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Remember Mrs. Kravitz?

"Love thy neighbor as yourself." --Mark 12:31

Read: Mark 12

Sitting on our little porch, I'm watching Loretta add potting mix, dirt and water to plants and shrubs. The smell of barbecue from a nearby condo fills the air. Somebody's cookin' out. The neighborhood seems alive tonight. Sun-filled cheeks on neighborhood kids is evidence of a fast-approaching summer. It seems God has dropped me in an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Somehow you'd expect Wally to come strollin' by. But I know better. This is no Pine Street.

I know better because I know myself better. When was the last time we visited a new neighbor? Or went to see the widow down the street? Or invited the single dad to church? Not sure if you can relate, but we have more in common with Mrs. Kravitz than we do June Cleaver. In reality, however, our homes, apartments and condos are as much an opportunity to witness as gyms, offices and schools.

I write about this today, because yesterday I was paid a visit by one of MY neighbors. Mind you, he's never been to our place, but he knew my truck hadn't moved in weeks, and he was heading out for coffee; just wanted to see if I needed anything. I won't try to explain what that meant to me, but the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact. Reach out to someone today. They just might need a cup of coffee.

–Jimmy Peña

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

Be Really Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10 Read: Psalm 46

If you’ve never had an MRI procedure, let me paint the scene. You lay down and the technician gives you ear plugs to numb the deafening sounds that are soon to come. You get secured into position and after a short list of instructions, you’re sent inside this narrow tube. Claustrorphobes should skip the next sentence, because they send you in head first, so that your entire body is inside the casing, with just a couple of inches between the end of your nose and the inside of the cylinder. To say you feel vulnerable is no exaggeration. You battle mental questions like, “What if I can’t get out? What if the power goes out? What if?!”

Your only solace is the comforting voice of the tech that booms around you throughout the exam, repeating his instructions and making sure you’re okay. The most important thing? Be very, very still. Regardless of what’s going on around you, what you hear, as well as your seemingly helpless predicament, don’t move a muscle until the test is done. If you’re able to be still, the physician has a better chance to determine what’s going on inside. You know where I'm headed.

We have a lot going on around us; from the economy, to security issues to health problems. Sometimes we feel trapped, surrounded by the strange but familiar sounds of a life we’ve chosen, asking scary questions like, “What if I don’t get better? What if I fail? What if?!” Yet the most important thing? Be as still as we can, and listen for His voice through the noise.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Friends, the above entry is a repost from 2010, prior to my first spine surgery. Well, yesterday I had another MRI. And for the first time ever, halfway through the test, I had to get out. For whatever reason, I lost my breath and opened my eyes; both of which they strongly discourage. Not sure what happened in there, but as I exited the machine, the tech was standing at my side. He completely understood. After a minute of catching my breath (and wits), I nodded as if to say, "Let's do it." Oh folks, the Lord understands we want to get out sometimes. But He's right there. It's Friday, friends. Let's do it.

NETWORK, SHOP, CHAT, SOW Take advantage of the many outlets and resources available to the PrayFit Nation

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

"Being a big believer in Jesus Christ, PrayFit gets me on track to start my day off in the right direction. In boxing there is no room for error. You have to be not only be physically prepared but spiritually strong as well." — Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 6-Time Boxing World Champion

You Changed My Life

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." --John 15:9

Read: John 15

"You changed my life," I told Mya, with a kiss, as I put her back to bed. "You changed mine," she whispered in reply before slipping back into a deep sleep. I closed her door walked back to my room with a wry smile, my eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. For this fatigued father, sleepy words had begotten a swelled heart.

Half asleep and scarcely able to comprehend the magnitude of such a statement, Mya will probably never remember that she uttered it. But it brought me untold joy nonetheless. You see, every expression of love that she musters -- every squeeze, every crinkle-nosed grin, every barely-perceptible midnight utterance of affection -- impacts me deeply and profoundly. Not a single, loving gesture is too slight.

When I finally laid my head to my pillow, like Mya, I did some whispering of my own: "Lord, You changed my life." The words, I thought, fell short. Despite His divinity, I speculated, He can't possibly understand how much I love Him and how fortunate I feel to be numbered among His flock. Then, it occurred to me. He didn't just change my life, He gave it. And for a Father, even when the words miss the mark, they never miss the heart.

--Eric Velazquez

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

Of Walls and Temples

"When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God." --Nehemiah 6:16

Read: Nehemiah 6

When Nehemiah heard the news of Jerusalem his heart broke. The walls had been toppled and the temple destroyed. Through prayer, trials, and trust, the faithful people of Israel rebuilt the wall in just 52 days, which was miraculous because the wall had been laying in ruin for 140 years. It's a wonderful, powerful story of God's accomplishment. I urge you to read Nehemiah with us.

I was reminded of that story last week when we traveled to the wonderful city of Asheboro, North Carolina. We had the pleasure of speaking to hospital staff, encouraging their continuous effort to extend the dreams of the sick. We rallied with community business leaders, reminding them that our health enables us to be better servant-leaders. And we joined the mission of a small group of believers who, like Nehemiah, have a broken heart for the temple and are building walls to protect it.

You know, the bible says that when Jerusalem's walls were rebuilt, the enemies "lost their confidence" because they knew God had accomplished it for them. Wow. Constructing walls, rebuilding temples. Keep going, Asheboro. How blessed we are to witness your work; humbled to have been given a brick.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What walls does your church, community or business need to build to protect and honor health? Have you broken ground?

HEALTH TIP: Cold Remedies Cold and flu supplements have become a multi-billion dollar business. As the cold weather rolls in each year, consumers fork over a pretty penny for anything that promises to keep them healthy or get them better. Are these supplements all they’re cracked up to be? PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC weighs in.

>> Click here to see what really works.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

Misfits Seldom Do

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." --1 Corinthians 1:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 1

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the last one picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he'd be king. But he didn't care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.

Friends, our bodies are merely tools. In the end, they simply get us from life's A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So this week, let's add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It's doubtful. But then again, the only attention that's really important is the attention you're paying to the body God designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you'll be in good company when you don't fit in. Misfits seldom do.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIP: Rest Right, Blast Fat

If you're spending time in the gym and your goal is to get a little bit leaner, don't just go through the motions. The time you are taking between sets of exercise may be limiting how much fat you can burn. Here's how to use rest to lean up faster!

>> Click here to start burning more bodyfat today!

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

The Absence of Perfection

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." --2 Corinthians 12:9

Read: 2 Corinthians 12

In the history of professional baseball, there have been only 21 perfect games pitched -- instances in which no opposing batter reaches base over nine innings, or 27 outs. To put the rarity of such a feat into perspective, consider that there have been over 350,000 games played since 1876. More men have orbited the moon than have thrown a perfect game and no pitcher has done it twice. It is a feat that can cement a legacy, with five of these men having been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, it is not the presence of perfection, but its absence, that defines the careers of most pitchers. It is the quest for consistency of conduct on the mound, an acceptance of the knowledge that the hits will come and the resiliency to keep their team in the game that makes pitchers more productive in the long run.

You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the pitcher's perspective. Called to the mound and given the ball on a daily basis, we strive to minimize our mistakes and to avoid the hits at all costs. Ultimately, however, it is our absence of perfection that defines us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. For our efforts -- and for faith amid flaw -- we are bound for a Hall that keeps no record.

--Eric Velazquez 

FAITH & FITNESS HOTLINE A peek into some of the busier discussions on the PrayFit forums

>> In need of some spiritual guidance

>> Does anyone have a cheat meal?

>> Reversing Type 2 diabetes

>> Runners: Questions and concerns

>> Does God call us to be fit?

>> Rebirth of health: "I'm done with the lies"

PRAYFIT SUNDAY: "We don't strive to be healthy to be loved by God," PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena has said to churches nationwide. "We strive to be healthy because we are." Is your church in need of the gospel of health? Contact us today to see about bringing this message to your church. Click here to get started.

He Put It In Writing

"Love one another." --John 13:34

Read: John 13

If you couldn't find me yesterday, chances are good that I was busy at the Hallmark store. You know, it's tough to find a card with the right words. Most of them don't even come close to saying what I would actually say. Like many a husband, I waited 'til the last minute to find the one thing that matters most to my wife: the card. (See, today is her birthday).

Sure, I could come home with chocolate, flowers and diamonds, but if I were to forget the card, I may as well have forgotten her name. If I've learned anything after 17 years it's that jewelry may reach her hand, but words find her heart. And her reaction says it all.

Friends, God gave us the world, but He didn't stop there. No, He didn't want the world to be the closest we get to Heaven, so He said exactly what He meant and put it in writing. And what matters most to Him -- our reaction -- well, that says it all.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. By the way, I never did find the right card yesterday. But as it turns out, they make some that are blank inside... GET IN ON THE DISCUSSION Read, comment or start your own string in our online community

WORKOUT JOURNALS >> Eric Gonzalez: 35-year-old dad getting back on track

>> Momof2darlings: How one mother insists on getting healthier...NOW

FAITH >> Peter Ryan: Desperate and in need of some spiritual guidance

>> Prayer Requests: List your needs, or just pray for others

FITNESS >> Morning Exercise: How do you get motivated for early training?

BECOME A MEMBER: Not yet a member of our forums? Click here to get started.

ALREADY A MEMBER?: Click here to sign-in.

Of Gifts and Gratitude

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." --John 15:6

Read: 1 Corinthians 12

Anyone who is blessed enough to be around children for any length of time knows that you often end up with the strangest collection of gifts. My girls are no different. Much to the dismay of our community groundskeeper, Mya and Ella are intent upon picking every flower that they see, always with a single plan in mind -- to brighten someone else's day with a makeshift, yet heartfelt bouquet.

This gesture, which holds great meaning to the girls, is quickly lost on us grown-ups. We accept the flowers with a showy smile and a nod, only to set them down in the moments to follow. We carry on with our business, leaving petals to wilt and whither from neglect. It is only when Mya and Ella return to inquire about the condition of their floral good tidings that we are suddenly forced to ponder the true value of their gift. Put plainly, the flowers matter to them because they probably carefully selected each one with me and Wendy in mind, and no explanation can soothe the heartbreak of our apparent ingratitude.

Our bodies are exquisite and unparalleled works of art. Formed from the dirt in His own garden, each for a unique purpose. And like flowers handed to you by a child, they were given to us with an expectation of continued care. How we express gratitude for our bodies doesn't just matter to us. It matters, perhaps more than we'll ever know, to the One who gifted them in the first place.

--Eric Velazquez

SPRINT TIP: INTERVALS Yesterday, American ultramarathoner Josh Cox dropped some truth on the PrayFit Nation: "Long slow distance makes long slow runners. If you want to run fast you need to run fast." Cox recommended that intervals should be part of your program each week if your goal is to build speed. But intervals also help you burn fat faster and workouts are shorter to boot. For the next few weeks, try this simple interval scheme to start getting leaner -- and faster.

Week 1: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 10 seconds, then walk for 50 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 10 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 2: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 11 seconds, then walk for 49 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 11 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 3: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 12 seconds, then walk for 48 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 12 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 4: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 13 seconds, then walk for 47 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 13 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 5: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 14 seconds, then walk for 46 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 14 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

You're essentially working in one-minute increments, adding one second to your sprint and eliminating a second from your recovery time each week. By challenging your body with greater intensity each week, you are paving the way for better improvement in body composition as well as sprint efficiency.

RUNNERS FORUM Walk, jog or sprint your way into the growing discussion on the forums Are you a runner? You have a 5K coming up? Maybe you're just interested in running and don't know where to begin? Whatever the case, it's time to surround yourself with a community of like-minded individuals. This thread on the PrayFit forums is dedicated to those who prefer to get fit by running. So dive into the discussion to encourage one another, to share experiences or to pick up some tips.

>> RUNNERS FORUM - CLICK HERE

It Took a Funeral

"The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." --John 11:25

Read: John 11

If anyone had the right to claim credit for the phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of my life" it was Lazarus. Four days gone. Entombed. Lazarus was dead. Then he wasn't. If any day felt like the first to him, this was the one. But it took a funeral to make him feel alive.

You and I are no different. Well, we don't cheat graves, but we are called to die each day...to ourselves. But we can't talk about death without including every aspect of life. Our minds: how we think. Our motives: selfish and proud. And our bodies: how we nourish His temple on earth. If we strive to be obedient in everything including, say, our approach to food, we live better. Conquering our daily life of health requires a daily death of self.

It's tough to live in a grave. Just ask Lazarus. His best day was his first day, and so is yours. And it begins at a funeral.

--Jimmy Peña

THE IMPORTANCE OF "PRAY" IN PRAYFIT Research reinforcing the connection between physical and spiritual health The name "PrayFit" isn't an accident. We believe that a deeper connection with the Lord -- which is achieved through daily reading, prayer and fellowship -- is central to your ongoing quest for a healthier body. A recent story lends credence -- actual lab-coat-and-bar-graphs kinda credence -- to this fundamental truth.

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that individuals who prayed daily were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who didn't pray regularly. And a 2011 study of inner city youth with asthma found that those with regular prayer lives exhibited fewer and less severe symptoms.

But the floodgate of research showing the correlation of spiritual and physical health doesn't stop there. Read the full story from the Huffington Post by clicking the link below.

>> HUFF POST: Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don't

PRAY: Click here to pray with and for other members of the PrayFit community!

HOT TOPIC: Does God call us to be fit? What's your take?

Two Men, One Cross

"Carry each other's burdens." --Galatians 6:2

Read: Galatians 6

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Simon did. Simon of Cyrene was of course the man who helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill toward Calvary. In one moment, a bystander. The next, a cross bearer. He did literally what you and I are called to do figuratively. Little did he know the example he was setting. I wonder if he knew his sin would soon be nailed to the tree he carried.

Uphill battles. If anyone understood the phrase, Jesus did. Yet Jesus knew that what He faced, He had to face alone. Nobody on earth, above or below, could take His place as He took ours. The thought of you and me facing our days without hope was enough to kill Him. The weight of the cross and our helplessness were more than He could bear.

Simon and Jesus. Two men, one cross and an uphill battle.

--Jimmy Peña

IMAGINE: It took both Simon and Jesus to get our cross up the hill. All our debts, cancelled. Satan's threats, cancelled. Imagine having to deal with those alone. What would you say to Simon for helping Jesus with your cross?

COMMUNITY COUNTS Here's what people are saying on the PrayFit forums. Let your experiences bless others! PrayFit book versus PrayFit DVD - How are the two related?

John's Challenge 33/33 - Following a PrayFit newbie's journey

Any servicemen or servicewomen on here? - Bringing our homeland defenders into our forums

The Prayfit workout question - Giving sound advice and inspiration to a motivated member

Post-exercise headache - What's normal? What's the fix?

>> Not yet a member of the PrayFit forums? Register by clicking here.

Rate of Failure

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"— Galatians 2:21

Much is made of the failure rate in baseball.  A successful hitter, it is said, fails to get a hit seven out of every 10 trips to the plate. Despite this otherwise abysmal statistic, those who perform up to such a strict standard are held in high regard. The familiar sound of bat meeting ball is met by a chorus of applause, the hitter greeted by high fives and offered hands of affirmation by teammates upon his return to the dugout. The spoils of a job well done.

In our walks with God, the only measure of success -- the perfection of Christ -- makes failure a certainty. More often than not, despite our best efforts, we will swing and miss at opportunities to glorify God in how we live, work and play. Still, despite no quantifiable measure of achievement and no earthly rewards to be won, we test ourselves, training for a contest in which the outcome has already been determined. Because we know that someday, no matter our rate of failure, we too will be greeted -- not by the roar of the crowd but by choirs of angels. The spoils of a life redeemed by grace.

--Eric Velazquez

PRAYFIT: A WEEK IN REVIEW Can we be nostalgic about stuff from like, a little while ago? Sure can. Here's the highlights

FAITH

>> NOW WHAT?: The answer to our biggest question went climbed out of a crib and onto a cross

>> THE CLOSER: Stay ready -- you never know when you'll be called upon

>> A FIGHTING SPIRIT: If the spirit is willing, your body has no right to hold it back

>> ME AND MY DRUM: We've got nothing that's fit to give a King except our best effort

HEALTH & FITNESS

WORKOUT: Use this push-ups and planks program to build a stronger torso and core >> FOOD: Broaden your protein horizons in five easy steps

>> REPORT: Even mild intensity training can help you reduce blood pressure and lose bodyfat

>> NUTRITION: How this key macronutrient can help you get lean for good

HOT TOPICS Weigh in on these and other issues at the PrayFit forums

Belly fat won't budge

Small success

Prayer Requests

>> Not a member yet? Register here.

What Do You See, Lord?

"You saw me before I was born." --Psalm 139:16

Read: Psalm 139

Awaiting my turn on a recent TV broadcast, I sat in the green room watching the first hour's guest. A woman -- maybe in her late 50's -- was there sharing her fundraising efforts for the homeless and orphaned. Her reply to the host's last question caught my attention. He asked her why she thought God placed this burden on her heart. Through a flood of tears she said, "I just think God saw something in me I never could have seen for myself."

Wow. It felt like she was accepting an award; honored beyond words. Believe me folks, a child is going to find a home, a meal, or both because of this woman. Her words resonated in my head (and heart) as I took my place on the couch. It was my turn. But honestly, I don't remember the host's first question. I struggled to concentrate. "We're back in 5, 4, 3, 2..."

Sarah, David, Mary Magdalene, Peter. To the rest of the world, outcasts and misfits. Too little, too late. But that's not what God saw.

Is this your prayer? Mine too:

"What do you see Lord? What you can see means more to me than what I can't. So show me. My back is strong. My shoulders are steady. I don't want to be empty-handed. Give me the burden that you see me carrying."

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What has God called you to do? What burden has He laid on your heart? What can we help you pray about today?

FAITH & FELLOWSHIP

You don't have to be in the same room (or gym) with other PrayFit members to meet them. Join in on these discussions, offer encouragement to someone, or start your own thread today!

Certifications - which one is best?

How many calories should I eat each day?

Detox: Worth the hassle?

Questions for the trainer

Fitness helps faith make sense

>> Not yet registered? Sign-up here today.

KEEPING HOUSE

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back."— Mark 13:35

My wife Wendy and I live in a house of toddlers which means that at any given moment, our little home can look like hurricane-force winds blew through, tossing about everything that isn't nailed down. Toys are scattered, clothes are strewn over the furniture and...is that string cheese ground into our rug? We try, sometimes to no avail, to keep up with our cyclical mess.

However, once I get word that my mother-in-law is coming to visit, a new side of me emerges -- an unrelenting, super-cleaning alter ego that is intent on spot-shining the house into model-home glory. You see, not only did she and my father-in-law help us buy this place, but Ethelmarie keeps a pretty tidy house. And while she may not be bothered by the mountainous pile of juice cups in my sink, I still don't want her to see them. So my inner Mr. Clean -- the one that speedily washes fingerprints from windows and mops floors -- really only comes out when I know she's stopping by. And while her visits are usually announced, we love that she will occasionally just pop in. As a result, Wendy and I are now doing our best to keep the house Ethel-ready at all times, managing the maelstrom in small, daily increments (as much as Mya and Ella will allow, that is.)

We all have houses to keep -- both brick-and-mortar and flesh-and-blood -- that can benefit from daily attention. And you never really know when company's coming.

Lord, we are so grateful for the bodies that house our souls and do not take lightly that we were made in your image. Please help us find the daily motivation to be faithful stewards of the physical gifts we've been given. Amen.

--Eric Velazquez

>> Commit: Log on. Today, join other PrayFit readers at our online community by going to www.prayfit.com/forum. Here, you can create a free-form workout journal that you can update on a daily basis. Journals are routinely featured on PrayFit’s home page and shared with our various social networks. As the research would indicate, those keeping journals at PrayFit.com report having an easier time of sticking to a workout routine because they know that others are reading up on their progress. The authors of a recent study cited recommended the following types of websites for the best results:

--Sites that encourage accountability by asking users to consistently record weight, exercise, and calories consumed

--Sites that include tailored or personalized information

--Sites with interactive features that allow users to communicate with each other and with nutrition and exercise experts

--Sites with accurate health information

527 million >> Dollars made by Nutrisystem.com in 2010

23.8 >> Percentage of dieters that used a weight loss website in 2010

Source: Market Data Enterprises

I'LL DRIVE

August 25, 2011Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See, to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, since He lives inside our hearts, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

Q&A: FRUIT'S FINAL DESTINATION A healthy solution for overripe produce

Q: I often end up with a lot of fruit going bad around my house. It's not because I don't eat it -- it's because I don't eat it fast enough. Should I just buy less?

A: "A blender or food processor is a great destination for surplus fruit or fruit that is overripe but not yet spoiled," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. "Many people tell me that they hesitate to buy too much fresh produce because they cannot use it quickly enough before it goes bad, but you can make a delicious, healthy smoothie out of those surplus berries or those bananas that are getting soft."

Here's Miller's fix: "Combine one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups of fruit, a few ice cubes, and blend to the consistency you desire. You may freeze the fruit first and choose to omit the ice. Boost the nutrients in your drink by adding 1-2 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ or flaxseeds, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves lend flavor as well."

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

>> "PRAYER" FIT: Stop by the prayer requests forum to share issues that are heavy on your heart, or simply to read up and pray for others.

 

 

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: PART II

February 3, 2011Read: John 1

"And the word became flesh and dwelt among us..." --John 1:14

Yesterday we wrote about a wild bald eagle that shows up in the most unexpected of places: the zoo. According to wildlife experts, this majestic male is likely fond of a female eagle being held in captivity. But what we didn't touch on was the reason she can't be set free: she's injured and too vulnerable to survive in the wild. So, he comes to see her. For reasons he doesn't understand, she can't follow him. So he comes down to her level, because she can't get up to his.

Those eagles sure are making it hard for us to think about anything else. Imagine, God did more than pay a visit, He made our home His own.  He opened earth's door, stepped inside and threw away the key. He breathed our air and slept on the dirt. The thought of us trying to survive on our own was enough to kill him...so He stayed.

--J.P.

TRUE OR FALSE Time to test your healthy-living acumen

1. You burn more calories warming the body than cooling it. 2. You cause more muscle damage walking downhill than struggling to walk uphill. 3. The longest muscle in the body is the sartorius. 4. Stretching doesn't prevent injury. 5. The safest time of day to have a cheat meal is immediately following a workout.

How did you score? Find out the answers tomorrow.

>> HOT TOPIC: Does God call us to be fit? Chime in with your opinion on this question that is at the heart of PrayFit's mission.

THE NEW YEAR IS IN ME

January 3, 2011Read: 2 Corinthians 5

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here." --2 Corinthians 5: 17

The confetti is all but cleaned up, the streamers are in the trash, and the calendar is brand new. Deep breath...ah, so this is 2011! But it doesn't take long for things to feel normal again does it? For some reason, the commute this morning is still bumper to bumper, co-workers are still grumpy, and junk food made its way to your lunch box. Seems last year's ho-hums and habits still cast their shadows.

Truth is, a new year is only new if we make it that way. For you and me, a change in year only matters when it changes in here (this is me pointing to my heart). So starting today, no matter what seems old, let's find a way to make it new. That commute? Try seeing it as an extended quiet time with the Lord. Those co-workers? Be the only one in the office unwilling to gossip. And at lunch, be the first to push away from the table as a way to praise the Lord for health. Slowly but surely, we'll realize the difference is in us. Seems those weren't shadows after all.

It was shade.

--J.P.

START THE NEW YEAR WITH PRAYFIT

January 6 marks the "official" nationwide release of PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days. It's only days away, but it's been circled on our calendars for months. Now that it's here -- just in time for our season of renewal -- we hope (and pray) that you'll welcome this date with similar enthusiasm.

"We can't tell you how excited we are," says Jimmy Pena, founder of PrayFit. "It might not be the last fitness book you'll ever buy, but with today's steep decline of faith, we feel it's the one book this country needs more than ever."

This book is great for beginners, someone coming off of a long layoff, or even the seasoned athlete wanting to maintain his or her stamina. It's a bodyweight-only, at-home workout and devotional replete with nutrition tips and meal plans.

"You've got to pick one up for yourself and for a friend or loved one!" says Pena.

But PrayFit is much more than what fills those pages. Find out below how you can use PrayFit to make 2011 one for...the books!

>> LEARN: To learn more about PrayFit: Your Guide to A Healthy Body and A Stronger Faith in 28 Days, click here.

>> START: For a message from the founder and some tips on how to use PrayFit.com as an ongoing resource for your faith and fitness goals in 2011, click here.

>> SHARE: Build accountability into your program for the new year by starting your own fitness journal and engaging with other PrayFit users at our forums.

>> NETWORK: We're a faith and fitness community...and we're digital. "Like" us at the Official PrayFit Facebook page or "Follow us" on Twitter.

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HEART EDITION

August 31, 2010Read: 2 Corinthians 5

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come." --2 Corinthians 5:17

Last year, I had the privilege of spending a week on the set of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When it aired, I remembered the feeling I had when that family first answered the knock at the door, then came back a week later to a brand new house. Talk about gut-wrenching! Someone they never expected came into their world and freely gave them something they couldn't afford on their own. He saw where they lived and said you don't have to live here anymore.

As I stood and watched the process, I couldn't help but think of Jesus. Just like we did for that family, He knocks gently, anxiously awaiting our answer. But rather than calling for a wrecking ball, He does the unthinkable: He moves in. Instead of a hammer, He carries a suitcase. He gives us something we could never afford on our own--Himself--saying we don't have to live here anymore, alone.

--J.P.

COMMUNITY KEEPS WEIGHT OFF If you're looking for a way to get or stay slim, you're in the right place

A new study is confirming what we've said all along -- that by sharing time with other fit-minded people, you can actually have more success in your quest to reach or stay at your goal weight.

The more people used an interactive weight management website such as PrayFit, the more weight loss they maintained, according to the study. The research showed that consistent website users who logged on and recorded their weight at least once a month for two-and-a-half years maintained the most weight loss.

You can build in extra accountability by keeping a public workout journal, such as those located at our forums.

For the full story from Science Daily, click here.

>> REGISTER: If you haven't already, it's time to register at our forums and start your own workout journal! Sign up here!