Category Archives: One Word: Ephphatha

Spring/Summer Happiness


March is gone and April is here. There really is no big difference between the two months except for the change in daylight hours. It feels great to have longer hours of sunlight.

For me, slightly warmer days and more hours of sunlight often means dreaming and planning a new fitness regime. I suddenly go from planning nights of Netflixing to arranging evenings filled with physical activity.

Spring To-do List:

Train for a marathon, check.

Start P90X again, check.

Loose 110 pounds by the end of summer, check.

Go Paleo, check.

My Pinterest board becomes active again with me posting any and every article that promises to help me become the fittest, trimmest, and fastest version of myself.

My fridge is suddenly filled with superfoods: spinach, collard greens, avocados, bell peppers, and anything that can be thrown into a smoothie.

The truth is this excitement rarely lasts into the second week of April. It only takes a few days of missed workout sessions, vegetables that were left to rot due to a preference for microwavable foods, and a reminder that I have a deep-seated hatred for long distance running.

Are you a Spring and Summer time fitness dreamer? Do you make grand plans to lose weight, get fit, eat better, and then accomplish none of those dreams? I don’t have a magic solution, but I will say this. If you know you’re a Spring/Summer dreamer, be realistic. Set your goals so they are about enjoying the things you do to stay active.

Why plan for a foot race when you know you are not likely to commit to the training; instead, make a goal of getting outdoors more often. Make a goal of watching less television in the evenings and you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time to be outdoors. What you choose to do outdoors is up to you. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee or football around, or play a sport. The goal is to pick something you will enjoy doing.

A strict meal plan might not be something you care to do, especially knowing you aren’t going to stick with it. Instead, aim to eat more fruits and vegetables. When BBQ season arrives, try grilling fruit and vegetables. Chop up some fruit and keep them in the fridge instead of eating foods from the cupboard.

I wish I was the only one who makes a habit of setting unrealistic goals, but I’m not. During the summer I stay active and eat healthy meals. Not because of a strict meal plan or rigorous exercise, but because I stay true to myself.  I choose to do things that I enjoy.

My wish for you this Spring and Summer is that you will also stay true to yourself. Do you enjoy long distance running, power yoga, or jogging up and down hundreds of stairs, great. Keep doing it. If not, find another way to keep yourself fit during the most visually beautiful and warm months of the year.

Are you happy with your diet related meals and strict eating plans, good, then stick with it; if not, then make the changes that will lead you to consuming healthy foods you actually enjoy.

Moving and feeding your body should not be something that brings unhappiness to your life. You can be healthy and happy. Taking care of your body isn’t about punishment or strict regiments.


Reflection and Questions:

-Do you associate healthiness with unhappiness?

-What is your personal definition of ‘happy and healthy’?

-Do you believe that a person can be happy while trying to achieve a fitness or health goal?





New Year, One Word: Ephphatha


Christmas if finally over (but not if you’re Orthodox). I couldn’t be happier! As much as I like Christmas, I often spend the season in a hectic, frenzied state of busyness. Boxing Day (December 26) is a day of relief for me, I wake up internally screaming “I made it through the holidays!”.

The countdown is on to the new year and for me that means choosing a new “word” and bible verse to carry me through 2017. This year I’ve chosen the word Ephphatha from Mark 7:34. It is an Aramaic word meaning “be opened”. The entire story surrounding this word can be found in Mark 7:31-37.

2016’s word was grace. I learned a lot about this verb during the year and it saved me from engaging in too much bitterness, anger, impatience, and negative thoughts. I certainly wasn’t a perfect example of grace, but having this word continuously on my heart and mind brought me closer to God and helped me engage in mindfulness. This one word allowed me to question why I was feeling the way I did, taking moments to pause and act in grace towards people who angered or frustrated me. It helped me on more than one occasion to accept the doors that were closed to me in the present and in the past as gifts from God and He continued to steer me towards my calling and my personal goals.

I learned about the word Ephphatha from a Catholic retreat centre close to where I live. I wondered why a retreat centre would have such a difficult name for their ministry, but I also believed that if they chose such a difficult name, there had to be a significant reason behind it. After reading the story in Mark 7, I knew this was going to be my One Word for 2017.

Be opened. I don’t know what that word meant for the man in the gospel story other than him being able to hear and speak and I don’t know what it will mean for me during this upcoming year. What I do know is that being opened to what God has to say is frightening for me. I’m the type of person who always wants to know what is ahead, what is going to happen, and exactly how it is going to happen. Without all this information I wallow in fear and make every effort to control whatever I can in my environment.

If you haven’t heard of One Word or the concept of choosing one word to guide you through the year, I highly recommend you check out the websites below and consider praying to God to give you a guiding word and verse for the year.


The end of the year is a great time to do some self-inventory and reflection to see where you are at in various areas of your life: spiritual, financial, self-care, work/career, family, friendships, and relationships. It’s all too easy to reach the end of yet another year without having intentional growth, meaningful experiences, and fulfilled goals.

Here are a few online resources if you’d like to live intentionally during 2017:

My OneWord

One WOrd365

Get Busy Living -Your Year in Review

New Year for a New You: 7 Days of Reflection and Renew

Level 10 Life and Level 10 Goals

Goal Setting for Christians – How to Spark your New Year Goals