Archive | June 2014

“Do these awards make my head look too big . . . ?”

 

I love awards! I especially appreciate the thought that goes into giving them. And for Kim, to think of me amongst all of her 7.65 million followers, was extremely humbling. I very much want to thank my new friend from St. Louis and fellow blogger of https://kimgosselinblog.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for these two awards – I hit the jackpot here! This is fun as well as informative since I LOVE  discovering even more about my friends around the world. I appreciate and accept the The Versatile Blogger Award and the Sunshine Award!  I urge you to please visit this very talented woman’s well written and upbeat blog about finding joy in everyday life.versatileblogger11[1]

sunshine-award1[1]

The rules of acceptance for the above awards are as follows:

1)  Thank the person who has nominated you.

2)  Place the award badges on your blog page.

3)  Answer the ten questions listed below.

4)  Pay it forward!  Nominate ten deserving bloggers for the same awards. See, Easy Peasy . . .

So now let me answer those “Ten Delightful Questions” and I’d love to know how anyone else would answer them if one sticks out:                           

1)  What is my favorite food? Anything with garlic (I know weird)

2)  Who is my favorite actor? Oh, there are so many.  I enjoy watching versatile actors: Morgan Freeman never makes a bad movie and  Gene Hackman plays  good types as well as he does bad.

3)  What is my favorite television show?  I like “The Voice” but feel it is going to get a little old seeing it twice a year. Favorite Christian program: Answers in Genesis with Ken Ham!

4)  What is my favorite “Tear Jerker? Of course any movie where the dog dies in the end is a given for me!

5)  Tea or Coffee?  I enjoy dark, rich coffee although I was a tea drinker as a teen.

6)  What is my favorite sport?  What month is it? And what isn’t my favorite sport? Hmmm . . . Spent a lot of my college dates in Fenway Park, married a jock and learned to play golf,  tennis, run, cross country ski and watch NASCAR. And I actually worked with the Redskins on a couple of projects when we lived in D.C. So “You make the call!”

7)  What is my lucky number? Number 7 because it’s the number of completion.

8)  What is my favorite holiday?  Has always been Mother’s Day as I tried to instill fun into it with time-together activities as a family. (Like pulling teeth with the kids though)  After many years, I believe we might be  getting back on track again.

9)  Twitter or Facebook? … oh I guess Facebook because of the photos but personally I’d rather have an actual hug than glance at what could have been from across the miles.

10)  What is my favorite Christmas movie? (Do they  currently know what MONTH it is?)  “A Christmas Story” with Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” a close second.

So now I must choose ten bloggers to pass along my nominations to. This is always the hardest part because it’s like saying which kid do I like the best? Every one of them! However I usually nominate followers who comment a lot because I LOVE to converse with my round-the-world friends! (Speaking of which: Please drop me a comment when your post goes online? Thanks)

Now the Ten Deserving Bloggers Nominated Are:

  1. http://karriewilson.wordpress.com
  2. http://angiebenjamin.wordpress.com/
  3. http://harmonyspearls.wordpress.com/
  4. http://de9k.wordpress.com/
  5. http://fogwalkerbirdie.wordpress.com/
  6. http://davidvalefitness.wordpress.com/
  7. http://seeingdeep.wordpress.com/
  8. http://thoughtsfromanamericanwoman.wordpress.com/
  9. http://kellyjgrace.com/
  10. http://carolbalawyder.com/

 

17 A friend loves at all times… ” (Proverbs 17:17)

Tumbleweeds versus God’s Direction

Anyone who has ever watched old western movies is familiar with tumbleweed. Those are the dried up bushes seen rolling across the arid landscape subliminally indicating you are entering a lifeless, abandoned ghost town.

thRCW0ADN1Tumbleweeds thrive in the desert where I live. Unfortunately they serve no purpose except to scratch one’s car if you are unfortunate enough to come across one on the highway.  They  are useful for nothing but the trash pile. They are a tangled bunch of dead stiff branches that can never be revived, even with the nourishment of water.

As they scatter however, blown by the wind, they leave their seeds along the way to germinate. If they fall on good soil they’ll prosper and grow once again. So like Christians, who if not anchored to a solid foundation, tend to be blown without direction and die out. God wants us to blossom through the Word of God. Let Him be our solid foundation.

Tumbleweeds tend to congregate in piles and thus seem to rally around their own dead worldly existence. Any congregation who follows indiscriminately without knowing Scripture can easily be swayed by false teaching too. Ensure your pastor speaks only Truth. Memorizing Scripture will help build a hedge against inaccurate teaching and the Holy Spirit will help us discern fact from folly.

Tumbleweeds carry spiked bristles and must be handled with care. Tumbleweeds display no soft edges to entice others to want to be around them. Like some church members I have known in the past, who, being so cantankerous and set in their ways I didn’t understand the love of God until I was in my twenties. Their professed only rules and regulations.

Don’t get me wrong, I want the Holy Spirit to give me an environment of boundaries. But do you enjoy being around belligerent and picky church members? I don’t. Do any grumpy Christians inspire others to want to be like them?  Many potential Christians on the other hand, will turn away from church and even Christ himself, because of a church member’s bristling remarks. Negative, spiteful, unkind speech can literally destroy their very soul! So let’s be aware of our attitudes.

We all make mistakes for no one but Christ is perfect. As a parent, do your children see the love of Jesus in you? Or do they see only human rules and regulations? Do they feel they must be perfect because you rarely praise if they are not? Let’s be clear, I am not saying to be a doormat, for you control the household.  Let’s use Jesus earthly life and His Godly professions as our parental yardstick. Jesus forgave Peter for betraying him, so why shouldn’t  we forgive those we love?

This worldly field is tough for our children with all its lurid enticements. Stand fast and allow your children to see Truth flourishing within God’s Grace. Don’t let your children be worthless seeds that are strewn along life’s path. Find solid ground in God’s Word and in His Sanctuary.

He answered, “The one who planted the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world. The good seed stands for the people who belong to the kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.  The enemy who plants them is the devil.”  (Matthew 13: 37-39a)

 

Thanks for the Versatile Blogger Award!

versatile-blogger[1]

I’d like to thank my good friend and versatile blogger himself, Liam, for another sweet award nomination; The Versatile Blogger Award. Appreciate his thoughtfulness but  need a larger home with a bigger mantel.

As the award states, I must tell you 7 interesting aspects of my life and nominate up to 15 others to pass it along.

Okay, so here’s the list:

1.  I haven’t blogged much over the past several weeks due to revising my book  “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese ” (Nutritional and life lessons God teaches us) for publication. It should be coming out the end of July. So exciting!!! Stay tuned!

2.  I was a tour guide in Europe for several years. Couldn’t believe I actually got paid for that fun job!

3.  I personally enjoy a wide range of reading genre’s, from apologetic Christian books to Jodi Picoult novels. Love “what if” intelligent works.

4. I don’t enjoy eating at restaurants but love to create my own recipes at home.

5. I was so crazy about horses as a child I created lots of stories about them. Now I blog about my dogs every once in a while, 🙂

6. Was always petrified of snakes and once got caught on our crossing bridge as a kid by one and screamed so loudly our neighbors from a quarter mile away came running!

7. Almost moved to Australia. We sold the car, got all the shots, my husband had a job lined up and then he was drafted. It became a road not traveled but I sure love all my Australian followers – so I guess I live through you all.

 

Okay, your turn:  My nominees to pass on the award.  Have fun!  All of my followers are fantastic and most of these are newer and yet have become great friends across the miles already. Wish I could nominate all of you.

  1. http://vanessaifm.wordpress.com
  2. http://storyland4.wordpress.com
  3. https://kimgosselinblog.wordpress.com
  4. http://chunkietocutie.wordpress.com
  5. http://lorriebowden.com
  6. http://iamavesselofgod.wordpress.com
  7. http://ohthethingsweshallsee.com
  8. http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3

 

 

 

 

Be Your Own Best Friend and Also God’s!

Are we truly a friend of God’s, exemplifying peace, joy and kindness in the world? If I claim to be a Christian, it’s important for me to ‘walk the walk,’ otherwise I am a stumbling block for those who are watching me and this grieves the Holy Spirit. When I was young, I expected perfection from myself. Over the years I took steps to be more realistic, but it wasn’t easy. Change isn’t instantaneous. For me it was usually five steps forward, two steps back. If that’s you too, remember we’re still moving forward!

It’s amazing how the mind can be one’s most motivational cheerleader and friend one moment and in a blink of an eye, be its worst enemy. It can build up but also break down a person so emotionally that they hide their subconscious thoughts behind closed lady looking in a mirrordoors in a far-off corner of the mind. It is simply too painful to unlock the memories to view them honestly.

It’s the same with our nutritional health. It’s never easy to admit our part in failure. Occasionally a dieter blames failure on heredity. Genes do play an important role in one’s bone structure, ability to lose and how one ends up with the body shape they have. But so does self-destructive eating, pride, unconscious eating, people pleasing, peer pressure and even revenge.

One diabetic patient insisted there was absolutely nothing to be done about her weight gain due to it “being in her genes.” Possibly, I thought. Some are predisposed to genetic challenges.  But then later that month I saw the small family pet at the vet clinic, overweight by 20 lbs. and wondered sadly what genes the dog had? Clearly personal lifestyle habits factored in and this patient was in denial.

Unfortunately many, such as my patient above, deny reality, preferring to bury truth deep inside the recesses of the mind and find excuses. The fantasy land they desire is better than the factual one they live in.

Awareness is the first step in anyone’s recovery.  Until one knows why he/she acts in a particular way, they won’t change. This only masks the problem.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” (Proverbs 1:3)

Think back. Every overweight person had only five pounds to lose at first. Then it became ten, then twenty and on and on. Why?  What occurred originally to make them self-destruct? Was it abuse, rebellion, overwhelming problems with seemingly no way out?  At that time reach outward instead of withdrawing within, find a trusted friend, pastor or organization such as Against Abuse to confide in. Just because someone you see wears a smile, doesn’t mean they haven’t experienced deep pain. In fact, it usually means they are survivors and learned how to cope. Don’t you want to know how they overcame challenges so you can too?

Reaching out to another person isn’t weakness! It takes a strong individual to humble themselves and ask for help. Even Jesus cried out for help in the Garden. But then he resolved within himself to find the strength to continue his mission for our souls. He went boldly toward Calvary. Praise God he didn’t give up on us! How can we then justify giving up and not present our best temple of the Holy Spirit to Him? Strive to discover that best friend within that God knows you are, because He resides in you! Utilize His strength!

“We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.”  (2 Corinthians 8:21)

 

You Have Worth Because You Exist!

binge eaterJessica, a mother of two, sat across from my desk and lamented, “I never feel like I live up to my parent’s dreams for me. Last weekend I went back home to visit them and it was the same constant criticism. When I came back to my house, I was so angry! All I wanted to do was eat! It’s like a switch went off in my head and I couldn’t stop eating . . . donuts, cake, bacon, potato chips, french fries, chocolate . . .  it didn’t  matter.  I ate until I couldn’t move. What’s wrong with me?”

People who binge do so for motives other than food. Deep rooted beliefs from childhood usually play a role. The fact that thirty-four year old Jessica referred to her parent’s house as “home” still indicated the deep roots that fastened her to the past. She has a psychological hunger for parental approval but food conveniently filled that chemical need when her parents hadn’t.

Many self-destruct because they don’t feel worthy of love. Some binge on alcohol or turn to drugs. For Jessica, food became her drug of choice. It anesthetized pain.

Other similarities seen in Binge personalities:

  • Parents strictly controlled their younger lives. As an adult, eating is one aspect they now have control over. No one can tell them what to eat. “I can eat an entire bowl of pudding if I want and who’s gonna stop me?”
  • Their opinion never mattered. “You shouldn’t think that.” Living in such a strict environment provided no other avenues to express themselves. So they learned to bury their emotions deep inside, robotically believing they had no worth. Food soothed the pain.
  • Bingers sometimes grew up poorer than most, perhaps even in extreme poverty. They can’t avoid the nagging feeling that hunger might return at any moment; especially in this unstable economic environment. Their instinct is to consume as much as possible today because it might not be there tomorrow.  Someone who came from an impoverished country, foreclosures, unemployment or lived through a depression fits this category.
  • Learning at an early age that neurochemicals release feel-good moments, they become addicted to finding these mind-altering drugs in foods because it makes them feel better.

If you are a Binge eater, avoid processed sugary products! Just as an alcoholic can’t stop at one drink, bingers can’t stop at one sugary treat because it changes one’s chemical make-up. Almost all processed foods contain sugar, even salad dressings and pasta sauces. Make your own and strive to consume lots of wholesome nutrient-dense, natural fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and fibrous foods. Drink lots of water with lemon to create a more calming alkaline pH.

Don’t destroy your temple of the Holy Spirit simply because someone else is insensitive. Forgive their insensitivity because it’ll set you free. Dwell on your relationship with God instead. Keep a gratitude journal and list all your achievements. Perhaps you graduated with honors, raised a family, have a successful career, are an excellent artist, writer, parent, housekeeper, computer genius . . .  whatever.  Or find something you can do well and start taking control of that. Everyone has something good about themselves.  Are you kind, a good friend, a loyal spouse, a reliable employee? Focus on those aspects of your personality and stop self-destructing. Avoid toxic “friends” who put you down instead of being supportive.

The only one we need to impress in this life is our Lord God!  He Cares! Always reach out to Him first for strength and He’ll be there for you.

“Set your minds on what is above, not what is on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

 

 

“How Long . . . How Long Oh Lord, Will You Remain Patient With Us?

This post is a revision of a blog I wrote after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  Sadly, with so many school shootings occurring over the past several weeks, I feel it bears repeating.

******************************************************

It is my unshakeable belief that we have a Sovereign God who knows all that is going to happen to us, as professed in Psalm 139. However, after yet another school tragedy, I heard the question, “Where was God?”  My faith remains unshaken. But as His creation, He instilled in people a free will to choose either good or evil, so we must remain diligent and strong in our faith, because temptations and evil surround us daily. thWTAB6VGJ

God created Adam perfectly but Adam chose his own way. Still God loved him.  God rescued his Chosen People from slavery, they chose to do evil. Still God loved them.  God loved us so much He offered his only Son as a sacrifice for this sinful world. Yet many still choose evil.  When tragedy strikes, they shake their fist at God and demand, “How could YOU allow this to happen?”

My friends, WE are allowing this to happen by our silence. Just like the frog in the frying pan who simmers, oblivious to his surroundings until he’s  destroyed, we stand by and watch as the world changes.

When I attended grade school, religious education was taught each Tuesday afternoon. But religious studies were soon taken out of school. Then the Bible was banned and the Ten Commandments weren’t allowed to be displayed. Finally God Himself, was thrown out of our schools.  A large void remained.

Children searched for new role models. Who did they think would come knocking on the door to fill the gap??? Of course . . .  Satan did!

What good can possibly come from this tragedy? If nothing else, I hope parents realize that today is the day of salvation.  It’s never too early to speak to your children about Christ’s eternal life for indeed our days aren’t guaranteed.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

Acceptance of salvation is the only thing that matters in our life span.  How many times have you heard of parents believing that their child can make up his own mind in the far-off future, because “I certainly don’t want to force my values on my children. They can choose for themselves after they’ve seen all the possibilities.”  May I ask, “If not you, who will?”  Do you want Madonna, Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan’s values instilled in your child’s mind???  Their value system is based on Judges 21:25  “. . . and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

Turn on the television and you’ll see countless graphic, violent crime shows, raunchy sit-coms and celebrity reality shows. Then throw in today’s bloodthirsty movies and video games and it’s a petri dish of deteriorating, insensitive values.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

God is beckoning us back! But we’ve pushed Him out of our schools in the name of “political correctness.” School tragedies should be a wake-up call for our country to change. Sin is the root of our problem and we’re simply placing a band-aid over it.

“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.”  (Isaiah 1:16)

We can’t expect God to wink at our sin. His heart grieves as He witnesses our downfall.  Start changing from within!

Life Lessons Learned from a Lhasa

That little Lhasa Apso of ours never ceases to amaze me. She gets lots of belly rubs, daily walks and nightly treats – in fact she gets treated better than we ever treated our sweet children . . .  poor babies! But just like humans, Jewel never seems satisfied with all she is given!

DSCN2971Case in point: this morning I placed breakfast in front of both our Cocker Spaniel, Sebastian and her and they proceeded to chow down . . .  mmm, tasty. Then as usual each weekday, I prepare my husband’s lunch for the office (aka; golf course.)  Well our Cocker always enjoys watching me in the kitchen so he left his bowl to observe. I’m not fooled, it’s not for companionship, he simply hopes I’ll drop a piece of lettuce on the floor.Sebastian

Unbeknownst to Sebastian however, he failed to survey his doggie kingdom. Focusing so  intently on me, Sebastian didn’t notice as Jewel began consuming his food. (But I did. Promptly admonished, she was banished to her “room” for a time-out.)

How like Jewel we are sometimes! God has given us an abundance of beneficial gifts and yet are we ever satisfied?  With all we are blessed with, sometimes we  search for even more to satisfy us. Sometimes it’s the pursuit of worldly desires  – “keeping up with the Jones” – consumed by larger homes, 60″ televisions, expensive cars, luxury vacations . . . (How much money is enough?) Sometimes it’s the lusts of the flesh; alcohol, drugs or even an “all you can eat” buffet when we have a fridge full of food at home! Coveting anything, even food is sin.

That is when we must be careful and praise God for all He has given us and not lust after what we crave. God knows exactly what we need to satisfy, as opposed to what could become our downfall.

Back to my Lhasa: While my Cocker was focused on his master and was silently praying that a piece of lettuce or carrot would fall, he trusted me to give him what he desired. (I could almost see his intelligent brain intensely praying in doggie language.) I know carrots are good for him, but too many aren’t. So I weigh his needs in the balance.

God does likewise with us. He’ll only give us what’s best for us. An overabundance of worldly gifts with no discipline is never good. Sometimes we desire something so much we take what we want without regard to the consequences. Then when we lose control we sometimes have the audacity to blame God for our weakness.

How do you think God views us when we pursue desires we shouldn’t? How do we know the difference? Recognize God’s Truth and know Scripture, that’s how! When a goal is God’s Will, one will have a peace about it. I don’t have to tell you that “pigging out” at a buffet is going to make you feel uncomfortable, bloated and out of control, so why try to justify what you know is against God’s Will? Dedicate your mental, physical and spiritual actions to God-pleasing behaviors.

Sebastian remained focused on his master and I took care to protect him.  I shooed that naughty little scoundrel away from his daily sustenance. Likewise if we learn to focus on God’s Word, He will protect us, for He knows what is in our best interest. He has promised to never withhold any good thing from us. Therefore trust him to provide for all our needs. That’s faith.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 4:19)