O’ Give Thanks

Every year during the month of November (Monday, November 13th at midnight — Friday, November 17th at 4:00 pm), Mountaintop Faith Ministries (MFM) embarks upon a week of ‘O Give Thanks, a week of consecration; reflecting on God’s goodness, His mercy and His grace towards us. It is during this time that we empty out or vacate our “house” and allow Jesus to take over and occupy our life in every aspect (mental, physical, financial, social and most of all spiritual). We exchange what we need to survive for what we need to live and that is Christ.

Fasting is a faith-move. We believe that because we are empty and ready to receive from God that the Holy Spirit will speak to us more clearly, filling us with His wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

From a physical aspect, fasting helps to detox our bodies, especially, if we replace food with fresh water.  Fasting helps reduce clogged arteries and lowers heart disease. So as we go through the week of ‘O Give Thanks, let us fast, pray, mediate and praise God for this is truly the embodiment of health and wellness.

Someone once said, “Fasting without prayer is just dieting.”  When you are doing a spiritual fast, it automatically comes by “prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21). And so in health and wellness we do not “diet;” but rather, we ‘cleanse’ and focus on the entire body, mind and soul.

Prayer – taking time out to communicate with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through word or thought.

Fasting- a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.

Healthy Eating – eating a variety of foods that give you nutrients such as: protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy.

Wellness – the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

Once you complete the MFM week of ‘O Give Thanks, make sure you keep it going.  Take time out weekly to fast & pray.  MFM has established every Wednesday from 12 midnight to 4 pm as their Corporate Day of fasting.  Join us, simply “Get in where you fit in.”

Note: Please consult your doctor / health professional before beginning any fast.

By Tracy Byrd, Fitness Instructor

“Show Me Your Guns!”
What an eye-catching title!  In fitness, “guns” are those super-size arms that people show-off in an instant.  The arms and abs are the two most popular parts of the body. In today’s Health & Wellness, we are going to concentrate on the arms, specifically the triceps.
“Your triceps comprise more than two-thirds of your upper-arm mass,” says BJ Gaddour, Men’s Health Fitness Adviser. “So, building thicker, more developed triceps muscles makes your entire arms look like shotguns than pistols.”
Many people don’t realize that the triceps are a three-headed monster, consisting of three muscles. The first is the long head that runs down the back of your arm and is the largest of the three. The second is the medial head positioned on the mid-line of the triceps, lying deep within the arm. The third is the lateral head which is located on the outside of the arm, giving that familiar horseshoe shape that makes your triceps stand out.
If you desire to form your triceps and are a beginner, start with 1-2 sets, 6-8 reps. Then move toward 2-3 sets and 8-10, 10-12 reps.  A rep (repetition) is a complete motion of an exercise from start to finish. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, if you did “two sets of ten reps on the triceps kickbacks, this means you did ten consecutive kickbacks, rested, and then did another ten kickbacks.
Below are some exercises to help you shape your triceps.  You can use barbells, dumbbells, or any weighted object. Proper form is very important when doing exercises. When doing resistance training, concentrate on alignment (especially the back), range of motion, and tension. Google the below exercises for more information.
Always remember to consult your physician prior to any exercise regiment
Skulls/lying triceps extensions with dumbbell
Skulls/lying triceps extension french press (barbell)
Triceps kickbacks standing
Kickback on bench
Dips (with bar)
Dips using bench/chair
Cable pull downs
Close grip bench press
One arm overhead extensions (sitting or standing)
Two arm overhead extensions seated/standing
Close-grip push ups
Close-grip knee push ups
By Tracy Byrd, Fitness Instructor
Information by: www.menshealth.com/fitness
“Don’t Let The Heat Exhaust You”
For approximately eight days in June, the temperature in Las Vegas sweltered in the 110-117 degree range.  The weather station issued “heat advisory warnings,” asking  people to stay indoors. Being outdoors in the heat can lead to the body overheating, causing heat exhaustion.
Heat Exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.
Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Heat exhaustion symptoms may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion begin to appear when your body becomes unable to regulate its heat loss. Hot weather, strenuous activity, alcohol consumption, and overdressing can all promote overheating.
According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of heat exhaustion can appear suddenly or over a period of time. Faintness, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue are common symptoms, as are headaches, low blood pressure upon standing and heavy sweating. If your skin is cool, moist and has goosebumps even though you are in the heat, you may be experiencing heat exhaustion.
Pay attention to your symptoms of heat exhaustion and stop your activity to rest, find a cooler location, and rehydrate. If the symptoms worsen, contact your doctor. If your body temperature is 104 F or higher, seek immediate medical attention.
Information provided by Mayo Clinic
Are You Really Big-Boned?
Well, let’s talk weight. The question of weighing more because you are “big boned” has surfaced again. This belief is what I would like to call, “The Big Bone Theory of Thinking!” People who say, “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned,” think they are overweight because they have big bones.  This theory of thinking is not true.

Photos of the same size body frames and the excess body fat attached to one of them. The excess body fat has nothing to do with being “big boned.”


What is true is that people have different size body frames (small, medium and large). Only about 15% of people have a larger and 15% of people have a smaller than average frame; most us have an average frame size. So, blaming your extra weight on the size of your bones is not accurate.
People with larger bones are slightly larger for their heights; however, it’s the soft tissue atop and around those bones (muscle and fat) that make some people look more “big boned” than others. Simply put, most who weigh too much for their height do so because of excess body fat.  Bodybuilders are the exception to the rule due to muscle mass weighing more than the same volume of fat.
For a person to not have excess body fat (overweight/obese), he/she should live a healthy lifestyle. A person should exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes daily), eat healthy (fruits/vegetables, drink lots of water), get plenty of sleep (8 hours), meditate (positive thinking), and visit your doctor (yearly physical exams).
So, next time you hear someone say, “I’m big boned,” help them to know it is not the size of their bones that determines their weight; but rather, the excess fat that is attached to it. Now, let’s get fit!
By Tracy Byrd, Fitness Instructor
Think Smart, Take Care of Your Heart

The heart is smart. It regulates our emotions, desires, thoughts and intents. The Bible says, “… for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

This is a spiritual saying; however, it can also be applied physically

Physically, the heart is the engine that keeps the body alive. When not taken care of properly, the heart can develop several types of heart conditions called “heart disease.” The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart.

Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack, which is often the first sign of heart disease. What causes CAD is plaque buildup (deposits of cholesterol and other substances) on the walls of the arteries. The arteries supply blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Plaque buildup causes the inside of the arteries to narrow over time, which could partially or totally block the blood flow. This process is called atherosclerosis.

When your heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood, you may have chest pain or discomfort, called angina. Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle. This may lead to heart failure, causing the heart to not be able to pump blood the way it should.  An irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, also can develop CAD.

To find out your risk of CAD, your health professional may measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Family history

If God looks at the heart, we should too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.  The staggering statistics show that about half of Americans (49%) have at least one of the three key heart disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 42 seconds; and each minute, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart-related event.[1]

In order to take away the risk of CAD, we must make better lifestyle choices: live stress-free, control weight – fight obesity, eat healthy, put fitness into the schedule, stop smoking, reduce/no alcohol intake, and break the family curse!  It’s time to think smart about how we take care of our heart…“for out of it are the issues of LIFE.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Tracy Byrd, Certified Fitness Instructor

[1] Information taken from www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts

Black History Month & Sickle Cell Anemia

Although September is recognized as Sickle Cell Awareness Month; MFM shines light upon Sickle Cell Anemia (specifically the sickle cell trait) in recognition of Black History Month.  Sickle cell trait is an inherited blood disorder that affects between 90,000 – 100,000 Americans and approximately 8-10 percent of African Americans. About 1 in 13 African American babies is born with the sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries. More than 100 million people worldwide have sickle cell trait.

Unlike sickle cell disease, in which patients have two genes that cause the production of abnormal hemoglobin (the substance in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen), individuals with sickle cell trait carry only one defective gene and typically live normal lives without health problems related to sickle cell. Sickle cell trait is not a disease; it means that he or she carries or has inherited a single copy of the gene that causes sickle cell disease.

It is very important for couples desiring to have children to make sure they ask each other important health questions; including, but not limited to, do you have sickle cell or the sickle cell trait? For me this is a personal testimony, as I was already married and did not ask my spouse any health questions.  I was pregnant when our doctor asked my husband and I did we have any form of sickle cell.  I vaguely remembered as a little girl my mother telling me I had sickle cell trait but I never understood what it meant until I became pregnant. I never asked my husband if he had any form of sickle cell nor did I tell him I had the trait.  If my husband and I both had sickle cell trait, it was possible that our child would have sickle cell. Upon testing, he did not have any form of sickle cell.

Sickle cell anemia symptoms can begin by four months of age; early diagnosis is critical.  All newborns in the United States are now tested for the disease.

It is important for you to talk to your doctor, especially if you believe you may have sickle cell anemia.  If you carry the sickle cell trait, make sure you tell your doctor before getting pregnant as well.

Information taken from: http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/Sickle-Cell.


A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Every year, New Year resolutions are made. And every year, losing weight is one of the top five on the list. We desire to be fit or to stay fit; so, we start the new year off with health & wellness. As we exercise, our body begins to tone and muscles begin to take shape and form. Bodily exercise is a good resolution; but, does anyone think about exercising their mind as a resolution? The mind needs to be conditioned just like the body. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” is an educational slogan derived from the United Negro College Fund that should be a fact of life for everyone.

How a person thinks, remembers, and understands has a huge impact on their lives.  As we age, our brain begins to weaken. We need to keep our memory sharp and train our brain with regular exercises as well. Simple things such as reading, listening to music, and basic mind games can help stimulate different areas of our brain. A person can do math in their head, take cooking classes and learn a foreign language to help stimulate their brain as well.

We all need to work-out our mind daily to keep it in tip-top shape. Here are some additional tools that will help exercise the mind:

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Memorize scriptures
  • Play chess
  • Use Memory/Brain fitness apps
  • Tweak routines
  • (involve other senses like touch/smell)
  • Learn new things
  • Use the opposite hand throughout the day
  • Talk to yourself
  • Get vital sleep
  • Create word pictures
  • Take vitamins
  • (omega-3 fats, coconut oil, vitamin B12, vitamin D, probiotics),
  • and of course… Good ‘ole meditation

All of these exercises will strengthen your brain cells, sharpen your motor skills, and improve your decision-making abilities.

So for your 2017 New Year’s resolution, just don’t think about working out the body; but, work out your mind as well. Then, your soul will be strengthened in Jesus name.



Man Up and Get a Check-Up

When it comes to scheduling for a routine check-up, routine doesn’t always mean routine especially for men. Months, even years, go by before a man schedules just the simplest of health care screenings. Several reasons for procrastinating a routine check-up are: fear of what the doctor may say; too busy to make time; there’s nothing wrong or feeling good. Whatever the reason, a person should visit their health care provider for a regular check-up.  The purpose of these visits is to:

–       Screen for medical issues

–       Assess your risk of future medical problems

–       Encourage a healthy lifestyle

–       Update vaccinations

–       Help you get to know your provider in case of an illness

There are specific times when you should see your provider.  Below are screening guidelines for men.

Blood Pressure Screening

  • Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless the top number (systolic number) is between 120 and 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 and 89 mm Hg or higher.  Then have it checked every year.

Diabetes Screening

  • If you are age 45 or older, you should be screened every 3 years.
  • If your blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
  • If you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes, you should be screened. Having a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight.

Cholesterol Screening and Heart Disease Prevention

  • Men over age 35 and older should be checked every 5 years.

If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often and start getting screened earlier, at age 20.

Physical Exam

  • During an exam, review overall health status:

–       20-39 yrs. / every 3 years

–       40-49 / ever 2 years

–       50+ every year

  • Your blood pressure should be checked at least every two years.
  • Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every exam.

Colon Cancer Screening

  • If you are under age 50 and have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps, you should have a colon cancer screening.
  • If you are between ages 50-75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Note: Screening may also be considered if you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.  You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colon cancer.

Prostate Cancer Screening

  • Most men age 50 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their provider.  African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative younger than age 65 should discuss screening at age 45.
  • The potential benefits of PSA testing as a routine screening test have not been shown to outweigh the harms of testing and treatment.  If you choose to be tested, the PSA blood test is most often done very year.

It is never too late to schedule an appointment to see your health care provider. If you have not done so, then do it the Nike way, “Just Do It.”  Make it a Christmas gift to yourself.

So, Man-up, get a check-up, so you can live-up to your full potential of living a healthy lifestyle!

Please consult your health care provider as screenings may vary based upon your health. 

Information provided by medlineplus.gov. 


Pink & Purple Sunday

On October 23rd, Mountaintop Faith Ministries First Aid Ministry in conjunction with CHR, Inc., (Caring, Helping and Restoring Lives) hosted their annual Pink & Purple Sunday.  The church arrayed itself in pink and/or purple to bring awareness to breast cancer and domestic violence.

First Lady Dr. Mary L. House, who is also the CEO/President of CHR, Inc. has a passion for domestic violence awareness.  She has shared her testimony of being a witness to domestic violence in her parents home; thus, bringing together the Pink & Purple Sunday to the church. During both the 8:00 am and 10:45 am services, she shared the startling statistics of both issues.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, other than skin cancer.  It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.  There are over 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Nevada Statistics show that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Nevada and is the 2nd leading cancer killer among women in the State.  It is estimated that 2,000 women in Nevada will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and 380 women in Nevada will die of the disease.

What can you do? Get screened and talk to your doctor about which screening test are right for you if you are at a higher risk. Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40. You can sign up for your screening reminder at www.komen.org/reminder.

Domestic violence is a pattern of violent and coercive behavior used by one partner in a relationship to control another. Every 9 seconds in the USA a woman is assaulted or beaten. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. An estimated 29% of African American females are victimized by intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Women in Nevada are 65% more likely to be shot and killed by intimate partners than women nationwide. Nevada has the 5th highest rate of domestic violence gun murder of any state in the country. Statistics show that Black women typically comprise about 70% of black congregations. Religious convictions and a fear of shame or rejection from the church may contribute to their remaining in abusive relationships.

Dr. House also thanked her husband, Pastor Clinton House, for allowing her the platform to bring both issues to the forefront of the church.  It is their desire that the Pink & Purple Sunday will be echoed throughout churches across the country. If you would like to become a volunteer, attend the domestic violence workshops or make a contribution, go to www.chrinc.net.

Statistics provided by: www.doj.state.or.us; www.huffingtonpost.com; www.ncadv.org; www.safenest.org; www.komennevada.org