Monday, September 19, 2011

In My Element

Happy Monday to you all!  It's just a gorgeous morning here in the North-west...and I have a lovely view of it here from my 2nd story office, (I use that term loosely).  The morning is just chilly enough to be refreshing, the sun is up over the neighbor's roof and casting interesting shadows across the cul-de-sac and showing off the birds perched in the same neighbor's tree that I am eyeball to eyeball with out of my little window.  Good stuff...obviously it doesn't take much to entertain me! :)

I hope you had a great weekend.  I totally did!  Saturday was comprised of some much overdue cleaning, (only got the downstairs done - but I'm OK with that), and some baking by the smell of brownies baking, don't you!?!

All of this domestic busy-ness was in preparation for Sunday...the Sabbath....the Day of Rest.  My theory - work your tail off on Saturday, then you can enjoy Sunday more.  I don't rest well with clutter around or chores hanging over my head so this works for me! :)  Besides, the Joyster was bringing college friends over!

Yep, two of her new girlfriends were gong to visit our church with her...and since the food isn't served on the college campus until 10:30 (just brunch and dinner on the weekends) and our home is strategically located between her campus and our church (a mother's dream spot), we had breakfast for them here...followed by lunch after church because I just couldn't send them back to school hungry, now could I?

Saturday evening, as I was finishing the prep for Sunday, the Man said that he could see that I was totally in my element...and I was!  Nothing makes me happier than to ready my home for time with family and friends!  And this is something that we haven't had much of in the past 2 years as my husband has struggled through one health crisis after another.  In the early stages of Mercedes Man's battle, I would day dream about happy times and a home filled with those we the road grew longer and bumpier I would just dream about getting back to some kind of normal and relief for my husband.

And then, just like that, there was yesterday!  I'm not sure what I was the happiest about...the fact that it was Sunday alone thrills me (I love taking a day out of the week to slow down and celebrate the Lord with others)...but seeing my husband feeling up to having others over...having my second born baking up a storm in the kitchen...knowing that the first born was coming for a visit - and getting to meet one of her new friends (the other one woke up feeling under the weather and couldn't make it :( )...made it over the top for me!  That may sound just plain silly but it's heart was just plain filled up at the prospect of it all.

And then they came.  The Joyster and her friend...we met her (she's a lovely girl) and had breakfast...went to church and came home...all the girls donned aprons (you can't have a ministry called ApronStrings without having a plethora of them hanging in your pantry) and worked in the kitchen (thanks college girl-friend for jumping right in there with us).  After lunch the Man played Apples to Apples with the girls while I hemmed dress slacks for my girl (she starts observing in an elementary classroom this week and needs to be dressed for the occasion)...and we ate brownies of course! (those of you Food 4 Thot followers, don't be judgin'...Sunday's I give myself permission to sort of eat 'whatever' but in moderation of course he/he).

So, Sunday wasn't was just normal and fun...something that we haven't had much of for a long time!  Thank you Lord for blessing us so richly with 'normal' (well normal for us...the college friend may have thought of us as a bit abnormal ;) after a long season of anything but!  I was in my element!  How was your weekend?  What is your element!

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food 4 Thot

The Think System...ever heard of it?  Maybe you have if you are familiar with The Music Man, (either the 1962 version with the mom from the Partridge Family...I'm dating myself here - I watched mama Partridge and her chicks faithfully, but I did come out after the 1962 version...or the more recent rendition featuring Matthew Broderick).

In this story the Think System was the brain child of Professor Harold Hill, a con-man proficient at swindling people out of money for uniforms and instruments necessary for his boys band, (think the marching kind - not N Sync).  When a librarian suspicious of Prof. Hill's sincerity and qualifications, who knows a thing or two about music, questioned him on the method he would employ to teach the young boys how to play their bright shiny new instruments he said he would be using the Think System.

His Think System went something like this; if you think about the musical piece and hum it long enough you'll be able to play it when you pick up the instrument.  Totally makes sense! Ya-right...if that were the case I would be doing more than just dusting the piano in our front room - sheesh!

Wouldn't it be nice if the Think System worked in the area of Body know, like if I think about exercise long enough my abs will look more like a six-pack than a keg and my hiney will go back up to where it used to be.  Or if I think long and hard enough, and hum at the same time, my weight will go back down to a much more pleasing number on the scale.  Sounds great - doesn't it!?!  What an info-mercial seller that would be.

As far fetched as it may sound, I am a firm believer in the Think System when it comes to Body Management.  You see I've found that you can purchase the latest and greatest exercise equipment or program and invest money in the soundest of healthy eating plans but if you don't have your head in the game you are going no where fast.

For me (and I don't think I am the exception) more than half the battle of better Body Management is fought in between my ears.  You see I have to just plain make my mind up about a few things first before I ever make an attempt to pull them off.

1 - I need to decide that I am good and ready to do something about my current others words, I need to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.

2 - I need to decide that I really can do this_____(exercise program, eating plan, self discipline thing...because "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13
*Interesting side note - Paul makes the above statement after saying, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry" funny for us! :)

3 - I need to decide that I have a no excuse policy and stick to's so easy to give one's self 'time-off' for a plethora of good lame excuses.  I'm not talking about living a strict legalistic type of life but taking good care of our bodies needs to be just as important a part of our routine as brushing our teeth....what if we left the house every day making excuses not to take the time for good oral hygiene...grody!

4 - Decide on a plan that you can keep up with for most days over the long haul.  This isn't a crash diet or obsessive exercise to get quick results deal.  This is a lifestyle change that, when practiced consistently, will put you into the proper weight category for you and will leave you feeling stronger and more energized...ready to fulfill your God given purpose.  It's kind of like make it work well you need to choose your mate carefully and remember that you have a 3 person covenant; you, him and the Lord.  That way on days that you're not really feelin' it with your spouse you have your commitment to the Lord to help you hold on until that season passes.  1Corintians 6:19-20 puts it this way "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy are not your own; you were bought with a price.  Therefore honor God with your body".  So on those days when I don't feel like getting up at 5:15 to get my exercise in or my taste buds are crying out for something low on nutrition and high on calories my motivator is not my own weak self but the desire to honor the Lord.

OK, that Food 4 Thot is quite a I'll just leave you to think about it. :)

Serving Him and you,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Verse to Chew On

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness"
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

A September Sunrise - Boise, Id

When my 2nd born was just a toddler I would sing to her at bedtime.  Her most requested song was Great is My Fitfulness.  Not familiar with that one?  You probably know it as Great is Thy Faithfulness...the old hymn written by Thomas A. Chisolm.

I just loved the name that Lopey had for it though...quite fitting for a darling blue eyed, blond haired girl smack dab in the middle of her trying two's who tended to fight bedtime with every fiber of her being.  When you think about it that title is pretty accurate for all of us in the human species, at one time or another. I'm just sayin'.

It's so easy to find my self in a fit...maybe not the lie on the floor and cry till I get my way fit...but a fit none the less.  Thoughts of  "it's not fair" or "why me" would fall into this would 'fear of' or 'anger toward' things not in my control.  The hymn which is based on our verse is such a good antidote to those fits.

I'm pretty sure that the composer of the hymn would agree.  You see Mr. Chisolm had a few things to pitch a fit about himself.  The first part of his adult life was plagued by health so fragile that he spent most of his time confined to bed.  When he wasn't flat on his back he was working odd jobs like crazy to make ends meet...I'm sure those life conditions could illicit a response of "it's not fair...why me".  He very well might have made those statements.

Somewhere along his 94 year life span though Thomas A. Chilsom came in contact with truth of Lamentations 3:22-23 and the person of Jesus. At some point he discovered for himself that God's mercy and love for us is not only constant, but it's as new and fresh as each morning...and that He is faithful to us...even when we are not faithful to Him...even when the tuff-stuff of life would point to the contrary.

So, chew on would thinking on the truths of our verse change your attitude now?  Do you have a life situation that overwhelms you more than God's love and faithfulness does?  As you chew on Lamentations 3:22-23 say it out you mean's true!  Your life situation may be true and difficult, but as bad or frustrating as it may be it is only temporal.  By saying that please understand that I am not making light of anything you may be going through.  I am simply trying to put an eternal perspective on it...God is forever faithful, His love to you is steadfast and His mercies not only are without an expiration date - they are new as every sunrise!

As you chew on this verse take time to read over the lyrics they inspired...let the Lord's Word and His presence calm any 'fit' that might be raging inside of you...and remind yourself (we all need to from time to time) that Great is His faithfulness toward you!

Great is Thy Faithfulness


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassion's, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.


Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Serving Him and you,

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Day to Remember

Yesterday was a day to remember...where we were the moment we heard the terrible news.  This is an event that not only impacted and defined my generation, but my daughters' as well.

You see I was too young to remember the day JFK was mom said she had just walked in the door from my 6 week old doctor check-up when her mother-in-law called with that terrible news.  Too young to experience first hand Bobby Kennedy's or Martin Luther King Jr.'s violent premature demise.

But when the attack occurred on home soil I was a 30-something stay-at-home mom of two little girls.  On that September morning, 10 years and 1 day ago, I was going about my normal routine.  The Man had left bright and early as usual...well actually it was dark and early...before the sun and the chickens (not that we had any) were up to jump on one of those So. Cal. freeways to make at 35 mile commute to work...which would take him about an hour and a half.  Being the great...good...decent wife that I am, I got up early to pack his lunch, find his keys (he is soooo not a morning person) and head him in the direction of his work truck.  I then headed off for my time with the Lord and to begin the morning puttering around the house.

The school district we lived in back then was a year-around track program.  Three months 'on' for my girls and one month 'off'.  We were on our 'off month' so the little kindergarten girl and big 3rd grader (or so she thought) were snuggled in their beds when the phone rang.  It was my husband on his company dispatch truck phone.  That didn't happen often...something must be up!

I could tell by the tone of his voice that something bad had happened.  He is never one to panic or over react so a slight strange unfamiliar twist to his speech pattern was enough to make the little hairs on my arms stand straight up.  I remember him telling me to turn the TV on...that he had heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into a building in New York...and that he had a feeling that it was more than just a terrible accident.

I flipped the TV on and  remember hearing Katie Courics voice while seeing pictures of people surrounded by and covered in ash and smoke.  I was trying to communicate to my husband what I was seeing, what I was hearing when I saw the second plane hit.  The reporter on the news thought it was film footage of the first plane for just a moment...and then the reality of what we were all seeing hit like a ton of husband's hunch was right - this wasn't just a horrible accident...this was on purpose!

I don't know if it was his previous military experience or the nudging of the Holy Spirit that clued the Man into the seriousness of this event from a brief snippet on the radio but I am so glad that he prepared me.  Because even watching it with my own eyes I could hardly take in the truth and enormity of what had happened.  Americans didn't know at that point who, how or why those planes crashed with intent, (or that two more would follow), but we did know that we were under attack...on home soil.  How could this be?

We are of the free...home of the brave...the country that others want to immigrate to because of our great reputation...why would anyone want to hurt us...and how the heck did they pull it off!?!

It would take us a long time to answer those questions, to wrap our minds around all that was lost that day, to process the changes that this would lead to.  America pulled together as Americans should.  Signs pleading God Bless America were accompanied by the call America Bless God.  Hearts were humbled and passions were stirred.

When my little girlie-girls tumbled out of bed looking very sweet and innocent that morning I realized I had a tough job.  Somehow I had to explain the events to them (they would hear about it one way or the other - no protecting them from this one - nor did I think I should) in a way that their little hearts and minds could understand without creating fear in them.  It wasn't easy.  After a brief explanation and short prayer for all the people who had 'boo-boos' the girls were told they could stay in their pj's, eat breakfast in the oldest's room and spend the day playing with a rare reprieve from any and all chores.  Even with this break from all the normal rules, and with the volume turned low on the TV so they wouldn't hear anything I didn't want them to, they were much more subdued than normal.

Ten years later, as a college freshman and high school sophomore the girls obviously understand and articulate much more clearly in regards to this event.  Lopey, my younger one, made the statement the other day that as a result, our nation has been at war almost her whole life...and yet her generation is so unaffected by that.  Some in her generation pray for those in the military...some even know men and women serving on our behalf...they have grown up hearing war reports and are familiar with names of people from another culture on the other side of the world.  Of course there are those poor children who have felt the impact directly...loosing a parent in the Twin Towers, Pentagon or downed airplane, or in military service - Father please bless them!...but Lopey was saying that for the most part her generation has been unaffected by this distant and prolonged response to the attack on American soil.

She equated her experience with kids who grew up in World War II.  When things were rationed out and valued more...when kids her age could be part of the war effort by collecting scrap metal and organizing penny drives.  In a way I think she is very grateful that she hasn't felt the effects of the attack 10 years ago any more than she has...and in a way I think she is concerned that it hasn't had a bigger impact on the mind set of her generation.

And this makes me think: Do I feel differently now...10 years removed from the shock...about my country, my freedoms and my privileges as an American?  Sitting in church yesterday, as my pastor spoke about the importance and history of the Bible he asked us about complacency.  I thought this was extremely poignant in light of the fact that it was 9/11.  He asked us if we were complacent in the using the gift of the Bible - God's living word!  Are we complacent because it's so easy for every home to have we take it for granted?

He recounted a story of smuggling Bibles into a foreign country early in his Christian walk and how that experience snapped him completely out of complacency and stirred a hunger in him for the Word.  It reminded me of when, back in the olden days, I worked at the headquarters of a non-profit Christian missionary organization...before The Wall came down...when we had missionaries in countries that we weren't even supposed to talk about.  Missionaries, who when they returned to the states and debriefed through my office talked about underground meetings, concealed Bibles, and men and women who risked everything for the chance to worship God and fellowship with other believers.

So, I thought yesterday, but for the grace of God.  Yes we are a nation who once boldly announced our self as One Nation Under God...and we are a nation where we are barley affected by the war for our freedom being fought on foreign soil...we are a nation where churches meet freely, Bibles are available and legal and I can bow my head and pray in public.  But what if...what if 9/11 had turned out differently...or happens again?  What if America's destruction of life as we know it doesn't come from a foreign adversary - what if it comes from complacency on our part...from the inside out?

In light of the remembrance yesterday, how will you and I live today differently.  What do we take for granted - how should we change.  This isn't a call to go all vigilante...but it is a call to be take advantage of the freedoms we have as impact our generation for good...for His good!

Serving Him and you,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Verse to Chew On

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power"
1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV

Here is just a short little verse for us to chew on today.

When Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth he was making the point that seeing the kingdom of God show up here on this earth doesn't come by wishful thinking or by empty talk.  It comes from power.  Not a display of human strength or by being clever.  Power that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Boy I sure would like to see God's kingdom come and His will done on earth as it is in heaven - like Jesus prayed.  But how many times have I prayed along those lines without realizing that I play a part in seeing that happen.  I can't make God do anything or make things happen in and of myself.  But I do need to remember that I am a conduit for the Father to work through.

In Francis Chan's book Forgotten God he makes the statement, "and this is the question that I just can't get around: if it's true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit's temple, then shouldn't there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?" (pg. 32)

If we have received Jesus as our Savior and bowed our knee to the His lordship in our lives then the same Holy Spirit power that raised Him from the dead lives in us.  The same Holy Spirit who took that rag-muffin group of disciples and turned them into the pillars of the early church finds us a suitable place to take up residence in.  I don't know about you but that blows my mind...maybe because I know me!

That part of the God-head seals our salvation but He's there to do more.  He empowers us to to change from the inside out so that we look more like Jesus...but he's not just there for our benefit.  He is there to work out His fruit so that we can be a blessing to flesh out the gifts He's placed in us for the benefit of the Body of Christ and as a sign to the unbelievers - wooing them into relationship with the Father through the Son.

We often hear the question, "If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?".  Probably not as much these days as you would have when you were a kid given the current price of gas.  But what would you do in the Kingdom of God if you had an unlimited power source available.  Chew on that for a minute.

I'm not talking about just dreaming up 'whatever' and expecting the Lord to place His stamp of approval on it.  I'm talking about those whispers in your heart...the promptings of Him showing you how He's purposed you, pointing to areas that He desires to work in and His call  for you to join Him.  Those areas that we sometimes dismiss with, "...well if I had more time...if I were better educated...if I wasn't so_______ (you fill in the blank)".

Well here is the real kick in the pants...nothing that we are lacking makes a hill of beans difference when the Lord calls.  When He calls He makes up the difference with His Spirit!  He told Paul that His 'power is made perfect in weakness' (2Cor. 12:9)...and the disciples - well they were said to be 'unschooled and ordinary men'...but people could tell that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).  The Holy Spirit is just waiting to work through us for the Father's that we can see a bit of heaven here on earth.

So really...what would you do that you are not doing now?  Chew on it...what's holding you back?  Your success is not based on your abilities...just on your willingness to respond to God's call and rely on the power of His Spirit!  Let's quit talking about it and just let the Lord's power work through us! :)

Serving Him and you,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Food 4 Thot

Hey there!  Hope this post find you doing well.  I'm having a great day.  It's going to be a warm one in my neck of the woods, but the air is starting to get that 'fall-ish' feeling.  Boy do I love living in a place with all four seasons!

Well today I thought I would give you some Food 4 Thot...kind of like my Verse to Chew On posts...only completely different! :)  The Verse to Chew On entries are more a devotional type of piece...usually based on one Bible verse and dealing with life in general.  Food 4 Thot, (and yes I do know that there are some spelling errors in this title - but when texting my friends in relation to this it's quicker and easier to punch, I'm not lazy), can be a Bible verse but it can also be some practical tips to help those of us pursuing better body management.

Food 4 Thot began as a group gathering of 3 of my friends and myself about a year ago.  We are in various body states (we are all in Idaho, but you know what I mean) but share the common goal of wanting to be a better steward of these bodies that the Lord has blessed us with. Body management took a back seat for me when the Man went through all of his medical crisis.  And now my back seat shows it...and I don't want to end up with a health issue of my own as a result!

Sitting in the plastic chairs of hospital rooms and doc's offices didn't help.  Neither did the Santa Clause diet!  When you hit the hospital cafeteria at odd hours or eat out of the gift shop, milk and cookies are sometimes what you end up with...and those end up leaving you with a Santa Clause resembling figure.  What's endearing on him is just plain old uncomfortable on me!

So the last year of Food 4 Thot meetings with my friends, although sporadic, have helped me keep my head in the game.  My progress has been kind of all over the place as complications and challenges have plagued my husband and placed my behind in plastic chair after plastic chair.  But some progress has been made.

Not only do my friends and I share the common goal of desiring better body management but we also share the same approach.  No, we are not all following the same diet...there is a Weight Watcher among us, as well as a Raw Foodist and one who continues with her Mediterranean influenced eating habits but watches portions.  The one thing we have in common is what I mentioned earlier...keeping our head in the game. 

Romans 12:1-2a is the foundational scripture for our pursuits.  In the NIV it reads, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (italics mine)

We are so thankful for all that the Father has done for us...and we do want our bodies to be holy and pleasing to Him (for us we believe that this comes by taking better care of ourselves - it's not about being a perfect size) and this comes through changing our thinking.

So, we spend our time renewing our minds with scripture...what does God say about our bodies?  Does His Word say anything about what or how much we should eat?...and renewing our minds with information about nutrition and exercise.  We encourage each other and affirm each other...and pray for each other.

Here are a few tips that were shared the last time we got together...courtesy of Dr. Oz.
   *The best time to weigh in...right after you get up in the morning, (after you potty)
   *The best time to exercise...right after you weigh's like putting a stick of butter in a hot skillet, you'll burn fat right away...if you wait until you eat you'll have to burn through that fuel first.
   *The best time to eat breakfast...right after you get up (potty), weigh in and exercise...shouldn't go longer than an hour of so after waking to get your metabolism going.

Well that is just a little for you to think on today...what are your thoughts?

Serving Him and you,