Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ten “At-Risk” Factors for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

by Lisa Morrone

One in three adults have problems regulating their blood sugar. Could you be the “one”? Consider these questions:

1. Are you carrying around excess belly fat? (Especially if your waist, when measured just above your belly button, is greater than 35 inches.)

2. Do you have a parent or sibling who was diagnosed with diabetes?

3. Would you consider your lifestyle to be mostly sedentary?

4. Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure, even if it is controlled with medication?

5. Have you been told that you have unhealthy cholesterol levels, even if you are taking medication to improve those levels?

6. Are you often thirsty and do you urinate frequently (eight times a day)?

7. Are you over 45 years of age?

8. Have you ever had gestational diabetes?

9. Have you given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds?

10. Have you been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome?

If you’ve checked off one or more of the above risk factors, ask your physician to order an A1C Test (blood test) so you can learn if you’re already “too sweet.”

How I Slashed High Utility Costs With Very Little Discomfort

by Teresa Ambord

"Look at this," said Anne. "My utility bill doubled since last month!"

My friend's words scared me. If my power bill doubled, I'd be in double trouble. When California's electricity market went out of control a few years ago, the utility company warned us prices would soar. They weren't kidding. My friend's bill doubled, and before long it tripled. As a single mom, there was no way I could pay those prices. So I made some changes. And to my great relief, our bills not only didn't increase, but over time they decreased. The most surprising thing was that we barely noticed the difference in how we live and use power.

Here's what I did:

• I replaced the light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs which use less energy. But because the bulbs are expensive, I didn't replace them all at once. I started with the most-used lights in our house. Gradually, I replaced some of the others. And for lights we seldom use, I decided it was more cost effective to leave the old, cheaper bulbs.

• Like most people, we make many quick trips into the kitchen or bathroom every evening. Each time, a light was flipped on for a moment or two. A teacher of mine once told me that more electricity is required to turn a light than to leave it on for half an hour or so. I've never been able to prove this theory, but it makes sense. So to avoid flipping lights off and on all the time, I bought some night-lights and installed them in keys rooms, such as the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. They cost a dollar each, use almost no electricity and last forever. And they provide enough light for most of the quick trips. Unless I'm shaving my legs, I even take my shower by night-light which is more pleasant than the glare of overhead lights.

• In two dark closets that have no light source of their own I installed touch lights that use batteries.

• As for laundry, I wash full loads in cold water. If the clothes need a little extra help, I let them soak in the full washer for a while or pre-treat them. I have a clothesline in my backyard and another over the washer. And in the winter, I use a wooden clothes rack inside. The rack cost nine dollars at Wal-Mart and saves a bundle. To prevent stiffness, I let the clothes hang till they are almost dry, and then toss them in the dryer with a dryer sheet for ten minutes.

• For baking, my big oven has practically been retired. There is very little I can't bake in my toaster oven which uses a fraction of the energy. Of course, my family is small so this is easy for me. On the rare occasions I do use my big oven during cold weather, after I've finished and turned off the oven, I leave the oven door open to take advantage of the escaping heat.

• As for savings on hot water, each of us cut back our shower times by a couple of minutes. The hot water feels good but comes at a high price.

Our utility company put the icing on the cake for me. To help beleaguered power customers, they began a program whereby, if we cut back our usage 20%, we got a 20% discount. Meeting this goal was no problem; in fact, we easily cut back 40%. We have met it every single month and barely noticed the difference in comfort. If anything, the laundry takes a little more effort to accomplish, but other than that it's been so easy that it’s hard to believe how much we've saved.

Eventually power returned to more affordable prices and we could splurge a little. But I don't really see a need. We haven't sacrificed much. If anything has changed, it’s that we think first before flipping on a power switch. I've gotten addicted to those lower bills and I'm not anxious to let them creep higher. I've got better things to do with my money than to support the power company. Now that money is tight all over, I am grateful for good habits.

Teresa Ambord is a full-time writer for a business publication known as BizActions. She has the privilege of working from home, in the company of her small dogs. She is also a volunteer foster mother of abused and abandoned animals for Another Chance Animal Welfare League. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul, Cup of Comfort for Christmas, Cup of Comfort for Sisters, Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers II, Dad's Bow Tie, and more.

The Perfect Liar

by Jeanette Towne

I never considered myself a liar. Good Christian woman, happily married, proud mother of four teens and the President and CEO of a corporation. As many of us do, I put on my plastic smile every day, dressed myself in the armor of coordinating clothes and padded myself with a thick wall of my untouchable façade. As an elaborate feast served buffet style, you could see a public exhibition of my life. What you saw from the outside appeared perfect. Every piece in place, my life was absolutely flawless. Or was it?

Several years ago while driving home with a new girlfriend I had met during a week-long mission trip I began to expose my lie. My friend shared her life story, detailing a desperate young mother who finally escaped an abusive marriage. God spoke loudly and directly to my heart. He encouraged me to open my mouth for once and to share. Risk myself to save another. Over hundreds of freeway miles, I obeyed and shared with my friend the story of me. Young, impulsive 19-year-old student, who at the urging and promise from an older boyfriend, dropped out of college, quit her job, sold her car and eloped. I explained to my friend how that one mistake almost cost me my life. I told her the next 10 years were spent as a captive, caught in the invisible web and downward spiral of horrific domestic abuse. God saved me and I miraculously escaped, never to return.

A few weeks after that long road trip, I received a letter from my friend. She encouraged me to get my story out. She told me God worked a miracle in my life and sharing this would give others hope. By being transparent it would help to educate, warn and provide inspiration for other women caught in the cycle. I argued. Why at this point while living the perfect lie would I want to be honest, open up and share the 10 years of my life that were a living nightmare? There could only be two reasons; one, I would be completely insane, or two, I would feel the conviction from God.

One of the scariest days of my life was the day I had to speak in my own church. My own church! These are the families who have known me for almost 10 years. These are the people who have seen my perfect life and have taken the bait and believed my perfect lie. Lie….who me? Yes. By not telling the truth and giving Him the glory for what He has done in my life, I was omitting to tell how miraculous and big our God really is. He provided a modern day miracle in my life and how did I thank Him for this feat? I hid the story and buried the truth to keep up my façade and show everyone my life without blemish.

I am convinced that hundreds of women come through the doors of our churches, wearing their mask of perfection and hiding the small cracks that produce instability beneath the smooth exterior. We must stop retouching our lip gloss, pasting on our plastic smiles and lying to everyone around us. We are all fractured vessels, pulling our cracked ships into the port of our churches to rest, repair and set out to sea again. If we fail to repair our cracks, we live these lies and are incapable of moving beyond our own hurt to look outward in hopes of pulling another ailing vessel into port.

God has touched me and healed me; bringing me to a point where I can look at what He brought me through and use my experiences to help others. No, I don’t have the perfect life but I’m not lying anymore. Are you? Many of you have been in relationships like I was in, many of you have things you’ve stuffed down and cover. We cannot lie anymore and pretend to live the perfect life, smiling and hiding what God wants to do in our lives to heal us. Healing us and then allowing us to impact others for Him.

Today, He has given me the courage to uncover my “perfect lie,” to become transparent, to share my story. By opening up my life (and yours), we can enter into His will, continue the process of healing, and eventually minister to others.

Jeanette Towne is the author of “From Prisoner to President,” and the President and CEO of a U. S. Based Communications Corporation. She has been happily married to her husband, Sam, for almost twenty years. Together they are raising four teenagers and enjoying life in the western United States. Jeanette loves to share her incredible and miraculous story and is available for inspirational speaking engagements geared towards women’s groups. You may contact her via her website at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enjoy a Sample of P31's Most Popular Blog Posts

Simple Pleasures

By Luann Prater
I called home to check on my hubby one Saturday morning while speaking at a retreat. He abruptly said, "Can I call you back? There are 5 horses running through our backyard!"


It seems our neighbor who takes in all old, mistreated or abandoned horses had one very clever stallion. He slipped the latch from the barn and boldly bolted out. Since he is a leader, the others faithfully followed.

They crossed the sometimes busy street and pranced along the lake enjoying the lawn. My husband, along with another neighbor corralled them in her fenced yard until the horse family returned. But they didn't return. It seems there was a disconnect in communication and whoever was suppose to watch them, didn't.

So the next day when I returned there were the horses cooped up leaving mountain-sized reminders of their visit. It was time to take action. We went into their stall and found harnesses. Not being horse people, we needed instruction on how exactly to put the thing on these spirited guys.

One by one, together, we led each one back into their pasture. We learned a little something about horses that weekend, but more importantly we learned how to share life with our neighbors. We laughed, planned, worked and rejoiced together when the final horse crossed safely into the familiar grass of home.

Sometimes I play follow the leader, and it's the wrong leader! John 10:3 reminds me who is my True Leader.

I love surprises that stretch me and teach me to simply enjoy the interruptions.

What interruption have you enjoyed lately?

Luann is the host of a one-hour live call-in radio show every Saturday called Encouragement Cafe with Luann & Friends, which broadcasts across the nation and online worldwide. She loves life and her zest for living is contagious. From stained tragedies to the brilliant glow of grace, she allows God to use her life struggles to portray a picture of hope and encouragement to others. You can find more about Encouragement Café by visiting


by Amy Carroll

When I spoke in Peoria recently, I talked about friendships' essential components, and one of them is that we stay.

Stay through conflict.

Stay through struggles.

Stay through suffering.

Stay through uncomfortableness (my spell check tells me that's not a word but you get it).

Stay through spiritual uneveness.

Mary Magdalene is such a beautiful example of this. Because of her great love for Jesus, she stayed.

She stayed after He set her free.

She stayed as He traveled.

She stayed through His torture.

She stayed at the cross.

She stayed at His burial.

She left only for Passover and returned AS SOON as it was over.

She stayed to pass on the news of His resurrection.

I have trouble staying. When a church doesn't quite fit my desires, I want to leave. When a friend is going through a bad time because of choices I can't endorse, I want to leave. When God does things I can't understand, I want to leave.

Come Thou Fount is my favorite hymn, and I think it's because this verse resounds so loudly with me:

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

I want to leave sometimes, but I long to learn to stay.

Amy Carroll is a member of the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team and the director of Next Step Speaker Services. She, her husband, their two teen-aged boys and a little red dog reside in Holly Springs, NC.

God’s Special Purpose for You
By Wendy Blight

As I write tonight, my heart is heavy for every woman who feels unworthy, unimportant, average, lonely, sad, and without purpose. At one time, that was the cry of my heart...what is my purpose, God? How could you ever use me?
But as I journeyed with God through some painful years, He taught me very powerful Truths.

For those of you sitting in the place I just described, may you never forget God created you with a special purpose. He says in His Word...

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139:13-16)

God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Sometimes the lies of the evil one tell us we are unworthy and there is no hope for us. But Jesus tells us in His Word that those words come from the one who is the father of lies. Please, please do not listen to him. Instead of believing lies, believe TRUTH from the One Who says, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Hear Truth from God's Word today.

You are LOVED...
with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

your name engraved on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

You are WORTHY...
for He gave the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ, for you. (John 3:16)

You are FORGIVEN...
you need only repent of your sin. (Acts 3:19)

You are REDEEMED...
the old is gone and the new has Christ you are a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
one for which He specially created you. (Ephesians 2:10)

Will you believe with me today that God created you for a great that only you can fulfill?
If you don't know that today, promise me you'll spend time in these verses and ask Your Father in heaven to make them very real to you! And if you have never accepted Christ, please visit our Proverbs 31 web site, and we will lead you through the steps to receive Christ. If you do this today, please let me know as well as Proverbs because we desire to come alongside you on your wonderful new journey with the Lord!
As I close my post, I am going to pray for each one of you that God brings here today...pray that this is a day you will have an amazing God moment...where you KNOW that you KNOW He is working in your midst, listening to the cry of your heart. He desires to heal your hurt and bring you back to wholeness.
I am praying for you!

Wendy currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and serves on the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team. She finds her greatest joy in teaching Bible study, writing curriculum, and leading on-line Bible studies through her blog.

Hug the Little Girl Within Me
by Melissa Taylor

This was NOT what I planned to write about today, but when I read it, I knew I had to share it. I know that many of my readers are/were victims of sexual abuse, like me. When I wrote the devotion Stained and Ruined last November, I had no idea how many women (and men too) that would be able to relate to my experience of being sexually abused. I received more emails, comments on my blog, visits to my blog, phone calls, and prayer requests than ever before. I was sick over the amount of women who are still haunted by their past. It saddened me to the point of being physically ill. My heart broke for them, just like it broke for the little girl (me) I knew who had been so cruelly violated.
For those of you who think back to your childhood and it makes you sad or you often feel like a little girl inside, this prayer is for you. It blessed me today and I hope it does the same for you. It is from the book “When I’m On My Knees” by Anita Corrine Donihue.

Hug The Little Girl Within Me
Dear Lord, hug the little girl within me—the little girl mistreated and abused. Encircle me with Your everlasting arms. Still my silent sobs. Anoint my head with Your healing oil; free me from my nightmares of memories. Touch my scars with Your healing stripes. Soothe each muscle that suffered in anger and pain. I know You suffered, too. Piece together my broken heart. Your heart bled and You died for me. In sleepless nights, wrap me in Your comforting presence. Let me rest in the shadow of You, the Almighty. Hug the little girl in me as You cover me with Your feathers like a mother hen does her chicks. I find refuge under Your wings. Help me to face yesterday (wrong as it was), to forgive as You forgive me, and to look toward tomorrow with hope. Your faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. Let me not feel terror by night nor arrows that fly by day. Take my weakness and grant me Your strength. Make my feet swift at the dawning of a new day to do service for You. I go now in praise.
But please, Lord, don’t ever stop hugging me.

And we can be assured that He never will. Today let’s grasp the hope we have in Jesus, and let go of our despair and fear from the past. We are wrapped tight in the arms of our Rescuer and Savior and nothing can separate us from Him.
Romans 8:38- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Melissa is a speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a contributing author to “God’s Purpose for Every Woman”, “The Reason We Speak”, and “Encouragement for Today” devotions. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, four children and two dogs. For information on booking Melissa to speak, information about her online Bible studies, or just to read her words of hope, humor and encouragement, visit

When I Am Free....
By Lynn Cowell

"Mom, the dog won't come! I think she has run away again."

Uggg....This was MY time. Why should I have to take care of the dog? I never wanted her any way! These were the stinky thoughts in my brain last night at 9:30 p.m. After spending the day doing the "have to's" I was enjoying a few minutes of "want to's" and I didn't want to be interrupted!

As I got up off the couch, my daughter asked, "What is wrong?". She might as well have been the Holy Spirit Himself. What was wrong with me?


Do you ever suffer from the Me Syndrome? I sure do; often in fact. If it doesn't help or benefit me, I really don't want to do it! I guess that is why Galatians 5:13 jumped off the pages.

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." (NIV)

Ouch! That really hurt! Freedom is given so I can serve. Ok, Lord, so where do you want to free me so I can serve? Here is the short list of what was downloaded to my heart in a mere two minutes of asking that question:

When I am free from ambition, I am free to serve with a joyful heart.

When I am free from selfishness, I am free from irritation.

When I am free from jealousy, I am free to rejoice in good things in the life of another.

When I am free from judgement, I am free to pray for others from a pure heart.

When I am free from expectation, I am free to enjoy whatever life brings.

When I am freed from controlling others, I am free to see God do the miraculous.

When I am truly free, I will see the Kingdom of God at work in my life.

Friends, I just cannot tell you how desperate I am to see the Kingdom of God come in my life. Desperate people take desperate measures. I have to pursue Him this year in an abandonment like never before. I have to; I want to be of me.

Do you too want to be free? Free to find total and utter completion in Jesus? What steps will you need to take to make that freedom a reality?

Lynn Cowell is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband of 23 years and her three teenage children. The Cowell’s enjoy all types of outdoor sports: rugby, hiking, fast pitch softball and white water rafting. She is the author of “His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”; a study for young women. She loves sushi, well worn sweatshirts and anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter.

Top 10 Ways You Can Choose Hope and Claim Peace

By Melissa Taylor

This was the hardest “Top 10” list I’ve written yet. I wanted to give practical ways to achieve peace, but that was a challenge. A big part of achieving peace is based on what you’re putting into your mind. What I’ve determined is that peace is a choice. I don’t mean to trivialize it because I know how easily peace can be snatched. Ultimately, when we put our hope in God, peace is achievable and will follow.

10. Begin by living in the light. Of course the light of Christ, but also light up your world. Open the blinds. Take a walk in the sunshine. Turn on some lights in your house. Listen to music that brightens your mood, not dampens it. Get rid of the misery around you and let light surround you. Invite hope into your life.

9. Spend time in God’s Word. I know Christians tell you to do that all the time. And you probably wish you had more time to do so, don’t you? I get that, I do. But it’s true that God’s Word is a “lamp to your feet and a light to your path” (Psalm 119:105) And since #10 instructed you to get a little more light in your life, well then give it a try. Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (NIV) The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future. (Life Application Bible) Attitude is half the battle in gaining a hope perspective that leads to peace. God’s Word can help.

8. Dismiss depressing thoughts quickly. Be aware of what you are thinking. Do your thoughts tend to be negative, condemning, or gloomy? Not much room for hope in the company of those characters. Next time you find yourself dwelling on something depressing, stop it! You don’t want to do that. 2 Corinthians 10:5b, “…We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (CEV) So, catch those thoughts, give them up, and listen to Jesus who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

7. Here’s a practical one. List 5 things that bring you hope or 5 things you are hopeful for. Read them when you need to. Can’t think of 5? Then make them up. You gotta start somewhere.

6. Don’t give up. “You feel hopeless because you have been using your own power, not because there is no hope. You feel hopeless because you have been headed in the wrong direction, not because there is not hope. You feel hopeless because you have cut yourself off from others who could help you and guide you, not because there is not hope…You are not hopeless because there is not hope. There is hope for you, if you will just persevere long enough to find it.” Stephen Arterburn (from Tammy Maltby’s book Confessions of a Good Christian Girl) Choose to persevere long enough to find hope.
5. Choose to be hopeful even when you don’t feel it. I struggle with this so I remind myself to choose hope. I wear a bracelet almost every day that says “HOPE” on it. I have a Willow Tree Angel of Hope in my den. I have Scriptures of hope posted at my desk at work. I’m choosing hope and hope brings me peace. When I’m struggling greatly with this, I get help! I talk to a friend, ask my Bible study gals to pray for me, or when it’s been too overwhelming, I have sought professional help. Do whatever it takes, but don’t live life based on your feelings. They can be so fickle. Choose hope. Live in peace. Don’t settle for less.

4. Thank God for your trials and hardships. Believe me, I know that sounds crazy. These next verses give big time purpose to our trials and suffering, therefore offering peace. Romans 5:3b-5a, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” (NIV) I’ve been through many trials where hope seemed lost and these verses have restored that. And that brought me peace. Take it for your own.

3. Take a time out for yourself. Psalm 46:10 instructs us to do that so we will understand Who is in control. Remember, when life is chaotic and peace seems far away, get quiet where you can hear God and God alone.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV)
“Calm down and learn that I am God.” (CEV)
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.” (The Message)

2. Pray hope and peace for yourself. Like this:
“Lord, when my peace is broken by problems that come, remind me that You are always there caring about anything and everything that concerns me. I want to praise You through the painful places I walk through so I can rest in Your perfect peace. Thank You for giving me hope and being my peace. Please help me have hope and peace today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen (portions of this prayer are from Prayers to My King by Sheri Rose Shepherd)

1. Accept God’s plan for your life. When you’ve lost hope, you have nothing. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing to believe in. You begin to question if God exists for you or just other people. This verse tells us very different. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God does exist for you. He has plans for you. He has a purpose for your life and it is good. But you have to choose to trust Him. Choose to accept the hope God offers. Take it for your own. Look ahead with hope. As you do, soak in the peace it gives you.

God loves you. He created you and He had a good reason in doing so. I pray that you will give Him a chance. Never lose hope. Once when my marriage was on the verge on ending, I asked my husband, “Is there any hope for us?” He replied, “Just an ounce.” I immediately took that “ounce of hope” to the Lord and asked Him to multiply it. That was my prayer for the months ahead where we fought for our marriage. The restoration process wasn’t easy, but because I had hope, I was able to hang in there and claim peace. Peace that didn’t come from my circumstances. Peace that wasn’t a part of my surroundings. It was inside of me. It came from God. I had to choose it and I’m so thankful I did.

I don’t pretend that life is easy. It’s not. Hope and peace are available to us at all times, but we have to take them. In the middle of our sometimes raging world, I’m praying that you will claim them for your own and live life how God intended, with His peace in your heart.