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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

When You’re Wondering What Wellness Looks Like

Shanon G of Londonderry, NH, is the winner of last week’s giveaway book, Marriage in the Middle by Dorothy Greco. Congratulations! Our final January giveaway, When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents, is featured at the end of this post.

(Last year's Polar Plunge, which may or may not have been good for my health.)

Ok, y’all win!

A bunch of you have asked me to share the “7 Goals for 70” I referred to earlier this month. These are not resolutions but rather intentional health objectives I’m pursuing. No more letting myself off the hook by simply “trying.”

This is the year to DO.

Mike and I are in Naples, Florida, this week visiting longtime friends. Yesterday afternoon we went to the small pool in their condo complex to catch up on reading, but instead I couldn’t help watching a middle-aged woman playing in the water.

I’m not a creeper, honest, but I admired the abundant dark hair piled atop her head and the trendy racerback swimsuit that hugged her curves. She was lovely. I heard someone call her name, Kathy.

What fascinated me was her exuberant delight. Kathy repeatedly dipped her face in the water and lifted it sunward, laughing. She held a small watering can in her right hand and poured it over her left again and again for a full hour making small cries of delight, seemingly fascinated by the glittering liquid flowing through her splayed fingers.

“How happy she is!” I thought. “How blissfully content.”

We generally equate happiness with health, don’t we? If we’re reasonably fit and able to enjoy a range of activities, free of life-altering disease, we consider ourselves blessed. And we are.

Wellness is on a spectrum, though, isn’t it?

As 2022 rolled into ’23, I jotted down seven health-related goals in preparation for my Big Birthday in June:

1) Spiritual Health: Asking the Lord daily to help me use my time wisely and well.

2) “Tithe” 10% of my current poundage: about the weight of the innertube around my middle! Goal: lower cholesterol and BMI closer to mid-range for my height.

3) Limit calories to 1200-1350 per day.

4) Record food intake using the free My Fitness Pal app so I don’t snack mindlessly. (I’ve been tracking a month now and it’s finally become an easy habit.)

5) Walk 1-4 miles 3X weekly.

6) Strength training/weight bearing 3X weekly.

7) Weigh weekly and send results to my First Place for Health leader for accountability.

I’m almost embarrassed to share these steps with you because they're obvious. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking, “Well, duh!” And you’d be right. Some health choices are so time-tested they should be automatic. But they haven’t been for me.

At the pool yesterday, I smiled to see the dark-haired woman move happily through the water. After an hour of play, she cocked her head when another woman called out, “Kathy! Come to Sister. Time to go home.”

Kathy slowly moved to the edge of the pool, and Sister gently eased her out – thin legs dangling, feet splayed outward - into a waiting wheelchair.

‘You had a good time today, didn’t you Kathy?” Sister asked, smoothing her damp hair. Clearly nonverbal, Kathy responded with a huge grin and enthusiastic nodding.

As I watched the sisters leave, Kathy flapping her hands in joy, I thought of how differently abled we all are. Walking – even talking – is impossible for some.

But true wellness – and deep, abiding joy – are possible for us all.


Our final book giveaway for this month, When Children Come Out: A Guide for Christian Parents, is a new release from InterVarsity Press, one of the Christian publishers I most respect. The good folks at IVP sent me a review copy along with an extra to share with someone who might find it helpful in ministry or in navigating a family situation of their own.

Co-authored by Drs. Mark Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets (professors at Wheaton College and Regent University), this resource reframes the focus away from "culture war" questions that are not helpful to families in favor of practical counsel for maintaining and deepening relationships.

"When Children Come Out is an essential read for conservative Christian parents who have discovered their child is LGBTQ+. Mark Yarhouse and Olya Zaporozhets have done an extraordinary job in marrying statistical data with real-life stories. This book lays the framework that helps parents become educated on the topic and provides applications that will bring hope and healing to hurting families. We wish this book had been available to us when we found out our son is gay. This book will indeed save lives."

-- Greg and Lynn McDonald, cofounders of Embracing the Journey

If you’d like to win a copy, simply leave a comment here OR hit “reply” and your note will come directly to my inbox.



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