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And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Sleep (2)


Live the Abundant Life in 2018!

Many write about “abundance” these days, but abundant living doesn’t mean we won’t experience struggles, as Yvonne Ortega explains in this Spiritual Life UPGRADE.

“I went through aggressive chemotherapy and thirty-three rounds of radiation seventeen years ago this month,” Yvonne says.

“That experience and the loss of my only child in 2009 convinced me that I want more out of life than a mere existence of going through the motions day after day.

When I (Dawn) think about “going through the motions,” I picture monotony and boredom. Though we may face tough “wilderness” experiences, monotony and boredom are not what the Lord has in store for His children in our times of difficulty.

Yvonne Ortega continues . . .

I celebrate the gift of life not only on my yearly anniversary of being cancer-free but every day.

Jesus said,

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10, NASB).

I want to live the abundant life Jesus came to give us.

My life changed in my journey to live the abundant life. I questioned every area of my life and searched the Bible for answers.

I came up with FOUR AREAS that required change.

First, I had to make FOOD CHOICES to live the abundant life.

For the most part, I look at food from the perspective of 1 Corinthians 6:19–20:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

The Holy Spirit convicted me that I couldn’t eat junk food and take care of my body, His temple.

Second, I had to get SUFFICIENT SLEEP each night to live the abundant life.

For me that means eight hours of sleep each night.

Jesus saw the need for rest in Mark 6:31–32:

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them (the apostles), ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.”

Third, I had to EXERCISE MORE than my fingers at the computer to live the abundant life.

I tried various types of exercise before I settled on the ones that work for me. I enjoy walking outside. As I walk, I review Bible verses and pray for the needs of my neighbors.

Since I live close to the beach, a walk at the beach delights me. The sound of the waves and the feel of the sand between my toes revive me. As I look around at the beach, I thank God for the beautiful world He created.

I also enjoy swimming laps and aqua classes. Through my time at the pool, I’ve met many wonderful people.

Fourth, I needed to DEEPEN MY RELATIONSHIP with the Lord to live the abundant life.

I committed to reading the Bible from Genesis through Revelation each year.

One year, I read the Bible in 90 Days in addition to reading the Bible in a year.

I also chose to listen to praise and worship music daily. When I listen to praise and worship music, I am transported into the very presence of God. He speaks to me, and I listen.

What will you do this year to live the abundant life Jesus came to give you?

Yvonne Ortega is a licensed professional counselor, a bilingual professional speaker, and the author of Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward (paperback, Kindle) and Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer (Kindle), both available at She not only survived but thrived after a domestic violence marriage, breast cancer and the loss of her only child. With honesty and humor, Yvonne uses personal examples and truths of the Bible to help women move from broken to beautiful. Find out more about Yvonne at her website.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pexel at Pixabay.


Mommy Needs Her Beauty Rest

Arlene Pellicane, author of several “31 Days” books for wives and moms, offers a Parenting UPGRADE to help moms get that pep back in their step. 

“Often when children come into our lives, getting a good night’s sleep becomes an unattainable dream,” Arlene says, “Moms need to prioritize sleep because ‘mommy needs her beauty rest!’ Not just for outward beauty, but for inward strength.”

Oh, how I (Dawn) remember needing that sleep as a mom of young toddlers. When I didn’t get it, I was a Mama Bear—and not in the best sense!

Arlene continues . . .

When I’m running ragged, existing on little sleep, I am not a happy camper. But if I get enough sleep – and I’m talking about a solid eight hours here – I am even keeled, productive, and much more reasonable to myself and others. 

Somehow we’ve bought the lie that it’s nobler to do more and sleep less. Go ahead and take a hit on your personal health and survive on a few hours of sleep. You can catch up on sleep later, but your to-do list is now.

But I say, sleep more and be a nicer person.

My friend author Kendra Smiley says,

“For goodness sake mom, take care of yourself and get rest! I hear too many moms say the kids went to bed and then I stayed up until midnight to clean the oven and the kitchen. Stop it! The kids will not remember that your oven was clean. The kids will remember that you were cheerful when the day started.”

Isn’t that liberating and helpful to put things into perspective?

Being physically ready to start the day is more important than having a clean, sparkling kitchen.

Phew, that makes me feel better.  I’d much rather sleep than clean.

Here are a few benefits of a good night’s sleep:

  • Less risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity
  • More energy for an enjoyable sex life
  • Improved memory
  • Stronger immunity
  • Better mood
  • Clearer thinking

Plus, you can lose weight after catching your Z’s. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Stanford University found a lack of sleep causes changes in hormones that increase appetite. After just two nights of sleep deprivation, their research subjects had a 24 percent increase in appetite and craved high-sugar, high-salt, starchy foods. Sound familiar?

Yet for many moms, getting a good night’s sleep is not as easy as it sounds. According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, more than half of Americans report at least one symptom of insomnia such as being unable to fall or stay asleep.

These do’s and don’ts will help you get your beauty rest. 


1. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day. Caffeine provides a boost of energy and stimulates your brain – not something you want happening before bedtime.   

2. Don’t stare at the clock. If you haven’t fallen asleep after about 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading in a different room until you feel sleepy. 

3. Don’t watch TV in bed. Set a curfew for all your screens one hour before bedtime.  The light from TV, tablets and computers alerts the brain and makes it harder to fall asleep. 

4. Don’t pay your bills or do work in bed. Use your bed for relaxation; not for a desk. 


1. Do go to bed at a decent hour. Start getting ready for bed nine hours before you have to wake up.   

2. Do dim your lights. Turn off the lights you’re not using in the house and dim the lights in your bedroom a few minutes before bedtime. 

3. Do have calming pre-sleep rituals. Establish a routine such as reading a few minutes or journaling before lights out. 

4. Do keep a list handy. Write down those flashing thoughts of to-dos running through your brain. Once it’s written down, forget about it.

So are you ready for a good night’s sleep tonight?

Sleep is good! The Psalmist says, "... he gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2, ESV).

Give yourself permission to dim the lights early. After all, you need your beauty rest and your kids would truly benefit from a nicer mom in the morning. 

Which of these do’s and don’ts would help you get a better night’s sleep?

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. Visit her website at for free resources to help you have a happy home.