June 25: World Vitiligo Day

It’s V-Day, and I don’t mean Valentine’s. June 25 is set aside to create awareness about vitiligo and the social stigma associated with it around the world. As part of a campaign, we are petitioning to have June 25 officially recognized by the United Nations as part of a healthcare and education initiative for those with vitiligo and the community, and be observed as World Vitiligo Day.

Today is the perfect day to revive a post, particularly I Am Not My Skin Color, where I wrote about my own skin discoloration. Please read, share and sign the petition for recognition and support of vitiligo awareness.

Vitiligo Awareness - Model Me Girl - World Vitiligo Day - June 25

 

 

Strawberry + Cucumber Water

If you’ve grown tired of the lone lemon or lime added to your water, it’s time to mix up your water routine. Add natural flavor to your water while enjoying the health benefits of strawberries and cucumbers.

The Fruits

Cucumber is a wonderful and nutritious vine plant. It contains vitamins A, C and K, among trace amounts of other vitamins. Cucumber also contains minerals, such as calcium. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, help lower the risk of cancer. The vitamins and minerals in cucumbers help with digestion, healthy weight maintenance and stress. Cucumbers also reduce inflammation, making it ideal for the skin. They also work to help lower blood glucose levels because of their water content. One cucumber with its peel is approximately 45 calories.

Strawberry is considered a powerhouse fruit. Strawberries contain vitamin C, fiber, B vitamin folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phytonutrients. One cup of strawberries is about 50 calories and provides 100% of the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C. Strawberries may help prevent certain cancers, regulate digestion, prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system.

Strawberry + Cucumber Water

All you need is 1/2 or a whole cucumber and a cup of strawberries to make your cucumber water for a pitcher. You can also just make enough for one glass. If you only intend on having one glass, simply add a 1-2 slices of cucumber and a sliced strawberry to your water.

  1. Rinse/Wash the fruit. Scrub outer layer of cucumber.
  2. If desired, peel your cucumber, or leave the skin. Some people prefer to scoop out the cucumber seeds. It’s up to you.
  3. Cut the cap off strawberries and slice them.
  4. Add water to a pitcher and sliced fruit.
  5. Let the water chill in the fridge.

Don’t let the mixture sit too long in the fridge. Overnight is fine. The more cucumbers and strawberries you add, the more flavorful it will be. If you’d like more strawberry flavor, add more strawberries and less cucumber. I think I’ll do that next time.

Be warned, this water is not sweet, but you do get the flavor of the added fruits that are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry-and-Cucumber-Water---Model-Me-Girl

Water – Quenching the Thirst

We cannot live without water. Earth is made up of 71% water. All life on earth depends on water to survive.  Our bodies contain 55-78% water.

Clean, safe drinking water is critical. Water suitable for drinking is called potable water. We lose water throughout the day during normal functions, such as respiration, sweating and waste excretion. Our bodies cannot store water. We must replenish the water we lose daily.

drops-of-water

 

If we do not replace lost water, we become dehydrated. Dehydration is dangerous and deadly because it lowers the blood pressure and decreases blood volume. Alcoholic beverages cannot replace water because of the ethanol used to produce it causes dehydration. But other types of fluids work, along with plain water.

Survival

School Review – How long can the average human survive without water?

On average, humans can survive three to five days without water. Some can survive one week, but that’s usually the limit. Factors such as climate, age, gender, overall health, level of activity and body fat play a role.

 Quenching the Thirst

drink-water

Sometimes you have a song that’s on constant replay. This past week, I’ve been listening to Water by Anthony Brown & Group Therapy.

One part of the song says, “Your presence is water. Come fill me, then fill me again.”

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

God likens His Spirit to water. This water is represented as a river, the rain, and a well or fountain of living water. It’s alive and gives life.

John 7:37-38

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Lord has promised to quench the thirst of the faithful.

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

Jesus is the Lord, and when He walked this earth, He testified of the life-giving and thirst quenching power of His spirit.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When a River Runs Dry

Just as we cannot survive naturally without water, we cannot survive spiritually without the refreshing Water from heaven.

Being naturally dehydrated causes both blood pressure and blood volume to plummet. What about spiritual dehydration? Surely this, too, has fatal consequences if not remedied.

A natural river can run dry from overuse, reduced flow, the effects of climate and land changes, or low rainfall.

If we are not careful to stay focused on Christ, trials, tribulations, afflictions and persecution can weary and drain us to the point of “reducing and limiting the flow” of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

kirchsee-river

What About You?

Have joy, faith and love flown out the window? Are you more carnal minded than ever before? Have you backslidden and gone AWOL on God?

Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Are you sampling beggarly methods and false doctrines, thinking they can solve your problems and bring you joy? Or is humanism your faith and climbing the achievement ladder your glory? Has your pining away for another person, money or things evicted the Word of God, praise and worship from your heart? The things of the world are broken cisterns. The world cannot receive, understand or replace the things of God.

How long can you trudge along dry and on empty before you perish? When a person forsakes the True and Living God, s/he becomes spiritually dead. There is no hope of survival without water. The rain will never come without possessing a repentant heart.

A river cannot flow if it has not been replenished by the rain. Jesus Christ is the Rainmaker – both naturally and spiritually. A river can run dry if the rain clouds do not gather and pour out its blessed and abundant gift. What’s left behind is dry, hardened and empty. No good fruit can spring forth from land destroyed by drought.

A Watered Garden

Have you beheld the beauty of a watered garden? What loveliness! Just thinking about it incites a remembrance of the wonderful colors and fragrances.

Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Song of Solomon 4:12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

flowers-pink

God wants us to delight in Him and draw water out of the wells of salvation with joy. He wants us to guard our hearts against corruption and pollution that can defile the fountain. If your river has run dry or if you’ve built broken wells, it’s not too late to be refreshed and revived with the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Isaiah 12:3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

 

mmg-j-name

 

 

Juice it Up! Simple Apple-Kiwi Juice Recipe

This is another refreshing juice recipe. It’s pretty simple. Apple, kiwi, blender or juicer, and you’re all set. Enjoy!

Juice it Up! Simple Apple-Kiwi Juice

Into the Fit Zone

Get healthy with a fitness program that works for you. Exercise skirt, anyone? Welcome to the fit zone!

Fit Zone

10 Tips to Deal With Anxiety

You’ve heard it before. Worry doesn’t solve problems; it only creates more. Anxiety compromises health and wellness. It is known to negatively affect blood pressure and glucose levels, as well as increase the heart rate. Prolonged anxiety affects concentration, digestion, and can lead to depression. If you are sick, anxiety can delay healing and recovery.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

To “be careful for nothing” means to not worry. God doesn’t want us to be full of  worry and anxiety. They gnaw away at our faith.

10 Tips to Deal with Anxiety

1. Recognize your limits. Some things are outside of your control. Let go of what you can’t control. You’ll feel better when you do.
2. Accept each day as it comes You can’t know how every story or situation ends.
3. Find healthy ways to deal with people and circumstances that make you anxious.  Exercise, journal, craft, sharpen your skills, Polyvore 😉 etc.
4. Be patient with yourself and others High levels of anxiety correlates with impatience. It’s okay to slow down.
5. Forgive yourself and others. It’s easier said than done, but when you forgive, there are no more reasons to fret about what has come and gone.
6. Eat healthy foods. It’s a catch twenty-two. When we’re anxious, we tend to eat unhealthy foods, which can produce negative effects. This may make us even more anxious. Yikes!! TRY to eat healthy foods to keep yourself off the anxiety wheel. Don’t forget to drink water!
7. Talk it out. Many times all we need is a good listener in our corner. We are usually able to talk ourselves to a solution or encourage ourselves in a conversation.
8. Love a pet (or person). Petting and snuggling with a furry friend can help alleviate anxiety. For the allergy sufferers and those without pets, cute animal pics are in abundance online. Spend time with a person who brings a sense of calm in your life.
9. Laugh. A meme anyone? Cute and funny baby or animal pics? A funny show? Get to laughing! It’s great for the heart and reduces anxiety.
10. Last, but not least: Pray, meditate, and read God’s Word (and inspiring stories). — Simply put, it’s good for the soul.

Still Waters: 10 Tips to Deal with Anxiety

World Vitiligo Awareness Day: I Am Not My Skin Color

How important is skin color to you? Or should I say, how important is the absence of skin color to you?

logo_vitiligo1Supporters are petitioning the UN that June 25 be recognized as World Vitiligo Day. We are building awareness about vitiligo and the psychological and social consequences that can erupt as barriers in a person’s life, as well as to raise funds for education and research.

The stigma of vitiligo is real. It often takes the form of a master status, or primary characteristic that shapes a person’s social identity. This influences a person’s perception of him/herself. In many parts of the world, people who have skin depigmentation are discriminated against or socially isolated. There are uninformed individuals who see vitiligo or skin depigmentation and confuse it with leprosy, or as something contagious.

Simply put, vitiligo is a skin condition that occurs when the melanocytes stop producing melanin, which are responsible for giving color to the skin. The result is loss of skin color, or depigmentation. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, from autoimmune deficiencies, to skin trauma from a sunburn or reaction to chemicals.

The Stigma Is Real

While I have not experienced the extensive stigmatization as those in India with vitiligo and other parts of the world do, I understand that any pronounced skin depigmentation, such as vitiligo, marks you as different. To many, the idea of something or someone being different evokes fear or confusion.

The skin depigmentation I have is on my lower legs, feet and right arm. The contrast between the white patches and “normal” colored skin on people who are brown or dark is more prominent than on people who are light or white. I know the glances, the stares. But it was seeing another woman with brown skin—an educator, like myself—who proudly wore the depigmentation of her skin as a badge of honor. I didn’t see her shrink or appear overly self-conscious. I was inspired, and because of her witness, I no longer felt threatened by the stares…by the glances. I know it was God who used this woman in my life.

Understanding how someone developed vitiligo or any skin depigmentation is important. It’s the first step. But knowing how to live with it is a daily effort, and is the most important part. With close friends and family, it’s easy to live with. But when you face the world and looks of strangers, it’s not so easy.

The medical field positions that while vitiligo poses no significant threat to the body, other than limiting the skin’s protection from the sun, the huge impact skin depigmentation has on a person is with the mind and emotions. I do not believe the medical field is discounting physical medical needs; but the psychosocial needs far outweigh those.

 My Source of Strength

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul said,

“For this thing I sought the Lord thrice [three times], that it might depart from me. (9) And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

How you see things, or your perception, is key. I prayed and asked God to help me better understand His grace. Goodness, did He answer me!

How I See Me

God used my skin and the depigmentation to teach me that He and His grace are enough. My skin didn’t need to change. I needed to change my mind—how I saw things. How I saw myself. I have no control over the minds of others and how they see my skin. But with Christ, I could change my perception and overcome the barriers placed before me. Even the ones I erected.

World_Vitiligo_Day-Im-Not-My-Skin-Color-ModelMeGirlI began to see my skin depigmentation as powerful—not something to make me pitiful. It gave me a testimony and the ability to identify with others. It moved self out of the way so that the power of Christ could rest upon me.

If people see that I can still give God the glory, it’s worth it. If one person’s glance or stare stirs up a conversation, or if I remain silent and be read as a living epistle, the light of Jesus will shine through me and I stand as His witness. It’s all worth it. If someone is inspired to not be ashamed of how they look or who they are—it’s all worth it. If this depigmentation keeps me humble—it is more than worth it.

What am I saying? It’s worth the cost…the price.

Learning To…

Having the depigmentation compelled me to love the skin I am in more than ever. As such, I began to love others more, and care about the everyday experiences that shape a person’s identity—including being stigmatized and ostracized. I began to care about how to undo the effects of the hurt and build healthy perceptions.

I am learning to model. To model how to yield, and show God is able to change a person and the relationships they have—from the inside out. Even how you relate to yourself and society.

When I hear and read about the dark skin/light skin debates within the black community, my heart breaks. I think about women in India who are forced to flee their homes and abandon their marriages because in-laws found out the wives have vitiligo. The meaning of skin color takes on a new definition, and you see another layer of ignorance and need for education and reconciliation. This make me care even more about how we can protect our minds and hearts, and learn to not identify ourselves based on circumstances—past or present.

But how do I say this to the girl who feels like her life is not worth living all because of the condition and color of her skin? Wait. Not because of the condition and color of her skin, but because of how people react to it, and how she sees herself through their eyes?

It Is Well

If my skin color becomes uniformed again, God is great. If it doesn’t, God is still great. I am not my skin color. My skin is just the shell, the covering, that God decided to drape over me. My skin color is symbolic of God’s creativity. It is what it is, and I operate in the realm of reality.

As it is with shells, it is what is beneath that is the most important element. God is more concerned with my heart, my mind…my soul. So He is with yours.

Support

After being inspired by a woman with vitiligo, I asked myself how I could pass on that inspiration. The answer? By using one of the most powerful tools in my possession—my voice. I could also wear purple on June 25—the vitiligo awareness color—in support of increasing health awareness and education in the global community, and in support of those who live with skin depigmentation. I could also sign a petition in support of a World Vitiligo Day.

Will you join me? We are petitioning the UN for worldwide recognition of World Vitiligo Day. Be inspired and support those who, like me, are proclaiming: I am not my skin color.

VR Foundation

http://vrfoundation.org

Sign the petition.

 

 

What is Plus Size?

Inquiring minds would like to know, “What exactly is plus size?” Perhaps one of the most confusing things about plus size is where it begins. What size is the entry point in defining plus size?

Depending on where you shop, plus size may start at size 12, 14 or 16. According to fashion industry standards, plus size are sizes 12-24 — making 12 the size where plus size begins. As you can imagine, what fashion industry, respective stores and women around the globe say is the entry point for plus size may differ considerably.

Wait…There’s More

You’ll typically see a ‘W’ or an ‘X’ before or after the size on plus size clothing. The ‘W’  means women’s size. You’ll see it after a size, such as 12W,  or before an S, M, L or XL — such as WS. The ‘X’ means extra. You may see it as something like 3X versus size 3 for juniors.

Some stores carry plus sizes from 12W-44W.  This also depends on where you shop. For example, Ashley Stewart only goes up to size 26. Igigi goes up to size 32. Shabby Apple’s plus sizes include 14/16, L and XL. They also use women’s sizes in WS and WM, which are more generous in bust, waist and hip measurements than XL.

There are two other categories beyond plus size. Super sizes are 4X-6X. Extended sizes are 7X and up.

Let’s Recap

Plus size includes sizes:

  • 12-44 or 12W-44W
  • L, XL, XXL, etc.
  • 1X-3X (there are also super and extended sizes)
  • WS, WM, WL, WXL (women’s sizes in small, medium, large and extra large)

Plus Size Shopping

The following stores either have a plus size department or exclusively carry plus size fashion. Of course there are more than the few listed below — online and in town. Explore your options with respect to style, budget and needs.

Happy Shopping!

Ashley Stewart Plus Size Women’s Clothing

Kohl’s Women’s Plus Size

Macy’s Plus Size Clothing

Dillard’s Plus Size Clothing & Apparel

Dot’s Plus Size

Women’s Dresses from Shabby Apple

Fitness Motivation from Russia with Love

Who said your vitality has to diminish when you’re older?! You CAN stay healthy and active with daily health maintenance.

I have health coached quite a few people. Over time, I’ve heard practically every excuse a person can give who wants the benefits of good health without putting in the work.

I call it the “Make Me Fine Without Me Putting in Time Syndrome.”

Here are a few tips to help squash this syndrome:

  1. Gym equipment or membership is not needed.
  2. Obsession with calorie counting, weigh-ins, or food labels need not rear its head.
  3. You do not have to run your way to fitness or do ultra-high intensity workouts, unless you WANT to.
  4. A pre-sculpted body is not necessary to begin working out.
  5. If the buddy system is a crutch, you’ll never get anywhere waiting for your friend to start, too. Get motivated for you.

If this darling woman can exercise, what’s your excuse? Get motivated to be healthy. Good health is a gift from God. Squeeze all the little profit you can get out of bodily exercise and use it for doing His will and to enjoy this beautiful experience we call life.

Russian Grandma Fitness

Paging Siri, MD: iPhone Top Device for Researching Medical Info

Do you use your iPhone or other mobile device to research medical info? Do you refer to your device to remember important questions while with your medical practitioner? Interestingly, women account for 80% of users searching for medical information online.

Thanks to The Patient’s Guide® for this great infographic. Check it out!