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The Weight of the World on His Shoulders 

Hello again neighbors, what a week! Hurricane Matthew turned out to be quite a destructive force. I just have to say how proud I am to live in Alma. During the hurricane many of our first responders and good Samaritans helped those in need. We have many men and women in reserves and outage crews that have worked endless hours to restore power to our area as well as other areas. Alma, seems to have been spared once again from a hurricane.

We prayed for peace and a hedge of protection as Matthew hit land and headed toward our town. While the storm came through Friday night, my family gathered on the couch for a movie marathon with all the hurricane necessities including our lighted candles. We never lost electricity or internet. I got up three times to look outside just to see if the wind was still blowing trees back and forth. The boys had moved our wrap around couch up close to the kitchen bar making a sort of fort with blankets and pillows. I was lost somewhere in the middle nestled between my boys, our Boston terror, our Doberman and peace.

Over in Wayne County, my twin Heather McDaniel was with her family at her father-in-law’s house gathered around his bed side. While Matthew tore threw, leaving trees toppled, houses damaged and most out of power, the family stood vigilant beside Mr. Jerry’s bed. The family was called in by a nurse and asked if they would like to pray over Mr. Jerry Mcdaniel. Each member said a prayer leaving little Jerry to pray lastly over his father. As little Jerry said Amen, Mr. Jerry passed away. I received a text from my sister that Mr. Jerry had just passed away peacefully and all were fine and at peace as well. They never lost power.

How can we experience peace when people are dying or hurricanes are threatening destruction of our homes? Jesus. When we stand to lose everything that we’ve built over the years, spouses walk out and jobs are lost, how can we continually have peace? Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Jesus came to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders so that he could conquer every battle for us. It’s already been won.

Picking back up with our workout series today let’s talk shoulders or in human anatomy, deltoids. This week I have three exercises to target the front, middle and rear deltoids.  Although I have given you one muscle group to train each issue thus far, several muscle groups can be trained together. The only rule of thumb is to not train every muscle in one day every day.

Starting with the front deltoids, the shoulder press is an exercise you can use dumbbells, barbells, cables or bands. Anybody at home or at a gym can perform this movement with store bought equipment or improvised equipment. Sitting or standing begin the exercise with dumbbells at shoulder level. Press dumbbells toward the ceiling until elbows lock out. Return the dumbbells to shoulder level to achieve one rep. Three sets with ten to twelve reps is a good place to start for this exercise as well as the following exercises.

The dumbbell lateral raise works the side deltoids. This exercise you will be standing. Hold dumbbells down at your sides. Raise arms out to the side in an arc until dumbbells reach shoulder level. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to your sides. Control your speed in the upward as well as the downward movements. This will allow muscle tension during the entire movement. Be aware of your knees during this exercise. Never lock your knees during any of your upper body workouts.

The last exercise focuses on your rear deltoids. The rear deltoids get the least attention and usually get overlooked all together. This exercise you will bend forward at the waist holding two dumbbells at arm’s’ length. With your palms facing together, raise dumbbells upward to ear level, keeping elbows slightly bent. Lower dumbbells back down to starting position. Especially pay attention to your weights when returning to the starting position, gravity makes this exercise hard to control your speed.

All three of the exercises can be used with bands. If you’ve had shoulder surgery or find that your shoulders are too weak to work with the weights the bands would be a better choice to start with. Bands can be tied off to most anything stationary or you can anchor them by stepping directionally on them. Bands come in different colors that represent their intensity.

Lastly before we say goodbye let’s talk food. The weathers getting cooler and wild game is showing up at the tables this time of year. Wild game is still one of the healthiest meats. Venison is lean and hasn’t been feed with tons of hormones and fillers. This week I have a venison and roasted vegetables recipe.

Pan-Seared Venison and Roasted Vegetables

1 lb. Venison

1 teaspoon Rosemary

1 teaspoon Coriander

1 large Garlic clove

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Pat dry venison and rub with herbs, salt and pepper. Chill for 20 minutes. In a hot cast iron pan coated with olive oil and sear venison for six minutes on each side. Transfer meat to the center of the oven at 450 degrees. Cook for seven to ten more minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 125 F. Remove from hot pan to a plate and cover.

Roast Vegetables

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Cut up carrots, peppers, potatoes, onions, asparagus, brussel sprouts and toss in olive oil. I like to add rosemary salt and pepper to mine but you can add any herbs you like. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and bake for thirty minutes.

Slice up the venison and add roasted vegetables to your plate. I like to serve wild rice with this favorite dish. Bon appetite!

Falling Back into Fitness

Hello Friends! This week I’ll pick up where I left a few weeks ago, the back workout. I hope to leave you with some great outdoor ideals and a fish recipe. Last article should have sparked your interest in getting fit or a least starting some fitness plan. Years of research and funds have been poured into understanding the positive effects of exercise on the human body. If that doesn’t encourage you the cool weather hopefully draws you outdoors to get energized.

Here we are again with a little cooler weather. Life seems a little less complicated, a lot slower and much brighter with the crisp air blowing in your face and the sun shining on your shoulders. My boys, Nicholas, Aiden and I love being outdoors during this time of the year fishing, hiking, camping, hunting and anything else that requires us to be outside. Let me be precise in saying that Aiden and I, love fishing only if the fish are biting. Nicholas can fish for hours. Without much notice my family easily falls back into outdoor fitness. It’s easy when you love the outdoors!   State parks and campgrounds are great places to find hiking trails and playgrounds with equipment to climb and exercise on. Making forts and tree houses with your kids are other ways to draw and keep children outdoors as well as getting some physical fitness.   If you can’t come up with your own ideals try this site, www.exploregeorgia.org

While we’re talking about falling back into good habits let’s talk really quick about how we sometimes fall back into bad thought habits. Sometimes our past walks back into our lives not with the same people or exact same events but only in our thoughts. All it takes is a trigger. Then we’re hurled back to those dark places we thought we’d buried neatly away. We sabotage our futures trying to control the situation based on past events. O, to walk back into the garden of Eden, to see new events as fresh moments in our lives.  Curtis Mayfield song, “If I Were Only A Child Again, states the innocent lost when he sings, “Remember when we were part of that special few, Everything it seemed was so pure and true, I guess we were just too young to understand, The unselfish cause of death and war and roles of man.” Only God can renew our souls, our inner self, for he was the one that wove us together in our mother’s womb. Ephesians 4: 23 said, “Instead, let the Holy Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” We can change our thought patterns but not without the understanding that we have to take an intentional positive step toward changing and allowing God to heal those feeling. With that said let’s go into our back workouts.

The back consists of several layers of muscles and for all purpose is considered in three parts, upper, middle and lower back. Remember, in my chest article I said that you could not reach your full potential chest size without your back reaching its full size. To fully understand the dynamics of your muscles and just how intertwined they are to each other, study a colored diagram of the muscles chart. This will help you fully optimize your training plan.

For this workout plan, I’ll be using the equipment at the Anytime Fitness gym in Alma. The sets will be three and the reps will be ten to twelve. If your workouts are advance, then do four to five sets with the ten to twelve reps. Always warm up before any training session. Walking for ten minutes on a treadmill is a good rule of thumb to insure your muscles are warmed and ready to begin working out.   Starting at the machine row, in a neutral grip (thumbs up) sit up straight and pulling your core in, pull the handle toward your chest, pulling your elbows as far back as possible. Focus pulling your shoulder blades together like you are pinching a penny between them. This is a middle back exercise.

The wide grip pulldown machine, focuses on your latissimus dorsi muscle or we say in short your lats. This exercise also focuses on your middle back. Women, working this muscle helps make our waist look smaller and is part of the muscle that women complain about under their bra straps. Sit up straight with your upper chest tilled back pulling the bar down to the top of your chest, squeezing the lats.

The Machine Lift works lower back. Sitting straight up at the back of the seat be sure to position the back pad at the site of your shoulder blades. Lean back until you feel a contraction in your lower back and pause for two seconds. Return to the forward position until you feel a stretch in your lower back and upper back thighs. I usually do not count reps for this exercise because to many of my clients love the feeling of the relaxed tension in their back muscles on this machine.

The dumbbell shrugs work the upper back. With a dumbbell in each hand, hanging at your sides, pull shoulder back and lift shoulders up holding for a few seconds and then release to resting position. The upper back in which the exercise is for is also a spot that most people have tight and knotted muscles. Before performing the shrug be sure to stretch and work out tight muscles, otherwise this exercise will only worsen the knotted muscles. To relax this muscle from a standing position, bend over to aloud head to hang loosely from neck for fifteen seconds and then straighten up again. Repeat for two more times.

I’ve given you just a few workout ideals but there are many others and be sure always to consult your doctor before beginning a workout plan. After a workout always be sure to cool down and stretch. If you did the ten minutes’ treadmill warmup, you can do twenty more minutes and get your daily thirty minutes of cardio recommended by health officials.


Talking about the great outdoors and fitness, I have a fish recipe this week to share with you. If you follow my Facebook page, It’s a matter of the heart, you would have already seen the picture of the salmon dish. See you next time!!

Baked Salmon with a Sesame and Honey Sauce

Preheat your oven on broil with the oven rack placed on the highest position. Place salmon on greased pan, skin side down. Salt and pepper to taste. Broil for six and half minutes.

Sesame and Honey Sauce

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp. of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ tsp. pepper

1 tsp. sesame seeds

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil on high heat. Whisking for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens up. Serve on Salmon.

Falling Back into Fitness tutorials. Back workouts 

Three exercises featured in my article, Falling Back into Fitness in The News Courier.🍂🍁🎃👻 @itsamatteroftheheart

1. Notice how I am sitting off the seat about 2-3 inches, sitting at a 90 degree angle my back is straight, lay back untill you feel your lower back muscle contract than slowly return to starting position. You should feel a stretch in your hamstring and lower back.

2. Always situp straight, keeping arms beside you as close as possible. You should feel your shoulder blades rotate as you pull your elbows back. Imagine pinching a penny between them and squeeze before returning to the startling position.

3. Always keep soft knees ( do not lock them ), lean forward with straight back, elbows locked and push bar down. Control weights on the downward and upward motion.