Spiritual Journeys

Tools for Godly Living/Alyce-Kay are considering offering some courses in Christian topics and we would like to know what subjects would most interest people.  Here are some of the details (and see Q&A/update after the survey at the end):

  • You would not go anywhere for these.
  • The classes would meet as a teleconference call every two weeks.  If you can’t make the call, it would be recorded for you to listen to later (you’d just miss out on participating in the discussion).
  • There would be daily or weekly Bible study assignments and application projects which you would print from online (you would choose your level of difficulty by how much time you want to put into it).
  • There would be a dedicated Facebook page for further discussion, questions, and sharing.
  • Each class would be 90 days long.
  • They would be appropriate for high school through adults, as well as some junior highers.
  • These could also be used by groups; for example, church groups, Sunday School classes, home Bible study groups, families, and homeschoolers.  (If you’re a group, we can talk about how this can best be used by your specific group.  If you homeschool, we can help you determine which  school subjects these could apply to.)
  • If you’ve ever taken any of Alyce-Kay’s SoD (School of Discipleship) classes, these would be something like those.

Note that Tools for Godly Living courses are always biblically based, strong on helping you discover for yourself what God’s Word says.  They are meant for study, not for just sitting back and listening.  My personal commitment is always to bring you to a closer relationship with God and a stronger commitment to Him.

My background is a BA from Westmont College in Religious Studies (emphasis in theology and Greek).  I’ve taught Bible classes for all ages most of my life and have written my own curriculum for almost all of them, as well as curriculum for individual home Bible study and homeschoolers.  My doctrine & apologetics course for children was approved by pastors from 17 denominations, and I generally try to stick to what is appropriate for all denominations in most of my teaching.  (In other words, I try to stay focused on essentials.)

I want these courses to be accessible to anyone,  so there would not be a set charge.  You are completely welcome to take them free of charge.  If the Lord puts it on your heart to pay any amount for them, it would definitely help and would make it more possible for me to continue offering these courses in the future.

If you think you might be interested (no obligation), I’d like to know what kinds of topics interest people the most.  Please note that there are actually 2 surveys below.  You may vote for as many of the following as you find interesting.   You may also add other choices.  If you don’t find enough room in the survey,  feel free to add your suggestions in the comments area (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page).

Please  share this with your friends, church, Bible study group, homeschool group, on Facebook, etc.  Thanks so much for your help!

You are not required to fill out the contact info in order to vote, but please do fill it out, if you’d like us to let you know when we offer these classes.

Since posting this, I’ve received a few really good questions, so I thought I would share them here.

Q:  Would people outside the USA be able to join these classes?

A:  Yes!  The only thing is that it would be an international call to be on the teleseminars (including listening to the recording of the calls).  I’m sure there must be a way, since we would be recording them, to put them on mP3 or some other format that could be listened to online or downloaded, so that you wouldn’t have to make an international call.  If someone overseas is interested, then I will check around and find out how to do this.  I’ve been on teleconferences (seminars held on a conference call) with people from all over, and it is incredibly effective.  You can just sit in your own home and participate — or get together with a group of friends so you can participate together.  I really love this format!

Q:  Will you (Alyce-Kay) be teaching the classes?

A:  Yes! You know I LOVE to teach.  🙂

Q:  Will there be a charge for the classes?

A:  It will be up to each person whether or not they pay or how much. I want people to be able to do it, even if they can’t afford it, so I don’t want to charge a set amount. As a single mom barely getting by, I know how that is. Also, there are some people who wouldn’t pay, but would benefit from it, so I don’t want to hinder them either. If God puts it on anyone’s heart to pay, it would help me, obviously, to pay bills, etc, and I will be putting a lot of work into it.  It would also make it easier for me to offer more classes, as those who pay would help free me up from having to put overtime in at work to pay the bills.  Bottom line, I don’t want anyone to not do it because they can’t pay or don’t want to pay. It will be between each person and God. If you benefit from the classes and don’t pay anything, that’s perfectly okay!

 

Update:  The first class offered will be on Building Your Faith.  It will be taught at 3 levels (you will choose, depending on how much work you want to do/have time to do).    I’m working on writing the course and the workbook materials at this time, and will announce it here and on facebook when I’m ready to take registrations.  If you want to be notified by email, please let me know at Alyce-Kay@LifeCoachAlyceKay.com  I’ve had a number of requests for an actual bound workbook, so the workbook materials will be available for purchase as a bound workbook, or to download and print yourself for free.

Celebrating Advent

Christmastime, for many people, is a rush of shopping, wrapping, entertaining, and frayed nerves.  We spend a lot of time worrying about family and social politics; finances cause many struggles during this time of year; and a vast number of people are depressed or commit suicide during the holiday season.

In an effort to bring the “true meaning of Christmas” into the holiday picture, we may read Luke 2 before the family dives into the huge stack of Christmas presents.  We may dutifully attend church on Christmas morning.  Some of us will parade in church in shepherd and wise men costumes.  The children will stand on stage looking shy while an adult sings, “Away In A Manger” and a little girl chews on the hem of her dress.

These things aren’t bad, and many actually contribute to our worship experience.  But often, we lose sight of the One we are celebrating and why we celebrate Him.

The purpose of Advent (the four weeks preceding Christmas, which begin on December 1st this year) is to help you celebrate Jesus.  It can be one more thing to add to the commotion, or it can help you pull away from the commercial reality to find yourself centering on Christ.  This is hard to accomplish in a 10-minute reading of Luke 2 … especially with all those presents staring kids in the face.  Our family has found that the month-long celebration of Advent really makes a difference in focusing our attention on Jesus.

It’s important to remember that activity alone will not create worship.  Much is up to you.  It’s also important to remember that worship is not merely a feeling:  It’s a response to God.  The more we know God, the more we will respond with feelings and active expressions of love.  As you celebrate Advent and Christmas, as you read about God’s love and the creative ways in which He expresses it, show Him — in word and in deed — how much you appreciate all that He’s done for you!

An added benefit of celebrating Advent, by the way, is tradition.  Traditions bind us together, creating lasting ties that span miles and generations.  They provide a structure for harmony, security, and love.

Suggestions for Celebrating Advent

The symbols of Advent are five candles.  You may use four green or white candles and one red one, or the colors suggested below.  You can arrange them in a circle surrounded by evergreen, line them up on your mantle, or give them some other prominent place in your home.  The important thing is to have them in a place where your family can gather to read Scripture together.

Choose a time each day to read the designated Scripture.  During the first week, the first candle is lit each day while the verses are read.  The second week, you will light the first and second candles each day; and so on.  On Christmas Day, all the candles will be lit, and can be left to burn themselves out – all day!

If you want to use five different colored candles to go with the theme of the readings for each week, here’s what I suggest:

Week One:  Gold, blue, or brown for PROPHETS.

Week Two:  White for ANGELS.

Week Three:  Brown or green for SHEPHERDS.

Week Four:  Purple, royal blue, or gold for MAGI (WISE MEN).

Christmas Day:  Red or gold for CHRIST; maybe a large candle or a specially shaped or decorated candle.  This candle goes in the center of your display.

The Scripture readings are the heart of Celebrating Advent.  In this book, you’ll find a Scripture reading for each day of Advent, arranged by the themes above.  There are also carols matched with the themes and additional activity suggestions to enrich your Advent celebration of our Savior.  If you don’t already have family devotions, this is a great way to get started … all you have to do then is carry it into the new year!  If your family is spread out geographically, you might consider doing your advent readings together by Skype.

How ever you celebrate Christmas, be sure to remember God’s love and grace in giving His one and only Son.  Don’t let the celebration block your view of the Celebrated.

To order Celebrating Advent, click on the link below.  It will take a couple weeks to receive your copy.

I hope that worship and tradition will be two of your joys this Christmas season … And may our worship and ties of tradition bring joy and glory to God.

http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStoreDetails.aspx?BookID=24391&ID=26ce21e7-f5d0-425c-8f24-470d7f7fed22

Healthy Journey: Adding Intentional Movement

     What is it about deciding to work on one’s health that suddenly makes life turn against it?  My back started hurting a week ago.  On Monday, I was doing okay, walked with a friend around the nearby lake, and then in the evening it became almost unbearable.  I did a few choice yoga moves, felt somewhat better, and got a good night’s sleep.  The next morning I was stiff, but nothing those yoga moves couldn’t tame.  THEN, wham!  I don’t know what I did, but suddenly the pain became so bad I couldn’t breathe.  Every position hurt like crazy and I couldn’t walk.  For the rest of the week, I went from not being able to pick anything up off the floor, unable to find a position where I could breathe properly, and taking 5 minutes to walk to the bathroom, to finally getting so that I could do almost everything a normal human being should be able to do.  I still haven’t tried to sit on the couch, though.

Despite all this, I did stay on my water regimen pretty well, other than that first couple days of horrendous pain.  Not perfectly, but that’s okay; I’ll keep working on it.  So, it’s time to move on to the next step:  Adding some exercise.

My plan is to do 30 minutes of intentional, dedicated exercise for 5 days a week.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that I’m not going to count housework or picking up sticks in my yard.  It’s going to be time spent exercising for the sake of exercising.  I will need to go easy for my back’s sake, but I’m to the place where I can (and probably need to) get moving and stretching.  My plan is that it will be divided between yoga and biking, two forms of exercise that have served me (and my back and knees) well in the past, though I’m definitely a beginner in both of those.  I may do some walking as well.  I’m not going to set rules at this point about how strenuous it will be.  I just want to get back into the habit, so the discipline is what I’m after right now.

There is something about setting and meeting goals that makes me feel better about myself and more in control of my life.  It seems to have a snowball effect, too.  There have been times when I’ve felt hopeless about my life.  A simple goal like, “Get 10 minutes of sunshine every day” has been all I could manage … but it was a key step toward getting out of the Slough of Despond.  Once I meet that goal, I feel empowered to set slightly more difficult goals.  If they’re goals that are good for me, such as sunshine or exercise, they not only make me feel better about myself … they make me feel physically better and give me more energy to meet those more challenging goals.

Another thing that helps me is to very intentionally look for good things in life.  Sometimes, the smallest things, like spotting a pretty bird and identifying it, or noticing that the bushes in my front yard are blooming, make a huge difference.  I guess that’s what people call “stopping to smell the roses.”  Taking TIME to enjoy those little things that I might not otherwise notice or just acknowledge peripherally definitely brightens my day and gives me more energy to meet my goals.

What’s a new, small goal you can work on this week?  A habit you’d like to add to your life?

About to Embark on a Health Journey … Join Me?

So one of my goals in TFGL is to explore healthier living.  I’m not an expert on this.  If you read my mission statement carefully, you’ll see that I don’t set myself up as an expert, but rather, I want to share my journey with others, so we can learn together — i.e., I want to learn from you, and you can possibly learn from me.  Mostly, I think that walking alongside each other can really bolster one another.
This summer, I’ve set a goal to really be intentional about making some massive improvements to my health.  (Why not just start now?  Well, I have been working on this for the past couple years, but I want to take some more drastic steps.  It’s been noted that if you want to start a major new habit, you’ll be more successful if you plan a date in the future to start it, and map out how you plan to do it.  That’s what I’m working on now.)
I’m going to be specific about my challenges and goals in the next few blogs, so that if you have similar goals or challenges, you can decide whether you want to join me in this quest.  I am NOT a doctor or any type of medical professional … just a normal person (well, “normal” might be questionable), so I’m not giving advice, just sharing what I’m doing.  If you decide to do any of this along with me, it’s at your own risk, so be sure to engage your brain, please.  You may not want to address your challenges in the same way I do.  We can still journey together, learn from each other, and most important, encourage one another.
Keep in mind that I have an extremely limited income and I don’t like to take medications, I like to do things naturally … so I’m planning to see how much I can improve through diet, exercise, and some healthy habits.
My doctor recently told me that, other than the basal cell carcinoma (nonaggressive cancer) I recently had removed from my ear, I’m very healthy.  I’m 52 years old, but my cardiac age is 42.  I’m obese (more on that later), but that hasn’t affected my health … yet.  My labs are perfect.  My blood pressure is borderline when I check it at WalMart, but right on target when I’m at the doctor’s office.  I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.  I rarely use medications, and I eat much healthier than the general population.  I exercise regularly.  I also practice stress reduction.  I see myself as being in very good health.
I do have some problems I would like to improve, though.  They are:
1.  Obesity.  To be honest, my main concern here is my looks.  I want to be able to wear hippie-type clothes and they just don’t look good on a fat person.  But I also know that, if I don’t take care of this soon, I probably will develop some health problems.  Diabetes is my greatest fear.  I’m not ready to say how much I weigh.  But let’s just say I would like to lose 100 pounds and I’m 80 pounds over what is considered a healthy weight for my height.  (If I can figure out how to post pictures here, I’ll post a before picture.)
2.  My right knee.  I have pain in this knee and sometimes swelling.  For a short time a few years ago, I actually used a cane.  One might assume that this is because of my weight.  However, my left knee doesn’t have problems.  My wonderful massage therapist in Tennessee, after working on me for 2 hours one day, asked me if I sewed for a living. No.  Hmm, I would swear you have a syndrome that we see in seamstresses who work a sewing machine pedal for hours on end.  Oh, well, yeah, I use a pedal for the transcription work I do.  Bingo!  Seems that having my leg in the same position for 8+ hours a day has caused the muscle behind my knee to atrophy, making for all manner of problems with my right knee.  As I’ve worked on improving that, my knee has definitely improved, but I have a way to go.  I need to work on building that muscle back up, strengthen and improve flexibility … And losing weight wouldn’t hurt, either.  One of the doctors I used to type for said, when you walk, you’re putting 8 times your body weight on your knees, pressure-wise.  So if you lose 25 pounds, that takes 200 pounds of pressure off your knees.  (I want to lose 100 pounds, so um yeah, do the math.)
3.  Loosing flexibility.  This goes with age, I suppose, but probably also because I sit in one position for 8 hours a day, as well.
4.  Eye sight.  My eye sight has been poor since I was a kid.  I have always just accepted this (along with it getting worse as I age), but recently have been reading about some things that may be able to improve eye sight and I want to try them out.  Used to have a lot of floaters, but what I’ve been doing so far seems to have taken care of them completely.
5.  My recent bout with skin cancer … and a personal history of severe sunburns as a teenager.  If I don’t do something about this, I may be looking at more cancer in the future.
6.  Other skin problems:  Occasional acne (makes me look younger, right?), actinic keratoses, ruddy complexion (rosacea?).  Like any woman, I would love to have beautiful skin.
7.  I have at times struggled with depression.  It seems to be situational … but we aren’t guaranteed that life will be easy on us and my life tends to be stressful, so I want to make some changes that will help me take things in stride better.
8.  A family history of stroke and heart problems.  Stroke on my mom’s side.  Heart problems on my dad’s.  I’ve had premature ventricular contractions since 25 and palpitations most of my life.  They’ve gotten to be daily, often several times a day if I’m stressed, and sometimes lasting a minute or so.  I’m not worried about these and my doctor doesn’t seem very concerned, but I’d like to get rid of them.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing for these challenges so far and where that has gotten me.  In the following blog, I intend to share my goals for making some pretty drastic changes.  I’ll try to share websites and other resources that I’ve used to come up with my plan, and which show some of the research that’s been done in these areas.

As I’ve mentioned before, I make no promises about how often I’ll write.  I work full-time-plus and homeschool my kids, as well as a legion of other things.  But when I have time, I want to get this out there … and maybe someone will want to join me.  ???  Think/pray about possibly doing that.  I would love to have some fellow travelers on this journey.

 

 

 

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