Allow Your Children the Luxury of Being Imperfect Beings

thGYLDRKTHWe live in an age in which “everyone gets a prize.” Parents not wanting to disappoint their children, give every participant a ribbon. The world is unfair; in life, everyone does not get a prize.

James heard daily how incredibly special he could be because his older brother was a star athlete. His parents believed that their younger son could also be the  best player on his Little League team as well. Unfortunately this was unmerited praise for he was not. Professing to be Christians, James’s parents attended church and appeared to live godly lives until they attended their son’s Christian school games. That is when their testimony soured. His parents embarrassed their son with their cat-calls and criticism of the other team.  Every coach who benched him “Didn’t know what he was doing, was stupid and a lousy coach.”

Children need realistic boundaries, balance, guidelines and goals. Each child has a different personality and skill level. James loved books more than sports and dreamed of being a famous chef. But his parents continually urged him toward goals which were unrealistic. So few high school players ever go on to become a pro athlete and when James failed to win a college baseball scholarship, he felt like a total failure. He’d never be his brother. As James lived with the daily pressure of his parent’s expectations, he became increasingly resentful and bitter. I’ll never be good enough for them!

Upon entering the real world and away from his parents, James believed life would be easier but it wasn’t. To James, having grown up in an all or nothing environment, he didn’t possess the social skills needed in the business world and failed at every job he tried. But he had found his champion hobby . . . becoming a champion eater and 388 pounds.

He searched for an outlet to fill the emotional emptiness in his life. Food was that substance. James innately discovered that certain chemicals released through food, created feelings of pleasure, especially sugary foods. The more he ate, the more he could numb the pain of his parents nagging. Chemicals satiated his love hunger.

Addiction is addiction is addiction. If it hadn’t been food, it would have been smoking, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even television. Something needed to fill his inadequacy within. Whatever chemically makes one feel so good it can’t be given it up is an addiction. It masks the pain through its chemical attributes. It’s the reason why many addicts run from one addiction to the other, trying to fill emotional gaps in their lives.

As a child of God, we need to realize that we are each different but useful to Him even with our imperfections. I’d urge you to read to your children the many examples of flawed people who were used by God: Jonah was a coward, David was a cheater, Paul was a murderer, Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted and so on. Allow your own children the luxury of being imperfect. Teach them it is okay to fail if we rise up again! Life is a continuous learning experience and we learn from our mistakes. Each child has a unique personality and reward them with your love because of that!

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:16 )

What Difference Does Fiber Make?

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In order to absorb nutrients from the food you consume, it must be broken down by enzymes which are primarily absorbed through the small intestine. A clean intestinal system will absorb nutrients faster and jump-start your metabolism. How do we do that? Consume fiber!

Fiber does so much to foster good health and here’s a great illustration to explain why:

If you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell right?  And then when you finally did turn it on, it would start grinding so slowly it might even stop if it’s too clogged.  Then you would have to snake out the trapped particles or use something chemically to unclog it.

This describes how our body system works as well. When one consumes mainly meat, fats, junk food and low fiber foods, the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just kinda sits there. Since your body can’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you to eat more food in search of those needed nutrients, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less! Normally we need 25-35 grams of various fibers daily. (approximately 4 grams equal one teaspoon.)

God advised Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”  That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden – that’s where all the nutrients are to sustain life!

Fiber is only found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sorry, no matter how tough that piece of meat is, there is no fiber in its content. Neither is there any fiber in protein or fat.

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Usually fruits, vegetables and whole grains include combinations of both.

Soluble fiber turns into a gel and helps lower one’s cholesterol.  Think apples, oranges, pears, beans and oats, which are excellent sources of soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber keeps our blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations. It also reduces the treacherous LDL cholesterol! Think of it as Liquid Plumr.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system.  Think corn which basically exits intact. Whole grains such as potatoes, legumes, apple peels, beans and bran cereals are other excellent sources. Insoluble fiber  draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.

There are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured though, if you eat 60% of your daily calorie intake containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!

Warning:  Increase fiber gradually.  Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber.

Writing As A Ministry: The Writer’s Blogging Tour

What an honor it was to be asked by my new friend Lorrie Bowen of http://www.lorriebowden.com to participate in the Writer’s Blogging Tour. If a smile can light a room, then hers can light a city! Lorrie is such a diversely talented woman. Her posts cover many varying topics, one of which has introduced me to the challenging world of Haiku. If she can create beauty with 17 poetic syllables then she can write anything. I urge you to check out her blog and see for yourself.

The rules to The Blogger’s Writing Tour are simple: answer 4 questions about your writing or projects you’re working on and choose 3 people to invite into the tour. Then give them a Monday to post on. Easy right?

These talented writers who have graciously consented to join me on the Writer’s Blogging Tour:

Pastor Joe QuatronePastor Joe Quatronehttp://www.joequatronejr.wordpress.com   is one of the most sensible Christian bloggers on the web. He always finds the practicality in life’s situations. When you wonder why “Bad things happen to good people” just read his amazing testimony after doctors gave him a 1% chance of survival!  When life is getting you down and you question “Why, God?” you only have to read his story praising God to see His infinite mercies. God has truly blessed this remarkable man for His purpose which is to compassionately serve and inspire others!

If I could describe Christine Martin of  http://www.joequatronejr.wordpress.com with one word it would be versatile. Her kindness has always encouraged me, her compassion comforts and her Joy from within truly radiates as you can plainly see! Graciousness personified. Oh, did I mention she’s also a published writer as well as a successful Realtor? (When does she find the time???) I thank Christine of oursoulspurposeher for introducing me to the International Women Writer’s Guild. An incredible women, I can’t wait to discover what she is creating next!

Pastor Sebastian Weaver, of http://faith1stministries.com with his endearing smile, has been a blogging friend almost since I began posting. Even though he has a world full Pastor Sebastianof followers he always makes everyone he contacts feel that they are his most important friend. That is a gift God has bestowed on his personality! His posts and video sermons are always created with passion, designed to move individuals toward a heartfelt discussion on practical Biblical principles. God is using him in a mighty way and I am blessed to have met him!

I thank each for taking time out of their busy schedules to participate. Their Writer’s Tour posts can be read on Monday, August 4th.

Now as for my project:

1.  What are you currently working on/writing?

My current book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is a light-hearted yet convicting insight regarding our mental, physical and spiritual connection to food. Why do I self-destruct around it? Why do I crave certain foods? What do grams really mean to me in dog years? God does not want us to suffer through some crazy diet plan. That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden; every nutrient we need to sustain life can be found there! Nevertheless, humans needlessly create their own crazy formulas which only destroy while Satan laughs.

2.  How is what you write different from others of the same genre?

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” is not another diet book. It’s a Biblical philosophy meant to motivate and generate godly action. Using personal education through practical Biblical applications one discovers how the past and present influences our response to food today.

3.  Why do you write what you do?

My main purpose is to motivate others to be the best example of a disciplined Christian. That is my ministry. We are commanded by God to “Be holy because I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) but many fail to do so. This book addresses why, when we sincerely want to do the right action, we don’t.

As a certified nutritional counselor, I realize almost every “dieter” knows what to do but doesn’t. James 2:19 states that even the demons believe in God but fail to do what He says. Head knowledge without heart knowledge is dead. Real change starts from within. “As a man thinketh within himself, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7) How can our mind, body and spirit control our beliefs? Through sensible solutions, the reader discovers how.

4.  What is your creative process?

I find creativity everywhere! There is a correlation between nutrition and spirituality all around us. I find inspiration not only in the Bible but as I walk my dog, drive, listen to sermons and what I read. My only challenge is remembering to transfer these to paper before they are lost in the vapors of my mind. When the muse hits however, I can write for eight hours nonstop. When one loves what they do, it’s a joy! Find yours!

Thank you again Lorrie for allowing me to be part of this Tour. Blessings,

 

 

God’s Incredible Machine!

There have been several news stories lately about extraordinary feats. In two separate incidents, an ordinary man and woman, using seemingly superhuman strength, lifted a car from someone trapped underneath. Another story told of a child surviving a pool drowning after being beneath the water for nearly twenty minutes. “How in the world could that happen?” you wonder.

thWL1QNQPVGod created our bodies as incredible machines, able to perform remarkable achievements! Therefore, it strives to protect us or our loved ones at any cost.

Even when we do something crazy.

Case in point: when we attempt a starvation diet, pills, shots or liquid protein diet; all of these actions only result in our bodies going into protection mode. Sure we will lose weight initially but in the long haul, our bodies will discern that this is not natural and will slow our metabolism to save energy.  Then when we come to our senses, finally deciding that it’s expensive, harmful and ridiculous, our body begins to store fat for later use. Because after all, “the crops might die again” and we’ll need that stored energy to survive. This is innately self-protecting as well as self-defeating to our egos. It seems our body wants to live more than we do! But we feel like a failure.

There is no miraculous way to lose weight. It always goes back to physiology: sensible nutritious eating, consuming water and exercising to burn calories and tone muscle which burns fat. Boring and time-consuming. So to speed things up we’ll desperately try anything! Gimmicks don’t work.

My suggestion is in order to lose weight, make life a game, challenging but fun! Increase your water intake by filling a container with water adding a combination of lemon, cucumber slices, watermelon, berries, celery . . .  you get the idea. Create a chart and for every glass you drink, check off a block. Every box is worth a nickel, dime, whatever. Display the jar and tangibly see your accomplishments right in front of you. That’s a great feeling of self-discipline. Self esteem issues were probably one reason you gained in the first place, right? (Congratulations – you’re now a winner!) Use the reward money for a family fun night, DVD or shopping trip.

When did exercise cease to be fun? When we were children we ran for the pure joy of it! Find a sport the family can perform together. Whether it’s throwing the Frisbee, biking, swimming, badminton, hiking; these can all be fun activities and bond the family together. As your health improves, so does your children’s.

Cooking. This can be a fun family achievement as well. Have each family member list their favorite dinners and place all in a hat, then plan your weekly menu. Even hamburgers, meatloaf and happy familypizza can be created with less fat. Use 93% ground round or homemade pizza with less cheese and more veggies. Grilled chicken or roasted pork loin with grilled potatoes, veggies and salad are not fattening. Use the leftover pork for BBQ sandwiches and extra chicken for salad. Search through cookbooks as a family to see what recipes would be fun to try. Did you know that 80% of the time, families consume the same 12 meals? Boring! Your body needs nutritional variety.

Strive for excellence as a family, instilling discipline and common sense. What values are you teaching your children? They watch and learn.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;” (Ephesians 4:22)

 

 

A Special Thanks to Two Special Ladies

Once again, I am humbled by two followers who honor me with two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards. When I think of all those who are more deserving they could have selected, I am truly touchedar-inspiringblogger1[1]very-inspiring-blogger-award-2[1]. Thanks go for this nomination to two beautiful, lovely, inspiring women: my ‘free spirit’ friend at http://alygeorges.wordpress.com who always dances in the rain and to my “searching for Angela Basset’s arms” friend http://fromtrextotigress.com. Please check out their blogs and be inspired as well! I appreciate their kindness as well as their friendship within this blogosphere we exist in!

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Facts About Myself:

  1. Love animals and as a farm girl have had a raccoon, skunk, snapping turtle and a duck as pets.
  2. Can’t eat duck to this day because little Daffy “went to visit friends” and never came back.
  3. My favorite country is Austria . . .  well maybe Greece . . . perhaps Italy . . . mmm, or . . . any country I’m in. “Wherever you go . . .  there you are.”
  4. I’m looking forward to my first non-fiction book coming out within the next month, entitled “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”
  5. I love any movie that is intelligently written like “Benjamin Button” or with a “Wow, what a great ending!” like “The Shawshank Redemption.”
  6. Love all types of music from Jazz, Rock, Oldies, Country to Christian.
  7. My first car was my brother’s ’62 Chevy II Nova, which I happily used for a year until I had to give it back, sigh.

So now I get to nominate 15 other amazing (I try to nominate different ones each time)  inspiring bloggers who will pass this honorably along to others. If you don’t have 15, nominate those you love. My wonderful recipients of this award this time are:

  1. http://swallowsfrommykitchenwindow.com
  2. http://insideheathershead.com
  3. http://intentionaloverflow.wordpress.com
  4. http://disciplesthoughts.com
  5. http://grievinggumdrops.com
  6. http://bisforblessed.com
  7. http://julie-weaver.com
  8. http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com
  9. http://maryaperez.com
  10. http://julimize.com
  11. http://ptcharitygarland.wordpress.com
  12. http://inspirationinitiative.com
  13. http://pattysoksofar.com
  14. http://thisishowitisnow.wordpress.com
  15. http://thisishowitisnow.wordpress.com

Thank you all for your great friendship, encouragement, comfort and strength. I love all my amazing followers so this decision is always a tough one. Blessings to all.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” (Philippians 1:#)

A Lhasa’s View on Whether to “Weight” on Exercise

I really appreciate my veterinarian. She’s a fantastic woman with old-fashioned values and sensible practices. She doesn’t jack up her prices to build a new wing onto her clinic and she doesn’t push medication for every little illness.

We’ve left our two dogs in her kennel from time to time. As many do however, the kennel has prices based on weight. Their cut off is twenty pounds.Jewel for post

Our little Lhasa, Jewel hasn’t an ounce of fat on her because she gets lots of exercise! If she were a woman she’d be a swimsuit model. (Granted she’d need new teeth, but she’d still look great in a bikini.) She stays fit because she fetches her toy down the hallway at full speed, chases birds and bunnies in the backyard with her brother, Sebastian. We also walk over a mile and a half each day.

A few months ago we dropped our dogs off at the kennel before flying off to our son’s wedding. Our little Lhasa weighed in at 19.3 pounds. It was suggested that her food be reduced.

“But,” I protested, “I only give her 1/3 cup of food each morning and afternoon. She’s not fat as you can clearly see. She’s pure muscle!”

“Well, she’s  really close to the top weight,” the assistant cautioned.

Sigh. I have several choices here.

I can reduce her food even more. In the past, she will whine and pat my leg begging for more.  But I’m more stubborn than she is and pay no attention to her plea because it is not in her best interest. In other words, her prayers go unanswered. Similarly, God knows what is best for us and will not reward our pleas for selfish requests either. Her food isn’t too much, in fact it is less than recommended. She doesn’t eat if she’s not hungry and has adjusted to less food.

Second, I could relax our exercise standards, therefore allowing her to gain fat while reducing muscle because muscle weighs more than fat.  Never! This pup is never ill and only incurs one visit to the vet every couple of years for her physical. Health is more important than the number on a scale and healthy habits create a fit and vibrant lifestyle.

Likewise, God is pleased when we care about the body He gave us! Never compare yourself to someone else’s idea of beauty. The world’s standards of what healthy means, changes periodically. During the Victorian age, it was curvy and well rounded while during the ’60s, Twiggy was every teen’s aspiration. Neither was healthy. Health begins from within with sensible eating and exercise, then it shows on our skin and demeanor. God cares about our temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or lastly, I simply accept her as she is and pay the increased fee if she gains weight. I know truth. She’s the best she can be! I’ve trained her not to bark outside or at other dogs as we pass them. She knows the consequences of an house ‘time out’ if she does  (And to her, not chasing birds is the equivalent of life imprisonment.) She gets plenty of praise and belly rubs when she’s good. (I wish she didn’t “woof” down her food so quickly but nothing will break her of that habit.)

So I encourage you, if you are doing everything right in your healthy lifestyle, keep on doing it or recognize you can do better and DO IT! Either way God loves you.

“I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health.”  (Psalms 119:93)

 

 

Restore in Me a New Heart and Attitude!

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Years of being beaten down by life can take its toll on someone’s mind, body and spirit. Do you believe the whispers of the devil when he states you can’t be successful or you have no value? Lies. Satan wants you to self-destruct, destroying your bodily temple so others will look at you and have no desire to be a Christian. Why would someone ever desire to be a disciplined, honorable Christian if that person can’t control their own lifestyle? Would anyone ever wake up and profess, “Wow, I can’t wait to be as unhealthy as Esmeralda today?!”

Actually some do.

“Sylvester” at 550 plus pounds, was so heavy he had to be weighed on a postal scale. The physicians and I worked with him, encouraging a healthier lifestyle but to no avail. Each week only brought excuses. The doctors and I kept encouraging him, not charging for our services. Two doctors even purchased food and a hospital bed out of their own pockets. Nevertheless this man eventually went on The Richard Simmons Show, lamenting the fact that he was utterly alone; because no one had come forward to help him. Of course this man’s sorrowful plight received Richard Simmons utmost sympathy. Sadly Sylvester died about ten years ago, still grossly overweight and “utterly alone.”

Power comes in many forms and this was how Sylvester embraced power. The doctors had offered Sylvester their free gift of assistance which he ultimately rejected, preferring the celebrity attention his weight derived on national television.  Is this how you would want to live? Let’s face it every obese person begins merely five pounds overweight at one point. Then something happens and they stop fighting for their health. This can be a variation of mental, physical or spiritual factors. Discovering true recognition on the patient’s part is one rewarding reason I became a nutritional counselor.

Christ also offers us the free gift of salvation and how many turn that down as well? Do we recognize our need for salvation?

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift–” (Ephesians 2:8)

There is freedom in becoming new! Do you believe you’re worth living for?  Is it worth it to you to choose a healthy, well-balanced life honoring our Lord? (Now I have mentioned many times that any food is fine in moderation if you are not allergic to it or have a health reason to avoid it, but when any food controls you it becomes your idol and an addiction, your personal Asherah pole.)

Circumstances in life can make or break someone. The cartoon above is funny and also so true. Circumstances from our past mold us but we choose our destiny! I have known Holocaust victims who have chosen joy over bitterness. I have seen smiles on cancer patients and even joy from the terminally ill as I counseled them nutritionally, hoping to extend their lives.

We choose our attitude! I  have gone through some of the worse this world can deliver and am still standing! I chose the Joy of Christ, who went to the cross willingly for despicable me. It is an unfathomable love.  I urge you to find that joy within as I have which rejects Satan’s lies. Stand tall and proclaim that you are someone worth fighting for as well!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)