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New Year, New You: Resources to help you keep your resolutions


(StatePoint) Making and keeping resolutions is difficult without direction or the advice of experts. Luckily, there are plenty of great resources to help, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.

Here are four books that can help you stick to your goals throughout the year.

Clean Eating

From quinoa and chia seeds to spinach and pomegranate, “Super Clean Super Foods” is a colorfully illustrated, comprehensive guide that shows readers how to incorporate unfamiliar ingredients into everyday dishes. The book explores the incredible health properties of each super food and includes tips on how to maximize its health benefits, allowing readers to work toward specific goals. For instance, you can create a food plan to boost energy, have a healthier pregnancy, limit jetlag, reduce aging, and more.

Achieve More

Whether you are seeking improvement in your career, relationships, or in your overall performance, “Success: The Psychology of Achievement,” can help equip you with the tools you need to drive yourself toward success using proven psychological strategies and expert advice. From positive thinking to work-life balance to learning how to say “no,” the lessons in this dynamic infographic guide, authored by an organizational psychologist, are tailored to your personal situation through questionnaires and self-analysis exercises.

Smart Meals

Bowls are a delicious way to lose weight and eat healthy, but they can also be laden with hidden calories. Inspired by the very latest bowl food trend, “100 Weight Loss Bowls,” features color-coded recipes engineered to come in at under 400, 500, or 600 calories, allowing you to easily build a nutritious meal plan that meets your daily target for gradual and sustained weight loss.

Workout Buddy

The first full-color fitness book that teaches you how to actively engage a partner in your workout routine, “Partner Workouts” features bodyweight exercises, yoga positions, cardio and more. Three long-term, comprehensive exercise programs provide regimens so you and your partner can motivate each other to achieve your fitness goals over a period of time. From choosing your partner and setting your goals to tracking your progress and nutrition, this guide doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive fitness equipment.

Start 2017 off on the right foot. Relying on books, tools and other resources can help you achieve your goals.

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The Year in thanks

Pastor Darryl Miller  

Sand Lake UMC 

65 W. Maple, Sand Lake

South Ensley UMC 

13600 Cypress, Ensley Township


1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV)

As a Methodist, the end of the year brings me to a time of filling out year-end forms. Although a job that is not at all enjoyed, it does bring a time of reflection. As we look back at the past year, we are able to see how God has revealed Himself to us and how He has been in the midst of so many things, not only in our church life but in our lives in general. Many of us have begun to do an inventory of our personal lives over the past year to see how many “God sightings” that we recognize. So many times God reveals Himself to us without our recognizing what is happening. A cold that doesn’t last as long as it should have, a near miss in the car that could have been an accident, or a feeling of peace in a tense situation.

Of course many of us have had tragedies in the past year and we may not have seen God at work. And yet, He is always there. It may seem hard to “give thanks in all things” but remembering this, even in turmoil, reminds us that God draws us nearer to Himself and he is always there for us.

As the New Year begins, why don’t you see if you can remember the times that God has been there for you. And give thanks for these times because God is reminding us that He is a living God who truly cares for and loves us all.

I hope that you have all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and that your New Year is one of blessings and grace. Remember that there is a God that loves you very much and that He wants to be a part of your life. Want to know more? Check out a church near you! Blessings to you all!

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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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Resolve to Adopt Cost-Cutting  Shopping Habits in the New Year


(StatePoint) The start of the New Year is often a time for resolutions and improvements to your daily lifestyle. While many people vow to lose weight or take a big trip, others might focus on trying to save money in the year to come. There are some easy ways to start saving now and develop smart shopping habits for the remainder of 2015.

Plan Weekly/Monthly Meals

Instead of impulsively buying produce and other perishable items while grocery shopping, try to make a plan for all your meals that week or month. By only buying what you need, you can save money at the grocery store and limit the opportunity for food to go to waste.

Private Brands

Another simple way to save money this year is to make the switch to private or store brands. Many items can be purchased at a fraction of the name brand price, and there is often little or no difference in product quality. For instance, Dollar General offers many private brand items at affordable prices with a satisfaction guarantee, which can help you to cut back on expenses without sacrificing quality.

Digital Coupons

You can score truly great deals by clipping coupons, but doing so can be a time consuming process. New digital alternatives can make the process less painstaking. One example is Dollar General’s digital coupon program, which lets users create a profile where they can pin the coupons most relevant to them. You can have instant savings on your cell phone or computer for items you use the most, without ever touching a newspaper or pair of scissors.

This new year, resolve to make a few small changes to your shopping habits that can create big savings in the long run!


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New beginning for a new year (every day)

Pastor Dick Nichols
Cedar Creek Community Church
2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

A new year is much like running a foot race. In order to begin a new one, we need to put the old one behind us, because we can only participate in one at a time.
New Year’s is the time we like to make resolutions that we hope will make our future much better than the past we just left. There are always things we know we can do better; or maybe things we shouldn’t do at all; or maybe there is something we need to change to help us be more at peace in our personal lives.
Most people. whether they go to church or not, know the “Golden Rule.”  Let’s give it a try. Please complete the following sentence: “Do unto others as you __ __ __ __ __ __.” (Answer at bottom of article).  This is a part of our American culture, yet many people have no idea that it came from Jesus’ teaching. Following it, though, is another story.
We read Jesus words in Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (New International Version).
We each have our own circumstances in life, where we should apply the Golden Rule, but just to help us better understand the application, let’s look at just one illustration today: forgiveness. Jesus talks to us about forgiveness in Matthew’s gospel in chapter 6, verses 14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (New International Version).
God is the God of relationships, and in order to begin a new year, we must first make peace with our past and the relationships that have been broken through a lack of forgiveness. Thank God that because of Jesus Christ and the fact that he is reaching out to us in love, whatever has happened to us in the past can be put behind us. If something happened to you in your youth or in your past or in some other relationship and it continues to hurt in your heart, then that resentment, that hurt, that brokenness is to some degree controlling your life, like a heavy burden that weighs you down.
The bible talks about how to get yesterday off your back. To paraphrase scripture, “forgive and you will be forgiven, if you don’t, you won’t.”  In Romans 12:18-19, the apostle Paul wrote; “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (New International Version).
From this we can see the purpose of God’s command to forgive others. The burden of unforgiveness is like carrying a 50-pound bag of garbage around all of the time. January 1st is one day, like any other day of the year. When we resolve to do what we can to ease this burden on New Year’s day, and then carry that same resolve into the next day, and the next day, and the next etc., we will find the truth of God’s word.
Now, if we will apply this same principle to other circumstances in life, just think of what your future in following Jesus could hold. Part of this good news is that this golden rule can be applied starting today, and then again tomorrow and so on,  and others did the same, can you even imagine what kind of world we might live in? May the peace of Jesus Christ dwell in you.
(Answer: fill in the blank:  “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”)

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New year, new career

(ARA) – As the old year comes to a close and the new year begins, many people evaluate their current situation and set goals for the future. For some, career goals top the list. If you’re looking for a new job or even a new career, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work, because getting on the path is going to take a lot of work.
If you were planning on scouring the want ads, you may have to adjust your thinking. “If you see an ad for a position posted, it’s almost too late,” says Becky Bates, director of career services at The Art Institutes International Minnesota. Bates suggests you tap into the “hidden job market” and get to that position before it’s posted. That means networking.
“Let anyone and everyone know you’re looking for a position,” advises Heidi Nolta, assistant director of career services at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. “Even if it’s your Aunt Sally, you have no idea who knows whom, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family.”
“Go to networking functions that cater to your field and go alone, because you won’t be able to hide behind your friends,” adds Grace Shurley, career services advisor at The Art Institute of Las Vegas. Shurley suggests you stand or sit in the middle of the room and get out of your comfort zone, because you’re not likely to make new contacts within it. Nolta advises you to volunteer at those events, checking people in; it guarantees you’ll meet almost everyone who walks through the door. “Your goal should be to get a two-inch stack of business cards,” says Shurley.
Make sure to have business cards wherever you go. If you don’t currently have a job, have a simple business card made with your name, profession and contact information, says Shurley. And while you’re at it, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and start Tweeting, suggests Nolta. “Follow the companies and industries you are interested in so you can get the latest information about them.”
If you’re not employed, be willing to take something that may not be an ideal fit but gets you out there, advises Shurley. “And don’t be afraid to start at the bottom if you’re launching a new career; that entry-level job can open up a lot of opportunities,” she adds.
Whether you’re employed or not, make sure you’re updating your skills, says Bates. If new software is introduced in your industry, learn that software. Find workshops and tutorials that can help. Nolta cautions that potential employers could test you on new software to make sure that you’re up to speed.
“A job seeker is self-employed and the biggest mistake you can make is not holding yourself accountable,” says Bates. She suggests you make a strategic plan and map out activities for every day of the week, whether it’s a job fair, sending out resumes, researching a company or calling potential employers. “Job seekers should consider getting that job, a job in itself.”

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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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Happy New Year!
I intend that to mean for the whole year, not just January 1. May 2012 be a year of blessings for all of us.
Our first day of the year is related to the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory. If you don’t like this one, the Julian calendar places New Year’s Day on Jan. 14. Throughout the world, people observe other dates, mostly related to religion. Pope Gregory picked this date based on Jesus’ birth on Dec. 25 and baptism on Jan. 1. It could get complicated.
I think Adam and Eve celebrated because they saw the days getting longer and the sun coming back.

Antique story
A little boy opened the big family Bible with fascination, looking at the old pages, one after another. As he turned them, something fell out. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old tree leaf that had been pressed between the pages.
“Mom, look what I found!” he called out.
“What do you have there, dear?” his mother asked. With excitement the boy exclaimed, “It’s Adam’s suit!”

Church story
Six-year old Angie and her four-year old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud.
Finally his big sister had had enough and gave him the elbow. “You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church!”
“Why? Who’s going to stop me?’ Joel answered.
Angie pointed to the back of the church. “See those two men standing by the door? They’re hushers!”

Sew-sew story
A pretty girl stepped up to the fabric counter and said, “I’d like to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?”
“Only one kiss per yard,” replied the young male clerk.
“Fine,” replied the girl. “I’ll take ten yards.”
Smirking, the clerk measured out the cloth and wrapped it. Then he held it out teasingly.
The girl smiled, took the package, pointed to a little old man standing beside her, and said, “Grandpa, pay the man.”

Deer Tick Warning
I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, but this one is real, and it’s important. So, please send this warning to everyone on your e-mail list:
If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, Do not do it! It is a scam. They only want to see you naked.
I wish I’d gotten this information yesterday. I feel so stupid now.

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Women’s Health

A Healthy, Happy 2012!

By James N. Martin, Jr, MD
President, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The beginning of a new year is a great time to get your priorities in order and to set goals for the next 365 days.  ACOG urges women to put health at the top of their 2010 to-do lists. Remember these healthy living tips:
Eat Healthier. Aim to eat a balanced diet rich in a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy, and lean protein. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 35-year-old woman who gets 30–60 minutes of exercise per day should eat a 2,000 calorie daily diet consisting of 6 ounces of grains (at least half from whole grains), 2 ½ cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of low/nonfat milk or milk products, and 5 ½ ounces of lean meat, fish, and beans. Additionally, cut back on sodium, fats, processed sugar, and refined grains.
Get Active. Regular physical activity helps increase overall well-being while lowering the risk of diabetes, osteo-porosis, some cancers, and other illnesses caused by inactivity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week to lower the risk of chronic disease; 60 minutes on most days to maintain weight; and at least 60 to 90 minutes on most days to lose weight. A well-rounded exercise regimen should be fun, sustainable, and include cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility components.
Quit Smoking. Despite the numerous dangers of smoking—increased risk of heart disease, infertility, early meno-pause, and more than 10 different cancers, to name a few—one in five American women still smoke. Quitters gain an improved sense of taste and smell, better circulation, easier breathing, and less hoarseness. They also reduce their risk of heart attack by 50% within a year of quitting.
Drink in Moderation. Alcohol has been linked to both positive effects such as improvements in heart health and bone density, and negative ones including an increased risk of breast and other cancers. If you drink, try to keep it to less than one alcoholic beverage a day.
Get Some Rest. Your body repairs and regenerates tissue, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens its immunity while you sleep. Not getting enough sleep may cause short-term problems such as irritability and memory loss and long-term conditions including diabetes and heart disease. The average adult should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Visit Your Ob-Gyn. Women should see their doctor regularly for preventive care. Routine visits to the ob-gyn help ensure women receive age appropriate screenings, exams, and immunizations, and they allow physicians to identify and treat common problems before serious health risks develop.
For more information, ACOG Patient Education Fact Sheets are available at http://acog.org/For_Patients.aspx.

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Spend ‘Shoe’ Year’s at state parks

The Department of Natural Resources is offering an alternative to the indoor party scene this New Year’s Eve. Swap those dancing shoes for a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and spend a GO-Get Outdoors “Shoe Year’s Eve” in one of Michigan’s state parks or recreation areas.
This year, gather up friends and family for a fun-filled New Year’s holiday in one of the state parks’ many winterized cabins, yurts or lodges. Don headlights and snowshoes for an evening adventure through the campground, and then enjoy a potluck in the cabin and ring in the New Year gathered around a blazing campfire.
According to DNR Recreation Programmer Maia Stephens, the idea isn’t new.
“People have been enjoying rustic New Year’s celebrations in our cabins and lodges for years,” Stephens said. “Just think—no crowds, no dangerous driving. It’s just a chance to relax, reflect and reconnect with the people who mean the most to you. And the Recreation Passport makes it both an unusual and affordable way to celebrate the season.”
Don’t let a lack of snow deter the vision of a simple, rustic holiday in the woods. Michigan has plenty of trails for hiking, biking or just wildlife viewing within its park system.
“Whether there’s snow for the holidays or not, the state parks offer plenty of opportunities for visitors to get out and enjoy the beauty of our parks this time of year,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “You can be part of a nationwide state park effort to start the New Year with a hike.”
If your New Year’s Eve plans already are set, plan on getting those New Year’s resolutions off to a good start by attending one of the DNR-sponsored “Shoe” Year’s Day events scheduled for Jan. 1 in many of Michigan’s state parks.  Park staff, as well as local health professionals, will be on hand to guide hikes, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing events for participants eager to start their exercise commitments off on the right foot.
For a listing of state parks offering alternative winter lodging over the holidays and throughout the winter, or to find a “Shoe” Year’s Day hike near you, visit www.michigan.gov/gogetoutdoors.
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “YES” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

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New Year new you!

scaleAre you setting some New Year’s resolutions? We want to help you succeed! Whether you are looking to lose weight, get debt-free, get fit, healthy, improve your looks or relationships, we are bound to have some hints that can help. All month long, starting in today’s issue, you’ll find articles in our special sections to help you along the way. We’d like to hear what types of goals you have, and any tips you can give to others! Log on to our website at cedarspringspost.com and click on “comment” to let us know what you are doing. Let’s get a community conversation going and help each other out! In the meantime, click here for this week’s “New Year New You” section.

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Happy New Year, baby!

Photo courtesy of WOODTV.com. Trevor and Danielle Lowis hold their son, Trenton.

Some proud parents in our area rang in the New Year in a special way last weekend—by having a baby.
Danielle and Trevor Lowis, of Sparta, welcomed the first baby in Kent County at Spectrum Health Butterworth at 12:17 a.m. January 1. Their son, Trenton Austin Lowis weighed in at seven pounds, eight ounces.
Spectrum Health United Hospital in Greenville proudly announced their first newborn delivery of 2011 was born 26 hours later, on January 2. Nora Mae Johnson was born at 2:57 a.m., Sunday, January 2nd at the Spectrum Health United Hospital Obstetrics Unit.  Her parents, Larissa Mae and Kevin Emil Johnson, reside in Greenville. Nora is the couple’s first child.

Kevin and Larissa Johnson with their daughter, Nora Mae.

Nora was 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20-½ inches long. She was delivered by Dr. Kelly Wiersema, MD after a short labor and delivery, totaling four hours from beginning until Nora’s arrival.
The Post congratulates both the Lowis and Johnson families on their special additions!

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