Susan’s God-Centred Lifestyle
When I decided to write the book, Be the Change: Living with Faith, Confidence & Vigor, I asked David if he would like to write the Foreword and he took this invitation very seriously. He knows me well, but he even did a formal interview with me to find out more about my faith-filled lifestyle. It goes into detail about my relationships with God and Jesus, and you will also learn about David’s Christianity background.
So here is David’s Foreword for Be the Change by David Craddock:
Susan’s writings and holistic health counseling with me have had a very positive influence in my life. For almost 10 years, she has been my holistic health tutor and coach, teaching me how to create vibrant health and get fit and strong. As a result, I now feel about 30 years younger than I did just a few years ago, and people tell me that I look better than I have in decades. My work with Susan has given me the fountain of youth and vitality.
If you haven’t yet read Dr. Susan’s spectacular book Choose to THRIVE: Open Up to Vitality, Prosperity & Equanimity, and I encourage you to do so, I had the good pleasure of writing the Foreword for that book, too. This is getting to be a habit that I thoroughly enjoy! In that previous book, I described how I first met Susan and, in a nutshell, here’s what I wrote about my initial meetings with her.
It was early June 2009 when my health seemed to be at an all-time low. In England where I live, I focused much of my time on my career and didn’t put time into my health needs. I had terrible allergies (they had plagued me for 30 years) and I most definitely needed to lose lots of weight. I didn’t know where to turn for the holistic help I desired.
There’s a saying that . . . When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. One day I was talking to my mum (Marjorie) about my health issues. As always, in her positive approach to life, she said to me, “You will find the answers you seek.” That same day, I got in the mail some information about a 3-Day Holistic Health Conference that would be held in London featuring many world-renowned health and human potential speakers. They were all experts in their fields from around the world, but the only one that truly caught my attention was the speaker Susan Smith Jones, PhD. She was giving three presentations on all aspects of healing and rejuvenating the body, mind and spirit, and I knew at that moment that I needed to attend.
Before I got this conference information, I had already known about Susan’s work. Marjorie and I had been reading many of her articles in magazines in the UK and America, we had a few of her many books, and I saw her on a TV talk show when I was in New York City. On a few occasions, we even heard her on BBC radio talk shows in the UK and saw her on some British TV talk shows. We always enjoyed her holistic, practical and positive approach to wellness, balanced living and creating our best lives.
Marjorie and I attended the conference together in London and were not disappointed. Susan’s three presentations were life-changing for us. One was about fitness and simple, sound ways to create a strong, lean body and how to stay motivated to exercise for life. Another one of her talks was about nutrition and how to fuel the body with the healthiest foods and break unhealthy food habits. And her third presentation was all about the essential “healthy living extras,” as Susan would always refer to them—the other wellness components that can make a profound difference in how we look and feel, such as sleep, water hydration, stress reduction, meditation, positive relationships, an attitude of gratitude, why and how to declutter one’s home and office, simple ways to upgrade our living spaces and more.
I couldn’t get enough of her talks. Throughout all three, I was taking copious notes as I sat in the front row each time. During the question and answer sessions of each talk, I was always the first person to raise my hand and ask for clarification on things she discussed. Susan was always patient, thoughtful and sensitive to my questions and other people’s questions in the room. It was clear with her three standing ovations that everyone else in the room appreciated her three talks as much as I did.
At the end of the third presentation, I asked Susan if she would be willing to meet with me privately in the lecture hall after everyone left to talk about some of my mum’s and my personal health concerns and possibly even agree to work with me. During that first session with her, I knew, for sure, that I was guided to the best teacher for me. Susan is knowledgeable and kind, has a wonderful sense of humor and knows how to inspire, motivate and empower her clients. When I asked if she would agree to coach me on how to get healthy and fit, she agreed and suggested that I fly to Santa Monica (Los Angeles) with Marjorie (she was 80 at the time) the following late December 2009/early January 2010 to “end the year and start the new year off with a positive commitment to health and youthful vitality,” she said. We started the counseling process the last half of 2009 with telephone conference calls weekly where she would answer my many health and fitness questions.
This trip and time with Susan turned out to be a godsend for Marjorie and me. The first morning, the three of us were sitting in the hotel restaurant in Santa Monica where we were staying, and during this early morning breakfast, she was going over the personal food and exercise diary I had kept for the previous two weeks. She asked me to write down every single thing that I ate, and the water I drank, and not to forget anything — no matter how small. Additionally, I had to write down any physical exercise I did, too, which was only one day of a brief 15-minute walk between two meetings in London (of course, I now choose to be physically active every day in some way!).
As I watched her looking over my dairy of notes, which also included Marjorie’s food dairy and no exercise at all to report, Susan was very quiet. She kept writing notes on the sides of my pages, and I did notice her eyes get bigger as she read on. My mum and I tapped each other under the table wondering what Susan was thinking. For about six minutes or so (probably the longest six minutes of my life, aside from our first power walk that same afternoon on the bluff!), she said nothing while she was examining all the foods I ate from the two previous weeks written in my lifestyle diary along with my nonexistent exercise routine.
I was getting more nervous by the second. What was she going to say, I thought? Was she wishing that we had not come to Los Angeles to be coached by her? “Please Susan, say something so I know there’s hope for my goal of getting health and fit,” I pondered inside my head. Then, she finally looked up, smiled a big grin at my mum and me, and said in the most positive tone the following: “Okay David and Marjorie, we have lots of work to do and I have loads to teach you both, but I am confident that you will both leave here healthier than either of you have ever been in your lives. I also know that you will feel so motivated, inspired and empowered that you’ll want to continue with this same program I’ll be giving you when you get home. So let’s get started by both of you telling me, since you’ve looked at the breakfast menu for over five minutes, what you’d like to order now that’s healthy.” She also sensed that we were both a little nervous not knowing what to expect.
And that was the beginning of our life-changing work with Susan. She was positive right from the start and has never wavered in all the time to be anything other than optimistic, enthusiastic, forthright and always sensitive to both of us. And by the way, even though I thought she wasn’t aware of our nervousness and how my mum and I tapped each other’s knees under the table, Susan mentioned to us that there’s nothing to be anxious about. She would give us both one of the most wonderful, positive experiences we’ve ever had while we both get healthy. One of the things I learned about Susan that first visit, and it’s still true to this day, is that she’s aware of everything around her, likes to live in the present moment with optimistic enthusiasm and is ever so eager to help others feel good about themselves and create their best, healthiest lives.
As a result of Susan’s superb guidance and counseling with me, I am now just over 80 pounds lighter than when I first met her; my allergies were gone with four months of going on her program; have energy to spare most days and have never felt healthier, younger or more confident in my life as I do now. Please refer to Choose to THRIVEfor the entire story about how Susan’s counseling and guidance profoundly changed my life, which includes more details about Susan’s personal life than I am writing about here.
So how did I get so lucky to be asked to write another Foreword for Susan. It was just over a year ago that Susan and I were hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains early one morning and we were talking about what it takes to change our lives for the better. I wanted Susan’s perspective on this and she beautifully and superlatively started talking about the importance of “being the change” (from the famous Mahatma Gandhi’s quote of … Be the change that you wish to see in the world) we want to create in our lives, having strong faith, being confident and self-motivated and always honoring our body temple—keeping it strong, fit and robust. “That’s how God wants us to live David — to be our best selves,” she opined and she was right. During that hour, I wished I had a pen and tablet of paper because what she was telling me inspired and motivated me even more to make new commitments to become even healthier in body, mind and spirit.
It was at the end of our discussion that I had a brilliant idea (if I do say so myself!) and I suggested it to her. “Susan, why don’t you write a book entitled Be the Change: Living with Faith, Confidence & Vigorsince everything you told me in the last hour would be excellent material for the book.” Well, she stopped in her tracks, turned to me and said… “Great idea, but since you suggested this title and the contents of the book, I would like you to, once again, write the Foreword please.” Quite honestly, she didn’t have to twist my arm on this request. It’s always my joy to support Susan in her work and let others know how truly special she is. So that’s how this book was inspired and now it’s almost one year later, I’ve read the manuscript and am delighted to pen the book’s Foreword.
I was brought up in a Christian home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, where I was taught the essentials of faith, service and devotion to God. It was a joyful home and I was always conscious of a deep sense of love for me from my parents. My father, Wilfred, a veteran, who had served in the RAF in the Far East during the entirety of World War 2 and helped free Burma, Malaya and Singapore, was the church steward at the local chapel and the youth leader. My mother, Marjorie, a musician, was the church organist and a worker in the Sunday school.
My maternal grandmother, Martha, who lived with us, was also an inspiration in godly living with a joyful and kindly disposition. She was the leader of the women’s fellowship and, with my father, was a trustee and leader in the chapel. They all spent time with me, teaching me the principles and the promises of Jesus and helping me lay the foundations for my life.
At the age of 14, I made a public declaration of my faith in God at a Christian retreat event for young people in the adjoining county of Derbyshire. I made Jesus my Lord and Saviour and felt a great surge of gratitude and enthusiasm swell up within my heart. I wanted to tell everyone about the gospel of Jesus. At the same time, I received an inner call from God to preach and teach His Word, a calling that my father nurtured until he passed one year later.
Eventually I started to train as a lay preacher under the guidance of a qualified lay preacher, Marilyn, who had been my Sunday School teacher and who had become a Christian through my father’s youth fellowship some 20 years earlier. This coincided with my years as a student undergraduate at Oxford University where I received great benefit and blessing from the ministry of Revd. Keith Weston at St. Ebbe’s Church. It was under his ministry that I developed a profound love for the Bible that was to equip me for the rest of my life. After graduation from Oxford, I qualified as a fully accredited lay preacher in the church.
On graduation I went into business and throughout my life have combined my life in business with my calling as a Bible preacher and teacher. As well as my work in numerous churches in the UK over the years across all denominations, for 25 years I was the local secretary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, spent time at Bible Society offices in Australia and in Greece, and from the early 1980s have been a recognised Bible Society speaker.
My Christian contribution has always had an international dimension from the 1980s when I undertook a preaching and speaking tour of India, to these last few years when I have accepted invitations to deliver my Bible talks in the USA. My ministry has now developed into Christian Lifestyle Matters, working with Susan to share the abounding love of God through practical teachings and guidance on all aspects of Christian living.
So that’s my faith-based background, and Susan and I share the belief that we are called to live the God-centred life. We both feel ourselves to be non-denominational, recognizing that Jesus did belong to a denomination; He simply asked us to follow Him. We both concur that we can go to God at any time of the day or night for matters big or small. All we need is a heart resolutely determined to love God and always be open to His will and guidance. We often talk about the idea that the more we both aspire to live with God in our hearts and lives, the more we know the wondrous grace of God operating in our lives.
During our beach walk, Susan revealed to me 12 affirmations that she says all the time silently to herself and sometimes out loud to me when I’m in her presence … 1) I trust in Thee; show me the way; 2) I walk in faith, guided by the inner Light of Jesus within; 3) I let go and let Divine Love (or God or Christ) guide my path; 4) All is well because God is with me; 5) As a creation of divine love and wisdom, I am guided in all that I do; 6) Peace fills me as I center myself in God (Divine Love); 7) In faith, I move forward into a greater sense of possibility; 8) I am centered, knowing that Christ is within me and around me; 9) God is my source of love and abundance; 10) This is a poem by James Dillet Freeman that Susan says daily during her prayer-time and any time she is afraid or sad:
The Light of God surrounds me.
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me.
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is.
So let’s get a little more specific on some things about Susan that may surprise, delight and motivate you. To begin, when you are talking to Susan, she looks right at you and not to your left or right or around you to see what’s happening in the environment. You have Susan’s total attention. That’s so rare these days when conversing with someone. It’s often easy to see that they don’t really care about what you are saying to them and seem preoccupied. But when you talk to Susan, you know for sure that she is totally focused on what you are saying and really cares about your well-being. What a wonderful attribute and gift she offers people when talking to them.
Susan has told me many times something her mom and grandmother taught her when she was young and it’s this: The greatest hunger of the human heart is to feel understood. As Susan has taught me, sometimes all someone needs is just to be listened to, without judgment, without giving advice and without chiming in. She says… “We are all born with two ears and one mouth, so maybe God was trying to telling us something.” Silence is truly golden to Susan. Her listening skills are top-notch and people with whom she converses know that she is listening wholeheartedly, understands and truly cares about what they are saying.
Susan is a person of great faith, a deep and profound belief in God and Jesus and loves to read the Bible and find those nuggets of gold within verses. Each morning, before the rest of the world is even up, she likes to start her day with quiet meditation and prayer, focused upon some passages from the Bible. In fact, this is such an important part of her day that she has created a special corner of her bedroom for her sacred prayer work with a cozy chair, table on which he has a photo of Jesus, fresh flowers and at least one Bible. She has quite a collection of Bibles, too, and the oldest one was from her grandmother, Fritzie, received by Fritzie when she was a child in Denmark. Fritzie gave this Bible to Susan shortly before she passed away and it is very precious to her. Susan even told me that if there were a fire in her home, and she only had 5 minutes to grab a few items, she would first get this treasured Bible from her grandmother to take with her.
Susan and I are both Christians and she is passionate about what she reads in the Bible, always seeking to understand the relevance for daily living and how she can apply it on a practical level in her life. Often, I will call her from England to discuss something in the Bible and she will quickly open up a few different versions of her Bibles to see what it says (or go to some of her favorite online Bible references), and over the years we’ve had countless discussions about faith, God, Jesus, life, love, joy and health. Susan’s adroit philosophical side sparkles through in all its sagacity during these discussions. I am always inspired by her perspicuous take on Bible passages.
When I asked her about how she has developed such a strong faith in a world that seems to be in chaos all around us, she responded like this. “If I watch the news on TV and get upset and angry about all the injustices, strife and hardships in the world, I would only be adding to the conflict. What I can do to make the most difference is to live a faith-filled, God-centered life with peace in my heart, and also send my prayers to places in the world where they are needed. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, The whole course of things goes to teach us faith. He also said, The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness. And one of my favorite Bible quotes is Romans 12:12 where we find these profound words: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Indeed, Susan sees the world and her life as beaming with possibility and believes that Christian love is the answer to sooth all conflicts.
Each day, Susan seeks to keep her soul connected to the glory of God, to live in the presence of God no matter what she is doing. There have been many times I have observed her when she didn’t know I was watching her and she would be smiling. She could be doing the dishes or gardening or even hiking in the mountains, and she seems to be blissfully happy. On the occasions when I have caught her smiling and asked her what she was thinking about, her response has usually been, “I was thinking about the presence of Jesus in my life and all of the blessings that God has bestowed on me.”
Susan has a quiet and serene faith about her and wishes to simply experience the presence of God as much as possible. When you hear Susan talk, you get a sense of her peaceful and grateful heart for her life and blessings. Of course, like most people, she has experienced many challenges and difficult times in her life, and she would be the first to admit that through these tribulations, she has learned lessons to enable her to dive deeper into the lake of faith and ask for God’s guidance on what to do next or how to respond. She believes we all have lessons to learn and from which to grow and, hopefully, we don’t need to keep learning the same lessons over and over. We can move forward, onward and upward to a life of greater joy and peace.
I’ve watched Susan inspire her audiences worldwide when giving talks and she encourages people to look at the body as a temple and gift from God, and that how we care for our bodies is one of the gifts we can give back to God. People leave her talks totally inspired, as I did the first time almost 10 years ago when I attended her three presentations. It doesn’t matter where she speaks in the world; it seems that everyone resonates to her hopeful, positive, empowering, motivating and inspiring messages.
This uplifting book is all about being healthy, living with faith and being a confident person. Susan’s deep faith and confidence come from her deep connection with the Lord. “When you know that God loves you so much and wants the best for you, and that this Divine Love is always available 24/7 to show us the way, how can you not be confident and filled with vitality and faith,” she told me when I interviewed her. Well, I must admit, she has a point!
In the last few years, Susan has invited me to be a guest speaker at some of her talks around the world, and I have reciprocated by asking her to speak at some of my business and financial talks; her talks are always about healthy living, optimum nutrition, prosperity and healing the body. Wherever I attend her workshops, retreats or keynote addresses, or if we give talks together or appear on radio or television talk shows together, people are always fascinated by her because, put simply, she’s like a breath of fresh air — positive, funny, smart, perspicacious, articulate and always eager to uplift and motivate others. Truth be told, people frequently pull me aside—usually those who have read her books or found out how well I know her—to privately ask me what Susan is really like in her personal life. Even during some “live” interviews I’ve done with Susan, the talk show hosts have asked this question in front of her, “What is Susan like in her personal life when no one else is around.” So I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of my insights into Susan.
I took this assignment of writing the Foreword for this book very seriously and asked Susan if I could interview her and take notes. So during one of my trips to Los Angeles to give a couple talks at a church and meet with some business clients, I met Susan at our favorite restaurant in Brentwood to interview her with many questions I had on my list. She gladly responded to the questions but after 90 minutes, when we were only 50 percent through with my questions, she suggested that we continue the interview by walking on the beach in Santa Monica. That’s one thing about Susan most people don’t know. She doesn’t like to sit for too long and prefers to be out in nature whenever possible. In nature is where Susan feels God’s loving presence the strongest and also the presence of her guardian angels. (Susan often talks about the support that God gives to her through her guardian angels and how they help her achieve her goals and dreams. One day she will write a book about angels in our lives and how to work more closely with them.) Being outdoors in nature is one of her favorite activities. She often tells me that when she looks at flowers, the clouds, the blue sky, the trees, ocean and mountains, she is acutely aware of the presence of God, and wonders how anyone can deny the existence of God when they spend time appreciating nature.
So we continued the interview walking along the shoreline — and fortunately it was low tide so the sand where we were walking was flat and not slanted. We talked for another three hours and I carried a tablet of paper and pen and took plentiful notes. Much of our conversation centered around Susan’s strong faith in God and her desire to be enfolded in the presence of Christ no matter what she is doing in her life. I wanted to know more about her spiritual life and what she does each day to stay deeply connected to the Christ Light.
Now, before I highlight some of her answers and the many ways Susan inspires, motivates and empowers me to thrive in my life, let me first take a moment to share with you about my Christian faith and how I, too, aim to live a God-centered life each day and how I started on my faith journey with Jesus.
One of the many things that dazzles me about Susan is her very relaxed, positive and peaceful attitude and how she is constantly showing kindness to others. It’s not surprising the nickname given to her way back in her college days was “Sunny” and that name fits her perfectly. During our interview for this Foreword, I asked her how it is that’s she’s always kind to people, even when they might be less than kind to her. She told me that one of the many valuable lessons taught to her by her mom and grandmother was to live daily by the Golden Rule, and that’s why Susan seeks to treat others the way she wishes to be treated herself. “People are all basically the same. We all want to be loved, respected, appreciated and validated,” she told me, “and that’s why I show kindness to others. Most importantly, I want to be a shining example of God’s love in everything I think, feel, say and do. I often ask myself and think what Jesus would do in this situation and then I try to be the same way.”
Sometimes you can have the best of intentions in treating others with kindness but it doesn’t turn out as expected. Recently, Susan telephoned me at my home in England after she had a very uncomfortable and disturbing experience. She was out and about doing errands in the Santa Monica and Brentwood areas of West Los Angeles. Pulling up to a red light on Wilshire Boulevard and another busy cross street, Susan’s car was right at the crosswalk and she was waiting for the light to turn green so she could get on with her activities. She noticed a homeless man attempting to cross the bustling street right in front of her car, but he was walking so slowly that three red-then-green-then-red lights came and went and he wasn’t even halfway across the busy Wilshire crosswalk. Many people passed him by as they were walking across the street. Moreover, the cars were all passing only inches by this homeless man who seemed to be in a daze and not mentally fully functioning. So Susan turned off her engine (so no one could get into her car and take off in it), got out and walked over to this disheveled man to help him get to the other side of Wilshire so no one would accidently hit him with their cars. She said to him, “Hello, my name is Susan and I would like to assist you in getting to the other side of the street.” She kept talking to him slowly, lovingly and kindly—hoping he would comprehend what she was saying to him and permit her to assist him.
As she reported to me, he just starred at her as though he didn’t understand her. At the same time, dozens and dozens of cars where rushing by them, coming only inches from them and honking their horns for Susan and this man to get out of their way. She was beginning to feel very stressed out and even somewhat afraid. After taking only about five steps together in two minutes, Susan wondered if she should get back in her own car but didn’t want to leave him. Just then, this homeless man swung back his arm to literally punch Susan in the face and, fortunately, she was right there with him rather than looking in the other direction, so she was able to quickly duck down and get out of the range of his strong-arm swing. She told me that this was the first time in her life anyone ever tried to attack or punch her. Somehow this man’s attempted punch stimulated him to walk more quickly to the other side of the street and back onto the sidewalk, much to Susan’s relief.
Susan was a little shaky after this had happened. When I asked her if she would ever do something like this again, she responded with, “Of course I will. I know that this man’s heart and soul recognized, on some level of his being, my gesture as a kind and loving one and maybe one day he will understand. But I also know that God put me at that intersection at that exact moment so, perhaps, I could help him, or maybe show other drivers how essential it is to be kind on the road. I don’t try to figure things out that way anymore; I just think ‘what would Jesus do in this situation’ and I try to emulate His words or actions.” She told me that she felt blessed that she, hopefully, made a positive difference to some people in their cars and also to the man who was living a very difficult life.
Early morning is Susan’s favorite time of day. A morning person, to be sure, Susan relishes the sacred time at the start of each day to set the tone for the day. Many times she has reminded me that the first 40 minutes of the day sets the tone for the entire day. “So we must make our morning-time how we want our day to be — relaxed, happy, balanced, peaceful, healthy and filled with faith and God-centered reflection.” For decades, she has gotten up early in the morning to pray and meditate, read the Bible and then do some form of exercise. But she doesn’t leave her pray-time just for the early morning. She actually endeavors to make everything she does a form of prayer. Whether vacuuming her home, arranging flowers in a vase, making a meal, doing dishes or taking a shower, Susan makes these mundane activities a gift to God and is constantly in a heartfelt place of gratitude and thankfulness for her situations, activities and countless blessings in her life. It’s really astounding to see and hear. Susan is grateful for everything — even her comfortable bed and pillows, the clothes she wears, the food she eats (and she thinks that beautiful, colorful plant-based foods are a love note from God), the car she drives, the people she encounters every day and even her challenges.
When some difficultly arises in Susan’s life, rather than acting like a victim and saying, “Why did this happen tome,” instead, knowing her life is God-centered and guided by grace, she asks God, “Why is this happening forme.” Susan explained to me that just this small change in the preposition — from the word “to” to the word “for” — makes all the difference and opens one’s heart to answers and God’s enlightenment and guidance.
Susan also makes it a sacred habit to have special prayer-time before she goes to bed at night, in addition to many one-to five-minute God-centered breaks throughout the day. In the past, when she used to make other daily activities more important than God, her days didn’t go as swimmingly. That’s one reason she is usually smiling and laughs so easily when she’s alone or with others. She’s a happy person because she feels God’s presence in her life and she works at deepening this connection all the time.
Susan also has photos of Jesus in every room of her home and also on the dash of her car. Her relationship with Christ is really quite profound and she talks about Him as though He is her best friend and confidant, which He is. Her deep personal relationship with the Lord is truly inspiring. Susan talks to me about these things, and also when she appears on Christian television talk shows in America, the UK and worldwide, when she’s asked questions about her faith. Similarly, when she gives talks at churches, she enthusiastically talks about her relationship with Christ and what it means to her. But in normal day-to-day life, she keeps these spiritual thoughts closer to her heart unless someone specifically asks her about them. Susan never wants to force her personal faith and beliefs on anyone else. It’s very private to her, but I’m happy to say that Susan and I can talk for hours on end about these topics of most importance to us both—how we practice the presence of God in our lives and seek live by shining example the love of God in our hearts.
Some of Susan favorite Bible quotes are the following: From Psalms 27:13 — I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Also from Matthew 13:58 — According to your faith, let it be done to you. In 3 John 1:2 we find, Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. And finally in 1 Samuel 25:6 it says, Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!This is something we all wish for in our own lives, and for our loved ones and friends.
When Susan travels to different cities and towns around the world for business or vacation, in addition to exercising outdoors in nature (where she feels so close to God), especially hiking the local mountains whenever possible, she also likes to visit any local cathedrals and older churches to feel the peacefulness and serenity within the walls. Some of her favorite cathedrals are in England where she works often and has a home-away-from-home.
Yes, indeed, Susan is a very spiritual person but she is also an avid practical joker. I could probably write a book filled with all the many practical jokes she loves to play on others — always in a loving and kind way to get people to laugh more and not take themselves or their lives so seriously, but never to make fun of others. Susan has all kinds of plastic insects and reptiles that look like real bugs and snakes. Then, when you least expect it, you are shocked and surprised at what you think is real. For example, she has placed a real-looking small snake in my luggage and in my desk drawer at my office and then she asks me to get something which she knows is in the same drawer, and of course, she needs to be there to see my reaction. Then she starts laughing so hard that she’s tearing up and she can barely speak. I, too, start laughing with her. Her laughter is contagious.
There have been countless times that we have been out together with friends at a restaurant and without even telling me (because I might tell her not to do it!), when a meal is served and someone at our table is looking in the opposite direction, she will sneak into his or her meal a very authentic-looking but fake bug (like a cockroach). When the person is shocked to see what they think is a real bug in their salad, Susan will quickly take it from their plate as though to remedy the situation, but instead will put it in her mouth and pretend to chew it up. (Of course, she has washed well these plastic bug replications so she didn’t get any germs.) Everyone is, of course, surprised and then starts laughing. She would usually only do this with friends, not in more serious business meetings (at least we hope not!) and to see how much she laughs is worth the experience.
Just recently, and again she didn’t tell me she was doing this, I was in Brentwood visiting Susan, attending a business meeting and giving a Bible talk at a church. I met Susan and some of our friends for lunch at a restaurant. There were six of us altogether. Susan was on one side with two other ladies, and I was across from Susan on the other side of the table sitting next to two other gentlemen. She confided with the other two ladies that she would be slowly moving the table, every few minutes, closer to her side. The three of us on the opposite side were so busy talking to each other that we didn’t notice that the table was moving away from us. Finally, it was about one foot closer to her side and all three of us men had to bend forward to reach the table and none of us knew what was going on until Susan and her two friends at her side of the table all started laughing uncontrollably. It was then that we three chaps on our side of the table figured out what was going on. Susan is definitely a consummate practical joker.
In the early days of knowing Susan, if we were out to eat and I had to excuse myself to use the restroom or to go outside to use my cell phone, Susan would take my plate of food and hide it on an extra chair at our table so when I returned, she told me (with a very straight and serious face, I might add!) that they took my food away thinking I was done eating, even though I had barely taken a bite. Then when she saw my shocked expression, she would start laughing and pull out my plate of food, as if by magic, from the chair next to her. But these days, she can hardly get away with that trick anymore. If my food is missing, I will quickly look on the seat of a chair by her and usually find it there.
In addition to being a practical joker, Susan loves to have healthy competitions with me and other friends. If we are hiking, for example, she will find a big oak tree way ahead of us on top of the hill and will very quickly say something like this: “Whoever gets to the tree first buys lunch for the other person.” Well, all I usually hear is “whoever gets to the tree first” and I’m off and running full speed ahead because I also like friendly competition. However, I didn’t hear her say, “buys the other person lunch today.” So she often lets me win knowing I get to pay for lunch that day, when in fact, some days she can easily pass me up. We both ardently love the hike, jog on the beach, jog or power walk outdoors in nature, swim and exercise in a pool and do any exercise wherever we both travel individually or together in the world. Being healthy, confident, happy, faith-filled, peaceful, successful and balanced is what’s important to Susan.
And this is what Be the Changeis about. Susan adeptly writes about the importance of living strong in faith, persistent with confidence and resolute in healthy living because God loves us and wants us to be the best we can be.
In the following pages of Be the Change, Susan explores the essential elements necessary to create a faith-filled and God-centered life that is rich with the positive choices for you to make and the dynamic results for you to experience. You’ll learn the importance of welcoming each day with an optimistic, grateful, enthusiastic and expectant attitude, and how it’s always our responsibility to choose and within our power to decide to live a blessed and fulfilling day. She shows you how health and happiness are so much more than just feeling fine, but are, as she writes in this book, “a quality of life, a joy and radiance for living such that every day, each and every moment, is a celebration.”
Be the Changeis for anyone who wants to create a life filled with vitality, passion, confidence, faith, success and joy. Who doesn’t want those qualities to infuse their daily activities and lives? This reader-friendly, health-enhancing and beautifully designed book makes a wonderful gift for family and friends. Thank you, Susan, for this opportunity to write another Foreword for one of your books and kudos to you for giving us another motivating and empowering literary masterpiece. This is truly a book to uplift.
“I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”
~ Psalm 52:8