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Ask Arlene: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

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In 2004, six years before author and speaker Arlene Pellicane’s first book, 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding, lined the shelves of Christian bookstores and filled Amazon shopping carts, I ate Christmas dinner with her.

My husband Ted had attended grad school with Arlene and her husband, James, but it was the first time she and I met.

I liked her instantly.

Arlene is upbeat, energetic, motivating, and kind. I’m grateful to have had her contribute to Ungrind since its founding and to call her “friend.”

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom and published author, Arlene served as the associate producer for Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. She also put her journalism skills to use as an on-air features producer for The 700 Club. In addition to these programs, she’s appeared on The Hour of Power and TLC’s Home Made Simple. Over the last several years, she’s encouraged moms like me in their weight loss after pregnancy and now offers practical advice for women of all ages on how to live life more fully in her book, 31 Days to a Younger You. Arlene’s next book, 31 Days to a Happy Husband, focuses on improving a wife’s most important relationship: her marriage. It releases this summer.

I recently asked Arlene to consider writing a monthly Q&A column for us. She agreed. Once a month in “Ask Arlene,” she’ll answer a question related to health, beauty, marriage, or parenting. To kick off “Ask Arlene,” we took the time to chat via email about her book and her new column.

Why did you write 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding?

My daughter turned two and I turned 40 last year. I realized when she is in her 20’s, I’ll be in my 60’s and well, I don’t want to be old! I want to be able to walk down the aisle when she gets married; not stroll down in one of those motorized carts! So I set out on a journey to discover keys to staying young from women who were aging well. By aging well, I don’t mean their skin was flawless. I interviewed women in their 40’s-100’s about being fit in body, mind, and spirit.

What would you say to women who believe the outward appearance shouldn’t be their priority and that people should accept them as they are?

I’d say they’re right and they’re wrong. Beauty comes from the inside out. It’s better to be a person of character than a person with good looks. But why does it have to be either/or? My friend said she’d love to go to work in her pajamas (ah, the comfort!) but she would never do that out of consideration for her co-workers. How she looks affects other people. In the same way, we ought to do our best to look as attractive as possible to the people around us. Especially as believers, we are ambassadors of the King.

Can busy women apply these principles in a short amount of time?

Yes! By reading 5-10 minutes a day and then doing a simple action step, a busy woman can start looking and feeling younger in days. I know a busy single mom who read my book and started doing crossword puzzles to challenge her mind, lifting weights, and cutting out white flour from her diet. She feels better already and those are just a few small changes that can make a big difference.

What are some areas of the heart, mind, and body that you cover?

For the heart, readers are led to be more joyful, recover that childlike faith, roll with the punches, and laugh again. As we grow older, it’s easy to think, “I’m losing my mind!” So we spend time to focus on improving memory and strengthening our brain power through learning new skills and doing hobbies we enjoy. The adage “move it or lose it” rings true, so we spend the last part of the book focusing on improving our exercise and eating habits, plus fashions do’s and don’ts as we age.

What steps can a woman take to give herself a new look without spending much money?

First thing to put on is a smile. It doesn’t cost a penny and can give a girl a new look in seconds! Next it can be a haircut or a closet cleaning party. When you toss unflattering clothes and things you don’t wear, you can find more outfits that do work. You can look at magazines for ideas of looks you like and then shop in places like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, or Ross with those ideas in mind. If you have a fashionable friend, bring her on a shopping trip!

What are some tips for relieving stress or making time for yourself?

Exercise is a great stress reliever whether it’s an intense exercise class at the gym or walk around your block. Find something you enjoy that helps you “change channels” so you can walk away from the things that are stressing you out. It may be reading a Psalm, a chapter in a book, calling a friend, asking someone to pray with you over the phone, or journaling. If you see you have a particularly busy week or you’re in a demanding season of life, schedule time in your calendar for down time. Set aside a weeknight where there are no outside activities and regroup. Protect that time or something or someone will take it away.

Your second book comes out in July of 2012. What’s it about?

It’s titled 31 Days to a Happy Husband and it’s about going back to the honeymoon and championing the wonderful man God has given you. After awhile, that intense passion and romance turns into comfortable warmth which is natural and fine. But if we don’t stoke the embers once in a while, we can become cool business partners with our spouse, sharing a home and bank account but little else. This book will drive you back towards your spouse and guide you towards having the marriage of your dreams. I interviewed thirty-one happy husbands for their advice; husbands like Dr. David Jeremiah, comedian Tim Hawkins, and renowned therapists, Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner.

You will be writing a monthly Q&A column for us here at Ungrind called “Ask Arlene.” Tell our readers more about it.

I’m honored to be available to answer questions about health (spiritual, emotional, or physical) or relationships (marriage, parenting), so bring it on! We’ll have fun as a community considering real life issues. I hope to encourage readers to take the next best step towards what God has for them in their health and homes.

We have a copy of Arlene’s book 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding to give away. To enter for a chance to win it, leave a question you’d like for Arlene to answer in her new column, “Ask Arlene.” If she chooses your question to answer in her April column, the book is yours!

This contest closes on Monday, March 12, 2012, at 12 a.m. Our apologies to our international readers, but it’s only open to those residing in the United States.

This contest is now closed. Congrats to Lisa M! Arlene will answer your question in her April column.

Ashleigh Slater is the editor of Ungrind. As a wife and stay-at-home mom, she enjoys moonlighting as a freelance writer, proofreader, and editor. Her writing has appeared in print and online in publications including Marriage Partnership, Thriving Family, MOMSense, Brio, Brio & Beyond, Guideposts’ Angels on Earth, Focus on the Family Magazine, Radiant, Campus Life’s Ignite Your Faith, Focus on Your Child, Clubhouse, Jr., Small Group Exchange, and Sunday/Monday Woman. She spent five years as a media critic for LinC (Living in Christ): Youth Connecting Faith and Culture and two years writing music reviews and artist bios for All Music Guide. She graduated from Regent University with a M.A. in Communication. She currently lives in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri with her husband Ted and four daughters.

Ashleigh Slater is the author of the books Braving Sorrow Together: The Transformative Power of Faith and Community When Life is Hard and Team Us: The Unifying Power of Grace, Commitment, and Cooperation in Marriage. With over twenty years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication, she loves to combine the power of a good story with practical application to encourage and inspire readers. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband, Ted, and four daughters.

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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor

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Ask Arlene: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

by Ashleigh Slater time to read: 5 min