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December 14, 2010Read: Psalm 139 "For you formed my inward parts." --Psalm 139:13

"My frame was not hidden from you." --Psalm 139:15

As a little boy, I spent many a summer day sweeping floors and washing cars at my dad's body shop. I felt right at home amidst the bondo dust and paint fumes, even though I could often be found asleep in dad's office. But while I didn't pursue the family business, little did I know that the body shop was a great place to learn about grace.

Each day, customers would come in to either pick up their cars or schedule a drop off, but then there were those who came in just for an estimate. They'd wrecked their car or truck, and all they wanted to know was whether their vehicle still had value. Sometimes dad would have to tell them it was totaled; their car wasn't worth anything. A total loss meant the insurance company wouldn't touch it, and they'd have to pay for it all by themselves.

We've all wrecked our lives in one way or another, but even a total loss is no match for the cross. What the world gives no value, He gives grace.

--J.P.

MALL FAT? Don't let holiday shopping  derail your healthy-living goals

"It’s the heart of the holiday shopping season: Malls are flooded, parking lots are jam-packed, and your inbox is overflowing with e-coupons," says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, PrayFit's resident healthy-eating expert. "Whether you’re hitting up the food court or doing your shopping online, keep these tips in mind."

Don’t…

...munch on free samples. The calories can add up fast.

...shop hungry. Eat a sensible meal before you head out to the store or sit at the computer.

...swig liquid calories. Large sodas and full-fat peppermint lattes can have as many calories as a meal.

...go overboard on holiday goodies. Just because you can buy a 10-pound bar of chocolate shaped like a Christmas tree doesn’t mean that you should.

Do…

...resist the wafting smells from the pretzel and cookie stands. Save those calories for holiday parties.

...pack power snacks. Granola bars, fresh fruit, peanut butter crackers, and trail mix are good options.

...keep your mouth occupied. If you find yourself mindlessly snacking, chew sugarless gum or sip on a  calorie-free drink.

...wash your hands before you eat, especially after a day of shopping.

>> For more healthy holiday tips, visit Dana's Healthy Eats blog on the Food Network.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.