Greenville’s Luxury Agent – Brian Raines

In the luxury real estate market, Greenville real estate agent Brian Raines is renowned among colleagues and clients alike for his integrity, loyalty and professionalism. Overall, Brian has ten years experience in the real estate industry, and for over thirteen years, he was a leading senior financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial.


An expert in luxury properties, Brian is devoted to serving the needs of real estate buyers and sellers throughout upstate South Carolina, including Greenville, Anderson, and Pickens Counties. Brian has served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pickens Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as President of the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Jaycees organizations across the upstate, as well as Vice Chairman of the Pickens County Election Commission. The Raines Group is the culmination of many years spent developing relationships with leading luxury brokers around the world. Through this exclusive international partnership, Brian’s listings reach an unparalleled audience of buyers worldwide. His global influence is further complemented by his state-of-the-art website, which vibrantly showcases his client’s properties through full-screen, high-resolution imagery.

With over ten years of real estate experience, Brian is recognized for his achievements and has a reputation as one of the most trusted and admired agents in the Greenville real estate market. When working with him, you can count on nothing less than an executive staff of seasoned professionals with an intimate knowledge of upstate South Carolina real estate who are devoted to serving your needs around the clock. Brian is extremely close with his entire family and is very grateful to them for their tremendous love and support. Brian’s personality and style blend exceptionally well with the perseverance and stamina that have earned him a reputation as one of the most honorable and respected real estate professionals in his area. Having earned the esteem and admiration of the business community, he has built an incredible network of fellow agents. Brian possesses a natural repertoire of dynamic qualities that set him apart and enable him to successfully procure the goals of the discriminating buyers and sellers he represents. Whether you are interested in a sumptuous yet discreet Greenville estate, a property in Pickens or Anderson county, or a condominium, Brian is ready to show you the finest, most exclusive listings, with an eye to your own particular taste and needs. You can rely on Brian to help you realize the full potential of your luxury real estate investment while maintaining your privacy in the strictest fashion.

To schedule an appointment with Brian, visit or email him at


Why Your House Isn’t Selling!

When you decide to sell your home, if you’re like most of my clients, you want the home to sell as fast as possible. Maybe you have your luxury home on the market right now, and it hasn’t sold. Maybe you’ve had your luxury home on the market for a “long time” and it hasn’t sold. If so, you should be asking yourself, “why hasn’t my home sold?”

As a REALTOR, when you hire me to market your home, I can assure you that at The Raines Group we are going to do much more than what the average real estate agent does: put a sign in your yard, put your house in the MLS, and pray that it sells! This is what I typically call the Three P’s…put, put, and pray!

When your house is on the market, it should get the vast majority of buyer activity within the first ten days. If your house is for sale, and after ten days it has had a number of showings and no sale, then you have a problem. 95% of the time, your problem is the price. Either that or your house is not being marketed properly. I see this all the time with the For Sale by Owner, or FSBO.

Now, if your home is currently listed with a real estate company, and it has been on the market for longer than 60 days, then you need to fire your agent. I know, I know, this isn’t going to be popular with my REALTOR friends, but sometimes the truth hurts.

When you hire The Raines Group to market your house, you hire us to represent you and to look out for your best interest. Sometimes this means I’m going to tell you things you may not necessarily like. Doesn’t make them less true. YOUR HOME MUST BE PRICED RIGHT FOR THE MARKET ENVIRONMENT! PERIOD! Your home MUST be marketed very aggressively. For my company, this means staging your home, taking professional photographs, including drone video if appropriate, and advertising with the most appropriate outlets.

Currently, the local MLS board I belong to here in Greenville, South Carolina released statistics…the average agent is selling their homes in 56 days…my agency, Keller Williams Drive is selling homes in 23 days on average. So, let me ask you, would you rather have your home sold in 23 days or 56 days? Now, I realize that no guarantees can be made. I am giving you past statistics.

So, in summary – is your home currently on the market? Has it been on the market for a long time? Is it listed with an agent? If so, you need a new agent! Is it FSBO? If so, you need a new agent!

If what I have said touches a nerve with you, or hits a bit too close to home, then we need to talk. It will cost you absolutely nothing for a Consultation with me. What do you have to lose? Maybe, the right buyer for your home. Call me today at (864) 202-5819 or visit us online at

10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality


1. Do not allow anyone to smoke inside of your home at anytime.

2. Measure the indoor humidity with a digital humidity and temperature monitor to keep it below 50 percent. Do not use any type vaporizer or humidifier; you may need a dehumidifier. Always use vent fans in bathrooms, and allow them to run for at least 30-minutes after bathroom  and shower usage.  Also, use vent fans when cooking to remove moisture.  Promptly repair all water leaks.

3. Wear a N95 particulate mask (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) NIOSH rated) when vacuuming or sweeping to reduce your exposure to fine particulates and allergens.

4. Do not use carpet in the bedroom. Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Keep it mind that it takes over two hours for dust to settle back down. If you’re not filtering it mechanically, then your nose is filtering it.

5. Keep pets out of the bedroom at all times. Use a room size Air Cleaner in the bedroom with an adequate CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) for the size of the room.

6. Encase mattresses and pillows with “mite-proof” covers. Wash all bed linens weekly.

7. Install a MERV 11 or 12 disposable high-efficiency media filter in the furnace and air-conditioning system. Change the filter every one to three months (with the change of the seasons) to keep the air cleaner year-round.

8. Install a high-quality air purification system in your home. Find a “whole-home” system. Leave a fan on to remove particles that may trigger allergies and asthma.

9. Have your heating and air-conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.

10. Vent gas appliances and fireplaces to the outside and maintain them regularly.

If you would like a free, no-obligation, 3-day in-home trial of one of the best selling air purification systems available, click here.

How to Remove a Stuck Ring

Last year, I ran across an article on a safe way to remove a tick.  Today, I ran

Medically Safe Way to Remove a Stuck Ring

Medically Safe Way to Remove a Stuck Ring

across a British video that shows a medical way to remove a stuck ring from one’s finger.  I found this to be very informative, and just had to share.  I hope you find this information as useful as I did, and I hope you will browse other areas of my blog.

Have a blessed day!

Brian Raines

2013 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Bout With Gout

A Bout With Gout

When I was young, my dad had a very severe case of gout.  As I grew older, I

Gout: the disease of kings

Gout: the disease of kings (Photo credit: DanCentury)

saw him suffer more and more with the crippling disease.  He not only had it in his feet, but he got it in his hands and elbows as well.  As a matter of fact, his doctor told him that he had the most severe case he had ever treated. Of course, I’m sure everyone who has ever suffered with gout would say they feel they have the worst case.  I actually had my first “flare-up” of the despicable ailment in December of 2004.  Thankfully, I now no longer suffer with the disorder. Sadly, my father died at age 59 from renal failure brought on by diabetes.

What is Gout?  According to the National Arthritis Data Workgroup, an estimated 6 million people in the United States report having experienced gout at some point in their lives. In fact, gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men over the age of 40.

So, we know that it’s a form of arthritis, but there’s a lot more to it. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that is caused by high uric acid levels in your blood. Gout attacks occur when excess uric acid forms crystals, causing inflammation in your joints that leads to swelling and pain. As your uric acid level rises, so does the potential for gout and gout flares. Over time, gout attacks can become more severe, last longer, and occur more often. Decreasing your uric acid to the recommended level (less than 6 mg/dL) can reduce the risk of gout attacks over the long term. And there are options that may help get you there.

Gout Signs & Symptoms  Gout flares usually strike suddenly, at night, and without any warning. During the attack, the affected area becomes hot, red, swollen, and extremely tender. Having gout may sometimes feel like your toe is a volcano erupting into a hot, fiery flare.

Gout may be best known for causing harsh pain in the toe. While most gout attacks do occur in the big toe, they can occur in other parts of the body as well. As I mentioned, my dad had attacks in his hands and elbow as well.

What Can One Do?  Healthy Choices!  A lot of people misunderstand the role of diet in gout, but here are some good tips that you can discuss with your family doctor:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, like water.  Fluids like water help remove uric acid from the body. Alkaline ionized water is a great choice. Avoid beer and other alcoholic beverages!
  • Add low-fat dairy products to your diet. Eating more of these dairy products is associated with a decreased risk of gout.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight, and get plenty of exercise.
  • Limit your intake of high purine foods (beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Avoid spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, and mushrooms

The foods you eat aren’t necessarily the cause of gout. To best address gout, you need a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses healthy lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, pain management for gout flares, and the long-term treatment of high uric acid that causes gout.

Part of coming up with this plan is having an honest discussion with your doctor about what you are doing right now.

What is your daily diet like?

Are you taking herbal supplements or eating a lot of particular foods that you heard might help? One of the best supplements I discovered that helped my gout is Re:Flex.  It can’t be found in stores, but can be ordered online at

What kind of exercise are you doing and how frequently?

Are you taking your medication as prescribed?

Your doctor can tell you whether or not you are on the right track. I mentioned in the beginning that I no longer agonize from gout.  I had my last flare in 2004.  I found relief by losing weight, avoiding or decreasing the amount of high purine foods I take in. I also drink alkaline ionized water on a daily bases, and I take Re:Flex as mentioned previously.  My doctor insisted on prescribing a medication for me, and he did for a while; however, I saw what the long-term use of some of the medications did for my father and I didn’t want to follow that path.

Hopefully, this information has been helpful and if you suffer from “bouts of gout”, you get some relief.

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Brian Raines is not a healthcare provider, and does not render medical advice or services, and the information in this blog should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare provider. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a disease or health problem. You should instead always consult your physician or other healthcare provider for such medical advice or services. 





Fibromyalgia and Alternative Treatments

Fibromyalgia and Alternative Treatments


Today I want to discuss a topic that many of my close friends call major pain…fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia is a neurosensory disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue. The condition is chronic (ongoing), but pain comes and goes and moves about the body. The disorder is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized and is and often complicated by mood and anxiety disorders.

According to the American College of Rheumatology diagnosis criteria,

Cover of "The pH Miracle: Balance Your Di...

Cover via Amazon

fibromyalgia affects about 3-5% of women, most of whom are between ages 20 and 50, but only 0.5- 1.6% of men. Some experts feel the actual rate is much higher. Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in adults than children, with nine times more women affected than men. People with fibromyalgia are most likely to complain of three primary symptoms: muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

There is no known cure for fibromyalgia; therefore, the goal of treatment is successful symptom management. Treatment usually requires a combination of pharmaceutical therapies, appropriate exercise, proper sleep hygiene, and good nutrition. As of early 2009, the only drug specifically approved for treatment of fibromyalgia by the United States Food and Drug Administration was pregabalin (Lyrica), an anticonvulsant whose mechanism of action in the treatment of fibromyalgia was not completely understood.

Antidepressant drugs that alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain help improve symptoms of pain and disrupted sleep in many people with fibromyalgia.

Our bodies are meant to be alkaline, and our highly acidic diets put enormous stress on our systems.  When you eat foods that create acid in your body, most of the toxic waste is eliminated from your body by the bladder and bowels, and some is eliminated by breathing and through the skin.  However, some of the waste is stored in protective fat cells, and some is absorbed into the blood stream and carried throughout your body.

The key to dealing with almost any disease, and especially fibromyalgia, is to eat an alkaline diet and drink alkaline ionized water.  While converting to an alkaline diet is often a struggle, drinking ionized water is simple and very effective.   That doesn’t mean you can drink alkaline ionized water and continue to fill your body with acidic foods. While I don’t have fibromyalgia, I do have gout, and I found that starting with the water allowed me to experience the benefits of being alkaline, which encouraged me to slowly convert to a more alkaline diet as the benefits became more and more obvious.

I talk with people frequently who have struggled with fibromyalgia for many years.  Several have found that they can experience almost total relief from fibromyalgia on an ongoing basis simply by drinking alkaline water and being more mindful of their diet. Nothing works for everyone, but I have talked with too many fibromyalgia sufferers who have found relief by drinking the water to simply discount it as “hocus pocus”

Secondly, eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits (preferably organic), and lower in meats and grains is another established approach to alkalizing the diet; however, most people don’t do this on a regular basis.  NSA Certified supplements are a great source for those who do not get their daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Robert Young, Ph.D., author of The pH Miracle, reports that drinking alkaline water “neutralizes stored acid wastes and gently removes acids from the body”.

Lastly, deep breathing and relaxation breathing exercises for stress management can dramatically alter the body’s acid/alkaline balance by oxygenating and eliminating carbon dioxide and aerosol wastes. However, breathing exercises won’t be much help if you’re breathing polluted air. Cleaning up your indoor air quality by using a world-class air purification system can reduce pollutants of all kinds including acid producing components and provide a better environment for deep breathing. Cracking windows for ventilation can sometimes be a superior air cleaner as recent studies have shown that outdoor air is many times cleaner than indoor air. More involved programs of acid/alkaline balancing should be done in conjunction with a knowledgeable health care provider. If you would like to research this topic further, there are many popular books available on acid/alkaline balance and diet. The pH Miracle by Robert O. Young, Ph.D., and Shelley Redford Young; and Alkalize or Die by Theodore Baroody, M.D. are two respected resources.

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder in which many factors play a part. Acid/alkaline balance is not a “magic bullet” by any means. However, many people can experience significant benefits by taking a good look at their overall acid/alkaline picture and by making sometimes very simple changes to diet, lifestyle, self-care, and home environment.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These statements are not intended to be medical advice. Consult your health care practitioner for specific medical advice and treatment.

Spring Cleaning for Your Finances



Spring Cleaning for Your Finances



As the temperatures climb and the days grow longer, many people start


Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

thinking about “spring cleaning.” It’s time to wipe away the cobwebs of the
winter and welcome in the sunshine and warmth of spring.

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and this doesn’t just apply to our homes. It can also apply to our finances. Many people make the New Year’s resolution to get on a budget or to better manage their money, but most resolutions are forgotten after a few months.

Spring is a great time to get back into that groove of biblical money management.  When spring cleaning your home, you take a close look at those things that need cleaning or updating. Do the same with your finances.

Take a close look at your budget. Assess your present spending and look for areas that need adjusting. After the spending frenzy of the holidays is over, you can get a better idea of how much you actually spend each month. Keep track of your spending for 30 days and then use the Crown Spending Plan Calculator to make a budget. (Learn more about starting a budget here.)



As you are spring cleaning your home, you may find items that you no
longer need or that are outdated. As you are tracking your spending, you
may find the same applies to your budget. Assess spending for cable,
Internet, and phone service. Ask yourself if you really need all the
services you are paying for or if you could bundle your services or find
a better deal that would be cheaper.

Do you pay for a daily or weekly newspaper but hardly ever read it? Perhaps you could read the news online and cancel your delivery subscription. Save money on food by eating out less. Use coupons at the grocery store and use a weekly menu for meal planning.



Also, take a good inventory of your debt. Are you paying a high
interest rate on a credit card? Could you find a card with a lower
interest rate and transfer your balance? Also, look for areas in your
budget where you can cut back on spending and use the extra to pay off
those credit cards. Buy off debt faster by using a rollover plan to pay off your credit cards. Debt is an extra burden that we shouldn’t have to carry.



Need to generate some extra income? Look around your home for things
you can sell. Outgrown or outdated clothing items, sports or exercise
equipment, electronics, CDs, DVDs, old furniture, baby items, and
kitchen items usually have good resale value. Collect these items, clean
them up, and have a yard sale. Put ALL of the profits toward paying off
debt or funding your emergency account. You will generate extra income and free yourself of things that can clutter your home.



The final step in spring cleaning your finances is to get organized.
Misplaced bills can cost you late fees. Develop a good filing system to
keep up with your incoming bills and other important financial
information. Use products like the Bill Organizer to keep track or try using an online bill paying service. Crown Mvelopes and Crown Money Map Financial Software are great ways to track your spending online.



Before you know it, your spending plan will be running smoothly, and you will be on your way to true financial freedom.



by Crown Financial Ministries



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If you would like to have Crown Financial in your church or organization for a seminar or workshop, or if you would like to order Crown resources, contact Crown Associate, Brian Raines,  at









Biblical Principles of Borrowing

Biblical Principles of Borrowing

1739 Edition of Poor Richard's Almanac

1739 Edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Principles of borrowing appear in God’s Word, although it should be noted that principles differ from laws.

A principle is an instruction from the Lord to help guide our decisions. A law is an absolute. Negative consequences can result from ignoring a principle, but punishment is the likely consequence of ignoring a law of God.

An example that shows the difference between principle and law: the principle of borrowing given in Scripture is that it is better not to borrow if the loan must be taken with surety. “A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor” (Proverbs 17:18).

The law of borrowing given in Scripture is that it is a sin to borrow and not repay. “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (Psalm 37:21). The implication of this Scripture is that the wicked can repay but will not, as opposed to those who want to repay but cannot.

Principles are given to keep us clearly within God’s path so that we can experience His blessings. To ignore them puts us in a constant state of jeopardy in which Satan can cause us to stumble at any time.

Principle 1: Debt is not normal
Regardless of how it seems today, debt is not normal in any economy and should not be normal for God’s people.

We live in a debt-ridden society that is now virtually dependent on a constant expansion of credit to keep the economy going. That is a symptom of a society no longer willing to follow God’s directions. God told His people what He would do if they kept His statutes.

“Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth….The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow”

(Deuteronomy 28:1, 12). Borrowing is never God’s best for His people.

Principle 2: Do not accumulate long-term debt
It’s hard to believe that a typical American family accepts a 30-year home mortgage as normal today or that it is now possible in some cases to borrow on a home for nearly 70 years.

The need to expand the borrowing base continually forces longer mortgage loans, because expansion through taking on debt causes prices to rise through inflation. As prices rise, mortgages lengthen.

Today it requires from 40 to 70 percent of the average American family’s total income to buy an average home, even with a 30-year mortgage.

The longest term of debt God’s people took on in the Bible was about seven years.

During the year of remission, the seventh year, the Jews were instructed to release their brothers from any indebtedness (see Deuteronomy 15:1-2). Thus, the only debts that could exceed seven years were those made to non-Jews or from non-Jews.

Principle 3: Avoid surety
Surety means accepting an obligation to pay without having a guaranteed way to make the payments.

The most recognizable form of surety is cosigning a loan for another person. But surety also can be any form of borrowing in which an unconditional guarantee to pay is committed.

The only way to avoid surety is to collateralize a loan with property that, if sold, would cover the indebtedness, no matter what.

Currently Americans charge in excess of $400 billion annually on their credit cards, of which $50 billion or more is for annual finances charges, and they carry an average monthly balance of between $3,000 and $5,800 at 12 to 21.5 percent interest.

These credit card purchases have become the most common form of surety in America today. In a credit card transaction, one merchant sells a consumer a product and another finances the purchase, unless the credit purchase is with an in-store credit card.

In the event of a default, the return of the merchandise to the original merchant does not cancel the debt because the finance company has no interest in the merchandise purchased.

Principle 4: The borrower has an absolute commitment to repay
In this generation, situational ethics is widely accepted—so much so that it’s easy to rationalize not paying a debt, especially when the product or service is defective or when family financial situations seem to be out of control.

Unfortunately, many borrowers discover that it is possible for them to accumulate far more debt than they can repay and still maintain the lifestyle they want. As a result, they bail out.

Currently (2002 standards) over one million people a year now choose bankruptcy as a way to postpone or avoid repayment.

Nevertheless, in some cases voluntary bankruptcy is acceptable—but only in the context of trying to protect the creditors, never in the context of trying to avoid payment.

A Christian needs to accept that God allows no exceptions to keeping vows. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac quotes, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Although it is good common sense, it is not from God’s Word.

However, many Christians feel that all borrowing is prohibited according to Romans 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”

To properly interpret this Scripture, it must be considered in light of the context in which it appears. In this particular reference, Paul was not talking specifically about money—teaching that we are never to allow people to do things for us if we are not willing to do even more for them.

Scripture very clearly says that neither borrowing nor lending is prohibited, but firm guidelines are given.

Borrowing is discouraged and, in fact, every biblical reference to it is a negative one. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” (Proverbs 22:7). The scriptural guideline for borrowing is very clear. When you borrow, you promise to repay. Literally, borrowing is making a vow and God requires that we keep our vows.

by Crown Financial Ministries

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Brian Raines is a former Senior Financial Advisor for an international firm, and is now an associate with Crown Financial Ministries.  If you are interested in utilizing Crown resources in your church, school, or business, please contact Brian at

All Water is the Same, Right?

Everyone is concerned with their health and drinking more water, but how do icebergyou decide which water to drink? Today, we are going to look further at the various types of water that are available.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis, or RO, water is water that has been purified using reverse osmosis techniques. Osmosis is something that occurs naturally, it’s when a solvent (something that is dissolved in a solution) passes through a semi-permeable membrane from an area where there is a lot of it, to an area that does not have a lot of that solvent.

In reverse osmosis, this process is basically, well, reversed. A reverse osmosis machine uses a semi-permeable membrane as a filter and it also uses a lot of pressure, more pressure than the normal process of osmosis creates. The product, RO water, is free of any impurities that might have been present before it went through the machine.

People use these machines to make sea water safe to drink, by removing all the salt. They also use them to purify water that is going to be used in very sensitive environments, such as coral tanks or other marine tanks.

Alkaline Ionized Water

What is Alkaline Ionized Water? Alkaline water is water with a pH of more than 7.0, normally between 8.5 to 9.5 pH for drinking. Some people buy alkaline water or an alkaline water machine because they believe drinking alkaline water has health benefits.

Ionized water (also referred to as electrolyzed water) is water that has been exposed to an electric current which separates the charged particles. During ionization, positively-charged ions are drawn to the negative electrode. Negatively-charged ions are drawn to the positive electrode. Ions with a positive charge like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium raise the pH and produce alkaline water. Negative ions including phosphorous, chlorine, and sulfur lower the pH and produce acidic water.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is another choice for hydration and refreshment because of its consistent safety, quality, good taste and convenience.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully regulates bottled water as a packaged food product and requires bottled water to adhere to FDA’s extensive food safety, labeling and inspection requirements.

Bottled water is also subject to state regulations and, at the industry level, members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) are required to follow the IBWA Model Code.  Water is classified as “bottled water” or “drinking water” when it meets all applicable federal and state standards, is sealed in a sanitary container and is sold for human consumption.

By law, FDA standards for bottled water must be at least as stringent and protective of public health as standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for public water systems.  Some beverages containing certain ingredients or additives may cause that product to be classified as a soft drink, dietary supplement or some other categorization.

Soda water, seltzer water and tonic water are not considered bottled waters. They are regulated differently, may contain sugar and calories and are classified as soft drinks.

Distilled Water

Natural water usually contains a number of microscopic contaminants, along with dissolved minerals, such as calcium and iron. One way to remove these elements from water is to boil it until it changes to steam, a process known as distillation. When this steam is allowed to cool down and condense into liquid form again, the result is a purified form called distilled water. This water should ideally be nothing but hydrogen and oxygen molecules, with a pH level of 7 and no additional gases, minerals, or contaminants.

The distilling process relies on the principle that most solid materials found in water are heavier than the water molecules themselves. When water is heated in a distiller, any dissolved solids, such as salt, bacteria, calcium, or iron, remain solid while the pure water converts to a much lighter steam and is drawn out for condensation. Distilled water has a noticeably bland taste because all of the minerals that give water its flavor have been removed.

Distilled water is safe to drink, but it is used more often for research purposes where water purity is essential or industrial uses where mineral deposits can cause damage over time. It may also be used in steam irons to prevent calcium build-up, but this requirement has generally been relaxed in recent years. Certain baby formulas may use this type of water as a mixing liquid as well. Pediatric bottled water formulated with additional electrolytes may use it as a base.

Deionized Water

Deionized Water has had ionized impurities and minerals removed from it but not bacteria or pathogens.

Tap Water

Tap water is municipal water that comes out of the faucets and has been treated, processed and disinfected. It is purified with chlorine and generally has added fluoride. But one of the byproducts from using chlorine in our drinking water is linked to cancer.

Water: it makes up almost 75% of your body and is absolutely necessary for life. You probably know you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of this life-giving liquid per day, but have you given serious thought to the quality of your water?

Water is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle, so make sure that you are choosing the best possible water, avoiding dangerous plastics, and getting enough vital minerals. With 8 to 10 glasses a day of pure water, you’ll have energy and vitality like never before.

Watch our video on Living Water here or visit us online



Fearing the Future

Fearing the Future

So, what’s in your future? No, this has nothing to do with horoscopes, but many Christians make financial decisions based on fear of the future, instead of trust that God will provide for them.

Fear of the future can cause families to forfeit the blessings of God, because they base decisions on the latest headline or stock market report. Too often, Christians give little thought to God’s ability to take care of them.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan ahead to ensure financial stability for our families; however, when Christians find that attitudes of fear and worry are motivating financial decisions, they need to reevaluate their financial priorities, and recommit to trust in the Lord.


Often, Christian families that are motivated by fear of the financial future will cut back on their tithes and offerings. Mistakenly, they see this as a first step in an attempt at financial stability.

Recent events such as U.S. relations with North Korea, war in Iraq, turmoil in the Middle East, gasoline prices, rising trade deficits, major layoffs, threat of terrorism, and an unstable economy, have caused many Americans to be concerned about the future.

The U.S. economic slowdown has the financial well-being of many Americans hanging in the balance. They worry about not having enough money to pay normal monthly bills, and the rash of recent mortgage defaults has devastated many families. Many Americans live so close to the edge financially that a prolonged economic downturn could put them in serious financial straits.

Despite all this, and even though many are very concerned about the financial future, consumer spending has not dropped proportionately. Actually, there has been very little change in the percentage of their income that Americans spend.

Still, there has been a shift in how the funds are spent. Less money is being saved and contributed to churches and charitable organizations, while more is being spent on credit card interest, recreation, alcohol, gambling (primarily through state lotteries) and pets.

This gives us good reason to pause and review what Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…. No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:21, 24).

The Bible says we are to honor God with the tithe — the first-fruits of our income. Keeping our financial vows to God is the way to ensure that we will not become victimized by a financial downturn.

Withholding your financial commitments to the Lord so that you can buffer yourself against potential future financial hardships will end up costing your financial security rather than guarding it, simply because God’s blessings will not be on such a self-imposed buffer.


Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as something we hope for that we do not presently have. God’s plan seems to be that we have some needs so that we can develop our faith in Him. It is vital for us to view potential future financial needs as opportunities to exercise and develop our faith.

No Christian can truly serve God and live in fear of financial loss. Jesus makes it very clear in the passage from Matthew 6, that we must make a choice — either serve God or money, we cannot serve both. Fear of our financial future exhibits a lack of trust in God and in His provision. In other words, when we fear the future, we choose to serve the fear of financial loss, rather than to trust and serve God, Who has conquered all fear and holds the future in His hands.


We live in a materialistic society and generally base our priorities on desires and wants, rather than on needs. The perspective of what is actually a need is often clouded by what our materialistic society says we need.

Although God has promised that He will always supply our needs, He has not promised that He will supply all of the wants that society calls our needs. Even though we sincerely ask God to honor our request to supply the money to repair our microwave, automatic dishwasher or second car, His answer may very well be “no.”

You see, we may be asking with the wrong motives (James 4:3). It may not be the right time, according to God’s will and purpose (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Or, it may be contrary to His overall plan (Acts 21:13-14). After all, we are to serve God, not expect Him to serve us (Job 41:11).

It’s a matter of “who’re you gonna trust?”


There are some important steps we must follow that will help us trust God completely with the present and the future.

— Find God’s direction for your life. Most frustrations that Christians experience are the result of trying to model their lives after someone else’s life. Instead, through prayer and study, find God’s will for you.

— Make a conscious effort to trust God. Put thoughts, words and commitments into action and trust God. Don’t buy on credit. Plan ahead and wait for God to supply your needs.

— Develop a long-range perspective. Trust God’s directives and His guidance (Matthew 6:34).

— Pray diligently. Prayer is the key that unlocks God’s blessings, power and direction (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

Although we are bombarded daily with events that can cause doubt concerning our financial future, we must never doubt that God is in complete control. Refuse to panic, and do not be governed by fear of the future. Keep your commitments and vows to God, pray without ceasing and trust your future to Him without reservation.

This article appeared on the Baptist Press Web site on October 24, 2007.


Brian Raines is an associate with Crown Financial Ministries.  If you would like to have a Crown Financial event in your church, school, or business, or if you would like to purchase Crown materials, you may contact Brian at



How Important is Hydration?

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A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

Drinking the equivalent of 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45% and drinking ½ your body weight in water per day decreases the risk of breast cancer by 79%

I think the reason why we often don’t give enough importance to hydration is that it is so simple. It is hard for our brain to connect such a profound effect with something as simple as drinking a proper amount of water each day.

So I am not going to argue the point too much – I think 99% of you will agree that drinking enough water on a daily basis is absolutely a good thing. So let’s get into the good stuff: how you can start to directly change the quality of your life with water!

The benefits of hydration

Drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of quality water per day will transform your health and dramatically improve the way you think and feel.

These are the Top 5 Benefits to staying hydrated!

1. Energy! As mentioned above, when we are dehydrated by just 5% most of us will experience a 25-30% loss of energy. And to be honest, I estimate that 90% of us are more than 5% dehydrated.  When was the last time you truly drank enough water during the day?  And when you did, how good did you feel?!

When we are dehydrated we get headaches, foggy thinking, fatigue in our mind and our body, mood swings, we overeat, our metabolism grinds to a halt, we underachieve and we lose motivation.

Water is needed for almost every body metabolic function – it is simply vital that we stay hydrated. When we are dehydrated our body just cannot do it’s job and our energy and mental state will suffer as a result.

Fatigue is a hydration problem. If you’re feeling tired drink several glasses of water over the next 90 minutes and see how you feel then!


2.  Weight Loss! Our brain literally does not distinguish between the sensations of thirst and hunger. Both are derived from the same place – low energy levels (linking it to point 1, above). When we experience these low energy levels the sensations of thirst and hunger are generated at the same time, and we instinctively assume that regardless of the driver, both of these sensations are ‘the need to eat’. In other words we eat food even when the body needs water.


By staying hydrated we separate these two messages and often eat a lot less – the right amount.


3. Clear Skin! When you start to stay hydrated and consume ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day you will also begin to notice some dramatic changes to your skin.


Problems such as acne, dryness, eczema, psoriasis and more will start to disappear. Why?  When dehydrated, the body preserves the water supply to critical organs, such as the brain and the heart, but “cuts off water” to peripheral organs such as skin.


Being hydrated also ensures that your body’s cells are able to function effectively, for nutrient absorption, blood building and circulating and to help the body remove toxins.


4. Alkalinity & pH Balance! When you drink clean, filtered water with a pH of at least 8.5+ you will notice that you begin to feel a surge of health, energy and vitality. Our body is designed to be alkaline,

maintaining a pH level of approximately 7.365 in our cells, particularly the blood.


When we eat and drink too many acid-forming foods and drinks such as colas, sugars, breads, sweets, pizza, chips, alcohol, white rice & pasta, trans-fats, fast food, refined food, sauces & condiments, dairy, meats and more we put our body under an incredible strain to maintain this pH balance at 7.365.


By hydrating our body with high pH water we help maintain this alkalinity, flush toxins & acids from the body (such as yeasts/candida and bacteria growths) and our energy and vitality will go through the roof!


Being over-weight is also an acid problem, so when you start to hydrate & alkalize you will also start to see the weight fall away. Seriously, just by drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of alkaline water per day you will begin to see huge improvements with your weight.


5. Anti-Aging! The cause of premature aging is an over acid, dehydrated body. Aging occurs when we do not dispose of the internally generated wastes and toxins in our body. This is the process of getting old.

Because this accumulation of waste products inside the body is the aging process, supporting the body to remove these old, acid wastes is the anti aging process.


Antioxidants are often referred to as a way to prevent anti-aging because they help to detoxify the body from these wastes – and so drinking alkaline, antioxidant-rich water is a fantastic way to slow and reverse the aging process.


When we are hydrated, our cells function optimally, our digestive system works wonderfully and we can remove these aging toxins easily!


Below are unpaid endorsements from professional athletic teams that use our Vollara products, including the Living Water.  Just click on the team to read their letter.

James Clendenin


PDF icon imageLetters of Endorsment

·         St. Louis Cardinals

·         Miami Marlins

·         Detroit Tigers

·         Cincinnati Reds

·         Colorado Rockies

·         Arkansas Naturals

·         Joey Greany – Strength and Conditioning Coach

·         Kansas City Royals

·         Ryan Stoneberg – Minor League Strength & Conditioning Coordinator

·         Kansas City Royals

·         Ty Hill – Strength & Conditioning Coach

·         Texas Rangers

·         Toronto Blue Jays

·         Pittsburgh Pirates

·         Washington Nationals


Work-at-Home Programs

Work-at-home programs

English: A work at home at placed on public pr...

English: A work at home at placed on public property, with personal info blanked out (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Crown Financial Ministries

Beware of work-at-home schemes. “Would you like to earn hundreds of dollars a week at home, in your leisure time? Many people are supplementing their income in a very easy way. Let us tell you how.”

“Earn $9,000 per week working in your spare time in the comfort of your own home. No selling involved. No experience necessary. Call toll free 1-800-JOB-SCAM.”

“Be your own boss. For only $49.95 you can be on your way to employment independence. Have your credit card handy and call toll free today at 1-809-RIP-OFFS and begin making thousands, without ever having to leave your home.”

Offers like these might sound very attractive, particularly if you are unable to leave your home to work. However, be cautious of work-at-home opportunities, especially ones that promise you large profits in a short period of time. In essence, the more unbelievable the opportunity, the less likely it is legitimate. Although some work-at-home opportunities are legitimate, a great majority are not. Home employment schemes are among the oldest kinds of classified advertising fraud.

What many of these ads do not say is that you might have to work many hours without pay. There also may be hidden costs. A great many work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place ads in newspapers, make photocopies, or buy envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment needed to do the job. The company also may demand that you pay a membership fee or make regular payments in order to get continued instructions or materials. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars and have wasted their time and energy.

Two most common work-at-home schemes
Envelope stuffing. Work-at-home schemes come in all varieties, but the most common scheme over the past number of years has been envelope stuffing. Promoters of these programs usually advertise that, for a small fee, they will tell you how to earn money stuffing envelopes at home. Only when it is too late do you find out the promoter really has no employment to offer. What you are likely to receive for your fee is a letter telling you to place that same envelope-stuffing ad in newspapers or magazines or send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you will earn money is from the people who respond to your work-at-home ad.

Assembly or Craft Work. The second most common work-at-home scheme is assembly or craft work. These programs often require you to invest hundreds of dollars in equipment or supplies or many hours of time to produce goods for a company that has promised to buy them. For example, you might be required to buy from a company the equipment and materials to make specific goods, such as plastic signs or baby shoes. However, after you purchase the supplies and equipment and perform the required tasks, the company does not pay you for your efforts. Most victims of this type of scheme were refused payment by a company because they claimed that the product did not meet their quality standards. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that the finished product will ever come up to their quality standards. Thus the victim is left with expensive equipment and supplies, with no income. In reality, those who produce goods in response to such ads usually must find their own customers.

Precautions against work-at-home schemes
If a work-at-home opportunity is legitimate, the company or sponsor should be up front and be willing to explain in writing at no charge what is involved in the opportunity. In addition, legitimate companies will let you “sleep on it,” after you have contacted them for information, rather than demanding that you make your decision immediately.

The following are some questions a person who is considering a work-at-home opportunity should have answered before he or she agrees to any work-at-home opportunity.

  1. What task or tasks will I be required to perform? Have a program sponsor list every step of the job.
  2. Will I be paid on salary or commission?
  3. Who determines when and how I get paid? Who will pay me? Get the name, address, and phone number of the person or department responsible for paying your salary and write them a letter requesting a return response. Ask for details about how and when you will get paid and what qualifying factors you must meet before you get paid.
  4. When will I get my first paycheck? Are there any automatic deductions other than FICA and taxes and, if so, how much and for what purpose?
  5. What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment, and all fees? What will I get for my money? Are supplies automatically renewed and deducted from my salary or commission or do I only receive what I order?
  6. Is there an existing customer base or do I have to find my own customers?
  7. Who pays for postage, mailing, and shipping?

How the program sponsor answers these questions should enable you to determine whether you want to be involved with that particular company’s work-at-home opportunity.

In addition to asking these questions, you should personally investigate the work-at-home program sponsor. The three things we advise anyone to do in checking out a work-at-home opportunity are to: (1) get the names of the principals and the home office of the company; (2) write or call the Better Business Bureau in the state where they are located; and (3) write or call the attorney general or the state securities office of that state. Ask if they have had any complaints filed against the company. All these things should be done before you make any decision to become a part of that company.

Already been victimized
If you have already spent money and time in a work-at-home program that you now have reason to believe might not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for your money back. Let the company know that you plan to notify state officials about your experience. If you cannot resolve your dispute with the company, the following organizations might be able to help you:

  1. The attorney general’s office of your state and the state where the company is headquartered.
  2. Your state and local consumer protection office.
  3. Your local and state Better Business Bureau, as well as the Better Business Bureau of the state where the company is headquartered.
  4. Your local postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.
  5. The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad you answered.
  6. The Federal Trade Commission. Although the FTC cannot help resolve individual disputes, the agency can take action if there is evidence of a pattern of deceptive or unfair practices. Contact them at (877) FTCHELP (382-4357) or online at

In considering home business opportunities, you must be very cautious, since some organizations offering work-at-home business opportunities are not trustworthy. If they require an investment on your part, our advice is to stay away from them, especially if it does not fit within your budget. You might check with some of the larger churches or businesses in your community to see if they have any work you could do in your home. Other home businesses that have been successful include child care services, dress shops, consignment shops, bakery serving services, research, and typing and computer services. God knows your needs and the desires of your heart. Trust Him to show you the occupation that will fit your talents and needs and will honor His name.


Brian Raines is an Associate with Crown Financial Ministries


Dealing With Pride

Dealing with pride
by Crown Financial Ministries

Once Christians are trapped by pride, they are not of service to God.

God will give us plenty of opportunities to recognize and correct this attitude. The difficulty most times is admitting that we actually have the problem.

Larry Burkett told the following story. “God gave me the opportunity to assess myself about pride. I was working on some important material, and a deadline was approaching when I received a phone call from a widow I was counseling. I was a little irritated because she had been in several times previously with relatively trivial problems (from my perspective). She asked if she could come in right away because she had a crisis in her budget (her checking account didn’t balance). I explained that I really didn’t have any time available and suggested another counselor we had trained.

“A short time later I received a call from a businessman who wanted to bring a celebrity by who was in town working on a movie. This person is so well-known that I knew it was a rare opportunity and I said yes. I had no sooner hung up the phone than the words of James came ringing in my ears. ‘If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors’ (James 2:9). I found myself trapped by the most devious snare that Satan lays: pride. I had to call the businessman back and tell him I couldn’t meet with them until later and call my counselee back and ask her forgiveness.”

Symptoms of pride
In order to cure a disease, we must first be able to recognize its symptoms. They are the visible, outside indicators. Although we may not always recognize them in ourselves, others will. So it becomes vital for us to stay open to criticism, particularly from those who are spiritually discerning.

A haughty leader
“Who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Nothing points more clearly to a pride problem than an aloof leader. When Christians find that they only want to associate with the right people and look down at others because they’re less educated, less intelligent, or less successful, they are no longer useful to God’s work.

It is easy to rationalize an indulgent lifestyle in a society in which most people indulge themselves. It is a rare individual who can actually handle much wealth and keep his or her priorities straight. Today the motto is, “Live like the King’s kids,” but nowhere in Christ’s teachings did He direct us to do so. Poverty is not God’s norm, but neither is lavishness. “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).

How do you break out of a pride trap? You must vow to serve God and God’s people, and then make yourself accountable to others. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself” (Philippians 2:3).


Brian Raines is a Crown Associate.  He is available to assist you with scheduling Crown Financial Ministries events in your church, school, or business.


God, Money & Your Faith

God, money & your faith
by Crown Financial Ministries

Some pastors shy away from talking about money. After all, they might say, the church is about spiritual matters like getting souls saved. Absolutely — but then why do you suppose Jesus made such a big deal out of money? Many Christians are amazed to discover that He did.

The Bible has a lot to say about finances and belongings. I have researched God’s Word and found more passages about money and possessions than about heaven, hell or the Second Coming. The Bible offers more than 500 verses on prayer and fewer than 500 on faith — but more than 2,350 verses on money and possessions! There is no doubt that the church should have something to say about financial matters in the church as well as in the secular world.

Who you gonna serve?
Jesus said that you can’t serve God if you’re going to serve riches. “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:24).

Churches may have their own agendas in respect to certain types of ministries. But every local congregation needs to provide opportunities for people inside the church and in the outside community to acquire biblical financial wisdom.

To that end, Crown Financial Ministries has a 10-week small group study that provides an in-depth look at scriptural teaching about money and possessions. Graduates discover that their marriages are strengthened, and individuals are finding their way out of debt. They also become consistent savers, generous givers and sensible consumers. Most importantly, people enter into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ as they learn to apply His Word in their lives.

In addition, Crown has hundreds of trained volunteer Money Map Coaches around the country who work with married couples and individuals, helping them achieve spiritual and financial freedom to serve Christ. They help individuals develop a personal budget, apply biblical principles of stewardship, build a plan to get out of debt and provide practical and Godly financial counsel.

You gotta have heart
There are great benefits of having a congregation full of financially healthy people — but healthy doesn’t have to mean wealthy. Some pastors may be hesitant to talk about biblical principles of finance and giving because they serve churches with blue collar, lower-income families. They might even envy their peers who pastor in suburbia with congregations of middle- or higher-income families. But, guess what? Giving really has little to do with amount, but it has a lot to do with heart!

In a Nov. 11, 2004 article, the Sun-Herald newspaper in south Mississippi told of an organization known as the Catalogue for Philanthropy that reported interesting statistics in their “2004 Generosity Index.” They found that New England states make more money but give less than other areas of the country. Southern and Midwestern states top off this generosity index, with the high level of liberality in these regions being attributed to the practice of tithing.

Based on the average adjusted income of residents, and the value of itemized charitable donations reported in 2002 federal tax returns, Connecticut had the nation’s highest average adjusted gross income at $64,724, but its residents donated $175 less to charity than the national average. So what’s the point?

Just this: Mississippi ranked as the poorest state in the nation but came in fifth in “giving,” and it consistently earns its place as “Number 1 giver,” because of the disparity between the income and charitable contributions of the folks in Mississippi. The average itemized filer in Mississippi reported $4,484 in donations in 2002, beating the national average by $1,029.

How about that — poorest state, biggest givers! It seems as though I recall someone once saying, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

What an appropriate time in the life of our country for believers to help those generous Mississippians, and others on the Gulf Coast, get back on their feet.

What do financial issues have to do with spirituality? Well, for one thing, you don’t have to be rich to be generous, and poverty isn’t the cause of tightfistedness. So the spirituality part all comes down to where your heart is.

And that’s exactly why the church needs to be equipping God’s people in our country and worldwide to learn, apply and teach God’s financial principles. Because then, believers can be liberated from the bondage of debt, so they may know Christ more intimately, be freed to serve Him, and help fund the Great Commission.

God, money, and faith — do you get the connection?

This article appeared on the Baptist Press Web site on September 21, 2005.


If you would like more information about scheduling a financial group study in your church, school, or business utilizing the resources of Crown Financial Ministries, contact Crown Associate, Brian Raines at (864) 918-8025 or via e-mail at

Symptoms of Financial Problems

Symptoms of Financial Problems

A credit card, the biggest beneficiary of the ...

Without question, family financial problems seem to increase dramatically during economic slumps. Are the financial problems caused by economic slumps? Generally not.

With rare exception, family financial problems have begun long before the economic slumps, perhaps as early as childhood.

Ignoring God’s Word
Usually families with financial problems only recognize the symptoms of the problems (such as unpaid bills) or the consequences of the symptoms (such as repossession of property). They seldom identify the real underlying cause of the problem.

Most of the symptoms of financial problems that families face in today’s society—business failures, foreclosures, bankruptcies, out-of-control debt, two-job families, and divorce—can be traced to a central problem of ignoring God’s financial principles as recorded in His Word.

It is likely that the problem was learned from parents who also had the same problems. “Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1).

God’s financial principles and instructions are not complicated or hard to understand. They were designed to free His people from financial burdens and not to bind them with an unattainable set of dos and don’ts.

Unfortunately, though, since the mid-1950s God’s principles have increasingly been ignored by families who have adopted a get-rich-quick mentality by using easily obtainable credit to purchase “what I want, when I want it.”

The children of these 1950s and 1960s parents learned to buy on credit from their parents’ example.

Now, a generation later, we are reaping the burden of sown seeds of moderate debt in the form of overwhelming excessive debt.

It was Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), Earl of Beaconsfield, who said in an address before the British House of Commons on May 1, 1865, “What we do and allow in moderation, our children will allow and do in excess.” What better words can describe the primary cause of the downward financial spiral of families in our society?

Without a doubt, the lack of financial discipline in parents is reflected and amplified in the lives of their children and their children’s families.

Symptoms of financial problems
If parents do not operate on a budget, seldom will the children.

If parents use credit readily and make buying decisions based on the ability to make monthly payments, rather than on the initial price of items purchased, so will the children.

Once married and on their own, young couples attempt to duplicate in a few years what perhaps has taken their parents decades to accumulate. In order to accomplish that goal, they use credit, as they were taught.

Before long they have numerous assets, but the assets are all tied up in liabilities.

This debt burden causes many of these young couples to experience the following symptoms.

They no longer can pay the monthly bills. Once the credit cards have reached their maximum limits and other sources of readily available credit begin to tighten, financial pressure begins to build. Finally, in desperation, a bill consolidation loan is obtained. Usually within less than a year the credit card debts return, making the end result worse than the beginning.

More income is needed. More credit cannot be the answer, so logic says that more money is needed. Consequently, the wife usually has to go to work. When young children are involved, the result may be breakeven or less.

Buy to pacify the pressure. At this stage many Christian families try to pacify the financial pressures by buying something new or going on a “get away from it all” vacation. However, these usually have to be financed with credit, so again the end is worse than the beginning.

Divorce and/or bankruptcy. When financial pressure reaches the boiling point, with no apparent way out, either the couple takes it out on one another—resulting in divorce—or they file for protection under the bankruptcy laws in order to start over again. However, if God’s principles were not learned during the process, the same financial problems will be present in the second or third marriage or after the discharge of bankruptcy.

Preventive measures
Although symptoms of financial problems can be devastating, it is much easier for families to practice prevention rather than recuperation.

As such, there are four basic preventive measures that families can exercise to counterbalance unbiblical financial practices and to prevent the symptoms of financial problems.

Abstain from borrowing. “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (Psalm 37:21). Scripture clearly indicates that borrowing is not God’s best for His people and should never be used as a routine part of financial planning.

Saving. “There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up” (Proverbs 21:20). In today’s society, spending and borrowing are promoted, and saving—in order to purchase with cash—is discouraged. It is more in keeping with God’s principles to save for future needs and purchases than to borrow or use credit.

Making hasty decisions. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but every one who is hasty comes surely to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5). Patience and consistency, rather than quick decisions and instant success, are the ways to financial security. One of the best disciplines parents can teach their children is to work to reach a goal.

Develop a budget. “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored” (Proverbs 13:18). Children should learn by parents’ examples how to develop and live on a balanced budget. If they don’t, chances are when the children have families of their own, they will continue with the cycle of debt.

If Christian families truly lived by sound biblical financial principles, they would not only be lights to show the way to financial freedom for their friends and acquaintances, but their children would grow up with the knowledge of God’s principles and how those principles should be used.

They in turn would pass on to their children what they were taught. With consistent teaching and discipline it would take less than a generation to break Christians’ financial bondage and free them to fund the work of the Lord.


Getting Out of Debt

With home mortgages, school loans, and car loans, young couples today may

Wipe our Debt

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

owe more than $140,000 within the first couple of years of marriage. This may seem normal to many, but God’s Word says debt isn’t normal, especially long-term debt (see Deuteronomy 15:6; Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8).

Become debt free

If you’re already in debt, you can break the debt cycle with desire, discipline, and time. Using these five basic steps you can become debt free and stay that way.

  1. Transfer ownership
    God forces His will on no one; you must willingly surrender your will and possessions to God. Prayerfully transfer ownership of every possession to God – money, job, time, material possessions, family, education, and future earning potential (see Psalm 8:6).
  2. Give the Lord His part
    Once you’ve transferred ownership to God, give Him the first part, the tithe of gross income. If you withhold from God, it indicates that ownership hasn’t been transferred. Give Him freedom to work unobstructed on behalf of your finances – give Him the tithe – and He can give us His best.
  3. Allow no more debt
    Don’t use any more credit or credit cards until all existing debt has been paid. Pay with cash, check, or debit card at the time of purchase. Don’t borrow any more money from institutions, family, or friends until all indebtedness (home mortgage excepted) has been satisfied.
  4. Develop a realistic budget
    You’ll need a written budget that allocates percentages of Net Spendable Income into living expense categories – including repayment of creditors. Write to each creditor with a repayment proposal, but promise only what can be paid every month. Include a financial statement and budget that shows how much will be paid to each creditor.

    If you need to generate extra funds by working overtime or on an extra job, all money generated by the extra work must go to eliminate the debt for this to be effective.

  5. Retire the debt
    Pay extra on the debts with the highest interest rates. If all interest rates are comparable, begin paying extra on the smallest balance. After that debt has been paid, apply the regular payment as well as the extra money that was going to it toward the next highest balance. After the second is paid off, then the third highest and so forth.

No one who is financially bound can be spiritually free. Generally speaking, if these steps are faithfully followed, the average family can usually be debt free in about five years.

Accomplishing debt freedom can produce a radical change in lifestyle and a reevaluation of family values that can help prevent similar debt situations from recurring.


Brian Raines was a Senior Financial Advisor with an international firm for fourteen years. He is now the President of PHP Financial, a division of The Raines Organization, Inc., and an associate with Crown Financial Ministries. To schedule a no-obligation consultation with Brian, contact him via e-mail at

PRESS RELEASE: Raines Becomes Associate of Crown Financial Ministries


Brian Raines, President of PHP Financial, a division of The Raines Organization Inc, announced this morning that their organization has become an Associate with Crown Financial Ministries based out of Lawrenceville, Georgia.  Crown Financial’s mission is to equip servant leaders to live by God’s design for their finances, work, and life.

Crown Financial was founded in 1976 by the late Larry Burkett, and currently operates in over 80 nations. Raines said more than 50 million people have been impacted by the biblically-based teaching of the Christ-centered, not for profit ministry.

The Raines Organization will be responsible for marketing Crown products, as well as services and events to churches, businesses, and educational institutions in the upstate of South Carolina. Crown is supported by their faithful donors,and from product sales, and revenue from services/events. For more information about Crown, contact Brian Raines at or visit

Histamine, Allergies, and Alkaline Ionized Water

It has a major role in the immune system and it regulates available

3d molecular spacefill of Histamine

3d molecular spacefill of Histamine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

water in the body. People think of histamine as the cause of allergies so that is why people take anti-histamines to relieve the symptoms of an allergic response. What most people don’t know is that histamine is in charge of water regulation in the body. It is less active when the body is fully hydrated.


Fight Allergies! Is Alkaline Water the Ultimate Antihistamine!?


Studies have shown that an estimated 75 percent of the population has some degree of dehydration, significant enough to affect their health. Along with dehydration, the majority of people’s body state is acidic due to our typical North American diet. The acidity in our bodies causes irritation and inflammation which triggers histamine production.


Allergies plague thousands of people every year. Some people experience wheezing as part of their allergic response but they don’t have a diagnosis of asthma. The weepy eyes, runny nose, pounding headache and cough are characteristic signs of an allergic response. The root causes may shock you.


Allergies are caused by a histamine reaction in the body. Histamine is one of the body’s main neurotransmitters. It has two functions in the body hydrated and it becomes increasingly active when the body becomes dehydrated. It is also triggered when the body is acidic in combination with being dehydrated.


According to recent research, allergies are a sign of dehydration that are triggered when the body starts conserving its water resources. When dehydration occurs histamine is produced to begin the process of water regulation. It will prioritize where the limited available water will be used. Histamine is the good guy, delegating where the available water is to be used.


Studies have shown that an estimated 75 percent of the population has some degree of dehydration, significant enough to affect their health. Along with dehydration, the majority of people’s body state is acidic due to our typical North American diet. The acidity in our bodies causes irritation and inflammation which triggers histamine production. This actually creates a cycle where one keeps triggering the other. The acidic body and the reduced water intake keep the body in an irritated state where histamine is working hard to manage.


Silent inflammation is caused by histamine. That is where there is chronic inflammation and irritation that shows no strong symptoms until enough of it develops to push the symptoms into our awareness. The key is to reduce the inflammation and irritation in the body.


Water is a wonderful buffer. It is also the super highway that transports everything throughout the body. By drinking enough water, you are downgrading histamine production in addition to providing efficient nutrient delivery. Now, if you can alkalize your body more by altering your diet or drinking alkaline, ionized water, you will be on your way to being histamine free and allergy free. You will literally be turning off the allergic reaction.


Histamine’s other role in the body is that of immune system management. When dehydration is present, histamine suppresses its own activity on the immune system, otherwise dehydration would constantly flare up the immune system. This is because the majority of the population is chronically dehydrated. They mistakenly think that any liquid is OK to hydrate the body.


Because allergies are pronounced when the body is short of water and the histamine is acting as a drought manager, the immune system is shut down and antibodies are not produced. Antibodies are the army defending home territory from invaders. Lung tissue is a frontier with an external territory – the nose and eyes. If offending pollen, which is a protein, hits these tissues, it should be attacked by the immune system. It could cause damage. Normally, the antibody soldiers would be there to snuff out the invaders, the offending pollens, but in dehydration the soldier antibodies are sleeping. The only alternative for the body is to wash away the offending pollens. That’s why your eyes begin to water and your nose begins to run, because the body cannot allow the invaders to get as far as your lungs. It tries to wash them away.


The importance of proper hydration cannot be overemphasized. If you are properly hydrated and your body is less acidic, the antibody soldiers will be produced in the millions and trillions. With histamine doing its job, you will not be allergic or your symptoms  will be less. For more information on alkaline ionized water, visit 

Shop Vollara at http://

Distilled vs. Purified Water

With all of the varieties of bottled water and water filtration systems that are Water Drinkerscurrently available, it can be confusing to know which water is really the best to use as everyday drinking water.  Understanding the differences between distilled vs. purified water can help clear things up a bit.

In some respects, all water is the same – it all contains two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule.  The differences are in the minerals and chemicals that are also found along with the water.  Sometimes these minerals and chemicals are naturally occurring, while other times they are added for a variety of reasons.  Some of these are harmless, some are helpful, and some are dangerous when consumed in large quantities.

Distilled water is water that has gone through a specific process to remove all minerals and contaminants.  The water is boiled, and then the water vapor is cooled and collected.  Because the minerals and contaminants are heavier than the water vapor, they are left behind as the vapor forms. When the vapor is cooled, the water that remains is pure.  Distilled water is great for using any time minerals in water might cause stains or build-up – for example in your iron for ironing your clothes, or in cleaning products.  Unfortunately, distilled water doesn’t taste good, and may not be very good for you due to its lack of mineral content.  This makes it a less than ideal choice for daily hydration.

The term “purified water” is not as specific as distilled water; in fact, technically speaking, because the distillation process is a form of purification, distilled water would fall into the category of purified water.  Most of the time, purified water refers to water that has undergone some form of purification process, though there are no established standards for the actual process that is used.  It could mean that the water has been forced through a charcoal filter, treated with ultraviolet light, deionized, or ozonated.  Each of these processes removes some of the contaminants found in the water, and can make the water safer for drinking.

Different than distilled or purified water, electrolyzed or ionized water is usually in a category of it’s own, although it can include the benefits of purified water through the use of a one or two stage filtration process. The advantage of ionized water is the ability to control the water’s pH levels to maintain alkalinity while adding antioxidant properties.

In order to determine which water is best to drink, it is important to research the type of process used for purification, consider the benefits of ionization and alkalinity, and decide which water is right for you.

Finding Financial Counsel

Finding financial counsel


Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

by Crown Financial Ministries

A commonly asked question from Christians seeking advice on financial matters is, “How can I find good Christian counsel?”

Perhaps even more fundamental would be the question, “How can I tell when I find good Christian counsel?”

Limitations in finding good financial counsel
It is very difficult to receive unbiased advice from someone who is trying to sell a particular product. So, an obvious limitation that Christians should easily recognize is whether the people giving them financial advice are actually giving wise advice or just a sales pitch.

A second limitation is to find financial counselors with like minds, attitudes, and principles. Many financial advisors who profess to be Christians live lifestyles that are far from Christ-like.

Likewise there are those who are very good Christians, but they have no knowledge or wisdom concerning the biblical principles of finances.

There are many guidelines in God’s Word for seeking and selecting good godly counsel. So, although seeking counsel is advised, selecting wise counsel is imperative.

Principles for seeking and selecting good financial counsel
Listed below are four basic principles that Christians need to consider in seeking and selecting good, godly financial counsel.

  1. Seek and select Christian counsel. Seek and select financial counselors on the basis of a common value system. For Christians, that means to seek counsel from those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Psalm 1:1).

    This does not imply that non-Christians are incapable of giving good financial advice. However, the standards by which decisions are made must be based on God’s Word and Christ-like character, rather than on the world’s humanistic get-ahead-at-all-costs standards.

  2. Seek and select wise counsel. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The fact that people are professed Christians does not qualify them to be good financial counselors.

    All too often Christians throw wisdom and caution to the wind when it comes to taking advice from professed Christians. Christian counselor and counselee alike must be in regular communication with God and seek His wisdom before any decision is made. So, not only must counselors be knowledgeable in areas of biblical principles of finance but they also must regularly seek God’s wisdom in prayer and in the study of His Word.

  3. Seek and select multiple qualified counselors. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). No financial counselor can be an expert in all areas of finance.

    The areas of taxes, securities, stocks, bonds, and real estate are so complex in today’s society that only with a variety of good financial counselors who are experts in their respective fields can Christians hope to attain a well-rounded perspective of biblical financial principles.

  4. Weigh all counsel given. “The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). The purpose of counsel is to offer suggestions, alternatives, and options—not to make decisions on behalf of counselees.

    Even the best financial counsel in the world lacks an essential element necessary to make sound and wise financial decisions—knowledge of God’s plan for the lives of the counselees. Therefore, there should never be a decision made unless it has been presented to God in prayer first.

    The peace of God—or lack of peace—as a result of prayer is an indisputable indicator of God’s preferred directive. In addition, each decision should be tested against God’s Word. If it is not consistent with the purity and the spirit of God’s Word, the decision should be rejected.

    Counselors’ motives and actions also should be evaluated. If counselors will deceive others on the counselees’ behalf, they also will most likely eventually deceive the counselees.

    Review the five-year track record of any and all people who offer their counsel. Just because they are Christians does not mean that they have been successful in their financial counsel.

The best method for locating good, godly financial counsel is asking other Christians who have been helped. This could be fellow church attendees, pastors, or Christian businesspeople.

Additionally, this type of information could perhaps be found at Christian professional associations, societies, and organizations—both locally and nationally.

Without a doubt, good and godly financial counsel is available for all who seek such counsel. Prayer, wisdom, and caution must be foremost in order to select the most qualified counselors and those whose lives and expertise conform to God’s will for the lives of the counselees.


To schedule an initial consultation with Brian Raines with PHP Financial in the upstate of South Carolina, please send an e-mail to   Brian was a financial advisor for fourteen years before selling his financial planning practice.  Brian now does Christian financial consulting without providing financial planning, investment, or tax advice.  Schedule your consultation today.


PHP Financial is a subsidiary of The Raines Organization, Inc.  This article is not an endorsement of PHP Financial by Crown Financial Ministries.

Introducing PHP Financial

1. Who is PHP Financial? PHPLogo

PHP Financial is a division of The Raines Organization, Inc. and was founded by Brian Raines. Brian was a Senior Financial Advisor for fourteen years with an international firm.  Brian sold his financial planning practice in 2009. 

2. What does PHP do?

PHP Financial teaches and counsels God’s biblical principles of finances to people in the southeastern United States. We also provide Christian marriage and family counseling. We work with our clients via face-to-face sessions. All personal and financial information is strictly confidential. 

3. Where is PHP  located?

Our home office is located in the upstate of South Carolina. 

4. How can PHP help me with my finances?

We have trained counselors who can help you set up a budget and get your finances in order. We offer materials for small groups developed by various financial ministry organizations. We also have materials on many other areas of finances. Although Mr. Raines was formerly a licensed financial planner, PHP does not offer investing, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. Family Counseling is provided by Joyce H. Raines, M.Ed., LPC. 

5. Does PHP give financial assistance?

We receive many requests for financial support from organizations and individuals, and will give each request individual consideration; however, our primary donations go to our local church. 

6. How does PHP operate?
PHP Financial operates on a cash basis (i.e., it does not borrow money.) PHP believes that one of the ways God can give direction is through the provision (or withholding) of funds. Therefore, PHP Financial moves forward on a project only when it has the funds on hand to do so. PHP Financial, a division of The Raines Organization, Inc.,  is recognized as an S-Corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Clients pay PHP on a sliding scale based upon the level of need and personal ability. Those with a severe financial need will be counseled on a no-cost basis. 

7. Is PHP affiliated with any religious denomination?

No, PHP is a non-denominational organization. 

For more information, or to schedule a no cost,  initial consultation, e-mail


Peace               Hope               Prosperity

Carbohydrate Blockers: What Are They?

shutterstock_1284639There are a variety of carb blockers available to consumers, but what are they and how do they actually work?  To better understand how these supplements work, it is helpful to begin by looking at how carbohydrates are digested and the role they play in your daily diet.

When you eat foods, nutrients from that food are broken down in the digestive system and absorbed by your body to perform certain tasks.  Carbohydrates provide fuel that your body needs to function.  A starch-digesting enzyme, alpha-amylase, helps break down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which your body uses for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. If more fuel is consumed than is needed, the extra is turned into body fat for long-term storage.

Simple carbohydrates are easily digested and absorbed by the body and come from refined grains, fruits, dairy products and highly processed foods.  Many provide extra calories with very little nutrition and may contribute to weight gain. Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to absorb and are found in whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables, and legumes.  They promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals and fiber to your body.

The supplements that are categorized as carbohydrate blockers contain an enzyme extracted from the white kidney bean (phaselous vulgaris) that prevents the enzyme, alpha-amylase, from binding with starches (carbohydrates).  This ingredient may help prevent the body from absorbing the carbohydrates, which may be helpful in preventing a build-up of excess body fat if you consume more carbohydrates than your body can use.

It is important to keep in mind that many of the supplements that are available only help your body block carbohydrates; they do not prevent your body from absorbing the calories that are found in fats and proteins.  While these supplements may help you lose weight, they are best used occasionally, in situations when you happen to eat more carbohydrates than your body needs.  They are not recommended for everyday use.  A healthy diet, with whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes, and daily exercise are the best bet for maintaining a healthy weight.



2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Expensive Laundromat Trip

Yesterday, my wife and I did something that we haven’t done in many years –

Laundromat in Toronto, Canada

Laundromat in Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

we took a trip to our local laundromat to do our laundry.  It wasn’t by choice I assure you.  Our dear old Maytag washing machine that I paid $200 dollars to have repaired a few weeks ago broke again and left us all “unwashed-up” so to speak.  The reason I am writing about this adventure is because of my work in the green technology field.  As many of you know, I am an independent distributor with Vollara, a green technology company.

Vollara distributes an amazing product called LaundryPure.  This product is a small device that attaches to my washing machine and it allows me to wash my clothes using only cold water. I don’t have to buy laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softener, or use hot water.  We literally wash our clothes using only cold water.  You can imagine how much money I save by doing my laundry this way, and how much better this is for the environment because I am not dumping harmful chemicals into the environment. An extra benefit is I do not have to expose myself to these harsh chemicals either.

I asked my wife, Joyce, before we left for the laundromat yesterday how much it cost to use the machines there and she said, “probably 50 cents or so.”  I couldn’t help but laugh at her.  I knew it had been a long time since we had visited a commercial laundry, but I knew it hadn’t been quite that long!  Well, just so you know, I’m going to break it down for you so you know how much it actually did cost:

1 large washer                   $4.75

1 small washer                  $2.50

2 dryers                                $3.25

1 Tide                                    $8.13

1 bleach                               $2.97

TOTAL                                   $21.60

I was totally blown away by how much this little trip cost us. There are only two of us in our family. Imagine if we had kids…and imagine if we had to wash clothes three or four times each week!  Granted, it is much cheaper to have a washer and dryer at home, but one still has to buy Tide, bleach, and fabric softener.  I did notice by the way, that a large bottle of Tide at my local supermarket was $14.98…how long does that last a family?  Now you see why I use my LaundryPure system!

As mentioned previously, my system uses only cold water! That’s it! I do not buy detergent, bleach, fabric softener, or hot water. Imagine how much money you can save your family by using a system like this.  If you would like more information on the LaundryPure, visit us online at

Happy Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...


At this time of Thanksgiving, we pause to reflect on our blessings.

As we bow our heads to give thanks on Thursday, we will remember you for your support of our endeavors.  Thank you for being a valued friend and follower.

 We wish you a safe and blessed Thanksgiving day!

 Brian Raines

CONSUMER ALERT: How to Read a Bar Code

Have you ever gone to a store and picked-up a box and looked at the bar code and wondered what all those lines and numbers meant? I think we all have. Today, I want to deviate from my typical topic of health and wellness and share a bit of information with you I received from a friend of mine.

Always read the labels on the food you buy! No matter what the front of the box or package says, turn it over and read the back…very carefully!

With all the food and pet products now coming from China , it is best  to make sure you read labels at the grocery store, and especially Walmart when buying food products.

Many products no longer show where they were made; they only give where the distributor is  located. It is important to read the bar code to track the origin of the package.

How to read Bar Codes ….. interesting!

If all this is a concern to you, then this information may be useful. It is also a great way to “Buy USA” and “CANADA” and not from CHINA!

The whole world is concerned about Chinese-made “black hearted goods”.
Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China?  If the first 3 digits of the bar code are 690 691 or 692, the product is MADE IN  CHINA.  If the first three digits are 471, then the product is Made in Taiwan .

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public; therefore, we have to RESCUE ourselves. Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products “MADE IN CHINA “, so they don’t show from which country it is made. However, you may now refer to the bar code – remember if the first 3 digits are:

690-692 … then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 – 09 …  USA    &  CANADA
30 – 37   FRANCE
40 – 44  GERMANY
471 …  Taiwan
49 …. JAPAN
50 …  UK

BUY USA & CANADIAN MADE by watching for “0” at the beginning of the number. We need every boost we can get!  Was this helpful? Share this blog with your friends!

Product Made in Taiwan with 471

The Importance of Exercise

A public demonstration of aerobic exercises

A public demonstration of aerobic exercises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I want to discuss a subject that isn’t actually my favorite… exercise. I don’t like doing exercise, but I do like the feeling I have after I finish my exercise. 

I read an article in the Greenville News this morning that my home state, South Carolina, has a major obesity problem.  According to the new director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control,  36 percent of adults in South Carolina are overweight and 29 percent are considered obese. One-fourth of adults in South Carolina report no leisure time physical activity in the past month, and only 19 percent eat fruits and vegetables at least five times a day.

So, how does one begin an exercise program? I would suggest buying a pedometer, or downloading an app for your smart phone that will measure your daily footsteps. In addition to your daily activities, begin walking 1/4 of a mile per day and progress as able to the goal of several or more miles per day. No special equipment is needed to walk and it is safe for just about everyone.

For an exercise plan to be successful, do something you like and that is practical for your lifestyle. There are several types of exercise to consider:

1. Aerobic Exercise – this type exercise increases your heart rate and uses oxygen to facilitate muscle building as it accelerates your metabolism. Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, jogging, running, hiking, swimming and even dancing. Here again, choose what you enjoy.

2. Resistance Exercises – this form of exercise helps you burn fat, increase lean muscle, boost your energy levels, increase strength, improve your posture, fortify your bones, strengthen your joints, and promote your body to increase the production of growth hormone. Resistance training includes, lifting free weights, using weight machines, using resistance rubber bands, chin-ups, sit-ups, squats, and finally, water workouts.

3. Alternating Exercises – try to balance your exercise between aerobic sessions and resistance training so you are alternating between both types of exercise as a formal activity every day for at least 30 minutes. Combining these exercises is also an efficient way to accomplish your goal of becoming healthier.

4. The Ultimate Benefit – Our bodies have evolved over thousands of years. Until lately physical activity was an integral part of a person’s every day life. As recently as a single generation ago all of the activities of daily living were non-mechanized. There was no such thing as being too sedentary. That is not true today.

Adopting an active lifestyle will make you feel better every day. Your body is a marvelous machine and all of your bodily functions will significantly improve as your activity level increases. You will have more energy, sleep more soundly, and notice an improved mood.

For more information on Uncompromising Health, visit my website at

Next week we are going to discuss the proper way to stretch!


Excerpts taken from The Enzyme Diet Magazine. Used by permission.

Guide to Starting Your Weight Loss Program

Congratulations on your committment to living a healthier lifestyle.  Today, I

Weight and height are used in computing body m...

Weight and height are used in computing body mass index, an indicator of risk for developing obesity-associated diseases. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

am going to share five short tips on starting your new weight-loss program.

1. Set a realistic weight goal. Research has demonstrated that a weight loss of only 10% can help mormalize blood pressure, blood fats, and blood sugar levels. Try to maintain a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 26.

2. Adopt a More Active Lifestyle.  Begin walking everyday.  Become more active as your fitness level improves and as your health allows. If you can’t do anything else, walk to the end of your driveway. Some activity is better than no activity.

3. Be Accountable.  Join a support group, and if you can’t find one in your neighborhood, then start one and invite others you know who are also on a quest for uncompromising health. Make sure to weight yourself at the same time and day every week. Only weigh yourself weekly! Do not depend on the scale as the only way to measure your success. Keep a journal of your activity; you don’t have to share it with anyone.

4. Learn Healthy Eating Habits.  I have found that it helps me in the beginning stage of a new weight loss program to keep a food diary. Learn about carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins.  Knowledge is power. Make sure you never skip meals. I know this sounds crazy; but, one has to eat to lose weight. Isn’t that a cool concept?  Lastly, drink more water. Try to drink 1/2 fl. oz. for every pound you weigh.

5. Discover Vollara Products For Your Uncompromising Health.  Put enzymes to work on your behalf.  I have found this is a big help. I have lost a large portion of my excess weight  with the Vollara 5-7-5 program.  I like Vollara because they have the CAeDS system.  CAeDS is a patented, proprietary nutrient delivery system. It is a highly refined and sophisticated system that provides the necessary nutritional co-factors and patented amino acid chelated minerals for full activation and assimilation of all of the Vollara products, without “robbing” from your body’s limited supply. CAeDS can also double the absorption of nutrients.

Relish your healthy appetite and enjoy your food when you eat. Do not punish yourself  if you deviate from your diet. Calories are cumulative. Just get back on the plan – it is for life and your health.  Learn more about Vollara’s supplements and super food nutrition products at

REMEMBER: You are taking the first steps to a new, healthier you. The Vollara 5-7-5 Plan is “designed for a lifetime.”

Come back next week and I will be discussing the benefits of exercise.

My Internal Hunger

In today’s blog I want to uncover some of my compulsive eating roots.  Ever

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

remember a time when you had a high school class reunion to attend, or a wedding, or how about a family reunion? 

If you’re like me, probably one of the first things you thought to yourself was , “I’ve got to lose some weight.”  If you can relate to this, then today’s blog may not be comfortable for you.

Since I was a young boy, I have always done a lot of eating at night, and especially in front of the television.

When I was younger I got a little exercise but it usually only involved getting up to change the channel on the television.  I’m not sure I have ever really been hungry in my life. I feel I have been empty, lonely, depressed, and too many other things to mention. I have accepted the fact that my compulsive eating has always been about feelings. 

I can’t speak for you; however, if I ever felt what I call a bad emotion, I would put food in my mouth. I did not allow those feelings to linger for long, except for the depression and it always seemed to hang around.

According to certified nutritionist and psychotherapist, Marilyn Migliore, in her book, The Hunger Within,  “children that grow up in negative or emotionally confusing environments, who don’t receive enough intimacy, nurturing, and love in ways that imprint on them, will invariably emerge with a very different sense of themselves.”  Growing up, I felt  sad, angry, isolated, and empty.  The more I ate the more weight I gained, and the more weight I gained, the more I felt the negative emotions.

Food was always my drug of choice.  When I felt as if no one was there for me, then I turned to my food. The food was always there and it never let me down. I always felt comfortable when I could get away by myself with my food.  As a young boy I had no clue what feelings I was sitting on.  Sadly, I learned that it was safer for me to have a relationship with food than it was with people.  I used humor a great deal, and my music skills to handle my relationships.

All of this reminds me of my days as a stockbroker.  Being a stockbroker is just like being in the house I grew up in.  Every day, one can’t predict if the market is going up or down.  And if it went down, there were always plenty of people to blame me. At least when people made money with me, I got paid very well and I got praised.  When I got in the entertainment industry, I got the same praise when I performed. This is something I never got deep inside from my family. Now, I no longer perform musically and I’ve  left the financial industry.

If you have a weight problem as I do, I’m going to leave you with one serious question. What would your life be like if food were not the focus? 

Ponder this question and leave your comments.  I’d like to know your struggles and just know that you stopped by and spent a few moments of your time.  Be blessed!

“There are no conditions to which a man cannot become accustomed, especially if he sees that all those around him live the same way.” – Leo Tolstoy

Eating Healthy and Losing Weight: Part 2

  Several days ago, I posted Part 1 of this article about my healthy weight loss

Living with Uncompromising Health!

tips. Today, I am happy to bring you the final installment of this post. Please leave a comment so I will know you stopped by! 

  1. Do not weigh every day. If your body is like mine, and I certainly hope it isn’t, your weight will fluctuate daily. If you weigh daily, you will find yourself getting discouraged. I suggest weighing once a week at the same time each week. I have found that Monday morning immediately upon waking is the absolute best time for me. You find what works best for you.

  2. Set realistic goals. Ladies, unfortunately men usually lose weight faster than women. Do not try to lose too much weight too fast. And, do not compare yourself to everyone else. Everyone’s body is different and will respond differently. I always like to have a goal of losing ten percent of my body weight as my initial goal. This doesn’t mean you have to do that; this is merely what I like to do. You may not need to lose that much weight.

  3. Don’t always depend on your bathroom scales. I like to judge much of my weight loss by how my clothes fit. I suggest you take photo’s of yourself prior to beginning your weight loss program, and also take full measurements. Many times, your clothes and measurements will show better progress for you than the scales.

  4. If you find you need a cheat night, then by all means have a cheat night. I like Friday night for my cheat night. If you have done well on your program in a given week, go out and have your favorite meal. You don’t have to eat all of it, and you don’t need to go completely overboard; however, one treat meal once a week will probably be good for you – it certainly breaks the monotony for me.

  5. Finally, when you reach your goal weight, determine that you will never go back over a certain weight. For me, I want to reach 215 pounds. When I reach this goal, I will never allow myself to go back over 220. If I weigh and I have gained to 220, I will immediately start back on my program until I am back to my 215. Do not allow yourself to go much more than five pounds – this is often a recipe for a disaster, and trust me, you do not want to keep losing the same weight over and over.

 Lastly, make sure you are taking the proper nutritional supplements. I have a daily routine and when I miss I can really feel a difference in how I feel. I hope these tips have been helpful for you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I would also like to share in your success. Send me your photo’s and your story. I can be reached via e-mail at Become a big loser like me! Be blessed.


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Eating Healthy and Losing Weight: A New Beginning

How many times have you joined a health club in January, watched

Brian Raines at Almost 600 Pounds

your favorite weight-loss program on television, signed up for the newest fad diet, and swore to yourself that this time things are going to be different and soon there will be a “new you?” After a few weeks, or maybe even a few days, you quit and go right back to where you were before and gained more weight back than you lost in the first place? I would be a wealthy man if I was paid for every pound I’ve lost and gained back over my lifetime. Personally, I have lost from almost 600 pounds down to near 300 pounds, and am on my way to a fit and healthy 215 pounds. I want to share my personal success tips with you in this post.

  1.  I know we have all heard it before, but if you plan to go on a new eating regiment, schedule a visit with your family doctor. This one point is often overlooked, and in many ways can be the most critical. Make sure you are healthy enough for the routine you are starting.

  2.  If your budget will allow the investment, I suggest finding a nutritionist to work with you and plan your meals and diet program. Because nutrition is a constantly changing field, it is good to have an expert to call on. I suggest you find someone who is a Registered Dietician. I’m sure your doctor can give you a good referral.

  3.  For those of us with fast-paced lifestyles, eating a healthy meal is not always easy to do. I highly suggest you find a program that you can stay with for whatever period of time is required for you to meet your goal. In order to be healthy, one must eat a healthy, balanced diet. I personally have had excellent success with meal replacement shakes; especially those that use the amazing power of enzymes to support your metabolism at optimum levels during your weight loss without using drugs or stimulants.

  4.  Drink plenty of water. I have a rule of thumb to help determine an appropriate amount of daily water intake. Drink a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, I would suggest you drink a minimum of 100 ounces of water each day. I also like to see my urine be clear when I go to the bathroom. If your urine is yellow, that is a good indicator that you need more water. I have discovered that not all water is created equal. I do not buy any bottled water for various reasons, and I try not to drink water straight from the tap. I personally drink alkaline-ionized water, and highly recommend you try it if you haven’t before. It really is great-tasting and it makes me feel better.

    5. Get some type of exercise each day. I admit, this is my weak area. I’m not going to paint you a pretty picture, an exercise program is tough, and even tougher to stick with. It doesn’t matter how much exercise you do in the beginning, or the intensity; the important thing is that you are doing something. If you can only walk 5-10 minutes, then do that and be proud. If you can walk 30 minutes then do that. Do whatever activity you enjoy doing, irregardless of what everyone around you is doing. Gradually increase your time and intensity and you will eventually find the exercise will become a daily part of your routine.


Do You Feel Toxic?

The following was written by a colleague of mine, James Clendenin.

If You Feel Like Your Body Has Become a Toxic Waste Dump, It Probably Has… Drink Up And Get Your Life Back!

If I had to pick one area that I believe would help improve the overall health of the majority of people in the world, I would say it’s the need to drink more water (the right kind of water!).

I believe many diseases could be prevented (or cured) if people drank enough of the right kind of water each day.

Water is a solvent and a sufficient amount is needed daily to properly hydrate and flush the body’s cells and organs of disease causing toxins.  Lack of water leads to dehydration and the saga begins…

Symptoms of dehydration will usually start with thirst and will continue to progress as the percentage of the body’s fluid loss increases.

Initial symptoms of mild dehydration will generally begin when the body has lost about 2% of its total fluid.  The symptoms are usually mild at this point and can include:


Loss of Appetite

Dry Skin

Skin Flushing

Dark Urine (a big indicator of dehydration!)

Head Rushes

Cotton Mouth


Lack of Energy



Head Aches

If the total fluid loss of the body reaches around 5% of its total fluid more serious symptoms will begin to appear and can include:



Severe Headaches


Increased heart rate

Decreased urination

Elevated body temperature

Loss of ability to sweat

Extreme fatigue

Tingling in the tips of your fingers and toes

Muscle cramps

Increased respiration

If the total fluid loss reaches 10% serious side effects will occur and medical attentions is definitely needed.  Above 10% can be fatal!

Symptoms of severe dehydration can include all of the above and below:

Difficulty breathing

Chest pain



Muscle spasms


Racing pulse

Shriveled skin

Loss of vision

Burning during urination


Abdominal pain

How to prevent dehydration

The average person loses between two and three liters of water a day through sweating, breathing and urination.  Depending on the type of activities a person is involved in this figure can increase or decrease.  Heavy exercise can cause the body to lose more than 2 liters an hour! To prevent dehydration you must continually replenish the fluids that you lose throughout the day!

We’ve all heard that “you should drink around 8 glasses of water a day”, which is true; however, this figure can increase depending on many factors of your daily lifestyle.

I grew up in Stuart, Florida and worked out in the sun since I was 14 years old.  A part time outdoor job during the school year and then 8 – 10 hours during the summer could really take its toll; however, I would drink at least three gallons of water a day just to stay alive!  Everyone’s condition is different, however for most people 8 glasses is the “magic” number, providing it is the ‘right’ kind of water.

Sodas and other “comfort” drinks don’t count!

Keep in mind that you cannot include soda, juice, coffee, or sugar type drinks as part of your 8 glasses of fluid, as each of these drinks need their water content just to metabolize and flush the junk that they contain out of the body.

You must pay special attention to your fluid loss and take special care to replenish it as it is being lost.  Remember this…By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated!  The key is to avoid becoming thirsty in the first place!

Drink more water and if you have kids make sure they do too (I guarantee you that their brains will function better and their grades will improve!).  There’s no doubt that you will be healthier, have more energy, mental clarity, and on top of all this, you will look younger, and be more vibrant.

The majority of all headaches are caused by dehydration.  So instead of treating the symptoms by reaching for a bottle of aspirin, try drinking a glass or two of water.  This will usually cure most headaches within 15-20 minutes.

To prove the points made, make a commitment to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day for one week and see for yourself the difference it makes in the quality of your life.  You will be amazed!

Your challenge this week is to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day for the entire week.

Tip 1: When you are sleeping you are actually dehydrating for up to 8 hours or more.  Therefore, one of the most important times to drink water is immediately upon rising in the morning.  Start your day out right with 8-10 ounces of water as soon as you wake up.

Tip 2: Here’s a surefire way to ensure that you remember to drink enough water each day… Put 8 pennies in your left pocket at the start of the day.  Each time you drink a glass of water move one penny over to your right pocket.  Make sure that before you go to bed that you have moved all 8 pennies over to your right pocket.  If you don’t wear pants, then get creative and come up with some other type of system that will ensure you drink the required amount of water.

Tip 3: Not all water is equal!  You should avoid tap water completely… It’s poison and can actually cause you to become dehydrated due to its large hard to absorb molecule size caused by all the chemicals and other toxic substances found in it.  Bottled water isn’t much better unless you drink Fiji which is one of the purest and highest pH balanced bottled waters available.  Your best bet to ensure you are getting the healthiest, “wettest”; most energized antioxidant type waters available is to get a water ionizer machine and create your own purified pH balanced water.  The optimal pH range is from 8.5 – 9.5. Your life will be transformed by drinking this type of water!  In my opinion, I believe the NEW Improved Living Water Machine by Vollara™ is the best water ionizer machine one the market, especially when you consider its low price as compared to other ionizer machines that cost 2-3 times as much!

All my best,

 James Clendenin

For more information on this, or other green, healthy-living technology, visit


Warning: Your Multi-Vitamin May Be Hazardous to Your Health!

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B sup...

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B supplement show above, are typically sold in pill form. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Vollara’s Products are Superior:

N.S.F. Sport Certification:

NSF has created a certification standard for nutritional supplements and Vollara is one of very few companies that has products that have been NSF Certified!  Vollara travelled to Michigan to meet with executives and scientists from NSF.  Check out this short video and see for yourself.


Warning: Your Multi-Vitamin May Be Hazardous to Your Health

During a TV interview with Matt Lauer of the NBC’s Today Show, Dr. Tod Cooperman, the President of a laboratory that conducts independent testing on health and nutritional products, revealed news that came as a shock to most viewers …

Of 21 brands of multivitamins on the market in the United States
and Canada, only 10 met the nutritional values listed
on their labels or satisfied other quality standards.

     That means 52% of the multi-vitamin brands failed the test!  And many of them were major brandslike Vitamin Shoppe, Hero Nutritionals, Nature’s Plus — and even AARP’s private label multivitamin for seniors.  

What’s even more shocking is that many of the multivitamin brands tested by Dr. Cooperman’s lab not only failed to provide adequate nutrition, but also posed serious health hazards.  The independent lab’s website states that their tests have found defects in over 30% of the supplements tested — and many exceed tolerable intake limits.

Lead Poisoning and Other Health Hazards
Hiding in Your Multi-Vitamin?
 ==> One major brand of multi-vitamins for women was found to contain 15.3 micrograms of lead.  That’s more than 10 times the amount they allow in the state of California.  While 15.3 micrograms of lead per day may not be immediately toxic, according to Dr. Cooperman, “the mineral is stored in the body and could build up to dangerous levels with time.”  Note:  Multi-vitamins like these should never be shared with children, as kids are susceptible to lead poisoning at levels as low as 6 micrograms per day.

==> A popular multi-vitamin for children was found to have an intolerable amount of Vitamin A.  Too much Vitamin A could cause bone weakening and liver abnormalities.  This children’s brand has 5,400 IUs of Vitamin A, and Dr. Cooperman says, “You don’t want to exceed 2,000 to 3,000 IUs for kids under the age of eight.” 

==> Several multi-vitamins contained significantly less vitamins than was listed on the label.  One brand tested by Dr. Cooperman’s lab had only half of the Vitamin A listed on the product’s Supplement Facts, and another brand had none of the Vitamin A listed.

==> Some of the vitamins contained in the multi-vitamin formulas work too late.  That means they don’t dissolve in the amount of time required to release the beneficial nutrients before passing through the body.  This makes the vitamins virtually worthless — and may be the reason why some multi-vitamins have been called “expensive urine.”  One multi-vitamin brand in particular, marketed by AARP, was pulled from the market because Dr. Cooperman’s lab report stated that the vitamins in the AARP formula didn’t break apart in the body fast enough to deliver any health benefits.

     Multivitamins are the most popular supplement in the U.S., with $4.8 billion in sales as of 2009, according to Nutrition Business Journal.  More than 150 million people take a dietary supplement every day in the United States alone.  It’s likely that you’re among those 150 million people, and if so, the findings of Dr. Cooperman’s lab should make you rethink your choices.

Pseudo-Vitamins and Health Frauds

     Dr. Al Sears, who owns and operates an integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida, as well as the author of several popular health books, states that the nutritional supplement industry is brimming with health fraudsPseudo-vitamins, such as “Vitamin O,” are routinely heralded as the cure for a wide variety of health conditions.  The fact is, Vitamin O is not even a vitamin.  According to the company that manufactures it, “Vitamin O” consists of distilled water, sodium chloride (salt), trace minerals and oxygen molecules.  That’s nothing but salt water.

     Other pseudo-vitamins include “Vitamin T” (also called the “sesame seed factor”) and “Vitamin U” which is a substance found in cabbage.  

     Dr. Sears further states that some multi-vitamins may be to blame for unexplained sickness, fatigue or pain.  More importantly, his investigation of the multi-vitamin brands available at drug stores, supermarkets or health food stores revealed that the majority are missing the most critical nutrients.  This shortfall makes people susceptible to the most serious illnesses, diseases and health problems, as well as the dreaded effects of aging.

     As a widely acknowledged authority in longevity and anti-aging, Dr. Sears recommends 20,000 IU of Vitamin A daily to his patients; and yet, one of the best-selling multi-vitamin brands contains only 1/6th that amount.  He also advocates a minimum of 90 mcg daily of Vitamin K; and yet one of the leading anti-aging multi-vitamins does not contain even a single molecule of this important vitamin.  He further states that the body needs 200 mcg of copper per day; and yet many multi-vitamins only contain 1% of that daily requirement.

     The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the dietary supplement industry, but it simply doesn’t have enough manpower to oversee the regulatory compliance of the burgeoning number of supplement manufacturers and marketers.  Therefore, the responsibility for investigating what’s in your multi-vitamins rests squarely on the consumer’s shoulders — yes, that means you.

     The only other alternative is to seek out a reputable company that formulates and manufactures multi-vitamins you can trust.  Although a multi-vitamin is not a substitute for a nutritious diet, the right multi-vitamin can provide “nutritional insurance” by helping to provide an optimum intake for the maintenance of good health, especially for the majority of people who are not consuming optimal amounts of vitamins in their diets.  An article published by JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) states as follows:  

All adults should take vitamin supplements to help prevent chronic disease.  The daily use of a multi-vitamin can be a potentially powerful way to improve one’s health.”

Vollara nutritionals will maintain optimal levels of health and wellness, and to help prevent the development of chronic diseases, the ravages of aging and a wide range of health problems. Special thanks to my colleague, Scott Gordon, for providing this information.


There is help for PMS and menopause symptoms. RE:JUVENATE by Vollara.

 Join for Wholesale Buying:


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Hello again, precious friends! I am very thankful to each of you for all of your support as I engage in this second leg of

Amazing for energy and appetite suppression

my weight loss journey.  I’m calling it my Uncompromising Health Weight Loss Challenge.  Although it has been tough posting “morbidly obese” photo’s on public websites, it has been worth it because I have had so many people tell me that it has motivated them to stop procrastinating and get to losing weight. I did not start this as a resolution for the new year — I started this because I want to live life to the fullest!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, exercise is not my favorite thing to do, especially in a gym.  I prefer to do outdoor activities so the scenery changes.  I used to get up everyday at 5 AM and hit the gym, and one cold winter morning when my alarm sounded, I looked at my wife and said, “Na, I ain’t doing this!”  Now I will admit, I did get rather addicted (can you believe me, addicted)? to walking once. My wife, Joyce, and I used to walk five miles everyday. I have to admit, I really felt great then…and I was younger too…that helped!  In my job, I spend time listening to conference calls, so I have started using my Cardio-Glide while listening to the calls. 

This morning, I decided I needed something different, so while I was listening to some phone calls on my iPhone, I took my little Maltese, Ariel, and went for a walk. The weather here in South Carolina is very unseasonal right now. I walked one and a half miles, and burned-up over 457 calories. I was excited!

I want to make sure I keep my energy levels high.  My company, Vollara, distributes an amazing supplement, Re: Activate.  Many of you have asked me if I take something to help curb my appetite and give me energy, well this is the secret product. It is amazing!  I am going to give you some additional information at the end of this blog about Re: Activate in case you want to know. Anytime I find a product that helps me, I use it. I am very loyal; therefore, I use only Vollara products.  Obviously I have made a great decision because many Major League Baseball teams use our products. I have testimonial letters if you would like to have copies.

Well, I need to wind it down, as I have other things to do.  Thank you for the phone calls of support. Thank you for stopping me on the street and letting me know you’re following my success. I truly appreciate the support. I certainly hope my struggle with weight, and now my victory with the loss of my weight is also an encouragement for you as well. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you cannot lose your excess weight…you can!  If you need someone to help you, and support you, do not hesitate to call on me.  I would love for you guys to leave your comments below. Tell me about your success, and also feel free to let me know what you’re struggling with. If I can’t help you, my wife is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and she can reply to your comments.  If you would like to correspond with me privately, feel free to e-mail me at

I have posted my before and after photo’s again since so many of you have asked for me to do so in one place.  Below is also the information on Re:Activate. Order yours today on my website.

Be blessed!



Reenergize with Re:Activate!

Fatigue and low energy levels can make you feel chronically tired in both body and mind. Lack of quality sleep, stress, limited physical activity, dehydration, and poor eating habits are big contributors to feeling tired and mental fatigue. Kick up your energy and mental acuity with Re:Activate, an all-natural, vegetarian energy supplement.

Re:Activate contains ingredients designed to boost your energy, suppress your appetite and elevate your mood. Three proprietary blends combine to create Re:Activate, providing you with all the benefits of increased mental and physical energy.

Benefits of Re:Activate:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Possible decrease in appetite
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Boost energy levels without the fear of crashing

Take Re:Activate if:

  • You need physical and mental energy
  • You feel fatigued
  • You suffer from low motivation to exercise or work

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Natural Ingredients to Boost Your Energy

Re:Activate contains a Proprietary Energy Blend, Proprietary Appetite Control Blend and Proprietary Support Blend for a complete, energy-increasing supplement.

  • Relieve mental and physical fatigue with ingredients in Re:Activate
  • Green tea leaf extract provides caffeine and antioxidants to raise energy levels and mental alertness
  • Ingredients in Re:Activate provide an appetite suppressant to help control cravings and overeating
  • Increase your energy during exercise and everyday life to achieve optimal results
  • A Proprietary Support Blend helps prevent the crash associated with traditional energy supplements
  • Naturally trigger the body’s ability to produce energy with powerful antioxidants from quercetin and green tea leaf extract

Consult with your health practitioner and/or pharmacist if you are using any medications.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



2004 – in excess of 555 pounds and a size 74 waist and a BMI of 75+

Most addictions whether they be alcohol, sex, drugs, or in my case food, usually have some degree of secrecy.  I personally feel that those with food addictions tend to have more secrecy.  Alcoholics for example can go to a bar and feed their addiction right in public with their friends. Sure, food addicts can go to restaurants and eat with friends; however, usually in this setting, food addicts will not eat as much food as they would in private. Alcoholics usually get noticed for their addiction – they are loud, obnoxious, get in trouble with the law, and God forbid, some even kill others.  Food addicts to some degree go unnoticed.  I always tried to make people feel I was strong and “all-together.” I can assure you when I weighed close to 600 pounds, I was NOT all together. I was falling apart!

In their book, The Don’t Diet Live It! Workbook, Wachter and Marcus say, “At the core of food, weight, and body issues is a deep well of shame.”  Shame is what you feel when you believe that you are a failure as a person or that something is fundamentally wrong with you. When you feel shame, there is a tendency to isolate yourself (or your true feelings) from others. You may believe that you don’t deserve support, so you keep your problems to yourself. Or you think your pain will “bring people down” so you hide it where others won’t see it. The more secretive you become, the more alone you feel. The more alone you feel, the more your feelings of shame seem confirmed.
According to my wife, family therapist Joyce Raines,  “reaching out to others is essential to recovery, it is important that the people you reach out to are Safe People.” Joyce describes safe people as those who respect you and are good listeners. They don’t try to fix you. Safe people welcome you and all your feelings, no matter what your feelings happen to be at the time. For me personally, when I talk with Joyce, I feel heard and cared about.
On the other hand, unsafe people are those who criticize, interrupt, try to “fix” you, give unsolicited advice, relate everything you say to themselves, or reveal your confidences. Sadly, most people turn to unsafe people due to a fear of intimacy. We tend to go to unsafe people because their rejection and criticism, though painful, is familiar.
I urge you to find a safe person to reach out to. It will mean being honest. It will mean calling them or being with them when you are in pain or feeling bad about yourself. It means telling the truth when you are angry or hurt. It means asking for help when you don’t know what to do. It means trusting people who are trustworthy.
Joyce and I will be your safe people. I know the pain you experience being overweight. Joyce is trained to help you deal with the underlying feelings and emotions that are causing you to react by over-eating.  I urge you to contact us. I am thankful I found Vollara. Vollara has one of the absolute best weight loss and nutritional programs in the country. They have a medical advisory board that is unmatched anywhere.  As I’ve said before, Vollara’s RE:PLACE is at the core of my successful weight loss, along with other key nutritionals.
Thank you for reading today. I’ve lost 35 pounds in 40 days, and I would love to help you get on the same path. Let me hear from you.
 Your friend,
Brian Raines


Me now after lots of weight loss with my granddaughter, Andreana

If you’re like many people, you made a resolution at the beginning of 2012 to lose some weight this year.  This is usually the time of year most folks have given up on that idea and moved on.  For example, how did you do last night while watching the Super Bowl?  Did you eat healthy, or did you give yourself permission to “pig-out” promising yourself that tomorrow you would start back on your diet?  Do you realize how many times I have done this?

Here’s the deal…eating for me is not just about eating too much occassionally. I am addicted to food just as a alcoholic is addicted to booze, or a drug addict is addicted to drugs.  Food has always been my drug of choice if you will.  I have spent many days talking with alcoholics about their addiction. It is amazing to me how we share the exact same traits. The one big difference, and this was what I always told myself to make me feel more comfortable, ” one can live without alcohol; however, one cannot live without food.”  For me, the weakness has always been fast food. Man, I should have owned a McDonalds! I love it. Now, that may not be your thing, but it is mine.  I recognize my addictive personality. Anything I like, I go after it with a passion. I don’t drink for religious reasons; however, I always stayed away from alcohol because I would not be able to drink socially, I would be the guy who was constantly drinking.  If I like it, and enjoy it, and get joy, satisfaction, and pleasure from it, I go after it. Thankfully, I know myself good enough to just stay away from certain things.

Back to resolutions. Did you make one to lose weight? Are you losing? Are you hot and cold? Have you already given up? You know the good part? Tomorrow is a brand new day, and it is never too late to start again. One must take it day-by-day.  The Super Bowl is over…maybe you consumed massive amounts of food. Not good, but so what! Tomorrow you can start all over again. The only way you will not lose your desired weight is if you quit! Winners never quit, and quitters never win.

I have been reading a book, actually it is a workbook, entitled The Don’t Diet LIVE-IT! Workbook by Andrea Wachter, LMFT and Marsea Marcus, LMFT. I highly recommend you invest a few bucks in this book. Chapter One discusses Outer Solutions vs Inner Solutions.  The book talks about how all that we really see of other people are their outsides.  Bad thing, that’s all most people see of you and me.  This is the reason most obese people are discriminated against. Most people don’t take the time to get to know an overweight person because they can’t, or they choose not to get past the fat.  Hey, I’m fat and I’m guilty! I’ve done it. I’m not proud of it. Sometimes we believe the outside of a person is all there really is. However, we each have an inner world that is far more important than what we show and see on the outside.

All my life I have found solace in food when I could not find it in my family or my friends. Food was something I could always count on. Everything else was unstable — parents might disapprove or be critical, friends might tease or turn on you, your best efforts might not result in success or happiness. But Big-Macs are always comforting, ice-cream is always creamy, peanut butter is always rich, and chocolate is always sweet.

For me personally, food can and was a solution for some things. It can end hunger, give nourishment, and provide pleasure. But there is no food that can combat loneliness, anger, shame, sadness, or anxiety. These are inner issues that need inner solutions. When we become obsessed with food and our bodies, we are tryiing to solve inner problems with outer solutions.

I’d like to hear your comments. Please feel free to share them with me. Tell me what you are finding gives you strength to carry on. Tell me your struggles. Subscribe to this blog so we can take this journey together. I still have a long way to go, but I will make it, and you can too. Let’s do it together.  Some of you have asked me what I use to keep my energy level up.  My company has an excellent energy drink called Re:Vive.  Click here to watch a short video on the product. I use the Vollara nutrition line in my weight loss journey. Specifically, I use RE:PLACE as my core foundation, I use RE:ACTIVATE for appetite supression, as well as RE:VIVE.  RE:DUCE is excellent for those times you may slip-up and eat too much, and RE:CLEANSE is great for a good body and colon cleanse.  All of these items can be ordered directly from my website.

Thanks for joining me today. Let me hear from you. If you don’t want to leave a public post, contact me directly at

I’m pulling for you, and I’m here to help you. God bless.




With Vollara, You're Headed in the Right Direction

Good afternoon to my fellow “losers!”  Of course, we all know I am referring to those of you who are losing their excess weight with me on the Vollara Uncompromising Health Weight Loss Challenge.  I hope you are a smaller person today than you were yesterday.  Today started day 36 for me.  The biggest hurdle is over – I have almost lost 10% of my body weight, and that was an initial goal for me, on this my second leg of weight loss.

I’ll bring you up-to-date on where I stand.  I have lost 30 pounds in 35 days.  I am really starting to feel some great energy and positive feelings coming into play. Yesterday, I had to go visit my internist for a check-up, and he was pleased with my over-all health.  My heart has always been strong and healthy, even when I weighed my heaviest of 555 pounds. Yesterday was no exception.  To my doctor’s surprise, my blood pressure was 118/80.  Here again, hard to believe, but my blood pressure has always been normal. 

I have truly been blessed to stay healthy in spite of my weight. I just turned 49 in December. My father died when he was 59. He had diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure…you name it, he had it. I lost my maternal grandmother to diabetes, and my paternal grandmother to diabetes. My dad’s mom lost her leg to the disease, prior to her death.  I have always been overweight; however, I have always been healthy. That has always been my problem! Each time my doctor would tell me to lose weight or die, I brushed it off because I was so healthy. The only issue the doctor’s could point at me and show me was my cholesterol levels, and at my heaviest weight, my level was 232.  You see, I was in denial. As long as all my medical tests were good, I never worried. When the doctor said, “you are going to die,” I always said, “I’m not dead yet, and I am healthy.”  Is that insane or what? There I was at 555 pounds arguing with the doctor.  When my dad died at age 59, it was like cold water in my face. That was the turning point for me. 

If you need to lose weight, please listen to me! DO NOT delay another day…start getting your weight off now!  There isn’t one excuse you can tell me that I haven’t used. You cannot convince me you are happy being overweight, you cannot convince me you are healthy being overweight, you cannot convince me of one thing, except you are heading down a dead-end street. Literally!

My wife, Joyce, has been a true help-mate to me. Joyce is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  I figured it was cheaper for me to marry a therapist than to pay for one.  She always told me, “honey, you are insane. You are doing the same thing daily, and expecting a different result.” Naturally, I never wanted to hear it. If you won’t listen to anyone else, please listen to me. I am you. I am overweight. I know the pain and discrimination you live in every day. I can help you. I will lose the weight with you. I will encourage you. Will you do it?

In closing, I have been telling myself I wanted to lose down to 180 pounds. Yesterday, my internist told me he felt it would be more appropriate for me to get down to 200 or so. Hey, I liked that! I am trying to be smart and listen to my doctor now. I have revised my goal to 200 pounds.  Now, all I have to do is lose approximately .41 pounds each day, and on my birthday this year (December 29th), I should be at my goal weight.

I use Vollara nutritional weight loss products. If you want to get on the challenge with me, visit my website and place your order today. Re:Place is the core product in my program. I also use Re:Activate, Re:Duce, Re:Cleanse, as well as my daily nutritional supplement, Re:Fuel.  Feel free to make comments below, and subscribe to this blog so we can keep up with each other.  If you would like to correspond with me confidentially, feel free to send me an e-mail at

Come on…join me…be a loser!



weight loss tracker week 2

Image by The Shed1 via Flickr

Oh what a beautiful morning it is here in the piedmont of South Carolina.  It is cool, but I’m beginning to think winter has forgotten to make an appearance this year.  Bring on the snow!

So, how are you coming along with your own weight loss challenge?  Have you had one or two of those days yet, as I did last week, when the scales made you mad and you wanted to just crush them?  Two days last week, I actually gained weight; however, over the weekend, I got mad, and serious, and decided that greater is He who is in me, than he that is in those scales!

As you know, I started my weight loss journey at 555 pounds several years ago.  I have pictures posted of me “before” in a previous blog. My goal is to hit 180 by my birthday on December 29th.  Drum roll…..this morning I weighed in at 338.2  I was very excited, because that is a loss of over 1.5 pounds yesterday.  This brings my total to 26.8 pounds lost in the past 32 days.

You know what I want to do? I want to see if I can actually get my weight loss total higher than the actual number of days I’ve been on the challenge.  I want to see something like 40 pounds lost in 35 days. Wouldn’t that be a BOOM?  I know I can do it, and you can as well.

Please join me on my challenge.  I still have 158.2 pounds to go in order to reach my target weight. My BMI needs to be 24.4  I want to hear from you guys. Tell me what struggles you’re having. Tell me about your success.

Exercise is my weakness…I don’t like it, and I don’t enjoy it; but, I know I’ve got to get a program going. Remember, when your motivation leaves you, your discipline kicks in. Take your supplements, drink the correct amount of water, preferably LivingWater, it is SO much healthier for you. The health benefits are amazing.

Go out and make it a great day. Subscribe to my blog so we can keep up and share our success together.  It’s much easier to lose weight when you have others doing it with you, and I need you…that’s why I’m putting my personal information out here, because I need encouragement too.

Let me know if you would like to have a free copy of my January Healthy Living Newsletter. Have a blessed day.

To Your Weight Loss Success!


P.S.  If you find you are running low on energy, I have found RE:VIVE to be a great energy boost.  You can watch a short video on the product here, and you can order at this website.

Uncompromising Health Weight Loss Challenge – Day 32

It is a beautiful, sunshine-filled morning here in South Carolina. Frost on the

The backbone of my program - Re:Place by Vollara

ground and twenty-one degrees!  God is certainly smiling on us this special day.

Today starts Day 32 of my own Vollara Uncompromising Health Weight Loss Challenge.  The past two days have been a bit frustrating as my body has decided it is showing me who is in charge.  The scale did give me a bit of relief this morning showing a loss of eight ounces.  This morning, I weighed in at 339.8.  I am really excited about the coming week. How much healthier I will become…how much more weight I will lose. 

My day started with two ounces of low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple. I topped it off with a delicious vanilla whey protein shake from Vollara. I blended it with cold, organic skim milk. Delicious! Some days I blend my fruit in with the shake. Can I get a BOOM?

Re:Place is the core product in my weight loss program.  Re:Place is a delicious SuperFood that uses the amazing power of enzymes to support your metabolism at optimum levels during weight loss without using drugs or stimulants. Unlike other meal replacement products that offer little nutrition, Re:Place provides the minerals, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, protein, fatty acids, fiber, phytonutrients, and naturally occurring vitamins that your body needs to support a healthy and active metabolism. Re:Place supports your body’s ability to burn the maximum amount of fat from storage, using it as fuel and enabling you to obtain the slimmer, leaner body you desire. In fact, as a SuperFood, Re:Place is an ideal meal replacement or supplement drink for anyone concerned with looking great and feeling great.

I will have the second of my 5 – 7 meals around noon today.  It sure feels good to be losing weight again. Below are my stats:

Original starting weight — 555 pounds

Today, I weighed in at 339.8.  On this second leg of my journey, I have dropped 25.2 pounds over the past 31 days and I feel great. Body Mass Index (BMI)  today is 46.1  My ultimate goal is to be at 180 pounds by my birthday on December 29th. In order to accomplish this, I must lose 0.48 pounds each day.

Many of you have decided to join me on my challenge. I hope more of you do.  When you do, I will send you my complete meal plan, as well as our 5-7-5 plan which allows you to lose 5 pounds in 7 days.  My personal plan is a bit more aggressive.

Let me hear from you. Leave your comments. Tell me how you’re doing on your weight loss. What are you finding helpful? What’s challenging for you? While you here, I’d be honored if you would subscribe to this blog, and I will give you daily updates, and keep you posted on new health trends, especially tailored around weight loss.  Keep it up…the only way one cannot win this game is by quitting. Don’t you quit!

Peace and Love,



Brian Raines at 555 pounds

Good Morning, Friends.  I have been on a weight loss roller coaster most of my life.  I was born fat. I came into this world, according to my mother, at 10 lbs 8 oz.  Not a good way to start, huh?

I have been overweight all of my life, and to make matters worse, I have suffered from a tic disorder since childhood. Tics are tough, especially for kids.  My tics do not fall into the Tourette’s Syndrome category, because I do not have vocal tics — I don’t bark, scream, or curse unexpectedly.  So, weight and tics. Life has been tough. One thing I have noticed however, it seems to me that kids who suffer with TS or tic disorders, for the better part, are rather artistic. For me, it was playing piano, singing, and writing music.  Now that I am older, I have given -up most of my music aspirations — I don’t even have a piano anymore. I sold my concert grand a few years ago because it wasn’t getting played, and the environment in my sunroom wasn’t good for the instrument.

For the past thirty days, I have been documenting my weight loss on Facebook; however, I have decided to do it going forward utilizing my blog.  I will be posting to Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

I have been on and off diets my entire life. I have tried almost everything except Weight Watchers, and for some reason, their program never interested me.  I even had a gastric bypass years ago, and lost one hundred pounds or so, but for the better part, was still very obese.

I started my “major” weight loss program at my peak of 555 pounds.  I dropped down to my adult low of 297 pounds back in November of 2008; however, over the past three years, I went back up to 365.  In December of last year (2011), I went to see my doctor for my annual physical. Believe it or not, he told me that I was malnourished at 365 pounds! What?  Seems my body has been having difficulty holding on to calcium, iron, and vitamin D. He thinks it is from the gastric bypass I had back in 2004. I do, therefore, take a lot of supplements daily.

On my birthday, December 29, 2011, I decided I was going to get the rest of my weight off. I run my own company, and ironically enough, my company is a health and nutrition company. I have been in the industry since 2006.  I’ve used my companies eco-friendly technology products (air and water purification, LaundryPure, and the like), but I never really used the nutritional products. If I did, it was sporadically.  I decided I was going to get the rest of my weight off, and I was going to give my very own company products a real effort. A hypocrite I am not. I’m not going to Jenny Craig, when I work for a major nutrition company.

Here’s where I stand as of this morning:  My Body Mass Index (BMI) in 2004 was near 75!  This morning, my BMI is 46.2. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this, one’s BMI fluctuates as your body weight fluctuates.  Two days ago, my BMI was 45.9.  For some reason, I have gained two pounds in the past two days.  Sometimes, your body will hit a plateau, and this is when one must do something different. I have chosen to drink more alkaline water, and try to get some excercise. I never have excercised much. After all, doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that bodily excercise profits a man little?  I’m really stretching the scriptures here, and taking it out of context; but, in this case, I like it!

Here’s my results since December 29, 2011.  My weight this morning was 340.6 pounds. Using my very own company products, I have lost 24.4 pounds in 30 days. My results were better than this a couple of days ago until I hit a plateau. I am excited to see what the coming week and month brings!  My goal weight is 180 pounds. I want to hit this weight by my birthday this year, which again is December 29th.  In order for me to do this, I must lose 0.48 pounds per day. I know I can do much better than this. I have 336 days left to hit my goal. I need to lose 160.6 pounds.

For those of you that are interested in following my journey, I would be honored if you subscribed to my daily blog. Maybe I can be an encouragement to you, and I’m sure there will be days when you can encourage me. We can be a team — lose our weight together. Support is very critical.

If you want to know the specifics of my plan, I will be posting them over the next week; however, I can tell you this. I eat 5 – 7 small meals each day.  The foundation of my plan, is RE:PLACE, which is a protein shake distributed by my company, Vollara.  In addition to the shake, I take RE:ACTIVATE to give me energy and suppress my appetite. In the event I “mess-up” and go eat Mexican food like I did Thursday night, I take RE:DUCE. This is a fabulous product. For an energy boost everyday, I drink RE:VIVE (this is addictive – you will love it)! You can read about it, and all other products on my website.  You can also order any of these products directly from my website as well.  If you are interested in buying at wholesale, just hit the Contact Me button on my website, and you can send me a direct message, and I can tell you how you can become a wholesale customer and save a lot of money. You can also do as I do, and make money by using and sharing the products.

Please follow me and lets lose weight together. Subscribe to this blog. I would love for you to try the products I am using, because they work, and they are top-shelf nutritional products.

My precious friend, Dr. Mike Murdock says, “Our lives are like a train on the Track of Success.  Each day, God gives us 24 golden box cars (hours) to load up. What you place in each box car, or hour, determines the speed and the distance your train will move toward your next city of accomplishment.”  Make your life count today. Every hour is a Seed. You control The Harvest.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil,” (Ephesians 5:16). 

Thanks for reading and supporting me. Let me hear from you, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.

Be blessed!

Your friend,

Brian Raines

Would you like to make up to a career level income working part-time from home? If so, check here when you have a second.



Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Robert Kiyosaki and Others

English: Donald Trump at a press conference an...

Image via Wikipedia

What do Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Robert Kiyosaki, and other financial guru’s have in common? Their belief in the network marketing industry.

Wall Street and corporate America are finally realizing that the network marketing industry is THE industry to be involved with in today’s new economy.  Take a few moments to watch this amazing video, and let me know your thoughts.

If you are interested in knowing more about solutions for our new economy, click here.

Tired of Suffering From Stiff Joints?


If you have stiff, achy joints you’re not alone.  I can’t tell you how many of you have told me they’re so stiff in the morning that it is miserable to get out of bed – or that everyday activities like climbing a flight of stairs is a painful event.

Unfortunately there aren’t many good pain relief options available, especially if you have cardiovascular concerns.  Clinical studies have shown that the most popular pain relievers for joint issues, NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), can negatively impact blood clotting.   Consequently, it would seem they are not the optimal choice for anyone with cardiovascular concerns.

The good news is there’s an all-natural breakthrough that can provide dramatic joint pain relief safely and effectively…

This discovery gets to the root of joint pain – delivering safe, lasting relief.

Scientists have uncovered an all-natural pain reliever called Re:Flex® that does what no other nutrient has ever done, it…

Previous name Infi-Aide

  • Provides fast dramatic relief for stiff, painful joints – by blocking pain right where it starts
  • Contains antioxidants that help protect your joints.
  • Plus, it’s not only safe for your heart – it actually boosts heart health!

This is such a huge breakthrough for your joints, muscles and your heart.

Re:Flex blocks your joint pain right where it starts.

Re:Flex contains highly bioavailable form of ingredients.  Once in your joints, Re:Flex blocks the top pain-causing enzymes we all hear so much about.

Plus, it’s safe and natural, so you can confidently take it every day!

The study results are quite dramatic.


To order RE:FLEX visit Vollara’s website at this link

In a leading study, Reflex improved pain, stiffness, and physical function by over 58% and mobility by 336%.  Re:Flex also promoted a 16-fold drop in C-reactive protein (CRP), which is the measure of inflammation in your body.  That dramatic CRP reduction isn’t just benefiting your joints; it can make a real improvement in your overall health.

Then, to round out the Re:Flex formula, it supplies a powerful combination of natural herbs and proteolytic enzymes that support the immune system’s natural anti-inflammatory processes.  This helps to reduce oxidative stress on your joints, heart and entire body.

Re:Flex can make a real difference
in your health and quality of life


To order RE:FLEX visit Vollara’s website at this link
Not only does it do an excellent job of relieving your everyday joint pain and stiffness, it can make a real difference anywhere in your body that CRP is causing harm.  Remember, not only does Re:Flex relieve joint pain and stiffness; it’s safe and natural so you can confidently take it every day with your cardiovascular medications.  In fact, it can help improve your cardiovascular health.


Content by Scott Gordon. To contact Scott, e-mail him at


To order RE:FLEX visit Vollara’s website at this link




There is a great deal of interest in helping your body become more alkaline.  The best way to obtain alkalinity in your body is through your food; however, most people do not eat the right amount of the proper foods.

The easiest way to help make your body more alkaline is through alkaline ionized water.  I am sharing a short video clip on Alkalinity vs Acidity. I hope it is informative for you. You can view the video by clicking here

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable

LivingWater by Vollara


If you want more information about how to get alkaline ionized water in your home, visit this eco-friendly website



2011 in review

San Francisco cable car no. 57 at the stop at ...

Image via Wikipedia

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Reasons You Don’t Need to Hide From Friends in Network Marketing

Hi, my name is Brian. What is yours? What do I do, you ask?  I’m a former stockbroker, now a full-time network marketer.  Wait! Why are you choking? Why are you suddenly trying to run away?  This is a pretty common scenario when I meet someone for the first time.

I’m not an old guy. As a matter of fact, I just turned 49.  I have been blessed with many experiences, and thankfully some different careers in my life.  I have been a professional touring musician, a real estate broker, a business owner, a financial planner, and now…..I am a full-time network marketer. And by the way, very proud of it!

It’s funny. When I was in the music industry, people stuck to me like glue, especially girls in small towns. They saw me as a ticket out of Hickville, USA or as a stepping stone to help their career ambitions.  Never worked. We musicians called these “ladies” diesel sniffers.  For those of you not familiar with the term diesel sniffer, it means the same thing as a groupie or whatever other name you choose to call them.  Every career field has them in some form or fashion.

When I was in real estate and the stock brokerage field, and people would ask me what I did for a living, once I told them, they started in on me for free advice. “Well, what do you think my property is worth, or what should I invest my money in these days?”  Naturally, I never gave away free advice; but, this was a common scenario.

Nowdays, it is a totally different story. When people find out that I actually work in the network marketing or MLM field, they will break their neck trying to get away from me.  I think a lot of it has to do with the way a certain company years ago conducted business in this industry. I call this a scamway! I think we all have been invited to dinner with friends to find out when we got there we had been harpooned into an MLM presentation.  Not the way to do business!

Here’s the thing most people don’t understand. Just because I work in the MLM industry does not mean I want you working with me in the MLM industry. Surprised?  It also does not mean that everytime I see you I am going to try and sell you something.  You see, that is the misconception. Everyone is afraid of network marketers because they think they are going to be marketed to, or hounded seven days a week and twice on Sunday. I don’t conduct business this way. That was scamway, remember? Now, I will admit, many MLM people still attempt to conduct business this way. You know the type, they are in a new deal every other month, and they never make any money!

Many of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis couldn’t become a partner in my business if they paid me. Surprise you? I know, it really does. Here’s why I say this. Network marketing, despite what you hear, is very hard work — probably the hardest work I have ever done. Many of the people I come in contact with couldn’t do my job — they’re too lazy, they are looking to get-rich-quick, and they are much too negative about most everything you mention.  I know, this sounds mean and cruel; but, it is just the down-right truth!  In my network marketing business, I only talk with those individuals who want to talk with me. I’m looking for those unique, special people who are looking for me.  There are those who are very content in their careers and that is well and good. There are those who like working 9-5 everyday and being told what to do by their wealthy boss. They like that guaranteed paycheck. But guess what, there are no guarantees. You call in sick one too many times, or make the boss mad, and you’re gone. In a few minutes you are in-line at the unemployment office.

I have chosen my career path because I like doing what I want when I want to do it. I like getting out of bed whenever I choose. I like working when it fits my schedule not someone else’s. I like getting paid what I’m worth, and I like knowing that I can make as much or as little as I choose, not what some corporate executive thinks I deserve. Here’s what I enjoy: financial independence, time freedom, control, and unlimited opportunity, and I’m no longer over-qualified and under-paid!

Relax. I’m not trying to recruit you into my deal. I’m not trying to sell you something everytime I see you. I don’t usually work with just family and friends, if I did, I would be going hungry.  Can you imagine owning a McDonald’s and putting a sign out front that reads “Only family and friends served?”  If you’re looking for me, I’m looking for you. It’s that simple. Period.

Love to hear your comments and feedback.


Brian Raines

Christmas Message From Brian Raines

Seasons Greetings!


Merry Christmas

Image via Wikipedia


Wow! Another incredible year of new beginnings has passed and we have all truly been blessed so much in different ways every day. Because your friendship is such a big part of this blessing, we wanted to take the time to recognize you with this personal letter of gratitude. It’s so easy in our day-to-day lives to forget what is truly important, and one of them is stopping to say: “Thanks for being you and we are forever grateful for our relationship! You have truly made a unique and positive impact in our world.” 

Now is the time of year where many celebrate God’s greatest gift while others struggle during this season with the many aspects of life such as sadness of the loss of a loved one, relationship or loneliness. We wanted to remind you whether you celebrate Christmas by giving thanks for the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ or Hanukkah, the festival of lights commemorating religious freedom, please always remember that God loves you so very much.  God has a plan for YOU and YOUR LIFE. It begins with His incredible gift of grace and, underserved blessings. His graceness ensures that although life isn’t always easy, it’s worth it and is purposed.

The fact you are receiving this letter means that you are highly regarded by not just a few people, but many.  Your desire to serve others…even at times when you yourself may be struggling…means that God is working deeply within you transforming your “test” into a testimony…of trust in Him. Any person that gives of themselves to serve so many others is a priviledge to know and call a friend. Perhaps it was said best: “To be the greatest, you must service the many”. We thank you once again for aspiring to be the greatest…for being YOU. Your sacrifice points to the true meaning of this special season where God sacrificed his only son as a baby to become a man with a gift of perpetuity to all who accept it.

We hope your Holiday Season is filled with grace that is multiplied in the New Year.  As we move into a new year, we ask for God to continue to bless you and your loved ones. May His hand and favor be upon you in a prosperous and joy-filled 2012.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

With much gratitude,

Brian and Joyce Raines
The Raines Organization, Inc.

Need extra income in 2012? Look here!
 Reprinted from our friends at Creating Wealth From Home


The Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society recently held a convention and


personally invited Vollara’s Chairman and CEO Joe Urso to address the group. All of the water and     air for the entire show was sponsored by Vollara, and both proved to be a big hit. Bottles of LivingWater were available and – no surprise here – people loved it! Also embraced at the event was Re:Vive – everyone seemed to want a boost of that famous Re:Vive energy to get them through the day!

By the end of Joe’s presentation, 26 of the 29 baseball teams decided to get a LivingWater machine! Vollara has cemented itself as a respected, sought-after company with whom national sports teams are eager to work. Even Hall of Fame coaches are taking the initiative and contacting Vollara – because they know Vollara has a stellar reputation, superior technology and stands behind the quality of their products.

See Vollara’s Drinking Water Chart here

Read about the importance of aquaporins here

To order your own LivingWater at retail, visit The Raines Organization, Inc.

For more information on Vollara’s other eco-friendly, green technology products, visit here

If you are interested in signing-up right now with Vollara, and starting your own home-based

business in the green technology industry, or to become a wholesale buyer of the products, visit here






Hello, Precious Friends:

The Christmas time is a time for giving generously. The perfect Christmas gift is available at Vollara for all your family and friends.

I know it is a bit early; however, our factory is already beginning to see back-orders, and we want to avoid this at all costs. So, we are making available to you, our dear friends and family members, our advanced copy of our Christmas catalog.

This time we have an incredible deal on an amazing new product! We have a new technology product, LaundryPure. This technology allows you to use your existing washing machine and eliminate the need for detergent, bleach, fabric softener, and hot water!  Imagine the money you can save, and you will be doing something great for our environment.

By ordering this product now, you will not have to pay the normal retail price of $799.99. You can buy now directly through me, and get the product at below wholesale cost of $597.00 and get two boxes of our Re:Vive Energy drink and two boxes of our Re:Sist products absolutely free!  This is over $900 worth of products for less than the wholesale cost of the LaundryPure alone! 

All our prices are not high and this discount will further delight you. This offer is only valid till December25.

You can buy presents for everyone at your home. Browse through our catalog and select the items. All your gifts shall be sent to your friends and family. Visit our website to place your order.

Call me directly at (864) 918-8025 for instructions on ordering the LaundryPure package. For a FREE copy of our 2011 Christmas catalog, send me an e-mail to

Enjoy Christmas with your loved ones, and thank you for your business.

Brian and Joyce Raines

P.S. For more information on the LaundryPure, visit

Want more information on starting your own home-based, eco-friendly Vollara business? Find full details here 

Brian E. Raines, President
The Raines Organization, Inc.
Post Office Box 799
Liberty, South Carolina 29641
(864) 918-8025
(800) 343-2359

Sharing Some Exciting News

I trust you are doing well and enjoying this beautiful fall weather. I wanted to share some exciting news with you. As most of my friends know, I spent over thirteen years in the financial services industry, and sold my business in 2009. Over the past several years, I have had numerous job offers to come back into the industry and I have turned them down. After talking with Joyce, and after much prayer, I have decided to “partially” step back into the financial services field, and to that end, I have accepted a sales position with Rhino Financial in Greenville, who exclusively represents Family Heritage Life Insurance Company. Family Heritage is a Christian-based company run from Cincinnati, Ohio.

I will be primarily talking to families in my immediate area (meaning I am licensed in SC) about cancer. I know this isn’t the most pleasant subject, but it does affect a lot of families in our area, and when it strikes a family, it can devastate financially.

I’d like very much to share more with you. Could we get together over coffee?

Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.

Donald Trump Controversy: My Take

downloadIf you’re breathing, you’ve heard about the Donald Trump hot mic controversy. This story is all over the news, even placing Hurricane Matthew on the back burner. I’ve been a Trump supporter from the very beginning, and I still am. I’ll be the first to tell you, I am very disturbed by the things I’ve heard in this recording, but I’m not surprised. I’ve been around enough world-class politicians and entertainers in my day to know how they really talk behind the scenes. I can tell you from personal experience that George H.W. Bush had one of the most foul mouth’s of the best of them. And, I can assure you that Bill Clinton uses the same language that Donald Trump used in this hot mic incident! Now, having said this, I am disappointed in Mr. Trump, I wish he was better than the average politician, and I have lost some respect for him; but, I will still be casting my vote for him in November.

Here’s what bothers me about this entire thing: if Donald Trump stumps his toe, NBC, CNN, and the like are all over it, and they make it into the biggest of stories. Hillary Clinton can do whatever she wants, and the media totally ignores it, or they push it into the corner and barely mention it! It’s almost as if she gets a free pass on almost everything she does! It’s just like yesterday, Wikileaks released all these emails about Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street, and they contained very damaging information, and the media is hardly mentioning this information, because they are so consumed by this Donald Trump news! Why the double standard? The media wants Hillary Clinton elected as president of the United States and they will do whatever is required to put her in this position. Folks, we had better wake up, or in three weeks, we are going to find Hillary Clinton as the leader of our great country! Do you not realize what she will do to America if she gets control? Do you not realize what the Supreme Court will become?

Donald Trump messed up big time eleven years ago when he acted like a high school boy running his mouth to Billy Bush! He’s not the first man to do something stupid, and he won’t be the last. What he said then won’t change how he can save America from her problems now! I believe he is the only option we have right now to Make America Great Again! Hillary Clinton scares me! She is a lyin’, evil woman. She will say and do whatever she has to do in order to get what she wants in life. She has no clue how we in middle-America live…no idea! My fellow Americans, I beg you to please, please, not lose sight of the big picture here! Our future is at stake. Donald Trump is not a perfect man, but he is the man we have who has stepped up to the plate, and is willing to give his all to help Make America Great Again! Let’s get behind him and support him, and make sure Hillary Clinton never gets the opportunity to destroy this great country!