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Wo m a n ’ s M a g a z i n e


Girlfriends In God ~ How Far Are You Willing To Go? | Page 15 Reaching Your Full Potential ~ Blessed and Transformed | Page 6 Me, Myself, & Inc. ~ Celebrate You In 2014... Starting Now! | Page 29 shutterbuggerz pg 39


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A Very





Woman’s Magazine



from the

From The Editor: Judy Smith

Presents, wrapping paper, all things glimmering and shimmering…..nothing outshines the message of Christmas. I love all those things as much as anyone. The excitement I feel when we break out the decorations that will cover every inch of my house is overwhelming. Honestly, I could be Mrs. Claus and live with it every single day. The only problem with that is I am married to Mr. Wonderful and not Mr. Clause. Mr. Wonderful is great at helping me decorate but by the middle of January he is quickly turning into Scrooge and wants everything put away. Our grand kids are always seeing decorations for the “first” time that have been there forever. Mr. Wonderful’s village surpasses most any you would ever see at any store. Every piece has a story and they love for Papaw Wonderful to tell them the stories. Yet the greatest story we have to share is the very reason for Christmas and that is not missed in our house. Nativities, Heralding Angles and Bibles are themes throughout our decorations. The Story is known at our house and it is always read or recited.

lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. Luke 2:1-16 Merry Christmas and much love to you and your family this Christmas season from our family at Sophie Woman’s Magazine.

One very popular plaque that you see everywhere is one that simple reads “I BELIEVE”. There are no words I could write that can touch the hearts of readers more than the words that were written long ago. My prayer is that you read these words and that you believe. Share them with others….especially your family. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and | pg 3


phie Woman’s Magazine

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********************************************************** Disclaimer: Sophie Woman’s Magazine LLC is published monthly. The articles published in Sophie do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. All articles are intended for informational purposes only, and none should serve as a substitute for doctor’s advice and orders. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content and validity of information published within their ads and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. Deceptive or misleading advertising is not knowingly accepted by the publisher. Advertising is accepted with the understanding that all liability for copyright violations is the sole responsibility of the advertiser. All material submitted for publication is considered to be the sole property of the advertiser. Sophie Woman’s Magazine LLC’s publishers, staff, and other persons involved in the creation, production, or delivery of the magazine (in whatever format) or ti’s content, do not assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided in the magazine, nor shall they be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or punitive damages arising out of the use of the magazine. **********************************************************

REACHING YOUR FULL POTENTIAL: Blessed and Transformed by Kim Fletcher, Life Coach, Author, Speaker

“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”“ Luke 1:39-45

Every year, as Christmas draws near, I pull the same book off of my shelf, dust it off and read it again to get into the spirit for this most Holy of Days… the day many set aside to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. The book is Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus by Nancy Guthrie. It is special because it was part of my Christmas gift from one of my best friends back in 2008. As I reflect back over this past year of coaching clients, speaking invitations and coffee conversations with many who want to understand more of who I am and what I do, I have noticed something. I am becoming hungry to coach and come alongside those who are ready for real inner transformation. I am less eager to create goals and strategies for the person seeking only external gains or success. Jesus has brought deep inner healing and true transformation to my heart in recent years. The best Christmas gift I can offer to you is a glimpse into this great gift. So grab a cup of your favorite holiday-flavored coffee and enjoy the following excerpt by Tim Keller from Chapter 5: “What God gave us at Christmas was not just His son. He gave us a Truth – a Truth that transforms us when we take it in.



pg 6 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

What God gave us at Christmas is a whole new life. In the first chapter of Luke, Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.â€? (NIV). Elizabeth is saying to Mary – and to us – “If you really believe what the angel told you about this baby, if you take it in, you will be blessed.â€? But our English word “blessedâ€? is so limp and lightweight. In English, we use “blessedâ€? to mean something like “inspiredâ€?. But in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for blessed means something much deeper. To be blessed brings you back to full SHALOM, full human functioning; it makes you everything God meant for you to be. To be blessed is to be strengthened and repaired in every one of your human capacities, to be utterly transformed. What Elizabeth is saying to Mary, and what Luke is saying to us is, “Do you believe that this beautiful idea of incarnation will really happen? If you believe it, and if you will take it into the center of your life, you’re blessed, transformed, utterly changed.â€? When we open the package of Christmas, we find God has given us many gifts – vulnerability for intimacy, comfort for suffering, passion for justice, and power over prejudice‌ ‌No other religion – whether secularism, Greco-Roman paganism, Eastern religion, Judaism, or Islam – believes God became breakable or suffered or had a body. Eastern religion believes physical is an illusion. Greco-Romans believe the physical is bad. Judaism and Islam don’t believe God would do such a thing as live in the flesh. But Christmas teaches that God is concerned not only with the spiritual, because he is not just a spirit anymore. He has a body. He knows what it’s like to be poor, to be a refugee, to face persecution and hunger, to be beaten and stabbed. He knows what it is like to be dead. Therefore, when we put together the incarnation and the resurrection, we see that God is not just concerned about the spirit, but he also cares about the body‌ He will redeem the spirit and the body.â€? Tim Keller really captured some life-transforming truths in this message given to his church in New York in 2001. There is a place of hope for the coming year‌ but there is ONLY ONE TRUE HOPE. Allow this message to reach the deepest places in your heart. The eyes of Jesus are full of hope and promise. For those who take Him in to the deepest place in the heart, there will be provision, protection, promise and joy even in the face of uncertainty. Take hold of Him and you will be positioning yourself for a year of growth and transformation. Merry Christmas!

About Kim... Kim Fletcher is a Life Coach, Speaker and three-time Author of global impact. She and her team at Kim Fletcher Associates are bringing true transformation to the personal and professional lives of their clients. Contact her directly to learn more about her newest release, The Tension Point: Breaking Through To Where You Want To Be. 828 327 0749 / email: / web:


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Sophisticated Women. . Are Confident

By Nicole Greer, PPCC Founder and Principle Coach at Vibrant Coaching

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.” - Pable Picasso Break the word confidence into two parts. The prefix ‘con’ means ‘with’ and the core of the word ‘fidence’ denotes fidelity. In essence, confidence means ‘with loyalty’. To live a vibrant life as a sophisticated woman you’ll need to be loyal to yourself. Loyalty is a feeling of strong support that causes a woman to show up eager to serve and protect…to serve and protect her purpose in the world. To increase your confidence you must know your purpose. This will require you to show up for your life eagerly looking for clues that determine purpose. This will require some serious trust. Trust me. You can trust yourself. Confidence does not always come from being right. It comes from not fearing being wrong. Stop worrying about getting the purpose ‘right’. Simply begin to look ‘with loyalty’ at where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and the impact you’ve made. When you look, you’ll see that you have been and are indeed a sophisticated woman. You have every reason to be confident. Try the Stepping-Stones Exercise. In 2009, my mentor, Ann Starrette, gave me this core strategy for finding purpose and building confidence. This exercise put me on the path to coaching, speaking, and the pursuit of being an entrepreneur. The Stepping-Stones Exercise creates the opportunity to explore and uncover strong feelings that support your purpose. Where might it take you? Let’s get started.

The “Stepping Stones” Exercise

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pg 8 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

Jot down 5-10 stepping-stones. Stepping-stones are choice points, mileposts, key events, memories and critical incidences that brought you to where you are right now. To do this, think about the flow of choices and events, directions and detours, which your life and work have taken. Start with the day you popped on the planet and work your way to the present. Your list might include significant people along the journey, places, or experiences that marked a change in your personal direction, your ideals about the world, your unique insights. Please note anything that gave you a new understanding of yourself in relation to your purpose. Did

individuals speak words of insight over your life? Have you been known for a character trait, a cause, or a cure for something in the world? Not all stepping-stones may be positive. We often learn as much from hardships as from successes, as much from doors that close on us as from doors that open. What have you survived that now serves you and perhaps others? Stepping-stones are not so much a chronology as a series of vignettes or experiences that come to mind “Today, when I think about myself, these things come to mind.” Tomorrow might reveal something different. Be loyal to your stepping-stones for the next week. Add new insights. Contemplate the meaning of each one individually. Then look for a theme or a thread that runs the course of your life. Feel free to draw out your stepping-stones in some way. Make a map that represents your important choice points or junctures. After you are satisfied, with your list, write a couple of sentences about each stepping-stone that says something about its significance. Seek to understand how these stepping-stones lead to your purpose. I am confident that you’ll find confidence if you simply take this next right step.

Nicole Greer, PPCC is the Principal Coach for Vibrant Coaching and Workshop Leader for The Lydia Group. Nicole is on a mission to impact, energize, and influence people to lead a Vibrant Life by engaging the possibilities. As a life and business coach and workshop leader, Nicole views her role as a conduit to release all that you want to achieve. www.

Powerful questions to coach you around your stepping-stones: When you’ve finished writing, notice the theme that runs through your stepping-stones. • Who was involved? • Why were they involved? • How many stepping-stones were hardships? • How many were fun? • How many were fruitful? • Where were you? • What was the environment like? • How many were chosen? • How many were forced? • Which ones bring joy? • Which ones bring sorrow? • Which ones hold a gift? • What is the value?

Where is there PASSION? | pg 9

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All mothers with children need to pay close attention to what I am about to tell you. It will save Christmas and possible save your marriage. So listen up! There are several jobs that always happen at Christmas that do not get done by the Elves or Santa Cause. For the most, those jobs fall to certain people in your family. So let’s start with the first one; shopping. No one in the past or in the future would ever get a gift if I didn’t take care of it. Teacher’s, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, In-laws or Outlaws, kids, grandkids….anyone who gets a gift from this house…..I do the shopping. I think that is true for most families. Yet he has the nerve to say “I am not sure they will like that”. Really? After I have done all the work and put in all that time just looking for the perfect gift? Does he not know how close he is coming to getting coal for Christmas? Does he not realize how those words raise a woman’s blood pressure….just in case he does not….it is to the boiling point my darling! Ohhhh, but it IS Christmas and that means extra love. I have found there are lots of ways of showing love. This is where the second job comes into play. All that shopping I have sweated over….I never noticed how many of the things I bought have three little words that strike fear in the hearts of most men, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. Never fear though. If you read the instructions you will find the words “no skill required”. Well ain’t that just perfect? One thing that always puzzled me was when the instructions say the tools are included but my husband has to go hunt for the right ones….saws, hammers, etc. Don’t fret. This is the part where you tell the kids they need to go to bed so Santa can come. I have got to figure out what those instructions are supposed to be for. I was thinking maybe for starting a fire because he never reads them. Then I remembered I could not do that because Santa was coming down the chimney tonight. Why would anyone think that “slot A” would connect to “slot B” anyway? But in some miraculous way, they get assembled by Christmas morning when the kids all run down the stairs, excitedly proclaiming to Mom and Dad…”Look what Santa brought!”

by Judy Smith

After the excitement of the morning, when the kids are all wiped out and nodding off, we are off to the basement to hide all the boxes. All the “extra parts” are put up for that “just in case” moment. The bloody knuckles need to be attended to even though he is such a baby when I get “the stuff that burns”. Everyone is happy with the choice of gifts….Thank You Very Much. If the assembly holds up for a few days maybe hubby and myself can take a breather. Or maybe we need to take this time to go to the bank to sign those loan papers we had to take out. Maybe next year everyone would just be happy with gift cards. Nah, what fun would that be and what stories would we have to share together in our old age? You see divorce is not an option for us!

Here’s a Christmas Joke: What was wrong with the boy’s brand new toy electric train set he received for Christmas? Answer: Forty feet of track - all straight! | pg 11

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Are you like the old woman who lived in a shoe, except you have so much wrapping paper that you don’t know what to do! Wrapping paper is expensive and it takes over our craft room, extra bedroom or the dining room table when that time of year rolls around. It’s here! Many years ago my mother bought a huge roll of red Christmas paper. I can still see this hideous print in my head. I think she wrapped presents with it for ten years. After she died there was still some of it left! I was never so happy as to discard that paper. I will never forget my stepfather opening a gift with his pocket knife so we could save the paper. It would take him what seemed like hours to open a present. Then he would gently fold it up. We all hated it. That is what happens when you are raised by someone who went through the great depression. They save everything: Ribbons, rubber bands, aluminum foil and plastic grocery bags. Have you ever seen a rubber band ball larger than a softball? Some things are not worth saving. Having huge stashes of holiday paper and ribbons makes it hard on us to make a decision. We also put off messing with wrapping because there is so much mess! Then we make a bigger mess for ourselves because we put ourselves into the time crunch! We have to get a handle on our holiday wrapping! It starts with decluttering what we have. You know those little pieces

you have saved for those small presents that you never buy and those tiny strips of ribbon that are never long enough to go around anything. Let’s get out our wrapping paper stash and pare it down. About ten years ago I came up with a theme for my Christmas wrapping. After being so tired of looking at busy gift wrapping for so many years; I decided to keep it simple! At first I used brown paper sacks and took them apart to wrap our presents. That got old when you would have to piece the paper sacks together to fix a large box. That is when I found a roll of craft paper in the shipping section of Monstor-Mart. With craft paper, all I needed was ribbon and gift tags. I love wired ribbon! You can make a bow easily; it’s just like tying your shoes. I do one bow on top of another. It takes about ten feet of ribbon to obtain a gorgeous fluffy bow. Now don’t get all bent out of shape over how much wired ribbon I use. It can be reused because it is so long! For the gift tags you can use last year’s Christmas cards. Just cut the cover off and write the name on the back. I bought a stamp to put “To: and From:” on the card. I color code my presents by whose home they are going to. My daughter-in-law loves silver ribbon. Their presents get wrapped with silver and our grand children’s gifts get

wrapped in Santa Ribbon or Red. Kelly likes gold! The gifts I take to the office get purple ribbons. See how simple this can be! If you just think about it now and keep it simple. Set up a place for you to wrap presents. Put a marker, scissors or cutter, your paper, tape, gift tags and ribbons in this area. My area is right beside our extra bedroom closet. I keep the rolls of paper in an old suit bag along with an old tote bag that holds the ribbon and tools. They just hang in the closet, out of the way till I need them! Stay on top of your wrapping. As a gift comes into your home wrap it, tag it and put it away until time to put the tree up. If you need a place to hide presents from inquiring minds; that is what your stored luggage is for! They even give us a lock. Just be sure and write down where you hide things in your Holiday Control Journal. It won’t be very funny when you find those lost presents as you are packing for your summer vacation. For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Random House and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Simon and Schuster. Copyright 2011 Marla Cilley Used by permission in this publication.

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JE Broyhill Civic Center    

pg 14 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013


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Long Walk Part of Gift by Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:1-2 NIV).

Friend to Friend

An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said. When Christmas day came, the boy brought to the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked as she gently fingered the gift. The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless. “Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get a gift for me.” His eyes brightening, the boy answered, “Long walk part of gift.” I just love that story. During this holiday season, I watch as people scurry about swiping those plastic cards through the credit card machines faster than a speeding bullet. And yet, God has already shown us that the most precious gifts cannot be bought or sold. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). The magi also knew about the joy of giving. While they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child, they also gave another gift…a long walk. We don’t know how far the magi traveled, but we do know that it was a distance that took months, perhaps years. Their long walk was part of the gift. I wonder how far we are willing to go to worship Jesus… to bring our gifts to him. I wonder how far out of the way we will go to praise him. Do we only give to Him when it is convenient or easy? Or do we give what He wants most – a portion of ourselves, our very lives. I think the little African boy had the right idea. The real gift wasn’t the shell; it was the sacrifice he had to make to give it.

Let’s Pray

Dear God, thank You for the gift You gave us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that I will keep gift-giving in perspective this holiday season and give gifts from the heart rather than the pocketbook. Help me to see that a “long walk,” or a portion of myself, is the greatest gift of all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

• Describe a time when someone’s sacrificial gift meant a lot to you? • Describe the feeling you had when you gave a portion of yourself, such as your time, to someone? • Try to imagine the teacher who received the shell. What thoughts do you think came to mind when she looked at it year after year? Do you think it was the shell itself, or the heart of the boy who gave it to her, that meant so much? • Now, imagine how God looks at our gifts we give to Him? Do you think He reflects on the gifts themselves or the heart of the child who gives it? • What is one of the most memorable Christmas gifts you have ever received (other than Jesus). Let’s share on my blog page. Just leave a comment in the comment box under this devotion.

More from the Girlfriends:

It is easy to get caught up in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity and lose focus on what’s important. If you would like ways to keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season, check out my book, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas. It’s packed with helpful ideas and inspiration, and would also make a great Christmas gift. This book is officially out of print and I only have a few more copies left.

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HOW TO GET RID OF ARMPIT FAT! Last week after teaching a Barre Burn class, I had a member come up to me and ask me what could be done to get rid of the extra fat she carries in her armpit area. She was referring to the fat on both the chest and back next to her armpits. Most women tend to store fat in their hips, thighs and upper armpits. Unfortunately, our hormones and genes determine where fat is stored in our bodies. We cannot spot reduce, but the good news is that we can decrease the total amount of fat in our body, (including armpit fat) by doing whole body workouts, resistance training and sticking to a healthy eating lifestyle with portion control. Though you can’t isolate fat loss in this area, it is possible to tone and tighten the area by working all the muscles that insert into the shoulder joint. Muscles are more metabolic than fat, meaning that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, resistance training not only helps you build muscle, but also increases your metabolism, burns calories and accelerates fat loss. Set a goal to train with weights four times per week. Whole body workouts, such as walking, tabata, kickboxing, step class, high intensity interval training and even Zumba activate our larger muscles-chest, back, legs and glutes. When you exercise the larger muscle groups, your body will spend more energy during the workout and for several hours after. Combine whole body exercises with reduced caloric intake then your body will start to lose fat. I explained to my member that her body will decide which areas she will lose fat from. She seemed discouraged at first, until I told her the good news. She would definitely benefit from specific resistance exercises that target the small muscle groups underlying the armpit area. If she followed my armpit series of exercises 4 times a week along with whole body workouts, her armpits would tone, tighten up and appear much smaller. With a little faith, dedication and self-discipline you too can develop strong, attractive upper arms.

pg 16 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

Arm Fat Exercises Exercise Number One- Medicine Ball Pull-Over The Medicine Ball Pull-Over targets your underarms and armpit area. This exercise also works your shoulders, core, and abdominals.

Step One- Holding a medicine ball, lie down on a bench or step. Bend your knees 90 degrees and keep your feet flat on the floor.

Step Two- Keeping your abs tight and your core engaged, extend your arms towards the ceiling taking them directly over your shoulders and then bring them back down to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times and work your way up to 25 reps. Tips -Make sure that the head and shoulder blades are resting on their center and your abdominals are engaged and lifted. Your rib cage should be lifted as well and not allowed to sink toward the floor.

Exercise Number Two- Dumbbell Back Flies Dumbbell Back Flies is a great exercise to target the back of your shoulders and midback. It will work your triceps, and improve your posture as well.

Step One- Stand with feet wider then shoulder width apart. Hinge forward at the hips keeping your back straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing towards each other.

Step Two- Raise the weights towards your hips keeping your palms facing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement as you rotate your thumbs behind you. Keep your arms straight and not bent. Repeat 20 times for one set. Tips- Make sure your abdominals are engaged before lifting the weights. Start with one set and work your way up to three sets. | pg 17

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Would You Like Some More Room to Breathe?

When “mom” is the most spoken word in your house there’s always days when you feel like you just want to have a little space. Today’s mom expert gives a method that’s allowed her to find “room to breathe”. A JUGGLING ACT Every day can be a juggling act. Do this, do that, hurry before this occurs. I need this, remember? You have to take care of that issue over there. How can I possibly do it all? I have six children ages 3 months to 9 years and I am loaded with endless responsibilities. Everyone needs me and they need me NOW. Can it wait? Coming from the perspective of a 3-year-old, of course not, if I wait, it’ll be too late! I often say to myself, “can I think for one moment without being reminded about who I am, mommy?” I need room to breathe. THE LATE NIGHT HOUR Late one night, after all the children had gone to sleep, I had an idea. My idea came in the form of STICKERS. As a child, I’ve always loved stickers. I remember having a special sticker book that was stolen from me in the 4th grade. Boy was I upset about that, but we’ll leave that story for another day. So, back to the sticker idea I mentioned. I decided to make a sticker board. I would call the sticker board, “today’s workout activity chart”. Why did I choose to call it that? Well, everyone will have to do a nice workout when choosing activities that comes with a reward; STICKERS on the board! I thought I’d start with a column of activities they could easily do like make their beds, brush their teeth and set the breakfast table. I added each child’s name to the chart in a column style and allowed each child the opportunity to fulfill the activities listed and earn a sticker. I even gave additional incentives such as acknowledging their WOW moments; moments when they’d go above and beyond my expectations or when a big job was done. I also added bonus stickers for really important things they would do listed under the activities such as, obeying authority the first time; for obeying mommy’s instructions the first-time, they’d get double stickers! THE SWEET REWARD At the end of the day, I would reward them by giving the child with the most stickers a special gift they’d appreciate. I’d reward the others with little star coupons and encourage them to try to collect three so I could reward them further with ice cream. If there was ever a tie between the number of stickers earned, the tie breaker would be: pulling names. After pulling names, I would reward the chosen child the grand reward, while the other children obtained their star coupons. I have found this method to be highly successful. I’m learning that children are motivated by rewards and even though it takes more time and work on the parent’s part, it is well worth the effort. A DREAM BECOMING REALITY My ultimate dream is now becoming a reality! My dream of being able to sit at the table with a nice cup of hot tea, drink it with me eyes closed and say, “Ah, I have room to breathe.” A little thought and creativity truly opens up windows of opportunity to us as parents. It is very easy to just complain, fuss and yell all day, but what does it solve? I’ve found that it only makes the day long and gives you a headache. Migraines are NOT our friends. STICKERS MADE SPECIAL Since my sticker chart adoption, I’ve been quite popular in the house. Okay, so I always was popular, but now I’m popular in a different way.

The children are very quick to remind me of all the great things that they have done and are going to do. I must be sharp on who’s doing what so my sticker chart is very handy. Like with most new things, there are a few overwhelming moments; like when everyone does something awesome at the same time. Mom, I say to myself, you have to catch this before they change their mind. I take every opportunity to let them see that I am acknowledging their every effort. SAVORING THE MEMORIES I am often told that I should enjoy my children while they are young. For me, that statement is rather hard for me to see. I’ve had young children from the very beginning of my 11-year marriage. To me, it seems I’m always changing diapers and singing bath time songs to not only entertain, but pass the time. I am now beginning to see how important it is to invest my time into my children and see it as a joy. I want them to have great memories and learn the importance of following rules and doing their best. As parents, we can feel overwhelmed and frustrated, but when we use even the little time we have to ourselves to think, even if it’s midnight, we can find that special place we all need. We will find tucked away, behind the giving of our time, resources, creativity and energy, this special place just for us; that ROOM TO BREATHE. About This Author

Miranda Simon is a wife, mom of 6 beautiful children and writer on all things pertaining to family and life. When she’s not changing diapers, chauffeuring to and fro and cleaning off sticking doorknobs, you can find her sitting at her desk with a cold glass of lemonade and typing away her thoughts and experiences. She loves cooking, writing and all things creative. With a no holds barred style, you can expect to get tips and advice on all things helpful to moms. You can visit her website here:

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Crockpot Soup Basic tips for a great pot By: Leanne Ely We are big on crockpot cooking over here. Many of our most popular menu mailer recipes and ebooks are based around this “Queen of Convenience” in the world of kitchen appliances. We’re into the fall of the year, which means it is soup season. There really is nothing quite like coming home at the end of a busy day to the smell of soup simmering away on your counter. Yes. I said counter! Soup on the stove is great, but soup in the crockpot is a lifesaver during the busy weeks following the kids’ return back to school. If you have a favorite soup recipe that you’re not sure how to adapt to the slow cooker, or if you are new to crockpot cooking, keep reading because I’m going to share some basic tips with you here for turning a few simple ingredients into a deletable pot of soup that your whole family will go crazy for! Top tips for making crockpot soups Brown the meat. One of the most overlooked steps in creating sensational crockpot soups is browning your ingredients. Sure the crockpot will cook your soup just fine without taking this step, but if you do take the time to sear your meat before putting it in the slow cooker, you’ll be happy with the rich, intensely flavored results. Cut ingredients uniformly. Take care to cut your vegetables in similar sizes so that they cook evenly. Layer properly. Put your ingredients that take the longest

pg 22 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

to cook in the crockpot first. Root vegetables take longer to cook than meat so they should be placed on the bottom where they’ll have more direct contact with the heating element of the slow cooker. Meats, spices and onions can also be placed on the bottom. Veggies like cauliflower and broccoli can go in next. You’ll place your liquid on top of all the veggies before covering the crockpot and turning it on. Watch your liquids. You won’t need as much liquid as your traditional soup recipe would call for, but just add enough to cover the veggies by about half an inch. (If you have too much liquid at the end of your cooking time, simply remove the lid of your crockpot 30 minutes before you plan to serve dinner and it will evaporate.) Add ingredients in stages. Some ingredients don’t take much time to cook, so you’ll want to add them in during the last hour of cook time. Things like pasta, milk, peas, bell peppers and spinach would fall into this category. Take the time to learn how to use your slow cooker and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it will be to get a meal on the table at the end of a hectic day! Leanne Ely is a New York Times bestselling author of Body Clutter and the Saving Dinner series. The Dinner Diva syndicated newspaper column appears in 250 newspapers nationwide. Learn how to cook great and save significant money with the Dinner Diva?s menus, recipes and shopping lists at

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Announcing the Engagement of...

Christopher Exey Wyatt & Kristen Paige Starnes

Mr. and Mrs. Bo Starnes of Hickory, NC, announce the engagement of their daughter, Kristen Paige Starnes to Christopher Exey Wyatt, son of Tony and Mary Wyatt of Asheville, NC. The future bride graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She and the groom met while taking a required Business Calculus course. She is employed as a Territory Manager for a medical device company in Charlotte, NC. The future groom received two degrees from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. One is a Bachelors of Science in Economics and the other is a Bachelors of Arts in Geography. He is employed at Cardinal Solutions as a Business Analyst Consultant. An October 2014 wedding is planned in Lincolnton, NC. | pg 23

So You’re Engaged! Most of the time, the engagement begins with THE RING. Once he proposes and you say “yes”, it’s official. So let the games begin! Well, let the wedding preparations commence. For most of us, we start thinking about our dream wedding from a very young age. We played with Barbie and Ken and they always ended up getting married. She always had the most beautiful wedding gown and he looked so handsome in his tux. And, of course, they lived happily ever after. Well, good or bad, we live in a real world. Now it’s time to wake up and face reality. Regardless of even the most meticulous planning, there is never enough time. And something WILL go wrong. You certainly won’t be able to please everyone and there will be disagreements. So, let’s get started. I‘m sure you‘ve heard the phrase, “location, location, location”. Well, that’s important for a wedding too. In fact, that should be one of the first decisions you make. Some brides already know their wedding location. If you’re on a budget, check several places to see what is offered for the price they are charging. I

have found that there can be a big difference in the amounts that venues charge. Don’t ever assume anything. Get it in writing, even quotes. If you’re not sure of what you want, here are some ideas that may help. • If both of you are history buffs, there are many historical sites that allow for this. • If your taste is contemporary, a museum of modern art would be good. • Love horses, then consider a farm, stable or barn. • Antiques are your passion, consider an old mansion or theatre. • Can’t live without plants, a botanical garden is perfect. If that’s not possible, a beautiful park will suffice. • Race cars, what about a race track? Another consideration is the time of year for your wedding. This is where common sense comes in to play. Don’t plan an afternoon wedding in the middle of July when it‘s 100 degrees outside. And especially don‘t expect groomsmen to wear long sleeves or coats. If you want a fall wedding when the leaves are at their best, start in the afternoon when the sun is out and provide lighting for later in the evening. Want a winter wedding? Make sure the wedding venue has close parking so your guests won’t be walking very far in the cold. I love it when a bride wants to incorporate family tradition into her wedding. One bride had a pie bar because her Grammie was a great pie baker. Another wore her grandmothers’ pearls and carried her hankie with her bouquet. Still another used a small

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table set at the front of the church that several generations before her had used to place the family tree. Start your own tradition by maybe attaching a monogrammed applique underneath the gown with your name and wedding date. Or by putting something you cherish in a small hidden pocket. Make it as individual as you are. Don’t display anything valuable or irreplaceable at a wedding. That’s taking too much of a risk. Pictures are a good way of showcasing treasures you may want to show others. Old photos can easily be copied and displayed as a collage. What ever you do, don’t be a copycat. Have the wedding YOU want, not the wedding someone else had or wanted. Too often we are guided by what others might think of us. Not to quote a fast-food restaurant, have it your way. Your wedding should be what you want it to be. We are all very blessed to have the choices that we have. We have the freedom to decide who we want to marry and when we want to marry them. This is the season to be thankful not just for what we have, but for those that surround us. If you are planning a wedding, give thanks that you have the freedom to do so. And give thanks to the One that made it possible. Mackey S. Carpenter

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Wedding "Thank-You Card" Etiquette Weddings and gifts go hand-in-hand. Couples who are tying the knot can expect to receive scores of gifts, ranging from simple well-wishes to cash to items listed on their registries. Because gift-giving is tradition, couples should plan on spending some time writing thank-you notes to express gratitude to the people who were kind enough to give a gift. Contrary to popular belief, couples do not have a year's grace period to mail out thank-you notes after the gift has been received or the wedding has taken place. According to the etiquette experts at The Emily Post Institute, all thankyou cards should be written and mailed within three months of receipt of a gift. It is preferable that the thank-you be written directly after receipt of the gift, but time-strapped couples may not have the opportunity to do so. However, writing a few thank-you cards every few days can alleviate having a giant pile to do later on. Many couples prefer to order thank-you stationery when they order their wedding invitations. This way the paper, font and style match the original invitations. In addition, it may be less expensive to order stationery as a package. pg 26 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

In some cases, a photography package may include thankyou notes with wallet-sized photos to include. Couples can then mail out a nice sentiment with a photo from the wedding. To keep with the etiquette time frame of thankyou notes, it is important to find out when the thank-you photos and cards will arrive first from the photographer. The thank-you sentiments should not be delayed by the photographer. For those interested in less expensive options, preprinted thank-you cards can be purchased at a stationery store. There are many designs and price points available. Remember, it is not the card itself, but the thank-you that is important. As to the rules regarding those getting a thank-you, it is just about anyone who contributed in some part to the wedding, even if a verbal thanks was already offered. Anyone who provided an engagement, shower or wedding gift, those who gave gifts of money, anyone who hosted a party or shower, attendants in the wedding, people who may have housed wedding guests, parents of the bride and groom, suppliers and vendors, and employers who have wished couples well should all be included on the thank-you list.

Here are some other guidelines to follow. • Mail out a handwritten note to each and every person being thanked. • Do not use form letters or preprinted cards to which you simply add your signature. • Be sincere in your messages and try to mention the gift and what it will be used for. • Promptly respond to gifts that were received through the mail so the giver knows they arrived. • Never mention that you plan to return a gift or exchange it. • Mentioning the amount of a monetary gift is optional, but it does confirm to the giver that the right amount was received. • A mass thank-you posted on social media is not adequate. • Even if you are late with writing out thank-you notes, that doesn't exclude you from doing so. By adhering to thank-you card etiquette, couples will ensure their guests know that gifts and efforts to make the wedding special were appreciated. SB137304

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Celebrate YOU in 2014 … Starting Now! As we wind down 2013, the best part of a year’s end is celebrating with family, friends, coworkers, and sometime even total strangers. As holiday festivities and activities keep us hustling and bustling, we can focus so much on everything and everyone else that we forget about celebrating the simple pleasures of being the unique beings that we each are in this world. My columns throughout this year focused on helping you be all that you can be through thought-provoking ideas, unique perspectives, and challenging the norm or status quo. My goal with each and every column is to help you bring out the very best in you for all to enjoy and appreciate. As you look toward 2014, commit to being your most authentic self through embracing these characteristics: Be an Angel: In January, I described the “angels on our shoulders” in our lives including the Energizer, Cheerleader, and Authenticator. You are most likely one or all of these angels to others. Being that welcomed enthusiast, supporter and friend is more powerful than we sometimes give credit in the difference it makes for others. Be Fully Engaged: In February, I highlighted how our everyday demands can cause us to lose our own identity amidst being pushed and pulled in so many directions. However, when we are fully engaged in what makes us unlike anyone else, we are also more empowered to be fully engaged with others in relevant, meaningful ways. Be Inquisitive: In March, I explained how enlightenment and clarity can be realized by the simple act of asking. Assumptions can wreak havoc on our state of mind and well being, yet by asking for clarification, insight, support, understanding or forgiveness, we not only show we are human, but also concerned, considerate, interested, and caring. Be a Navigator: In April, I confirmed the reality that many of us are operating our lives in “autopilot” throughout our days. By experiencing, embracing and appreciating each day and what it brings, we are navigating as a pilot of our lives towards being connected versus distant, intentional versus coincidental, present versus lost, and taking charge versus controlling. We are engaged in living to its fullest. Be Nurturing: In May, I exposed a startling statistic reinforcing a dire need for women ages 35 to 65 years to better honor themselves through nurturing their health, spirit, intellect, and passions. By committing to nurturing yourself, you naturally nurture others more sincerely and effectively. Be Creative: In June, I encouraged you to revisit your inner child to spark the creativity that each of us possesses, and may have forgotten we had. Connect to your passions daily. Have courage to be creative. Trust your intuition. Get ideas from random places. Be curious and act upon it. Share your creativity to gain perspectives and feedback.

Be Decisive: In July, I cautioned you on how too much input can actually inhibit you versus help you. By understanding more clearly why input is so important to you versus when it is essential for you, you will be able to be more decisive and confident with the decisions made. Be Joyful: In August, I was inspired by Ralph Marston’s process of realizing joy through allowing, accepting and then enjoying. Allow time to put things in better perspective when something negative happens. Accept what you cannot control and focus on what is within your control. Pause to enjoy something or anything, especially amidst chaos, frustration or disappointment to remind you of all that is still right and good in your world. Be PEPpy: In September, I introduced the Power of PEP, people in your life who help take the weight off your shoulders, reinforce positivity, connect you professionally or personally, feed your passions, or provide objective and insightful perspective when needed the most. You can be these PEP factors to others, paying forward by giving in return what you have been blessed to receive from others. Be Young At Heart: In October, I asked if your age was actually aging you in your thinking. Instead of lamenting your age, appreciate it with a “young at heart” spirit of the years ahead instead of the years behind you – putting a smile on the face of others and a lasting impression on your inner spirit. Be Constructive: In November, I encouraged you to empower yourself through observation and continuous learning including trying new things to achieve a different result, knowing and fully leveraging your unique talents, and getting to the core of a problem versus merely scratching the surface. By turning best practices into best habits through these discoveries, you will continue to move forward in your endeavors to succeed in life and at work. All that you bring and give to others is what makes you a light that shines on the rest of the world, giving it hope, faith and confidence in the sanctity of mankind. While we may be on this earth for a short period of time compared to eternity, the eternal impact we can have on individual lives by merely being our true authentic selves is a gift that benefits others in a myriad of ways. Cheers to YOU and to what the New Year shall bring to YOU!

Bio: Sherré DeMao inspires millions through her monthly columns, weekly Insight eZine and national contributing writing. An expert strategist and marketer focused on entrepreneurs, her unique perspective and innovative approach has earned numerous awards regionally, nationally and internationally including being named among the Top 50 Enterprising Women of North America in 2007. Her books, Me, Myself & Inc. ( and 50 Marketing Secrets ( have received national acclaim as Top Business Shelf picks and must-reads. | pg 29

Decorate Like You Mean It! by Susan Guest, ASID

I have to admit that decorating our home for Christmas is not my favorite thing to do. After adorning retail spaces, homes, and churches for the holidays for years, my gusto has gone! With no children to wonder at the splendor of the holidays, who cares? Slap a wreath on the door and bless it? Last year, I was not very mobile after knee surgery and had a great excuse to not decorate. This year, there is no excuse. Am I turning into a Grinch? In preparing for this December “Sophie”, I have done some soul-searching about a proper theme for my article . After all, I can’t, in good conscience, write about fluffing up a home for Christmas. Or can I? Then it hit me! With all the hustle and commercialism of the season, do we really appreciate why we go through this drama every year? How can we omit the things that don’t really matter and concentrate on the things that do? Each person or family has different values and desires for the Christmas season. While some focus on Santa Claus and the fun and togetherness of family and friends, others are drawn to the spiritual side of the season. Most of our waistlines can testify that food and parties play a huge role in the holidays. Many retail stores make a large percentage of their yearly profits from our time of giving. They entice us to spend lots of money on our loved-ones. My goal for this year’s holiday is to make everything mean something. Before I get back into the dreaded, dark Christmas

closet, I want to know why each of the decorations that I use are important and possibly donate the other things to someone who will appreciate them. I have researched what some of the more popular decorations and customs mean and how they originated. Maybe this will remind us all what Christmas is really about. For instance, did you know that mistletoe was once used by pagans years ago in celebrating the winter solstice as a sacrifice to their pagan gods? It grows on other plants and has life-giving, healing properties and is believed to increase sex drive. Merry Christmas! Besides warding off evil spirits, it can bring a long and happy marriage to a couple who kiss underneath it. Mistletoe is normally hung in a doorway where we greet loved ones and probably is the reason we use greenery around our entries today. The star is used often in Christmas décor. This use originated with the star that guided the shepherds and wise men to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of the savior of the world, Jesus Christ. The star still guides us to be closer to Christ today. Angels symbolize the ones who announced the coming of the Christ child to Mary and the shepherds. They are a huge part of the entire story of the virgin birth. Angelic choirs still sing of the good news today.

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Since the wreath that we use over mantles and on doors has no ending point, it represents the unending love that God has for us. The fir tree is an evergreen that keeps its green color and leaves year- round and symbolizes abundant life through the year. The needles are said to point toward heaven. I wonder, if the tree is hung upside down and the needles point away from heaven, would this ruin our Christmas? Also, does a fake tree still have the same abundant life factor as a real fir tree? Also, if a person is allergic to a fir tree, doesn’t that also mess with having an abundant life? Some of us think too much! One of my favorite stories of Christmas is about the poinsettia. The legend of this plant with star-shaped flowers starts in Mexico where some poor children wanted to give Jesus a gift. They had nothing to give, but found some weeds that they presented in love. Miraculously, the weeds produced lovely star- shaped blooms that we know as the poinsettia today. This shows how our gifts to Christ; however small, can turn into something beautiful. Red was considered the primary Christmas color and represents the blood of Christ shed for us all. Green is used with the red and represents the evergreen. Other popular Christmas colors are white, silver, and gold as seen in churches all over the world. Purple is a royal color that shows that Jesus is our king. Other popular Christmas symbols include the candy cane shaped like a shepherd’s crook and the J of Jesus, holly that is similar to the crown of thorns that Jesus wore, snowflakes, and the candle that shows Christ as the light of the world. The Nativity tells the entire Christmas story with all of the participants in the first Christmas.

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One thing that I found interesting was that caroling originated because the first carols were not holy. They were not allowed to be sung in church. So the merry carolers took the show on the road and blessed others with their glorious (or not so glorious) voices and spread the Christmas cheer. Or maybe they had had too much ale or wassail. The wassail means “be-well”, a traditional beverage that symbolized health and good will. Maybe this year, I will attach the Christmas closet with a new attitude. Just maybe I will think about all those who lived centuries ago and how they celebrated the season. Hopefully, I will spread good cheer, peace, and love to others. The front door will hold a beautiful wreath and the needles of my fake tree will point toward heaven. We will drink lots of wassail, and our home will have many smells, sounds, and symbols of what the drama is all about. Have a blessed Christmas!

Susan Guest, ASID is an award-winning interior designer in Hickory and owner of Guest Interiors, LLC. She is one of the designers featured in “Spectacular Homes of the Carolinas”, found in high-end bookstores around the country. President of ASID Carolinas. For more information, visit

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pg 32 | Sophie Woman’s Magazine | December 2013

Recipes for ife


by Emily Wickham

Food for the Body Avocado Rice (From the kitchen of Louise Wickham) ¾ cup chopped celery ¾ cup chopped onion 3 garlic cloves, crushed ¼ cup butter 2 cups water or chicken broth 2 cups quick cooking rice 1 ½ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper 2 cups coarsely diced avocado (1 large) ¼ cup lemon juice 1. Sauté the celery, onion, and garlic in butter for approximately 10 minutes or until tender. 2. Toss the avocado with lemon juice. Set aside. 3. Add the water or chicken broth to celery/onion/garlic mixture and rapidly bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and gently stir in the avocado/lemon juice combination. Cover pan and set aside for five minutes so rice can absorb liquid and the avocado can heat through.

A Prayer for God’s Blessing Loving Father in heaven, You are gracious and glorious—the loving Sender of Your Son, who came to give me life. I confess sometimes I forget the enormity of Your sacrifice … the generosity of Your gift. Thank You for Jesus—Your only beloved Son. Please focus me on Christ today and everyday. In Jesus’ worthy name, Amen.

Food for the Soul Before I met my husband, I’d never eaten an avocado. I hardly knew what one was. Quickly Mark’s family introduced this delicious fruit to me, and I developed a tremendous liking for it pretty early on. Salad serves better with avocado chunks, while mashed avocado mixed with lemon juice, salt, and pepper produces a savory guacamole spread. Avocado rice, which my dear mother-in-law expertly prepares for holiday

meals, gratifies my palate with its tangy taste. A winner and a favorite, this simple side dish can complement your Christmas dinner as well. Similarly God introduced a new food to the Israelites long ago. Wandering through the wilderness, they needed nourishment. Miraculously He provided bread from heaven. Exodus 16:31 reveals, “And the house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white; and its taste was like wafers with honey.” Each day God’s people gathered this substance. Unique, necessary, and satisfying, manna sustained them. So it is with the Lord Jesus Christ. Manna beautifully symbolizes Him, the Bread from heaven, the Bread of Life. Jesus declared, “… it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world … I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst … I have come down from heaven…” (John 6:32-33, 35, 38, NASB). Christmastime particularly focuses on Jesus’ birth. Generously His Father sent Him from heaven to earth to give life. Forever Jesus remains: • Unique – Fully God and fully man • Necessary – Without the shedding of His blood on the cross, our sins could never be forgiven. * We could never be reconciled to God. • Satisfying – All who come to Him never hunger. All who believe in Him never thirst. Friend, I absolutely cannot imagine my life without Christ. Oh, how desperate, hopeless, and lonely I’d be! Before I knew Him personally, I lived for myself. Granted, I trusted Him as my Savior at age ten, but I still capably conducted myself FOR myself even as a child. When He opened my eyes to my need for Him and graciously saved me through faith, He gave me life! And I never, ever have regretted placing my faith in Him. In the midst of all the holiday cooking, baking, shopping, gift-wrapping, gathering, and celebrating, I invite you to Pause. Reflect. Focus. Jesus Christ, the Bread of life, came down from heaven to give you life. Do you have it? If so, taste Christ’s goodness anew this Christmas. Drink in His sweetness. Forever He satisfies. If not, please come to Christ today. Believe in Him. “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Ps. 34:8) Christmas joy to you, dear reader. Thank you for your interest in this column, and I pray the Lord continually blesses you through the words He gives me to write. Until next time, that’s a Recipe for Life … *See Hebrews 9:22 Emily Wickham gently reaches women’s hearts as she teaches God’s Word. Through various writing endeavors, she encourages readers ! into close relationship with God. Additionally she hosts and speaks at the Connecting with Christ Conference.

Visit to read Emily’s blog devotions and to learn more about life in Christ. Connect with Emily on Facebook at Please contact Emily about speaking at women’s events such as retreats, luncheons, and conferences by e-mailing emily@ Emily, who is grateful to God for His blessings, enjoys life with her wonderful husband and their four treasured children in western NC. | pg 33

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Our Monthly Feature

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Sophie Woman's Magazine Dec 2013  

Inspiration, Education, & Motivation for women of all ages.

Sophie Woman's Magazine Dec 2013  

Inspiration, Education, & Motivation for women of all ages.