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Where’s Christmas?

This post was written years ago when we lived up north. Sadly, it seems to be as much or even more appropriate today.

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The beginning of December, I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project. It could have been anything, on an ornament, a Christmas card, or even a figurine.

First, I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but countless sets of Christmas cards with Santa and reindeer on them. Next, I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six-foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.

A few days later, still searching, I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny, or T.J. Maxx.

I thought Christian-run Hobby Lobby would undoubtedly carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.

Finally, I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course, I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes, I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix, cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front, and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)

Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!

Then I thought, at least I can find Christmas at church.  Absolutely! I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead, I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt overworked and unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)

Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our congregation’s many generous donations, I found it. Eureka!

THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT:  Christmas is about the Joy of Christ – blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy freely to others! A Free Gift.

As Jesus left his heavenly home to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends and the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges, and laughter that we do.  He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness, and selfish human behavior. All we must do is accept it. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.

Parents -do your children know what is the real reason for Christmas?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   (John 3:16)

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How Do You Value Your Worth?

“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness, I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Hurricane Ian blew through our town in Florida. We already knew the destruction hurricanes can cause. This time we left our home a day before and escaped to a safer area in SE Florida, understanding we might lose everything.

When people go through trials such as this, they tend to question what is important if all was lost.

When faced with challenges, it’s normal to analyze how we’d react. Do we fret about the unknown? What if we lost those precious photos of our children? To me, memory is the most important commodity in my life. That’s what I’d regret.

Would we agonize over the cost to rebuild?  Perhaps. Our lovely church on the Peace River was flooded and gutted, but still stood strong. Friends banded together and donations came in from all over the country. And from disaster, God created Good.

I’m not talking about monetary worth, however – although that is what the world focuses on today. I know where my future lies and it’s not here. But have you ever wondered how much you are worth in another’s eyes?

How does someone create worth? With your employer: Do you demonstrate as much integrity as the hardworking cleaning lady who scrubs the commodes in your building? With your community: Would you serve food to the homeless or would that be too humbling for your Executive position? Money means nothing in God’s Eyes. Million-dollar mansions and mobile homes were undistinguishable in the rubble.

What about family? Many had no clue where their family was during the carnage or what trials they endured following the storm because cell service was nonexistent. How much would a kind word or a phone call afterward be worth? Priceless.

As a counselor, I know patients sometimes numb themselves against heartache by imbibing in harmful chemicals. Yes, drugs and alcohol contain chemicals but you’ll also find feel-good chemicals in foods.

It’s normal to feel sad and lethargic after a shock. Sugar instantly increases energy levels. Sugar is an instant natural mood booster. It sends a signal to the brain to release dopamine, one of the feel-good neurotransmitters.

Chocolate releases endorphins and serotonin, another feel-good chemical. (So does spinach, but get real – which would you reach for?)

The daylight is growing shorter. Do you find yourself rummaging around in the pantry lately, searching for something to make you feel better? How much is that worth? Is it any wonder that we crave something sweet to ease depression and subconsciously, crunchy foods relieve stress?

Is your self-worth tied to your lifestyle? I’m not talking about popularity, even though celebrities get most of the attention and real heroes from Monday are forgotten by the weekend. Our Sports celebrities get recognized while EMTs heroes get relegated to the back of the pack.

Who values your worth? Someday, ask a friend how they’d describe you. What would they say? Are you outgoing? Quiet? Happy-go-lucky? Studious? Aggressive? Kind? Giving? Thrifty? Do you consider these descriptions your true worth?

No, these actions aren’t your real value! Only God sees your true value. He loves and chose you before the beginning of the world.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” (Ephesians 1:4)

What someone cherishes, they take care of. Are you, worth the cost? Do you cherish your life as much as Jesus cherished you? To Christ, you were worth dying for! You are priceless. Honor your true worth.

Temptation Season Begins

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “You are about to enter the Twilight Zone?” Well, hold on to your hats, for we are about to enter the “Temptation Zone.” It lasts four months, at which time, you’ll wonder mysteriously why your clothes shrunk.  

It begins on Halloween – my least favorite holiday, coming up soon. Candy, costumes, and witchcraft. Then comes Thanksgiving, a holiday totally dedicated to family tradition and food.

During December, we have Christmas parties, (both office and personal.) Then Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. Within another week, we celebrate New Year’s Eve with more parties. The following day, we attend a New Year’s dinner.

January begins with football playoffs every weekend until the Superbowl with an abundance of drinks and appetizers.  A week later, Temptation Season finally ends with a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.

It’s a long season in which we hibernate from the cold, dreary days of winter. Who wants to walk in the cold, snowy weather? Okay, walk around the mall, or take Zumba classes. Play with your kids, build snow forts, and snow angels, or learn to cross-country ski. No excuses.

Have you ever noticed that no one is tempted by something they didn’t like? No one is tempted to go to the dentist, right? If we served liver instead of turkey at Thanksgiving, I doubt if the holiday would have ever taken off. But no, that day, all our favorite foods are laid out on the table family style. We are encouraged to dig in and even take seconds. Who could resist?

Those who are easily tempted need a plan this season. Recognize there will be speed bumps and roadblocks coming over the next months. There’s always something that might trip you up. Have a plan.

For example, let’s take Trick or Treating. You enjoy seeing those sweet children strolling around in their costumes. So, you bought some candy you enjoy, knowing it wouldn’t all be given away, right? Oh my, what can I do with the rest??? If you bought Candy Corn, no temptation there. But I bought Snickers!!! I can’t throw those away, can I? That would be a travesty. It’s amazing how easily those little bars of chocolate got wrapped around our waistlines, isn’t it?

What could we have done? First purchase candy that we don’t particularly enjoy but children do. Give away the rest or freeze, “outta sight, outta mind.” Get rid of the temptation. Why be tempted by seeing it on the counter?

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”  (James 1:13-16)

It’s important to realize that God states anything is fine in moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23) The problem is creating an idol and loving it more than God. It is also important to recognize that God provides a way out of temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13) and third, we are to flee temptation. (James 4:7.)

This practice can be incorporated into any tempting situation. You know what to do – as Nike used to say, “just do it!” The longer one debates right or wrong, it tends to lower our resolve. Turn your back and don’t debate temptation.

You have willpower – tap into it now. I guarantee – it feels powerful to overcome!

Building Character on a Biblical Foundation

I was privileged to accompany a friend on a house hunting trip once. It was like House Hunters, one of my favorite shows! As we viewed different houses, however, I saw a distinct correlation between homes and spirituality.

Several homes had absolutely wonderful curb appeal. However, the photos which looked gorgeous on the internet were nothing like the home we viewed!  It was obvious that there were many renovations to be done! 1960s carpets, old appliances, there would be walls to tear down or it smelled bad.

Mmmm, how typical to someone who looks so stunning on the outside but as soon as they open their mouth, unkind behavior or foul language comes spewing out. Just like that house, those people need a renovation! They need God’s Word which cleanses the soul and restructures lives into True Beauty.

One lovely home, which she thought via the internet, would be “the one,” had several massive cracks in the basement walls. Foundations are tricky things, it could be the prettiest home on the block, but if it falls apart, meh . . . not so great.

A Christian’s testimony is only as good as its foundation as well! Someone might look like ‘the one,’ but if she/he is not grounded in Scripture, massive cracks can appear in the lives of those Christians. It is never wise to build your marriage, personal friendship, or business relationship on a weak, crooked foundation. Rather stand solidly on the Word of God!

One home’s owner had just entered an assisted living facility. The house was on a quiet, secluded lot with lovely trees surrounding the property. Looked promising. But upon walking up the driveway, it was obvious that the home needed a new garage door and roof. It was even sadder on the inside.

The house hadn’t been updated since 1955, the year it was built.  Linoleum floors and an indoor shuffleboard court graced the premises.  An original pink built-in oven and other 1950 appliances covered the kitchen. (When I saw the horror on my friend’s face, I jokingly suggested that the stove could be sold on eBay, but . . . somehow that didn’t entice her.)

Some Christians are like that. They get stuck in the past and never grow in knowledge or grace. After the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the late 1940s, new translations validated and reflected the Word of God as accurately as possible. Searching and reading other translations is fine as long as they are grounded in Truth.

The last home boasted nothing special about the exterior. In fact, she had no interest in seeing it at first. I suggested some colorful foliage could do wonders.

Since the realtor had to leave a card, we shrugged and reluctantly went inside. Well built, this home was exactly what she had wanted from the start. In a lovely neighborhood, it sported updated features like plush carpet and renovated bathrooms. It turned out to be the perfect home after all!

Are we biased when we view others? Do we welcome only those who are attractive or wealthy? Or do we see each visitor as a potential brother and sister in Christ?

Once, when we were searching for a church, a passing drifter attended their Sunday School. I noticed some looking down on him in disdain. Not very Christian, I thought. This isn’t the church for us. What a surprise when they discovered that he knew more about the Bible than most of us! This certainly pleased God more than his appearance.

“However, God’s solid foundation still stands. It has this inscription on it: “The Lord knows those who belong to him,” and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

Build your character on God’s Firm Foundation.

 

Adding Joy in the Midst of Weight Loss

Tell me, when did life cease to become a game to you?  When was the last time you played simply for the pure joy in it?

Everyone became so serious! “Well, have you seen what’s going on in the world today? Financial ruin, natural disasters, tragedies everywhere . . .”   Sure, I have. I’ve also read the last page of the Bible and I understand that no matter what man does to me, I am under God’s Will and face eternity with Him. I anchor my life to Christ and it makes this Christian smile.

Philippians 4:11 professes, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

God will not withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11) and absolutely desires that we lead a joyful life.

What does that have to do with weight loss???  Stress adds weight, so find a way to de-stress. Find JOY!  PLAY! SMILE!  LAUGH! Joy brings contentment in all situations.

When we were kids, we played for the sheer pleasure of it. We ran, climbed trees, rode bikes, played ball . . .  I worry about this generation who sit in front of computer screens playing games and aren’t outside. Fresh air releases endorphins that uplift the spirit. Also breathing through your nose produces a short-lived gas named nitric oxide which reduces stress, creates younger-looking skin, greater memory, and even better hair. Amazing, just by breathing deeply through your nose.

How does one take strides to find joy?  First thank God for your many blessings. There’s always something to praise Him for! Then find ways to play! Make life a game even in your weight loss endeavors.

  1. Remember when you were a kid and your parents placed your artwork on the refrigerator? It was your proudest accomplishment!  When did we stop rewarding ourselves for a job well done?  Get colorful stars and for every small victory, you overcome, (walking the golf course instead of riding) place a star on your graph. (College coaches place stars on their player’s helmets.)
  2. Speaking of graphs, create a weight loss one. Line off graph paper with weekly dates across the top and pounds lost down the side. For every five pounds lost, reward yourself with a non-food item. Color it in solid and you’ll observe your achievements as you see it filling in.
  3. Make exercise fun again. Dance, swim, play tennis, hike, or Zumba. Create active games with your children, like making snow forts and snowmen, piling leaves, and playing catch.
  4. Talk yourself into success by creating mind-games.  For example, I really wasn’t excited about exercising the other morning. Okay, I told myself, I’ll simply have a shorter exercise period this morning. I worked out for five minutes and thought, Okay, I can continue a few minutes longer – by the time we finished I had exercised through my normal routine. It felt so good to conquer my reluctance.
  5. Take a photo of yourself as you are right now, today. Put it aside and don’t look at it again until a month from now.  Chances are when you see it again, you’ll notice your face is thinner and you’re achieving a more defined waistline. Put it away for another month and reward yourself with a non-food item: DVD, nail polish, cologne, pocketbook . . . reward success!
  6. Find something tangible like a belt and mark off the inside as you see it decrease in size. You’ve won again – you get another non-food prize.

Life on earth is a series of actions/reactions until we reach our final destination. You only have one earthly life; is it your healhiest life? Make It Victorious!

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”  (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Practical Tips for Healthier Living

God created our bodies as incredible machines. It’s absolutely amazing how intricate and energy efficient we could be if we only took care of ourselves and ate better. But do you run like a lawn mower, garbage disposal, or a sports car?

God has intricately designed our systems to protect us even when we do something crazy.

Case in point: when we attempt a starvation diet, pills, shots or liquid protein diet; our body will go into protection mode. Sure, any diet will allow us to lose weight . . .  initially, but starvation is not natural. Our  brain will discern that something is wrong, (perhaps we’re ill?) and will slow our metabolism to save energy.  Afterwards it takes longer to adjust our metabolism back to normal. We begin to store fat for later use. Because after all, “the crops might fail again” and we’ll need that stored energy to survive!!!

There is no miraculous way to instantly lose weight. It always goes back to God’s beautifully designed physiology: sensible nutritious eating, consuming water while exercising to burn calories and tone muscle which burns fat. Circular, boring and time-consuming. So to speed things up we’ll desperately try anything, gimmicks, caffeine, drugs . . . again gimmicks!

Always go back to basics: continually eat for nutrients, consume smaller portions, exercise, drink water, slow down and chew to release those vital enzymes.

Another suggestion is to make life’s challenges a game! To increase fluid  intake:

  1. Fill a water container with a various combinations of lemon, cucumber slices, watermelon, berries . . .  you get the idea.
  2. Create a chart and for every glass you drink, check off a block. Make it a game.
  3. Every box is worth a nickel, dime, whatever. Reward with non-food items.
  4. Display the jar and tangibly you’ll see accomplishments right in front of you.

These habits restore a 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.

Exercise! 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, 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.

Forget the sticks and twigs of diet plans. These are gimmicks. Feed your family nutrients! Even hamburgers, meatloaf and pizza can be created with less fat. Use 93% ground round or homemade pizza with less cheese and more veggies.

Grill chicken, sirloin kabobs or roasted pork loin with grilled potatoes, veggies and salad. These aren’t fattening. Use the leftover pork loin for BBQ sandwiches and extra chicken over garden salad. Search through cookbooks as a family to see what recipes to try. Did you know that 80% of the time, families consume the same 12 meals? Boring! Your body needs nutritional variety to work effectively.

Train your children well to create healthy habits. 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)

Reving Up a NASCAR Metabolism

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”  (2 Timothy 2:5)

Ever watched a NASCAR race?  When the race car pulls into its pit, you’ll see the crew spring into action.  They’re aware of the strict rules they must follow for their driver not to be injured or disqualified.  Each crew member works as part of that team to ensure maximum efficiency.

There’s a definite correlation between a NASCAR race and healthier living.  Your brain, heart, liver, lungs, thyroid . . .  every body part, functions as a team to become a winner!

Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day.

For example, one decision that must be made as the driver speeds around the track is how much fuel to place in the tank. The object is to get just enough fuel to make it over the finish line but not too much to reduce speed with unnecessary weight. The wrong decision could mean the end of viable competition. Do the same.

The Right Fuel Makes All the Difference!

It takes energy to make energy. Ingesting the wrong type of fuel can clog our arteries and slows down our efficiency. Chemically based processed foods restrict our energy level by making us sluggish. Too few quality nutrients and we’ll drag ourselves through the day.

It’s a Matter of Balance

Getting valuable nutrients throughout our daily ‘rat race’ is something we should aim for. Too much and we gain weight – not enough and we lose muscle and brain cells.

  • Too many calories and our flow of blood circulation is diverted to the stomach and therefore less blood flow is available for the brain and extremities.  (Think Thanksgiving dinner.)
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum, if one doesn’t consume enough food, then the brain becomes light-headed and ‘spacey’. The body will start cannibalizing its muscles to refuel. (Think starvation diets.)

Search for Beneficial Selections

The proper bodily fuel produces proper metabolism speed and brain power, allowing it to power up when necessary. We need good fats, wholesome carbohydrates, and lean protein to run efficiently.

When we’re uncontrollably hungry, what do we instinctively grab for quick energy? Sugar, right? Candy, donuts, cookies, etc. It’s our body’s fastest fuel source so that’s what our brain’s hypothalamus tells us we need. It’ll nag us until we give in to that quick-acting, sugary candy if we aren’t supplied with enough nutritional energy. We absolutely need nutrient-dense, quality fuel! Choose juice or other fruit which metabolizes into energy in 15 minutes. Place only productive whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein into our fuel tank for maximum efficiency.

Know Your Body

The NASCAR driver knows exactly what his race car needs because he’s attuned to its reactions. He knows how it acts when running properly and what he must do to win.

Therefore, he’s focused on success and expects his crew to act accordingly!  The entire crew works together for good! When the driver pits, if the tire pressure isn’t properly inflated, a lugnut isn’t tightened, the windshield’s dirty, or the spotter takes his eye off the track, something disastrous might occur.

Stay as focused as that. Following sensible nutritional guidelines keeps us healthy. We need to think of our body parts as separate entities all working for our productive health. It requires discipline to run our best race for the Lord! Honor God with your disciplined spirit!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Designed to Succeed

God did not design us to fail. But we are human, and we do.

Of course, as a counselor who specializes in nutrition, I’ve probably heard every excuse known to man. And man, do I dislike excuses! Oh, you had to eat that entire 14-inch pizza that Aunt Maude brought over, did you? “Well, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. After all, she made it just for me,” you said.

I understand. As a people pleaser, you didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

But what if Aunt Maude brought over some cocaine? Would you take it? I would certainly hope not! If you’re a diabetic, that fatty pizza would be just as dangerous to you! My recommendation: Chew a slice slowly, wrap up the rest in small servings and freeze for another time.

If you disobey God’s urging, you own it! It was your choice.  “But I tried to resist.” As that famous philosopher, Yoda replied to Luke Skywalker when he whined, he’d try, acknowledged, “No. Either do or do not. There is no try.” Now drink water, walk five miles, lift weights, play tennis or some other exercise. Do the crime, do the time.

Some of my patients protested, “I feel stupid. I failed.”

As Thomas Edison once declared, “I never fail. I just found 2,000 ways something didn’t work.” Failure makes us better educated. Face it, sometimes experience hurts. So, you were weak – learn from it. As I’ve mentioned before, most patients who came to see me had failed on many diets. Nothing worked – at least for any length of time.

Most believed that if success was to be achieved, there must be a gimmick, or they had to suffer to reach success. This is what I call “the penance principle.” It’s a false way of thinking. God designed us with innate, common sense. Use it. How can a hot dog diet (yes, there is one) be nutritionally sound?

Our loving Father desires to give His children only good gifts. That’s why He provided so many nutritionally dense selections to choose from.

“So if you, despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) 

If God doesn’t provide for our requests, He has a good reason – so figure it out. Despite what some believe, He is not Lucy who takes away Charlie Brown’s football.

Now, what should we ask for when we pray for our daily bread? Should we ask for 3 lbs. of French Fries covered in cheese sauce? Would that be a good gift? No, we’d get sick or it could harm our heart.

If you face a culinary challenge, God has already given you the “tools” to overcome it. A knowledgeable brain, a spirit that knows right from wrong, and legs to walk away from temptation.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”   (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It all breaks down to our mental, physiological, and spiritual relationship to food. Which do we love more? Our belly or Christ? A momentary pleasure or knowing that we have resisted temptation? The food itself is not wrong based on Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. Our reaction to it can be!

Please don’t allow food to become your idol.

Reaping the Consequences of the Hippie Generation

In 1967, the popular rock band, The Grassroots, released a song entitled “Let’s Live for Today.” It epitomized the growing culture of the ’60s hippie generation. Since I look at health through a Biblical lens, I see a correlation here between healthy and destructive choices. Please indulge me.

Young people today believe the older generation doesn’t understand what it was to be young. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The ’60s Hippie Generation enjoyed a “free love philosophy” too. Don’t worry about tomorrow, grab hedonistic pleasure today! Looking back, what seemed like a good idea at the time turned out to be nothing but waking up the next morning with regrets, guilt, or a splitting headache, bowing before a porcelain god.

This ’60s philosophy of allowing others to live the way they want without boundaries became harmful. It morphed into an “I’m okay, you’re okay” attitude. This produced apathy. “Sorry, too busy to care.” Apathy is the opposite of love. We need to inspire a seemingly uncaring generation to cherish kindness and discipline.

There’s a price to pay for optimum health. There is no “free” anything. When presented with a buffet, ever thought, free food?! “I better eat as much as I can now because it won’t be there tomorrow!” Then, wake up the next morning with a food hangover, the digestion system rebelling? Ugh. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Excess food creates acidity which generates various illnesses. Thankfully, God gave humans common sense. When we know better, we make wiser choices. Enjoying nutritious flavorful clean food with a disciplined attitude is ultimately beneficial, so why go backward?

In Genesis 3:6, Eve saw that food was pleasing to the eye, and we have been seduced by food ever since!  God is pleased when we conquer worldly pleasures and honor Him!

We have produced an unhealthy generation. I endorse 1 Corinthians 10:23 to moderate culinary boundaries.  By Free Will, you either accept or reject God’s dietary boundaries. Your choice, you can eat anything, but remember, there are no victimless crimes. If you become ill, everyone you love suffers.

With the emergence of mid-century fast-food establishments, came an attitude of why cook when one can simply make a quick stop and bring home dinner?  So what if it’s made from chemicals, preservatives, and other items we can’t pronounce?  Kids will eat it when they won’t touch carrots! Busy parents justified: “Live and let live!” – at least we’ll eat together. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and childhood obesity increased accordingly as additional processed foods adorned the shelves of many supermarkets.

We morphed into a “do our own thing” society. Few attend church nowadays, many have no clear direction ethically/morally.  Parents have become friends not disciplinarians, allowing their children to live as they chose. Religion? “Whatever you embrace darling, as long as it fulfills your need.” The result? Children are ensnared by false doctrines and cultish beliefs. Crime soars.  If our young aren’t taught basic Biblical Truths and behaviors, we indeed reap what we sow. Their Spirit dies.

There definitely IS an eternal tomorrow. It’s called either Heaven or Hell and we can accept or reject that fact. I choose Heaven. To God, All Lives Matter!  Choose Life!

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  (2 Timothy 4:3)

Living with Fibromyalgia

In 1991 as I began my nutritional counseling career, fibromyalgia (FMS) was just emerging onto the medical scene. When the doctors I worked for couldn’t determine a specific cause, they inevitably sent the patient to me.

As I sat and listened to their symptoms and heard their plea for help, it was truly frustrating for us both. There were no guidelines at that time and many doctors believed it to be a “psychological inducement caused by stress.”  Translation: “It’s in your head.”

The more I listened, the more convinced I was that FMS was not a myth. There seemed to be a connection among most patients: 80% of them worked around chemicals. They were hairstylists, manicurists, lab and pest control technicians, house cleaners, etc. which I found to be curious. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that since the skin can breathe in toxins that remain in the muscles and joints, couldn’t fibromyalgia be a result of toxic build-up in the body?

Another possibility: FMS cases are increasing yearly. So are the chemical additives placed in foods found on grocery shelves! Is there a connection here? Just in case, I’d urge all to go back to the original “diet” plan God gave Adam. (Genesis 1:29) You’ll understand that God is smarter than we are.

As far as I know, to date, there is no cure for FMS but I pray there is hope, and here is what I humbly offer to fight it:

  1. Keep a food diary for at least a month. Track every food you place in your mouth. (Your health depends on it so don’t whine!) Circle any boxed, canned, or bagged food that contains dyes, chemical additives, or preservatives, and if your symptoms increase, don’t ever purchase these again.
  2. Increase your intake of purified, distilled water and lemon water. (Rid your diet of Splenda and chemically infused diet drinks. These are toxins.)
  3. Try juicing (but don’t forget fiber foods) and consume more alkaline foods. Use my search engine for posts on the pH scale.
  4. Wash all of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly! Even pre-washed packages contain some risk of pesticides. Increase organic foods if possible.
  5. Protect yourself with high antioxidant choices. Antioxidants protect the skin and will hopefully create a force field against outside pollutants.
  6. Increase fiber-rich choices. This will not only detoxify your body quickly by binding and removing toxins through the kidneys and liver but allow more protective nutrients to enter your bloodstream through the small intestine.
  7. Get out and walk! Fresh air releases endorphins and serotonin which improves the mood and reduces stress.

Change your diet. Search for the most powerful antioxidant foods available:

  1. Garlic, onions, and leeks all contain powerful chemicals which boost the immune system. I’ve written about this a lot. See any posts on healing foods.
  2. The friendly bacteria, acidophilus is found in natural, good quality yogurt. Mountain High, Stonyfield, Stony Farms, Yoplait Natural, and Fage, Greek (or any without additives) will fight the harmful bacteria in your system.
  3. Spicy foods release soothing neurotransmitters that calm pain. Try increasing hot spicy foods containing capsaicin, (cayenne pepper) or hot salsas, peppers, horseradish, and wasabi.
  4. Chlorophyll will boost immune-fighting properties. This includes alfalfa, kelp, spinach, kale, broccoli, or wheat grass. All green foods contain chlorophyll. (but NO! Not moldy cheese.)

Lastly, it is not only “in your head.” Sometimes it’s in your heart too, for it takes Herculean effort to remain upbeat when in pain.  I urge you to surround yourself with TRUE friends who will accept you as you are! God will never abandon you.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4