘ve been trained to be effective at work don‘t always have a template for how to be in a relationship,‖ she continues. I completely understand. So much that Jessica included one of my own little marital ―tactics‖ in her story: letting my husband pay when we‘re in public. Am I crazy? Anti-feminist? Backwards? Well, one could say all of the above (and boy, have I heard it!) But for us, this is just part of the new dance we‘ve developed as an untraditional couple that deeply acknowledges our emotions, upbringing and hardwiring. My Persian brain, for instance, is used to seeing the man take charge of the bill, so when we‘re at a restaurant, Tim uses the joint credit card that I pay in full every month. It may sound utterly ridiculous to some, but for me, it‘s like a public display of affection. And when we are with my family, it‘s comforting for my parents to see Tim settle a bill, too. I guess this is, in some weird way, our performance. Tim and I may live in a progressive society, but our parents remain old-fashioned when it comes to money and gender roles. And we are happy catering to their needs (and mine) in this manner.


Embracing Singleness and Loneliness This booklet is compiled with inspirations to encourage you while embracing the Lord through those periods of single and loneliness

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Spiritual Wellness

Are You a Christian Who Has

Unplugged? By Laraine Turner

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 25


Spiritual Wellness John 15:5 – I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing Young Bobby was involved in an accident which landed him in the hospital on life support. After many months of being supported by the life support system, the doctors finally advised his parents that it was actually useless to continue with the treatment. Bobby‘s Mother told the hospital staff that as long as her son was supported by the life support system, she was not going to give up on him and to keep him connected. Little did the doctors know that the leap of faith little Bobby‘s Mother had to keep him connected, would eventually pay off as little Bobby awakened out of his coma weeks later

as sin creeps in, our blood supply from Jesus decreases and soon we die and are completely fallen away To ensure that you stay connected to Jesus, you must and I can‘t say this with enough emphasis, you must stay in His Word, on your knees in prayer and crucify the carnal man through fasting. Talk and walk with Jesus daily….He enjoys this My fellow connected!

brother

and

sisters,

Stories like this is the same as it is for believers today to stay connected to Jesus through His BLOOD! Jesus said that He is the VINE which is our life support system. Without us being connected and covered through the BLOOD of Jesus, we are dead! Dead spiritually!!! Believers are connected like branches on a tree to Jesus. Once we stop believing and obeying the Word of God, we fall away and like a branch, fall to the ground and die and become good for nothing but to place in fire We know when we are falling away. It is no mystery. We don‘t wake up in the morning and say ‗OMG, I am no longer connected to Jesus!‘ Falling away occurs gradually when we allow sin to creep back into our life. And,

26 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

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Spiritual Wellness

"I Wanted to Die, But God Said No" – A Personal Testimony By Paula Hardin

I have had a lifelong depression that started when I was around six years old. I remember feeling very alone. I first tied to end my life by taking some sleeping pills. My family wanted to just sweep it under the rug. I went years without any medication. As the years went on I became more depressed

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 29


Spiritual Wellness Five years ago I was in a real stressful job. I had to put a smile on my face like I was so happy. I was dying inside a little more each day. At this time in my life I didn't know Christ. I did not grow up in church and I was not afraid to die. I went for three months daily telling myself I wanted to die. I started to distance myself from my family. I then convinced myself they would be better off without me. I decided that March 6, 2006 was the day I was going to die.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

I said goodbye to my co-workers knowing I would never see them again. I went home and actually shot myself in the chest. The moment after, I screamed "OH GOD!― I had called His name.

My husband came home just in time and called 911. I remember it got real dark when all of a sudden there was this white bright light. It was very calming. I began to see this little girl running in real green grass. The colors were so vivid. As I looked closer the little girl was me. The next thing I remember I was around 13; I don't remember the

30 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

picture - I just know I was happy. The last thing I remember I was looking at myself getting married in 1985. I was not at the same level as before. I was up looking down at the altar, when all of a sudden the movie just closed up. I awoke and the paramedic's was working on me. I awoke three days later in the hospital. I testified what had happened to me not long after I awoke. I knew it was a Divine Intervention. The doctors was amazed I had survived. My life changed that day. I am blessed by the grace of God. I knew there was a God and no one was to tell me different. For years I lived with tremendous guilt. I became involved in a local church when I was invited by a dear friend. I enjoyed it and liked the pastor. I was baptized in April 2009. I have learned that God forgives us for our sins. I have been truly blessed. I attend therapy and take a combination of medications. I am a member of the Depression and Bipolar Support Association and we meet twice a month. I believe I survived to help others with depression. I have written many things and I have also done a live show on the internet regarding suicide. If I can just help one person with my story then I have made a difference. I have finally found peace in God


One of the strongest foundations on this earth is FAMILY Steps for a Strong Foundation in Jesus Read the Bible Together Pray Together Go to Church Together Communicate with Each Other Blessed Magazine


Relationships

6 Women Men Should

Avoid By Jack Wellman

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 33


Relationships Here are six women Christian men should avoid dating or, most certainly, considering for marriage.

A Woman Who Doesn‟t Believe

in church or in public, but you can also tell by her regard for children in general during conversations. There is nothing more revealing about a person‘s character than the way they react to children when encountered.

This is the most important factor of all. Since we are commanded to not be unequally yoked with nonbelievers, then how much more so should a man not even consider dating someone who doesn‘t believe (2 Cor 6:14)? A Christian man should never consider dating an unbeliever, just as no woman should ever think about dating a nonbelieving man. It‘s foolish to think that you can date her and lead her to saving faith in Christ. This could certainly backfire on you.

Women Who Don‟t Put God First This may be one of the greatest factors for men to consider in not dating a woman. If a woman never puts God first, then she may be putting herself first. If she doesn‘t put God first, then she‘ll likely have you way down on her priority list, too. No woman or man, for that matter, who doesn‘t seek God and His kingdom first and foremost (Matt 6:33) should ever be dated

Women Who Don‟t Like Children Men should avoid dating any woman who doesn‘t like children. What happens if this arrangement leads to marriage and later on there are children born into your family? You can sense how she might be around children

34 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Women Who Don‟t Pray If you are considering dating a woman but have never had any inclination that this woman prays, then this could be a sign that she would not be a good match for you. I believe that prayer is the pulse of the believer‘s spiritual life, and if there is no prayer, there is no pulse.

Women Who Speak Ill of Their Parents Do you know how this woman treats her mother? How does she speak about her


Relationships father? Is there a good relationship with her parents? If you have started to date or are considering dating a woman, first meet her parents or ask her about her parents and see how she speaks about them. If there is no natural respect or love for her parents, maybe you could ask her why. No one has perfect parents, of course, but that doesn‘t mean we shouldn‘t still try to honor them

Women With Warning Signs Another type of woman who men should not consider dating is one who drinks in excess or has a substance abuse problem. There are warning signs that are sometimes present, such as drinking early in the day or taking an inordinate amount of pills, even if they are prescribed. She may have a valid reason for taking medicine, but if you sense in your heart that something is wrong, ask her why she might be taking certain medications. There is nothing wrong with asking someone you are considering dating a few questions if you have concerns. A woman who‘s not trying to hide anything shouldn‘t have any hesitation in addressing your concerns.

Conclusion Before a man dates any woman, be as sure as you can that she‘s been born again and has shown fruits of conversion (John 15). Dating can often lead to marriage, but no marriage is always better than a bad one because it could lead to a potential divorce, and God never intended for a man and a woman to divorce, but to marry until death do they part. Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 35


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Relationships

6 Men Women Should

Avoid By Jack Wellman

In a previous article, Pastor Jack Wellman outlined 6 women a Christian man should avoid, but what about a Christian woman seeking companionship? Pastor Jack Wellman didn‘t forget about us. He‘s also outlined 6 men, women should avoid… Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 37


Relationships Here are six types of men that you should avoid in having a friendship or a relationship with:

Men Who Don‟t Put God First I believe that this one is the most important of all. If a man doesn‘t put God first in His life then he‘ll likely put you way down in his list of priorities. A man that has Jesus Christ at the center of his life will also likely hold his girlfriend or wife in high regard because men are commanded to love their wife like Christ loved the church and gave his life for her (Eph 5:25).

Men Who Are Consumed with Hobbies My wife loves college football and basketball and even the NFL but she isn‘t consumed with them. She would rather do things with the family and miss a game than be glued to the TV until the game or games are over. If a man has a compulsion with hobbies, you might end up in second place to whatever it is he is consumed with. Wouldn‘t you rather have a man that is consumed with glorifying God first and then put his wife or girlfriend next?

Men Who Mistreat Their Mother Any man that speaks harshly or mistreats his mother is likely to treat the other females in his life the same way. For one thing, he is breaking the Fifth Commandment to honor

38 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

his father and your mother. There is a strong correlation between how a man treats his mother with how he will treat his girlfriend or wife. This is a strong red flag if he is harsh or mistreats his mother.

Men Who Themselves

Only

Care

About

I once heard about a woman who complained that her husband acted like God. He all but wanted to be worshiped. Everything had to be about him and he wanted to always be the center of attention. Now God is worthy of that place in our life but no man should ever take center stage or the woman should immediately exit stage left!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Men Who Treat Animals Harshly Women, take a close look at how a man treats his pets or treats other animals. All animals are part of God‘s creation too and we read in the first few chapters of Genesis that God said ―and it was good‖ and this included the creation of animals so if a man mistreats animals or acts with indifference in their care, then that man would be one that I.


Relationships would avoid at all costs

7 Reasons We Don‟t Take Care of Ourselves by Joyce Meyer

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How is He around Children? Another red flag is if you see a man who doesn‘t like children or even like to be around them. Children are precious to God and if this man is a potential mate and father to your children and he can‘t stand being around children or has a short fuse around them, take warning because he may treat them even worse when he has his own family and you‘d likely be better off without this type of man.

Question: Do You Love

Jesus?

I meet a lot of people in the course of my ministry. Sadly, I see too many who are not taking care of themselves. Many of them clearly feel terrible. Anyone can see this in the way they look and the way they carry themselves. You simply cannot look really great if you don‘t feel great. How you feel will show up somewhere; in your body language, the dull look in your eyes, or even the color of your skin. It is in our nature to take care of ourselves, so why don‘t we? I thought about the ways that this can go wrong, and I came up with these reasons: We don‟t know how to take care of our physical bodies. Decades of bad diets, misinformation, and easy access to fast food and prepackaged food have left people amazingly confused about what a wholesome diet is and how they should eat.

We have a skewed body image planted in our minds by media and advertising. On one side we are inundated with unattainable ideals of beauty, while on the other, obesity is so prevalent that it‘s almost considered the norm. We need to reset our internal picture of what a healthy person should look like. Continue Reading on Page 64

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 39


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Relationships

How to Deal With The Aftermath of Being

Cat-Fished By Gina Stewart

Have you felt the hurt and betrayal of being Cat-fished? Have you been in an online relationship with someone who wasn‘t who they said they were? Then this article is just for you‌ Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 41


Relationships Cat-fishing has been made famous through the MTV show (from the same-name documentary) as well as the Manti Te‘o debacle, and it‘s brought to light a lot of what many of you have been experiencing alone. Cat-fishing involves an online romantic relationship that never manifests into a reallife romance because one party is lying to the other about various things – an identity, a marital status, a body type, a sexual orientation, a gender. By now you‘ve learned a lot of ways you can look into someone‘s identity and see if they are who they say they are, but what if you‘re already past that? What if your heart has already been broken?

Here are six things to remember to get your life back in order:

1. You‟re Not Alone

2. Remember What‟s Good About You Don‘t judge yourself. You went into this situation with a pure, intentioned heart looking for love. There is nothing wrong with that and that is important to remember and hold sacred. There‘s nothing wrong with assuming others seek out love honestly.This someone may have lied to you but that doesn‘t mean you‘re not capable of loving and being loved in an honest way.

“Two types of Cat-fishers: those who lie because they want to hurt and those who lie because they want to get close.” 3. Don‟t Chase Down Resolutions

It‘s OK to feel bad for yourself. The feelings you felt were real and it‘s good to give yourself time to cope with them.

Unfortunately, frustration.

It‘s OK to feel anger at the person who duped you. Plenty of people have been duped and gone through exactly what you‘re feeling.

If your Cat-fisher wasn‘t able to have an honest relationship with you, then there‘s little they can give you that you can trust after the fact. There is nothing they can tell you that will put the pieces together.

Cat-fishers are manipulators purposely seeking to manipulate. They made a lot of effort to deceive you. The wrong is on them, not you. 42 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

this

will

lead

you

to

So move on from it and know time is the only thing that will heal this hurt.

4. Learn From What Happened


Relationships Make a log or a list and timeline of your relationship. I mean literally write it down. The act of writing scientifically helps your brain remember and learn things.

There are two types of Cat-fishers: those who lie because they want to hurt you for their own enjoyment and those who lie because they want to get close to you and are too insecure to do it as themselves.

Don‘t just think. Take the pen to paper. List the things you liked in the relationship. List the red flags you should have seen. List what actions you could have done differently to prevent this. List what real love looks like. Your list probably includes honesty, respect, like, communication and presence (physical presence). Write down what a manipulator looks like and how it differs from real love. Write down what expectations you put on this relationship that were unreasonable. Write down what you should have demanded from this relationship that could have saved your frustration.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

5. Decide If You Want To Stay In Contact

I don‘t recommend keeping in touch with the ones that set out to hurt or were just playing a game (or are married/unavailable).

For the others, if you really felt a connection, you have to decide if you can try to forgive their lies and accept them for who they are. Make the decision if you want to keep this person in your life in some capacity. Then make the decision to set up healthy boundaries.

6.Treat It Like A Real Breakup Remember, you have every right to cut ties from this person and move on with your life. Seek out friends to vent and get perspective. Try new experiences to keep your mind occupied. Get rid of the things that remind you of that person. Change your habits that make you sad. Then commit yourself to learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships and prepare yourself to meet someone worthy of your attention. Have you ever been Cat-fished? How did you deal with it?

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 43


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Personal Wellness

How to Cope with Spending the Holidays Alone By Kristin Wong

The holidays seem to have a special way of making you feel like crap if you‘re alone. Maybe you‘re nursing a recent breakup. Maybe you just started college and can‘t afford to fly back home. Whatever the scenario, if you‘re spending the holidays by yourself and it‘s getting you down, here‘s how to cope. Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 45


Personal Wellness Focus on the Present It‘s hard not to dwell on the past when you‘re alone. If you‘re homesick or thinking about old traditions with your ex, you‘re mostly missing that sense of security and familiarity. After a while, nostalgia can really drag you down. Alex Hedger, a cognitive behavioral psychotherapist and Clinical Director of Dynamic You Psychological Therapy Clinics, told us:

decide how to fill your free time over the holidays Life values are the things that give our lives unique meaning...Try thinking about general ideas of what‘s important to you in life under the headings of ‗family and friends‘, ‗hobbies and interests‘, ‗mind and body‘, ‗career and education‘ and ‗life logistics and chores‘. With each value you think of, try and identify a specific thing you can do that matches it.

“When we‟re on our own there is usually more time to get lost in our thinking. This can cause problems if we‟re ruminating over things or thinking without actually getting anywhere useful as a result. If you find yourself doing this then see if you can move your attention back to the present, rather than focusing on ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.” The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, so focus on what you can do to be happy now. In short: indulge yourself a little. If you can afford it, that might mean taking a trip, even if it‘s just a short weekend trip to a nearby town. Exploring a new place is a great way to get your mind off of the past and what ―should‖ be. There are a number of tour groups that cater to solo travelers, so it can be a fun way to meet new people, too.

From there, schedule it into your calendar over the holidays.

Or, indulging yourself might be as simple as trying a new recipe or conquering a few items on your to-do list. Hedger recommends coming up with a list of ―life values‖ to

According to TV commercials and classic Christmas stories, the holidays are supposed to be magical. Magic a pretty big expectation, and when your reality doesn‘t even come close to feeling magical, that

46 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

Photo Credit: Belief.net

Don‟t Set Up Unrealistic Expectations


Personal Wellness expectation can leave you feeling extra bummed out.

says he‘s spent quite a few holidays alone, and he gave us this tip:

The holidays do not have to be perfect. You don‘t have to be full of cheer. It‘s okay to be sad on the holidays, so don‘t be hard on yourself for feeling down. Learning to adjust your expectations will go a long way in making sure your emotions are in check during the season. Clinical psychologist Elaine Rodino told PsychCentral:

“Right around Thanksgiving, I switch from live TV to streaming-only TV so that I am not inundated with holiday programming. I‟m no Scrooge and I appreciate the time of year, but too much of anything is a bad thing...Not only has it deflated the value of the currency behind the holiday, it presents a really, really warped view of the holiday season. The special TV episodes and the reairing of holiday classics and the commercials depicting and representing a seasonal celebration that many if not most of the country just plain doesn‟t experience can be excruciating for those spending it alone. The message for the fragile mind is: THIS IS WHY YOU ARE A LOSER.”

“...there are so many categories of expectations about the season being just right that it brings up all sorts of issues relating to family, stress and anxiety, eating disorders, sobriety, self-esteem, competency — the list goes on. “There‟s this idea that it‟s supposed to be perfect, and if it‟s not, the person asks, „What‟s wrong with me?‟” She adds that statistically, the number of “traditional households” in this country is not in the majority.”

Just being aware of these subtle expectations can go a long way. Remember: the ―magic‖ of the holidays is fun, but it‘s also a bunch of hype that doesn‘t have much to do with reality. Your holiday experience can still be enjoyable without matching up to the movies.

Distract Yourself By Helping Others

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

One way to let go of unrealistic expectations? Just block them out. Writer and former TV executive Jim McKairnes

If you‘re up for it, volunteering is a great way to distract yourself from the holiday blues, spend time around other people, and help the less fortunate. For example: Help the Homeless

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 47


Personal Wellness Deliver Meals Visit a Nursing Home What‘s more, volunteering is actually a great way to boost happiness too. A German study published by the Institute for the Study of Labor, for example, found that, after volunteering, workers reported a decrease in their overall well being when that volunteering opportunity went away. Create Your Own Tradition It might help to take matters into your own hands. If you know other friends, coworkers, or acquaintances who are spending the holidays alone, too: start your own Friendsgiving or whatever other holiday celebration. Open up your own place, or ask everyone to bring a dish so it‘s a potluck. You can create a solo tradition, too. For example, I knew someone who would take his family to the movies on Christmas every year. I thought it was just some kind of quirky way to spend the holidays, but it turns out, he started the tradition when he was single and didn‘t have anywhere else to spend Christmas. When he started his own family, it just kind of stuck.

This strategy often fails as it can leave you unprepared, with less options. Instead, think about the real ‗flash points‘ of dates and times that you think will be hardest. When you know what they are, plan something you can do to improve that time, maybe from the tip below… The thing is, you might feel alone on the holidays, but a lot of people are in the same boat. The holidays are notorious for bringing out those feelings. But keeping realistic expectations and focusing on the reality of the here-and-now, instead of what ―should‖ be, will go a long way toward helping you cope

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Hedger says the key is planning in advance

Question: Do You Know

If you are expecting the holidays to be a difficult time it can be tempting to try and forget about them and ‗cross that bridge when you come to it.‘

Jesus?

48 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017


Personal Wellness

How to Start Over (It‘s Never Too Late) By Matt Cheuvront I got an email from a reader last week with the subject line "How to Start Over." In it, the reader shared his personal story: being about 10 years into his career, balancing life with kids, a family, and a big corporate job, all while trying to establish his own digital platform and business—and feeling like it's time to break free and change things, but feeling overwhelmed by the idea of "starting over." Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 51


Personal Wellness He brought up a point that I've been confronted with many times. I wanted to share my response to his email, with one overwhelming preface: You're never "stuck.“ As much as it may feel like you can't get out of your current situation, as much weight as you put on the importance of maintaining your nine to five, as much fear as you have of disappointing your family—regardless of your current situation and regardless of your age, you're never ever stuck.

really WANT to be (and should be) doing. It's kept me humble and active in continuing to build my business and establish myself professionally.

The Best Thing I Can Say Is That You're Not Stuck

Here Was My Email Response: "…I think you bring up a point that folks are faced with time and time again. I always share the story of my dad and I playing golf last year. He's been an accountant for almost 40 years, and he's always been apathetic to his work and has always told me he's just "working to retire". When I asked him why he doesn't quit and do something else, his response was that he's been doing what he does for so long, and it just "is what it is," and that he doesn't know what else he would do. Believe me, I can understand the sentiment, and it's hard to get into something new when you've been doing the same old thing for so long. But it was this conversation that inspired me and continues to motivate me to not waste a moment that I have to work on doing what I

52 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

You never are. It's not easy to break free and do your own thing, especially with the added responsibility of supporting a family. But if I, a [now] 27 year old with not a heck of a lot of experience, can get fired and start a business at [then] age 24, someone at age 35, or 50, or however old, with a lot more life and work experience, can certainly do it. It just takes creating a plan of action for yourself, and not being defined by your age or held back by your current situation.

Take Things One Step At A Time. You don't have to quit TODAY and go "pursue your passion." Create a plan. Start working on your passions on the side (it sounds like you already are), and set yourself up to make an easier transition in the


Personal Wellness not-too-distant future. It also REALLY helps to set a deadline for yourself—a date to take the leap—and work toward that… We're afraid of disappointing our family. We tell ourselves that we're not good at anything else except what "we do." We're terrified of change. We convince ourselves it's "too late.― The only way you'll be disappointed is if you never try. The only way to know if you can't do something is if you give it an honest effort. It's only "too late" when you die. The best thing you can do is to start.

Click Here To

And It's Never Too Late To Get Started!

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The Best Friend You‟ll Ever Need! If you haven’t discovered Jesus as your personal savior and would like to get to know Him today; please click the button below for a free e-book from our friends at Guideposts titled

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Personal Wellness

Finding the Peace That Surpasses All Understanding in Your Life By Crystal McDowell

Have you lost your peace? Do you not know where to begin to find it again? Finding peace can be a challenge when our lives have been turned upside down through painful circumstances. Lack of peace can drive us towards making situations worse as we can become argumentative, anxious, moody, or tired (sleepless nights). Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 57


Personal Wellness Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace and every follower of His has an inheritance of living a peaceful life in spite of the turmoil. There are five P‘s to finding your peace that passes all understanding:

Pursue A Relationship With God “„There is no peace,‟ says the Lord, „for the wicked‟” (Isaiah 48:22). Peace will allude those who don‘t have a relationship with God. The Bible affirms that ―all have sinned‖ (Romans 3:23) and that ―salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved‖ (Acts 4:12). Without knowing Jesus Christ, there will always be the fear of death and judgment within the hearts of men and women. Yet knowing the Lord enables believers to have peace even within the worst of storms.

Put Away Anxious Thoughts ―Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus‖ (Philippians 4:6).

to be worried about anything, meaning nothing at all—no matter the challenge! By praying to God and giving thanks to Him for all He‘s done in our lives will allow the peace of God to drench our spirits. This peace will cause you and others to marvel because of your calmness and confidence even in the midst of painful situations.

Place Your Trust In God “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7). Sometimes our peace crumbles because we‘ve placed our trust in people, jobs, the justice system, economy, or anything except completely in God. Watching your world crumble around you brings to light where you‘ve really placed your peace. God doesn‘t need us to be robots that mindlessly follow after Him. He longs for His people to boldly trust in His loving hands over their lives even when it seems like all is lost. Begin to trust God on the smaller issues so that you can build a strong trust relationship with Him that will restore your peace.

Believers can struggle with doubt, fear, and unbelief leading to anxious thoughts. However we are clearly taught that we aren‘t Photo Credit: Shutterstock

58 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017


Personal Wellness Prioritize Your Spiritual Walk “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34). Peace can be difficult to find when believers become distracted with the cares and worries of this world. Many times people fall away from their spiritual walk—not in a giant leap away from righteousness—but rather in a series of small compromises of faith that slowly drain peace from your life. Making your spiritual growth a priority is essential to having a life of peace to sustain you through hard times. This may mean that you need to step back and reassess your spiritual walk: how‘s your prayer life? What are you studying in the scriptures? Do you fellowship regularly with other believers?

It‘s easy to get stuck in our present situation and miss the glory that God wants to reveal in us. Our peace evaporates just like it did for Peter when he stepped out on the water to walk towards Jesus. (Matthew 14:29-31) Peace isn‘t the absence of a stormy situation—it‘s the ability to remain calm and faithful in spite of the uncertainty. We must practice on a daily basis to look past our present circumstances to see the Lord‘s hand at work. Faith is about hoping for what you don‘t yet see in this world. As you grow in your faith, the peace of God will infiltrate your heart and mind.

“Peace Be Still…” The disciples were afraid for their lives and woke Jesus in a frenzy because of the fierceness of the storm. He said three simple words, ―Peace be still‖ and the entire weather system complied. (Mark 4:39-41). Can you imagine the amazement of these tough and experienced fishermen?

Push Past Your Present Situation “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The Lord desires that His people stepped back from the anxieties and perplexities of this world to see His power displayed in magnificent ways. Jesus knew about the storm brewing while He slept on the boat and He knows about the storms hovering over our lives even today. And yet He still says, ―Peace be still‖. May we as followers of Jesus Christ demonstrate the peace of God every day so that others may know Him.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 59


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In The Spotlight

Social Mediaâ€&#x;s Newest Uprising Bible Teacher Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 61


In The Spotlight It‘s not every day you meet an engineer turned preacher. Meet Allen Parr. Rev. Parr is YouTube‘s newest Christian sensation and founder of the BEAT (Biblical Encouragement And Truth). Rev. Parr is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a minister of God‘s word for nearly twenty years. Allen worked as an engineer for two years before he embraced his calling into the ministry in August of 2000. This calling led him to pursue and complete a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. While fulfilling this calling, Allen sensed God putting a heavy burden on his heart for this generation. He observed that many people no longer see the Bible as being relevant for their life. This generation is characterized by skepticism, tolerance and biblical illiteracy. Church attendance is rapidly declining. More Christians are disillusioned and disinterested in traditional church and often find it difficult to find answers to the most challenging questions about their own faith in the church. Instead this has led many Christians to look to the Internet as their source of truth. Anticipating this trend, Allen started the BEAT. Burdened by the current state of Christianity, in 2014 Allen had a vision to ―preach‖ the word of God in a unconventional way. Instead of merely inviting people into the four walls of a church, he aggressively took God‘s message and leveraged the power of social media to reach thousands of viewers each week worldwide. The BEAT was birthed largely out of Allen‘s personal experience in the church and out of what he believes are two major problems within Christianity today. First, while members of other religions are trained to know what they believe and why they believe it, sadly many Christians are ignorant of the core beliefs of Christianity. As a result, many Christians are being led astray by false teachings within the church, new age Theology and the curiosity of other religious beliefs. For two years in college Allen was part of a church that operated more like a cult. Sadly, he got so caught up in it that he didn‘t even recognize it to be a cult. He attributes his ignorance to his inability to properly understand the Bible and discern truth from error. Knowing that many Christians are in the same position, this created a burden within him to provide tools for people to

62 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017


In The Spotlight discover the truth on their own. This experience, coupled with what Allen observes to be a noticeable departure from sound teaching and referencing the Bible in many churches, has led to a biblically illiterate generation. As a result, Allen says, “Many Christians are merely following blindly without the ability to discern truth from error. They are dependent upon the teachings they receive at church and are not properly trained to hear from God on their own.” The BEAT was launched less than a year ago and has since taken the Internet by storm attracting thousands of viewers each week on both Facebook and YouTube. The BEAT is a YouTube channel that creatively addresses biblical questions, challenges people’s beliefs and discusses relevant Christian topics in five minutes or less. The videos answer controversial questions such as, “Why Does God Allow Evil & Suffering?” or “What Would God Say to a Homosexual?” They also provide wisdom for relationships by tackling topics such as, “Should Christians Live Together Before Marriage?” or “Why ‘Good’ People Have Affairs.” Finally, topics such as, “How to Handle the Guilt of Your Past” and “How to Forgive When it Hurts” provide encouragement and hope to those who are discouraged. These and many other videos can be found either on his website www.allenparr.com or his YouTube channel www.youtube.com/thebeatagp. Allen‘s ultimate goal is to see people‘s lives transformed like his was through having the experience of discovering God‘s truth for themselves. It is to see more Christians excited to study and understand God‘s word for themselves and ultimately be equipped not only to defend their faith, but also to pass this wisdom on to the next generation. His unique style of teaching always points people back to the Bible where they can research these topics on their own. “We desire to see a generation of believers who can discern truth from error and know what they believe and why. We want to create online forums where Christians can actively engage in safe and healthy discussions within a community of other believers no matter what stage of spiritual growth they are in.” -- Allen Parr What began as a vision has now flourished into a ministry that is impacting lives all over the Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 63


In The Spotlight the globe. Allen regularly receives testimonies of how the videos, eBooks and blogs are impacting the way Christians think and ultimately the way they live. With this new age of digital communication and technology and current state of Christianity, opportunities to study and share the word of God are not only increasing rapidly, but are becoming more popular.

Allen‘s desire is to one day use his gifts fulltime inside and outside the church to teach and equip Christians. He enjoys speaking at churches, conferences, teaching Bible studies and building people up in the faith. Having spent a considerable amount of his adult life as a single, Allen feels a special calling to minister to singles and is currently in the process of writing a book on Christian dating and courtship. He is married to his best friend and ministry partner Jennifer Parr and currently resides in McKinney, TX where he has taught high school math for 10 years.

64 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

7 Reasons We Don‟t Take Care of Ourselves continued from page 39 We have lost touch with exercise. For virtually all of human existence, exercise was an integral part of our daily existence. Now we‘ve invented enough conveniences that we often live completely divorced from exercise. However, it turns out a good deal of our well-being is dependent on exercise. We have let ourselves slip into unworkable lives. With the incredible pressures of juggling career and parenthood, paying steep mortgages and increased fuel prices and burning the proverbial candle at both ends and everywhere in between, it is oh-so-easy to put the workout off, grab a cheeseburger on the run, cheat our sleep time in order to catch up on paperwork and let the tail wag the dog until we‘ve cut everything out of our lives that once gave us pleasure or kept us sane. This is bad enough, because life is a gift and is meant to be joyful. It should be pleasurable and sane. We have become pathologically selfless. Selflessness can be addictive. It feels so good to do for others and it makes us feel important. Yes, it is a good thing to help others and should be a major part of our life, but in my line of work, I often see people who routinely ignore their basic needs. The only thing that gives them meaning is doing things for others. This is admirable, but it can easily cross the line into mistaking suffering for virtue. Martyrs usually end up bitter. And once the body breaks down and life is no longer joyful, it becomes increasingly hard to serve anyone. Volunteers in a soup kitchen don‘t let their pots fall apart while they ladle out one more bowl of soup. They take the time to care for the equipment they need to do their calling. And you should do the same with your most important piece of equipment—your body. I am not suggesting that we be selfish because that renders us very unhappy and is not how God teaches us to live. We are to live sacrificially and be involved in Continue Reading on Page 84


Attitude Check is of great interest to their audience. And woe to the listener who doesn't respond in the expected manner. More drama will follow if you don't ooh and aah over her endless narratives. 5.

Unsatisfied: Drama queens are picky. In a restaurant, expect the drama queen to send her dinner back until it achieves perfection...the entree is rarely cooked to her taste, and the vegetables are never quite crisp enough. Drama queens expect perfection , or those who serve her should anticipate feeling her disdain and hearing the complaints.

6.

Choose Your Weapons: Criticism is the drama queen's weapon of choice. She sets high standards based on her own opinions -- for style, entertainment, behavior, etc. And the drama queen never hesitates to let others know, in totally inappropriate ways, that they just don't measure up. Her catty and cutting remarks are music to her own ears.

7.

Look At Me: If there's one thing that the drama queen craves, it's being the center of attention. She's not fussy about how she achieves this as long as the spotlight shines brightest on her. Her sense of entitlement is deeply ingrained. If she has to manufacture a scene to switch the attention to herself, it's not a problem for the true drama queen.

7 Signs Youâ€&#x;re a Drama Queen By Vicki Clinebell 1.

Stir It Up: The drama queen likes to stir things up. She gossips and manipulates to cause trouble and arguments between other people. Her payoff is being the center of attention in the ensuing battle.

2.

Big Deal: Drama queens have no sense of proportion. Tiny events -somebody spills wine on her shoe, she gains half a pound -- are viewed as ultimate disasters. There are no minor mishaps in the drama queen's world.

3.

4.

Sharing Misery: Can you say "emotionally dysfunctional?" The drama queen feels duty-bound to make life harder for everybody around her. It comes as naturally to her as breathing. Just Sharing: Drama queens share -dramatically -- the highs and lows of their lives, convinced that every detail

Crying, complaining, thriving on the turmoil she creates every day...the girl with the ability to annoy and irritate weaves her way through life making every molehill into a mountain. She's a drama queen! Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 67


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Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 69


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This Christmas

How to Make This Christmas

Your Best Ever! BY Arvind Devalia

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 75


This Christmas Is Christmas a joyous time for you? Or are you stressed? Overspending on presents, pressure from kids and other loved ones, prolonged and close proximity to difficult family members and loneliness can all build up your stress levels. Christmas can also be very demanding on your relationship as you spend a lot of time together with family and in-laws. However, it doesn‘t have to be so. Christmas is meant to be fun and joyous. This year take charge and make it work for you. Make this Christmas the best ever for you and the family. Sit down right now for half an hour and decide for yourself what you can do this year to make it so.

the things you do with people and the way you are with people that matter the most, not how much you spend on them. YOU are the greatest gift you can ever give – it requires no money whatsoever. Do everyone in your life a massive favor and suggest they curb their gift expectations. Go even further, and suggest that they give some cash to your chosen charity instead of a gift to you. After all you may already have everything you want, and you will be avoiding build up of clutter. If you must give a gift and you are uncertain about what to buy for whom, then give a gift voucher. Avoid that extra stress of anticipating whether they will/won‘t like your gift.

Choose To Believe That Everything Will Go Well. If you believe the office Christmas party is going to be boring, then think instead that it will be a lot of fun. Think only positively, and Christmas will be so much more joyous for you. Watch That Credit Card. Do not overspend to have a good time. Hide it for the next two weeks and use your cash only as and when you wish to do so, without any outside influence. Work Out A Sensible Budget, so it doesn‘t undermine the whole of 2009 for you. Christmas is only as ―commercialized‖ as you let it be, and it can work on any budget. It is

76 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Make The Best Of Yourself for all those exciting parties and dinners. You deserve to look your best and now is the time to get that wardrobe in shape and to get a groovy hair cut. Stop Worrying About How The House Is Going To Look when you have visitors and


This Christmas family around. They will not even notice if say the net curtains are not washed. There is no need to create that perfect Christmas as seen in all those ads. The best way to make everyone feel welcome is to be a happy relaxed host.

can have their favorite food. Allow anything as long as it is quick, easy and they can prepare or cook it themselves. You can then eat as and when you want and bask in front of the TV, if that‘s what you like. Then have your Christmas lunch a few days later, once everything has settled down If You Are Going To Be On Your Own Over Christmas, Then See It As An Opportunity For Freedom And Space To Enjoy The Festivities Even More. Do not let being on your own stop you from having a good time. Perhaps you can connect with other people like you, and have a communal Christmas lunch together.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Spend Quality Time With Your Significant Other and plan your time off from housework etc as if you were both still at work on your normal jobs

Accept Your Relations Just As They Are. They mean well and they are doing the best they can with their current level of awareness, knowledge and understanding. Enjoy their special company and eccentricities today – no one knows what‘s going to happen tomorrow, never mind by next Christmas. Do Something Different This Year. Perhaps change the venue of your Christmas party or dinner, or make it a Christmas full of activities such as walking. Create An Alternative Christmas Lunch – rather than slaving over the usual cooked lunch, have a ―free for all‖ whereby everyone

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Volunteer Your Time And Contribute To Others. Focus on others and spread good vibes all around you. Think who you can help – perhaps a neighbor with the food shopping or babysitting. How about throwing a children‘s party? Or feeding the homeless on Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 77


This Christmas Christmas eve? Remember, it is the giver who gets the gift. What a great Christmas gift for yourself! Chill Out – if a guest spills some red wine, ask if it really matters. It will eventually wash out anyway, and is it worth getting your back up? Finally, have fun! Simply relax and enjoy what is one of the best times of the year. Ultimately, you can choose just how this holiday season will be like for you. You can choose to love the Christmas shopping, the queues, the crushes in the stores, in the same way as you love the seasonal music in stores, the feeling of sharing and the spirit of goodwill. To quote a Christmas film (Scrooge), ‘We act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people we always hoped we would be.’ And in the coming year, make it one of your goals to be THE person you always hoped to be, ALL year around. A Joyous Christmas Everyone!

7 Reasons We Don‟t Take Care of Ourselves continued from page 64 doing good works, but we must not ignore our own basic needs in the process. Everything in life must be balanced or something breaks down and quite often it is us. We have lost our support. When we don‘t have a good social network or a godly foundation to keep our spirits high, it becomes easy to slip into boredom, loneliness, and depression. If we aren‘t able to somehow fill that void, the devil will. You may have heard the saying ―Nature abhors a vacuum.‖ Well, let me tell you, the devil loves one! He‘ll put lots of bad food within easy reach and let you mistake spiritual or emotional hunger for physical hunger. Maintaining a good support network is a terrific way to prevent the formation of bad habits. We need to have right people around us who will speak if they see us getting out of balance. We need to spend regular time in fellowship with God and learning His principals. His Holy Spirit who works through His Word convicts us of wrongdoing and gives us the chance to make positive changes before we break down or become ill. We have forgotten our own value. This is the biggest reason we don‘t take care of ourselves. If you don‘t understand your own importance in the Big Plan, taking care of yourself seems pointless. Reminding you of your place in God‘s plan is my first and most important task. If you‘re not sure of your value in God‘s eyes, then I invite you to read this article. There‘s a crucial link between our spirits and our bodies that we all need to understand God has a great future planned for you and you need to be ready for it! You need to look great and feel great, ready to do whatever God asks of you. --- Joyce Meyer

78 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017


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God's Promises JULIAN HINDSON As believers, we are spiritually wealthy because of the exceedingly great promises we have in Jesus, our Savior. There are some wonderful guarantees we have been given in Scripture ‗God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble‘ - Psalms 46:1

“Thank you for pulling together these Bible verses which are the basis of our Christian faith. God of compassion, redemption, encouragement and hope fill these passages with promises of His love toward mankind and each of us personally. God through His word speaks to the need of his people today each of us personally what ever our situation. We need to share daily, with the strength of the Holy Spirit , these words of strength, hope, forgiveness with others and share his Love with those we meet what ever their need.” - Angela “Thank You This is So Beautiful!!!” - JM “This message is a blessing and very timely. We read God's promises to our disabled daughter every day. God bless you.” - Diane


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Food

Cooking with Judy Kim

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 83


Food

Loaded Scalloped Potatoes by Judy Kim TOTAL TIME: 1:25 PREP: 0:05 LEVEL: EASY YIELD: 4 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS  8 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces  2 garlic cloves, minced  1 onion, chopped  kosher salt  Freshly ground black pepper  2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish  2 tbsp. all-purpose flour  3 tbsp. chopped scallions, plus more for garnish  1/2 c. heavy cream  1 c. low-sodium chicken stock  2 1/2 lb. russet potatoes, thinly sliced  2 c. shredded Cheddar  1/4 c. sour cream

DIRECTIONS  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large skillet over medium heat brown bacon, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate. Drain excess bacon grease leaving about 2 tablespoons; sauté 84 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

 garlic and onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Melt butter, when it begins to bubble sprinkle flour all over and whisk until flour is absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallions, cream, and chicken stock; bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off heat.  Wash and dry potatoes. Attach slicing blade to a food processor. If possible, set thickness to 1/8". Trim ends of potato and slice without removing peel. Grease casserole dish with butter and arrange potatoes in rows. Pour creamy mixture over the potatoes followed by a even layer Cheddar and bacon.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until potatoes are tender and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Garnish with scallions and dollops of sour cream. Serve immediately.


Food

Apple & Sausage Focaccia Stuffing by Judy Kim

TOTAL TIME: 1:05 PREP: 0:05 LEVEL: EASY YIELD: 6 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS  2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish  4 c. cubed day-old focaccia  4 c. cubed day-old country bread  extra-virgin olive oil  1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed  2 garlic cloves, minced  1 onion, chopped  2 celery stalks, chopped  kosher salt  Freshly ground black pepper  1 baking apple, such as Honeycrisp or Jonagold, diced into 1/2" pieces  3 tbsp. chopped fresh sage  1/4 c. chopped parsley  1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken stock  1/4 c. whole milk

DIRECTIONS

10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil and cook sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.  Return skillet to stove over medium heat and melt butter with remaining sausage fat. Sauté garlic, onions, and celery until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add apples, sage, parsley, stock, and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Toss bread and sausage into liquid mixture; transfer to casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, for about 20 to 25 minutes.

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter large casserole dish, set aside. Spread bread over 2 sheet pans and bake until dry, about 5 to Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 85


Food

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread by Judy Kim TOTAL TIME: 0:35 PREP: 0:05 LEVEL: EASY YIELD: 6 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS            

1 c. pumpkin purée 1 c. buttermilk 1 egg, room temperature 1/2 c. brown sugar 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 1 1/2 c. cornmeal 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS  Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease 10" cast iron skillet with 1 tablespoon butter, set aside.  In a medium mixing bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

86 Blessed Magazine December 2016 / January, 2017

 In a large mixing bowl whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, egg, brown sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter. Pour in cornmeal mixture and whisk together. Transfer to skillet and bake 25 to 30 minutes. (Test doneness by pricking center with a toothpick—it should come out clean.) Immediately spread remaining tablespoon butter all over.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve immediately.


Food

SrirachaButter Cod with Garlicky Kale by Judy Kim TOTAL TIME: 0:20 PREP: 0:05 LEVEL: EASY YIELD: 4 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS          

extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped 3 tbsp. unsalted butter 2 tsp. sriracha 1/4 c. low-sodium chicken stock 3 scallions, thinly sliced 4 (6- to 8-oz.) cod fillets

chicken stock, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in half the scallions. Cover and keep warm.  In a large cast iron skillet over mediumhigh heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season cod with salt and black pepper. Sauté cod until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.  Serve cod with crispy kale and spoonful of Sriracha sauce. Garnish with scallions.

DIRECTIONS 

Preheat oven 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss together with kale and spread out evenly on a sheet pan. Bake until crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat melt butter and whisk in Sriracha,

Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017 87


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Blessed Magazine December, 2016 / January, 2017