Archive for November, 2010

Wisdom for the Holidays

~ More on Nanci J. Gravill’s new book “Fresh Hope Cleveland.”

With Thanksgiving gone and Christmas close behind, enjoy a glass of hot cider or eggnog and reflect on these great recipes for a successful holiday season ~ a little wisdom just when you may need it most!

1. Simplify things ~ Take a few minutes to intentionally identify, select, and ask your family what three or four things they would enjoy doing over the holiday. Don’t burn yourself out trying to do everything. Make sure your list includes family holiday traditions as well as one or two new things you’d like to try.

2. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others given your budget, time, and energy. Realize you can’t do everything or please everyone.

3. Take time to reflect on how much you have to be grateful for at Christmas and in the New Year. I’ll get you started: family, friends, neighbors, car, job, place to live, and good health.

4. Presents are great if you can afford to buy them. If not, this holiday season choose to put more emphasis on the comfort of your home, family, and friends. The presence of your company far exceeds the value of any gift you could ever give.

5. The holidays are a great time to give to others. Whether you volunteer at a soup kitchen, go caroling at a retirement home, or make a donation to your favorite local charity: Give. You will be blessed far more than you could imagine.

Have a great week!

Make sure you come by every week in December. My blog will feature culinary delights, music, and a special tribute to families — not quite in that order! New posts every Tuesday.

God Bless You!

November 30, 2010 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

How You Can ~ Pay It Forward

~ More on Nanci J. Gravill’s new book “Fresh Hope Cleveland.”

You’ll be able to read Wisdom for the Holidays at my next blog post on either November 30 or December 7. I’m trying to decide if I should blog every other Tuesday or stay with the usual weekly blog.


This week I’d like to introduce you to a very wonderful Christian organization, Pay It Forward. Maybe you’ve heard about Pay It Forward on Fox 8 News ~ or, maybe not!

Pay It Forward was started by Jim Cermak along with a group of nine friends. Jim is the awesome marketing professional that helps me with my book – Fresh Hope … Cleveland. He and his friends are committed to helping hard working families in the Cleveland area (and beyond) who are in need of financial assistance. You can read more about Pay It Forward below. But for now, let me tell you about the FREE fund-raiser dinner they are sponsoring on Saturday, December 4.

DETAILS OF FUND-RAISER: On December 4th, Pay it Forward is sponsoring a FREE Christmas fund-raiser dinner. The dinner is completely FREE. All they are asking you to do is bring your checkbook. If you are unable to attend, you can still donate at their
web site:


How It Got Started: Pay It Forward Foundation was started in 2009 with money out of the founders own pockets. They also put in a lot of their time and effort. None of the committee members receives any compensation for work performed with this charity. Their only goal is to help families with God’s help, get through a tough time. As a struggling writer, the foundation helped me with my rent last year. I was so very grateful!

How Pay It Forward Has Helped Others (in Jim Cermak’s own words): Through some modest fundraising efforts at the end of 2009, we were able to help seven families have a little happier holiday season. One family was a single dad (widower) with five kids. We gave him $600 in toy store and grocery gift cards, and in return got tears of joy, a look of relief, and a heartfelt “thank you.” Pay It Forward also helped a breast cancer survivor with mounting hospital bills who was unable to pay her rent. Along with some of her friends, they were able to pull together enough money to make that payment. This Christmas 2010, we are sponsoring a Christmas fund-raiser dinner to raise as much money as possible to help others this holiday season. We Need Your Help To Be Able To Help Many More Families In Need.

Pay it Forward recently was awarded 501(c)3 non-profit status by the IRS, so all donations are tax deductible.

HOW TO DONATE: Please go to the PAY IT FORWARD web site to make a donation — all major credit cards and checks accepted. Just scroll down the page a little and look for the donation box. No gift is too small as every little bit helps. Their web site from time to time will also list other fund-raising events along with the details on how you can participate. The goal of this organization is to make a positive impact to on as many families as possible. Please give generously. Giving to Pay It Forward is a wonderful way to make someone else’s holiday better.

HOW TO NOMINATE A FAMILY OR INDIVIDUAL: For tickets to the December 4th event or to nominate a family/individual to receive assistance, please call 1-877-OH-HELPING (877.644.3574).


Thank you so much ~ Many people need your help this holiday season!

God Bless You ~ Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2010 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

National Memory Screening Day + Thanksgiving Turkey Story!

~ More on Nanci J. Gravill’s new book Fresh Hope … Cleveland.

Today, November 16 , is National Memory Screening Day. If you’re worried about Alzheimer’s, find a free screening in your area at Below are some tips for aging gracefully and sensible tips to help you prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from Remember, anything caught early will yield a better prognosis. If you have concerns, go for a FREE screening today.

Successful Aging
The key to successful aging is a healthy, common sense lifestyle. The goals are to slow or prevent the loss of brain cells, maintain the brain’s capacity to make up for any loss, and let remaining brain cells function well. This requires a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Here are some tips for successful aging:
Visit your doctor regularly. Participate in
activities that stimulate your brain, such as reading, crossword
puzzles, playing bridge, and other mental exercises.
Manage stress through techniques such as
relaxation, meditation and yoga.
Treat depression. Depressed elders have higher
rates of dementia, lower quality of life and higher rates of death.
Be social. Maintaining a network of friends will
lessen the likelihood of isolation and depression while increasing the
overall level of brain stimulation.
Exercise daily, such as walking 30 minutes per
day. Physical activity significantly lessens the chance of
cardiovascular complications that could cause dementia.
Control hypertension, diabetes and heart disease— risk factors for dementia—through physical exercise, quitting
smoking, controlling blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and avoiding
Follow a healthy diet and take vitamins, including
vitamins C and E, and folic acid.
Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol has a direct
toxic effect on the brain that adds to the loss of nerve cells and

Take a Mental Acuity Test
Follow this link to the Real Age® Live Life to the Youngest page. There you can test your mental acuity ~ go to:


Real-life Thanksgiving Story

Since Thanksgiving is just a few days away, I thought you enjoy this real-life Thanksgiving story. The November issue of Guideposts magazine (p. 48) has an article about country singer Trisha Yearwood cooking her first Thanksgiving away from home. In it she shares her mom’s unusual advice on cooking the Thanksgiving bird. Interesting! You can read the entire story at this link:

Here’s an excerpt:

No one’s ever going to believe this, I thought, least of all Garth. Sure enough, he looked at me incredulously. “You do what with the turkey?” I explained again. “It comes out perfect and you don’t even baste it. Mama’s been cooking it this way for years. It’s the most tender turkey I’ve ever tasted.”

See you here next Tuesday for a new post entitled, Coconut Cupcakes & Pumpkin Pie ~ Wisdom for the Holidays

God Bless You!
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


November 16, 2010 at 9:18 am Leave a comment

Live Your Strongest Life

~ More on Nanci J. Gravill’s new book Fresh Hope … Cleveland.

We all have moments in our lives that are STRONG.
And as you can imagine, yes, there are moments obviously that are weak — you didn’t stand up to the moment at hand. That may well mean you let fear win and so you sat home on Saturday night instead of going to a party a new friend was giving. Or maybe you promised to call someone but instead watched TV even with that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach. Being lazy was easier so you ignored the moment and did nothing.

STRONG MOMENTS are the times you make great choices — or did something spectular — something inside you was released at a particular moment. Perhaps you weighed the odds and forged ahead despite being fearful, uncertain, or not sure what others would say. It’s the combination of many STRONG moments that allow you to push forward. Why? That’s because STRONG moments allow you to use your strengths. You know it’s a STRONG moment when you made a decision that was difficult. Still, you stood up to what you believed what right and did the best thing for yourself.

What does it take to live a STRONG life? It takes paying attention to those STRONG moments in order to realize where your strengths are and how to really make them work for you. The idea is, if you pay more attention to your strengths you will accomplish more and enjoy your life even more.

If any of this sounds intriguing it’s all from a great book I’m reading and will recommend in my own book — Fresh Hope … Cleveland. The ideas I’m bringing to you here are from the book Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. The subtitle is What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently. Okay, now I’ve done it. I’ve let you believe it’s only for women. Yes, in general that’s true. But the concepts can well apply to anyone if you want to live a life that is satisfying and authentic.

Life is all about choices. You’ve heard that many times I’m sure. And every choice you make influences who you become. That may or may not be something you’ve heard before. But, for example, you can choose to take a few minutes to talk with someone or you can ignore them. One decision will build a relationship, the other will promote nothing – no rapport, no understanding, no harmony. Which one of those would you say is the STRONG moment – the key to a STRONG life?

I’ve introduced the idea of a STRONG LIFE. But how does a STRONG life feel? If you act on STRONG moments and focus on what they show you — what they bring you –what will your life look like? For me I seized a very STRONG moment when my book opportunity came my way. Right away I knew this is what I wanted to do. Even though I wouldn’t get paid until the book was finished and there were many uncertainties, I knew writing Fresh Hope … Cleveland was what I should do to use my skills, talents, and time. I knew I had learned so much and now I’d be able to help and inspire others. After all, now folks are coming along the path I had traveled several years before — and I knew it could be a muddy mess with lots of different roads to navigate. That’s why it’s always so wonderful to have a tour guide like me!

My STRONG life looks and feels wonderful. It makes me laugh, challenges my creativity, and always causes me to learn new things and grow! My strong life is always challenging but I admit I’m someone who always loves a challenge. My challenges mainly revolve around making decisions for the book or pertain to my very, very limited budget. It’s amazing to see me manage my resources which includes passing up all sorts of things or just plain putting off purchases. They call it delayed gratification. Whatever it is, so be it! Actually it’s fun to see how well I manage things and I’m quite proud of myself. Now my time is spent in quite a different way. And as I write my blog and finish the text of the book, I find I enjoy my life more than ever before. I like what I am doing and my STRONG life feels very fulfilling. I’m grateful to have a job that I love. It’s the best job I’ve ever had! And I owe that to my dear Heavenly Father. Thank you God for my STRONG LIFE that’s getting STRONGER each day!

HERE’S GOOD ADVICE TO TAKE HOME: Keep looking for STRONG moments in your life. Author Marcus Buckingham would also tell you this: “…pick out the specific strong-moments in each aspect of your life and then allow them to work their guiding, energizing magic.”

To find out a little more about STRONG moments plus take the Strong Life Test, go to The results from the strong life test together with reading the book with help you live a more fulfilling and very STRONG life!

See my next blog post on November 23 –right before Thanksgiving. I’ll share some ideas for the holiday season. They will give you STRONG and HEALTHY PERSPECTIVES so you enjoy each moment of the season a little bit more.

Enjoy the sunshine in Cleveland today!

God Bless You!

November 9, 2010 at 8:45 am Leave a comment


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