May be going to Longview, TX in April

blankpage“To travel is to live.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

I love to travel. It makes me so happy to go new places, meet new people, try new foods and experiences. Even if it’s just to a new town or another state.

I’m planning a potential trip to Longview, Texas in mid-April 2015.  If you know of an event planner, an organizer, or anyone with a business organization or ministry who needs a speaker while I’m there, please contact me here.

I can speak just for 10 or 15 minutes or up to an hour. I’d love to share at a business breakfast or coffee, Christian women’s Bible study or book study, a Sunday church service, or an entrepreneur’s business luncheon.

My speaking topics include:

  • The Power of Shoes (my signature talk on walking in your God-given purpose and using your gifts, based on the story of Cinderella);
  • Share Your Story (using speaking and writing your book to share God’s message burning in your heart; the theme songs are Francesca Battistelli’s songs, Write Your Story, and He Knows My Name;
  • Authentic Love (God doesn’t lie; His Promises are true), based on my memoir book, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search For Authentic Love;
  • and more. I respect time constraints and can tailor my presentation according to the need. Let me know if you need a speaker!
Great Texas Balloon Race
Great Texas Balloon Race

While in Texas, I hope to also have some FUN. I’ll be there too early to enjoy the Great Texas Balloon Race, begun in 1979.

The colorful balloons supposedly are flown by some of the best pilots in the nation and even the world. I love seeing the bright balloons in the sky.

I’d rather ride in one, than just watch. Our daughter Heather and I both have a hot air balloon ride on our bucket list. What’s on your bucket list?

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is visit a vineyard. Longview has some. I almost never drink, but I’d like to do a wine tasting of various, fine wines with hors-d’oevres.

Enoch’s Stomp Vineyard restaurant has prime rib, salt crusted, slow roasted and smoked, served with roasted garlic au jus and sauteed vegetables (that’s the steak juice and veggies in butter, y’all!). I can see Ray drooling now…my husband is a meat man. There’s nothing he likes better than a good, grilled steak! 

Fairhaven Vineyards
Fairhaven Vineyards

I love this pic of a woman holding a cluster of purple grapes at the Fairhaven Vineyard. The grapes are so beautiful and look so delicious. Reminds me of the movie with Keanu Reeves, A Walk in the Clouds, when the women are stomping on the grapes. 

The Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard’s menu includes:

  • a truffled spanish omelette, caviar, and creme fraiche;
  • meats and aged white cheddar cheeses served with flat bread;
  • a baguette, olive oil, garlic and basil dipping sauce, sharp cheddar cheese, salami, mediterranean olives, grapes, puff pastry;
  • steamed mussels;
  • garlic shrimp;
  • lobster meat and crab claws;
  • fried calamari;
  • and more.

Doesn’t that sound just divine?! My mouth is watering. Maybe Ray and I could eat at one of these places (then we’d have to survive on peanut butter sandwiches the rest of the trip! lol). Actually, the prices weren’t THAT high (high enough!).

Longview also has a Thomas Falls zipline and the Longview Museum of Fine Art

I’m getting excited. Do you have any recommended sites or activities for the Longview, TX area? Leave your comments below. 

Remember, if you know an event planner or someone who needs a speaker in mid-April, contact me here.


Bacon wrapped pizza? Make a new good habit each week

I watched a webinar this week on losing weight and fitness. One of the things the instructor David said was the only way to lose weight was to make small changes at the right pace. We must change our HABITS.

Let’s face it, most of us would love to eat a piece of yellow or white cake with chocolate frosting – maybe SEVERAL BIG PIECES. The instructor David said you CAN control your thoughts, emotions, and desires.

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
Yellow cake with chocolate frosting

Will that piece (or pieces) of chocolate cake help me with my goals and dreams – or hinder them? An occasional helping of chocolate cake might not hurt. Chocolate cake every single day, or even several times a week, might.

If you’re thinking, “But I’m addicted to chocolate. I love cake. I could eat chocolate cake every day for breakfast! I just can’t help myself,” well, I love it too, and could easily eat it every day for breakfast, too. But we have to challenge our false beliefs and views that lead to  disruptive behaviors – like eating chocolate cake a lot, not eating raw veggies and salads, and not exercising!

David said people fail at diets because they are just that – diets, not lifestyle changes. You have to change your habits. He encouraged the audience to make one habit change a week. For example, this week you could focus on having a healthy breakfast every day.

What's ahead for you in 2015?
What’s ahead for you in 2015?

He gave 5 pillars to establish new healthy, fitness habits:

1. Breakfast
2. Dinner
3. Lunch
4. Exercise
5. Snack

These look simple, and we’ve seen it before, right? But do you skip breakfast? I know I constantly did, before last year and especially this year. Your body has been fasting through the night and needs fuel for the day.

Some healthy breakfast options are:

*2 scrambled eggs or an omelette with spinach or kale, garlic, onion or 2 eggs prepared any way – with a small piece of fruit (not a banana!), a handful of almonds or a couple slices of bacon, sausage, or ham

*oatmeal (without the sugar – you can make your own healthy oatmeal with blueberries or other berries, a tiny bit of raw honey, wheat germ and/or flaxseed 

*low carb, low-sugar pancakes with low-carb, low-sugar syrup

The instructor suggested that for your main heavier meal, such as supper (dinner), you can eat salmon (or other fish) or chicken with veggies, and you can even include a little wine because it has heart and health benefits.

Foreman's grill
Foreman’s grill

One delightful new gadget I just bought is a Foreman’s Grill.

It’s compact, I don’t have to cook a long time over a hot stove with hot grease, and it cuts fat and calories. And the meats are tasty! It takes 10 minutes from grill to plate!

For lunches, you can choose healthy options instead of pizza, cheeseburgers and fries, or other fast or unhealthy, starchy, sugary foods, such as:

  • salads with raw veggies
  • a vegetable plate with hummus
  • low-carb wraps with meat and veggies
  • cottage cheese and fruit
  • leftovers from the night before, etc.

What is your favorite lunch? What are some ideas you have for lunches for your kids/teens/young adults? I’d love to hear them! It’s not always easy to think of healthy lunch ideas.

Eating healthy is so important, but what about exercise? I know, I hate the word, too! It’s SO hard not to be lazy and to be a couch potato (or a desk potato, in my case…sitting for hours at the laptop, working!).

David said a lot of people will buy a new exercise DVD and do it a couple of weeks, and then quit because they are bored or discouraged with the lack of “results.” They want to lose 20 pounds in the next 2 weeks and it just ain’t happenin’!

Bacon-wrapped deep dish pizza Little Caesar's Pizza photo
Bacon-wrapped deep dish pizza
Little Caesar’s Pizza photo

Or they will say, “Next week I’m starting to exercise!” as they gulp down fast food with a 42 oz. sugary drink, brownie drizzled with chocolate and Rocky Road chocolate ice cream, or the new Little Caesar’s 450-calories-a-slice, bacon-wrapped, heart-attack deep dish pizza.

I heard about it on KLove Radio. It has pepperoni, 3 1/2 feet of bacon wrapped around it, and bacon sprinkled on top!I’m sure it’s delicious (I LOVE bacon, one of the few pork things I do like), but OMGosh! 450 calories! And you know nobody will eat just one slice!


David encouraged the audience to do 10 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week, such as walking, aerobics, etc. If you want faster results, do more and for a longer period of time – but just don’t overdo it! (Medical Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor! Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program!)

You can also do strengthening exercises with your own body such as sit-ups, push-ups, etc. (I currently do the modified push-up and not that many!) You don’t have to get complicated – just do these exercises in your own home.

I’m still walking daily and on the days where it’s just too cold (it was 7 degrees this week – uh, NO, I am not walking in THAT cold of weather), I have a backup plan – a kickboxing video on Netflix that I do downstairs.


No excuses this year! It’s all about being healthy and fit so I can fulfill the purpose God has for me – to go where He wants me to speak and write, to minister, to do the mission He has called me (Ray and our family) to do.

What new habit do you need to do this week? Leave your comments below.