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Tag Archive | "resolutions"

Resolutions for every day of the year

Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist

10295 Myers Lake Avenue

Rockford, MI 49341



One of the privileges of being a pastor in this area is taking my turn when it comes around to contribute to this column in the Post. I have no idea whether anything any of us writes ever has the impact we hope it will when we’re writing it; still, the opportunity to gather, sift, arrange and present one’s thoughts on what it means to be a person of faith in the 21st century, even in a brief format such as this, helps keeps those of us who do so accountable and attentive to the message of God’s grace that each of us, in our own way, hopes to convey.

So you’d think this spot in the rotation, the week when we’re all turning the corner from one year to the next, would be especially attractive. With 2014 getting one last look before we say farewell and forecasts for 2015 being made, this would seem to be the perfect context for insights on tying up loose ends and stepping forward with bold conviction. You know, the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing.

But how tedious and predictable is that? We’re all capable of googling what the most popular resolutions are and the low success rate people have meeting the goals they set in January. Is there anything at all that a pastor could offer that isn’t just another bow to the clichés of pop culture?

Maybe a different take on resolution would be worth something. Traditionally, during days of auld lang syne, the operative definition of the word involves statements of firm determination relative to particular actions, either to be taken or to be avoided. One might resolve to lose weight, for example, or quit smoking.

Another definition of resolution has to do with problem-solving. Resolution is the just and equitable settlement of a dispute or controversy.

There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement. All of us would do well to take better care of our emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual health and we have nothing to lose by declaring our intentions to do so. In fact, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” (That comes from one of those google searches, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/)

But an article that I, or any of our area pastors, could write no matter what time of year it is would speak to the need for the employment of every resource of grace—forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, redemption. It would encourage us to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” (Amos 5:24, NRSV) and it would remind us that Jesus called peacemakers blessed.

We don’t need to wait until it’s time to flip a page of the calendar to “learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16b-17, NRSV). New Year’s resolutions? Let’s make New Day’s resolutions, every day, always to be part of the solution, actively and intentionally.


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Tips for families to get healthy this new year

This New Year, you can get the whole family together by committing to a healthier lifestyle as a team.

This New Year, you can get the whole family together by committing to a healthier lifestyle as a team.


(StatePoint) New Year’s resolutions often focus on personal improvement. This year experts are encouraging entire families to consider making a pledge to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Parents have more potential than anybody else to influence their children’s behavior — including their eating habits—according to a study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, parents outrank sports celebrities as the people most children would most like to be, according to the survey.

“You are the most influential role model in your child’s life,” says Kim Larson, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson. “Modeling healthy eating behaviors encourages children to adopt and choose healthy behaviors that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Setting realistic goals

Small steps add up, and Larson recommends making healthy lifestyle changes that are realistic and easy to stick with for the long-haul. Try adopting healthy changes for the entire family, such as:

• Make sure your kids know they are part of the team and that health and fitness are a family affair.

• Encourage children to help plan meals—from developing the menu to shopping to preparing and serving the meal.

• Serve regular, balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

• Eat breakfast daily.

• Enjoy family dinner together each night or as often as possible.

• At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

• Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.

• Get active. Incorporate physical activity where you can in your day, whether taking a family walk after dinner or hitting the gym. Remember, children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.

Focus on overall health, not weight alone

According to the experts, good nutrition, health, and fitness fun should be the focus of your family’s goals, not calorie counting, food restriction or working out.

“You don’t want your kids to think that a healthy lifestyle is only about how much they weigh,” Larson says. “Concentrate on delicious nutrition and fun physical activities,” says Larson.

For a personalized plan tailored to your lifestyle, food preferences and the unique needs of your family, consider consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. You can find one in your area at www.EatRight.org.





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Keeping Resolutions While on the Go

Spicy tequila lime shrimp salad

Inspiring Recipes by Chef Candice Kumai

(Family Features)

Year after year, saving money and eating healthier rank high on the list of New Year’s resolutions, but as many know all too well, busy schedules can make it hard to keep these resolutions up.

“Pretty Delicious” author and “Top Chef” alum Candice Kumai has partnered with The Glad Products Company to create delicious recipes that help bring healthy food out of the kitchen, and in turn, help to save you both the cost and calories associated with eating lunch out.

Chef Kumai’s recipes are inspired by Glad To Go reusable lunch and snack containers, which feature a detachable 1.5-ounce “To Go” cup that snaps into the lid — allowing you to confidently transport foods that you haven’t been able to before. Just imagine — no more dressing leak disasters when bringing a salad to work.

“Now there’s no excuse for us to break our New Year’s resolutions,” says Kumai. “My recipes are not only healthy, delicious, convenient meal time options, but they fit into our everyday lives while helping to save money, time and calories and reduce waste.”

For additional recipes, lunchtime tips, coupon offerings and more, visit www.Facebook.com/Glad.

Spicy Tequila Lime Shrimp Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
For the shrimp
2     tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1     garlic clove, minced
1/2     teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes
1     pound medium shrimp, deveined
3     tablespoons high-quality tequila
Salt, to taste
1     teaspoon dried chipotle powder
2     to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
For the salad
4     cups dark, leafy mixed greens
1/2     cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin
1/2     cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1     avocado, sliced thin
For the dressing
1/2     cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3     tablespoons high-quality tequila
1     tablespoon grated lime zest
1     teaspoon hot sauce
2     tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pinch of sea salt to taste

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add cumin and red pepper flakes, and let flavors blend together.

Add shrimp and toss. Carefully add tequila and cook until alcohol burns off. Season with salt, and add dried chipotle powder. Once shrimp are cooked, add chopped cilantro, toss and put aside on a plate.

Toss mixed greens in a large salad bowl and add in roasted red peppers and black beans. In medium bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together and alter to desired taste by adding additional hot sauce and salt. Top with avocado slices and sautéed shrimp.

Roasted Fig and Blue Cheese Salad

Roasted Fig and Blue Cheese Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
For the figs
2     cups fresh black mission figs, sliced in half
2     tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2     tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1     teaspoon honey
1/4     teaspoon sea salt
For the salad
1/2     cup blue cheese, cut into elegant wedges or thin slices
6     cups mixed salad greens with arugula
1/2     cup candied walnuts
Sea salt to taste
For the dressing
3     tablespoons honey
2     tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4     cup balsamic vinegar
1/4     teaspoon sea salt

To roast figs, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove stems off end of each fig, then slice fig in half. Roast for approximately 30 minutes or until a bit golden brown. Remove and cool slightly.

In small mixing bowl, mix 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey. Add figs and toss to coat evenly. Marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.

Whisk honey, mustard, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and sea salt together to create dressing.

Place greens in large salad bowl; toss in candied walnuts. Serve with two fig halves on top of each salad with a blue cheese wedge.

Spinach Salad with Walnuts, Strawberries and Goat Cheese

Spinach salad with walnuts, strawberries, and goat cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
For the salad
1/2     cup walnuts
4     cups fresh spinach, stems
8     large strawberries, hulled and
thinly sliced
1/4     cup crumbled goat cheese
For the dressing
3     tablespoons honey
2     tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4     cup balsamic vinegar
1/4     teaspoon sea salt

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Place walnuts on rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Toss spinach with strawberries in a large bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar and salt. Sprinkle walnuts on top of spinach and strawberries mix.

Serve sprinkled with goat cheese, with remaining dressing on the side.

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Tax resolutions for the new year

(ARA) – It might be coincidental that the new year and the beginning of tax season arrive so close together. Many people resolve to be wiser with their money in the new year, and it just so happens that being smart about your taxes is a good way to get started.
Whether it’s your only resolution or just one of a few, sticking to your new year’s tax resolutions throughout the whole year is the trick to being successful. And just like taking losing weight during the year will have you in better shape for the future, following your financial resolutions can make tax time far easier next year.
Use these tips to help build a successful approach to your tax resolution.
* Get started now. Procrastination can be your downfall – it often happens that the longer you put something off, the more daunting a task it seems. And the last thing anyone needs is an excuse to be more overwhelmed by the thought of working on taxes. If you know that you struggle with preparing your return, make the call to a professional who can help you. But again, don’t wait – tax preparers’ appointment books fill up fast during tax season.
* Set up a filing system and stick to it. The flurry of paperwork is stressful enough when you’re doing your taxes—not being able to find a necessary slip of paper only makes it worse. Create files for receipts and other documents and be sure to keep them updated. If you want to go digital, use a scanner to file everything neatly away in specialized folders on your computer.
* Take advantage of tax-saving benefits offered by your employer. If they’re available to you, consider how much smarter it is to use pre-tax dollars for things like medical expenses and childcare. If you need more guidance about how to best take advantage of the offered programs, check with your human resources department, or your own tax preparer or financial planner.
* Promise to give yourself a tax check-up twice a year. Don’t let yourself be shocked when tax time rolls around. the psychological and financial stress of being unprepared for a big tax bill can take a major toll. Do yourself a favor by checking on your tax liability a couple of times through the year. If you need to make adjustments to your withholding, do so as quickly as you can. Even if you find that nothing needs to be changed, you’ll have something to smile about and one less worry to occupy your mind.
* Make it a habit to save. Putting extra money away is always a good habit, whether the intent for it is to help pay off tax bills or to purchase a new vehicle. Giving yourself a little extra cushion to fall back on doesn’t have to make you feel fiscally stressed, though. Put away $20 here and there, or have a percentage of your paycheck sent directly to a savings account, and you’ll be excited by how much you have at the turning of the next new year.
Bothersome as taxes can seem, if you prepare for them throughout the year, you might find the experience far easier the next time you have to file. For more ideas about a financially sound new year, visit blog.equifax.com.

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