You never know

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I want to talk about a situation in a very non-specific way.  There are so many labels floating around in the air today such as pro-life, anti- or pro- gay marriage, and, my personal favorite, abolish the death penalty.  I believe in the right to free speech, and I believe that everyone should march down Washington, carrying that over-sized picket sign, and shout at the top of their lungs what they want to see change in this world.  BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT, I WANT YOU TO THINK!!!

Have you ever been raped by a family member and become pregnant?  Have you ever had someone close to you that you love so dearly come to you and say, “I’m gay, and all I need is your love and support.”?  Have you ever sat in a courtroom and listened in graphic detail how this person, awaiting judgment by the jury of their peers, had no regard for an innocent young baby and raped and sodomized her to death?

You may think you know everything about yourself and your own personal belief system, but one day, friend, an event will come to pass in your life, and you will have to make a real decision, a decision based on what has truly been existing in your heart all along, you just didn’t understand why, so you tried to fight against it. 

God bless, friends! 

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Do not worry about what you will eat, even while your stomach is growling…

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This is the final post I am going to make about food insecurity.  According to one study, “healthy food is often more expensive, whereas refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive and readily available in low-income communities.”  Households with limited resources often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap, energy-dense foods that are filling – that is, they try to maximize their calories per dollar in order to stave off hunger.  While less expensive, energy-dense foods typically have lower nutritional quality and, because of overconsumption of calories, have been linked to obesity.”

Trying to survive in this world is not easy.  I think about how I am going to clothe and feed my children everyday.  When I receive a phone call from the local school instructing me to deposit more money into my child’s lunch account, I nervously check my wallet to make sure I have enough to cover the $2.50 per meal balance.  Sometimes I wickedly think that it would be easier just to fill their lunch boxes with a few bags of candy, Cheetos, and cookies for the day.  I urge parents to check out local discount grocery markets and research quick, yet nutritious meals for their children in order to keep our next generation from becoming dependent on fast food, candy, and overall unhealthy meals just to make it through the day.  When I begin to worry, I must stop myself and ponder on the words of my Heavenly Father:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  (Matthew, Chapter 6: 25-26). 

I hope that my words in these past few blogs will be remembered by the reader.  When observing a child who is overweight scarfing down a McDonald’s meal with vigorous enthusiasm, please bear in mind that this child could be enjoying his only meal of the day. 

Only $5.00, but I get lunch for two days!

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Continuing down the path of bringing awareness to the obesity and food insecurity issue, I’d simply like to put this picture on my blog with these words:  This is my lunch for the next two days.  I have little money in my account, which is to be used for gas.  This pizza cost $5.00, from the famous Little Ceasars pizza, “Hot and Ready, only $5.00!”  Is this the healthiest meal?  Of course, not.  But it is one that will feed me lunch for two days and very affordable.  Are you beginning to see the connection?

Amy's phone #3 214

Common image of a hungry child is not the most accurate one

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Do you ever think that the obese child could be hungry?  We can all say, “oh it doesn’t look like that child has missed a meal?”  What we don’t realize is that child has actually missed several meals, balanced nutritious meals anyway.  When the only foods offered to a child are cheap, fast, and loaded with empty calories, a child or even an adult can remain hungry even though they have eaten several times in one day.  Both children in the pictures below are actually starving for good food.  The ending result is just different.  The one on the left is longing for clean water and a cooked meal, while the one on the right needs a moment to sit down and eat a healthy, yet savory meal that has been prepared.  In today’s fast paced world with parents working two jobs to make ends meet, it takes effort to slow down and focus on health and nutrition.  Sometimes the easier answer is just to eat the sandwich that tastes good and forget about the fruits and vegetables that have good long term effects on our health.

                                                                                                   

 

Lack of food=obesity? Really?

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When you look at this child, what do you think?  I can say that I first thought, “Please, parents, give him something else besides Mcdonald’s and cookies all the time?” 

Now I wonder, “Is that the only types of food his parents can afford?” 

People think that obesity stems from over-eating.  Sometimes that is true, but the opposite is also found to be true.  Sometimes, all parents have time to do is run by the local fast food restaurant after spending all of their time working two jobs just to keep a roof over their child’s head and clothes on their back.  Sometimes there is no money left over for healthy foods and lifestyles. 

obese kids photo: obese kids at mcdonalds 20080701-m22m92sbfpta8p4w58ghp8xa5r.jpg

Being a leader

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http://youtu.be/2ZfSdhwqPqw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=153rZGyUIQ4&feature=share&list=UUu88z_HMKSOfhpBeW37ThwQ

The first video listed above gives a very linear description of what a leader should not be, but can be guilty of becoming.  I hate leaders are that headstrong, self righteous, power-tripping, sanctimonious jerk who thinks that their feelings are the only ones that count. 

The second video is about a horseman named Dennis Reis.  Dennis Reis is a genius practitioner of natural horsemanship.  As you can see from his video, his words are encouraging, his smile never leaves his face, and he is genuinely proud and pleased to give people credit where credit is do.  I chose Dennis Reis as a shining example of who a leader should be, not just because I am a follower of his natural horsemanship practices as is my horse riding instructor, but because I had the indescribable pleasure of spending a weekend with Dennis and his wife Deborah.  I, along with about twenty others, were able to witness firsthand his generosity and almost tangible spirit of leadership, encouragement, and selflessness.  Mr. Reis worked with about four different people who were having “horse issues”.  I remember so distinctly one moment, when he said to a young woman, “You have to be his (the horse’s) leader.  If you are his leader, you will have to correct him sometimes.  You can correct and encourage, or you can correct and discourage.”  He then took her on a step by step pattern to correct her horse firmly when needed, but then love him immediately following, showing that her correction was out of love and desire to keep both of them safe and working together as a team.

The Dennis Reis natural horsemanship techniques have become more noticeable to me as I practice them, not just with horses, but in my life with my fellow co workers and family.  The reason that one “scene” from that weekend stands out to me is because that is a great motto for any leader to follow.  It is important to encourage as much as possible and make sure that everyone who is being led by you knows that you are just as interested in making them look good as making yourself look good.  It is important that they feel appreciated and not belittled over the slightest error.  And it is important that when the need for correction or improvement should be addressed that the leader is just as willing to listen and encourage as opposed to dismiss and discourage. 

Third Person Biography

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About Amy Chrestman

By Amy Laura Billingsley Chrestman

            Her name is Amy Chrestman.  The most important thing in her life are becoming a person that her children will be proud of.  Amy is currently enrolled at Mid America Christian University pursuing a degree in Communications/Public Relations and Ethics.  Upon graduating in 2015, she plans to keep moving forward and earn a Master’s degree in English.  The main aspiration that she has held in her heart since childhood is she wants to be known and noticed for doing good.  With Amy’s spontaneous, outgoing, people loving personality, she loves making people laugh especially in the face of adversity or sadness, as well as offer a helping hand if needed to provide necessary needs. 

            Throughout junior high and high school, Amy Billingsley, who would later become Amy Chrestman, was a prominent member of the school dance team.  To this day, even though she is in her late thirties, when a music comes on that has a good beat, Amy has a hard time making her body be still.  Amy could have been a better, more focused student in school, but she became very disillusioned with the “school atmosphere” during her high schools days.  At that time, everything was about dance team or spending time with friends.  The only recognition Amy received at Olive Branch High School was “Most Talkative.”  Anytime, anywhere, and to anyone, Amy would sit for hours and chat.  In fact, that is how everyone within the school ever recognized if something was wrong.  When Amy was silent, then something was terribly out of place.  As long as Amy was neither sick nor angry, her voice could be heard up and down the school hallways or within the walls of her after school job at the local grocery store.

            Today Amy can be located in Hernando, MS in one of many places: her home with her three children and husband, out in the pasture playing with her horses, at work at the local bank, or at church receiving the Holy Spirit into her soul to revive her for the upcoming challenges she may face.  She still enjoys talking and making people laugh; and when music is playing, her body begins to dance with joy.  However, she is forced to keep a lid on her personality when patronizing certain areas of her life like the workplace or church.  Certain people do not “get” her personality; it is misconstrued as rudeness or unprofessional.  Be that as it may, Amy never has been one to “let ‘em see her sweat.”  Even when given a hard time about the fact that she is too loud sometimes or the fact that she used to suffer from the speech impediment of stuttering, Amy will hold her head high and remember that she knows not what the future holds, but she knows who holds her future.

Truncated Version:

Amy Chrestman came into the world with the perfected skill of communication, a skill that has never left her.

The only award she has ever been given is “Most Talkative” in high school.

Her strong personality gives people the impression that nothing can ever affect her in a negative way.

That is not true.  She just never lets them see her sweat.