Friday, May 30, 2014

Get Up and Move

Rebecca Carey Lyles

I’m sitting in a chair as I write this, but I shouldn’t be. Why? Because a recent Swedish study concluded we need to move every few minutes to maintain our health. So, I just stood up, touched my toes five times and did a couple lunges. Now, I’m back at it.

The Swedish study, combined with others, found that lack of movement is harmful to our health. Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, says, “Sitting is a risk factor, not a disease. It's comparable to obesity, and it's almost to the level of smoking.” Dr. Joseph Mercola of writes: “Mounting research suggests that even if you exercise regularly, you might still succumb to the ill effects of too much sitting.” What are those ill effects? Heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, shortened lifespan... Shortened lifespan? Yikes!

For years, we’ve been told regular exercise leads to improved health. If you’re like me, you’re thinking, I exercise every day for at least half an hour. Isn’t that enough? Evidently not—because, as the authors of the Swedish study point out, no matter how vigorously we exercise, that burst of exertion only involves a tiny portion of our 24-hour day. Dr. Mercola explains the problem by quoting David Dunstan of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He says the lack of muscle contraction caused by sitting decreases blood flow throughout our bodies, thereby “reducing the efficiency of biological processes.”

I hate to say this, but housekeeping is good for us, as are washing cars, raking leaves, mowing lawns and tending gardens. Your house may be spotless, like mine (just joking…), and your hubby mows the lawn; plus, he takes the car to the carwash. What can we do around the house (or the office) to move our muscles?

Dr. Mercola sets an online timer to ring every 15 minutes. He takes a 30-60 second standing break and may do stretches or squats or posture exercises. If your house or building has stairs, you could run up and down a couple times and do some calf stretches—or heel stretches on one stair. Those with wood or tile floors might slide or skip around the house (or the office, if you’re daring).

Sweep your front porch. Do jumping jacks on your deck. Set your laptop or tablet on a counter and work while standing. Use a door frame to stretch arm and shoulder muscles. Yoga moves and isometric exercises are also great options. Even standing and rolling your head from side to side can be beneficial.

In nonmedical terminology from a nonmedical person, I think the idea is to keep our blood flowing. Remember, writers’ brains crave fresh blood as much as our muscles do. Stand up, stretch, march in place, sit down and write!


About Becky:

Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.” Her most recent book, Winds of Freedom, is the sequel to the award-winning first novel in the Kate Neilson series, Winds of Wyoming. She recently served as an editor and contributor for a short-story collection titled Passageways, which is scheduled to release next month.

About Winds of Freedom:

Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.

Connect with Becky:
Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles
  or Becky Carey Lyles
Twitter: @BeckyLyles

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bear ye one another's burdens…”


Annette Bergman

I have a dear friend named Sally; we go as far back as Kindergarten. She was probably closer to me than my sisters.  She has always been there for me whether I was right or wrong.  Always patient with me, she would say things like, “Have you ever thought about…?” then she would elaborate on my latest dilemma. She gave me choices or ideas about how to move forward and resolve my issue. She has never judged me, only loved and supported me during trying times, and never told me what to do.  Then during the years when we were raising children I lost contact with her.

When, eventually, we reconnected, I asked her how she had developed this sincere and caring trait. “Why do you listen to everybody’s problems and try to help them?”

“It’s because of my sister, “ she said, “she was a lot younger than us. She started having trouble with her marriage and then turned to drugs, and she didn’t seem to want to help herself.  I was getting fed up with her not listening to me and I just gave up and told her to resolve her problems herself.  I learned the next day she took her own life and I have always felt as if she would be alive today if I had kept listening.  So now I take the time because I know what not caring can lead to.”

I can only imagine the pain and suffering she endured after her sister’s death. But shortly after, she became a surrogate mother to her sister’s children and treats each of them with love and respect.

Is this what God is saying in Galatians 6:2?  It’s certainly worth considering: Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the whole law.”

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Finally, spring is here. The flowers are blooming and the grass is green. It is wonderful to watch all the seasons change. It’s proof that nothing stays the same. Spring turns to summer. Summer to fall. Rich to poor, poor to rich. We all have changes we must adjust to. Some changes we want, others we do not.

However, we shouldn't force change and expect God to bless what we’ve done. We should only make a change based on God's will. Too many times we get tired of our situations and want to do something about it. We aren’t willing to wait for God to remedy things. We want it fixed immediately.

However, one thing to keep in mind is, if it’s not something God wants you to do, it will not be blessed. In order to feel God’s total joy in your life, you must follow him, not the world. Romans 12:2 reads,  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. We need to live according to God’s word, not the world. Yet, even as Christians, we have a tendency to allow society to sneak in.

Women, as we age, begin to feel old. We get facelifts and breast augmentation just to try to look youthful. But our wrinkles show proof of our lives and hard work. God wants us to glow from the inside out. Showing our love of God should be far more important than our outward appearance.

Some men, as they get older, trade in their wife for a younger model. God doesn't want us to get divorced just because we're tired of our spouse. He wants us to work on our marriages. And younger women eventually end up becoming older women.

I'm not saying you won't get into Heaven if you have plastic surgery or get divorced. But you do lose some of the blessings God has to offer when you do these things based on this world and not on God’s word.

The more we allow God to move in our lives, and the less we take control of the reins, the more joy we will feel. Take a step back from any major decision you have to make and ask, is this my will or God’s. Making Godly choices in our lives can make a difference between living with regret and condemnation and living in joy.

Which would you rather have?

Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than twelve years ago. Her fifth book, Beautiful Imperfection, will be available September 29, 2013. She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors. To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law. She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen. Her first grandchild, Hope was born in May, 2013. Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Truth From North Central Nowhere

 There are always trends going on in the writing of romance, and right now that’s a good thing for me because one of those trends is toward small-town or even rural romance. In the first place, this makes me snicker, because the definition   of“romance” is fairly absolute—I don’t think small-town or rural people feel one bit different than their urban counterparts when it comes to falling in love.
In the second place, from the vantage point of having spent my whole life in what is often classified (usually by those who don’t live here) as “the middle of nowhere,” I am in the smug situation of knowing the truth about life in a small town—or outside it, as the case may be. Speaking of truth, there are a few that are absolute.

1.   People don’t mind your business in small towns unless it somehow involves them or unless you’re particularly entertaining, rich, or snotty.

2.   Country folks can be smart, educated, and even sophisticated. You can dress well, eat healthy, and pay too much for a haircut. Many of us do not drive pickups with guns in the back windows. Personally, I’ve driven an SUV since 2006, which I consider quite cosmopolitan of me.

3.   We are not all waitresses with bad grammar and hearts of gold or men who sit out in front of the general store and play checkers and spit.

4.   If you’re in a town of less than 1000 residents, don’t talk about calling a taxi—there probably isn’t one.

5.   Don’t say “ain’t.”

6.   Don’t assume that kids in rural or small-town high schools never get to college or know what to do when they get there. They do.

7.   Fort Wayne, Indiana had a population of 254,555 in 2012. It’s fine to refer to it as a small town, but I wish you’d explain to me how it qualifies. I live near Deedsville, population 101—now that’s a small town.

8.   We go to plays, concerts, and movies (first run!). We travel, love our kids and pets, and worship at will.

Those are my truths, and I only write them out in this rather snarky fashion because I’ve rolled my eyes at (and not finished) too many books where the authors didn’t do their homework on life on the non-wild side.

And now there is the other side. There is the fact that sometimes when I write about large cities or even suburbs, I’m not always sure of what I’m saying. What would a city mouse say or do in the circumstances I’m writing about?
I think I have a tendency to give city-dwellers less common sense than those of us from the boonies. I make them unable to change their own tires or fix their own drains. I make them less sympathetic to the human condition. Less likely to attend church, cook well, or put together a nice outfit from the thrift shop if that’s what they need to do.
Really? I mean, come on, really? And I was being condescending about how country people are portrayed? Makes me think that, as well as sharing the truths I do know, I should pay some attention to the ones I don’t.

Retired from the post office, Liz Flaherty spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…37 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening! She’d love to hear from you at
Her latest book, The Girls of Tonsil Lake, is available at online retailers and from her publisher, The Wild Rose Press.