Who Can You Encourage Today?

Kindness:  benevolence, humanity, generosity, charity, sympathy,compassion, tenderness, good will

Everyone needs kindness in their lives.  Who has God placed in your path or on your mind that needs kindness shown to them in some way or another today?

What about the mother who is discouraged and needs to know that someone is praying for her… Does she need a phone call or a note of encouragement? Does your pastor need to know that his hard work is making a difference and that you’re thinking about and praying for him and his family? Does that college friend of your child’s (whose home is far away) need a care package? Do you know of a teenager who is having a particularly tough time in school and needs encouragement? Do you know of a secretary who feels unappreciated at work?  How about the server who served lunch to you? How about those new adoptive parents or brand new parents? How are they settling in with their new child?

Your spouse, your children, friends, an aunt or uncle, Mom and/or Dad, cousins, your next door neighbor, your child’s teacher… there are so many people out there who, despite the happy faces on Facebook or when they first see you, are living normal, every day lives.  You know what I mean.  We all have struggles of some sort or another.

Who needs your encouragement today? What can you do to reach out to them today and let them know someone cares?

Trim Healthy Mama

Last year I started reading a book called Trim Healthy Mama, written by two sisters, Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett.  It was a little bit much to take in… 607 pages of information.  So, since I’m a “give me the bottom line” kind of person and didn’t have a lot of time to read all at once… and since I wanted to start right away and not wait until I finished the book, I went straight to the “good parts” that talked about the way we need to eat (chapters 8-11), as in types of meals… E, S, FP.   I started eating the way they said and… didn’t like many of the recipes.  For one thing, I’m not going to eat sardines… ever… let alone have them for breakfast.  I’m not much of a fish person and lutefisk and sardines are two of my nightmare foods.  For another, I went out and bought all kinds of ingredients that upped my food budget dramatically.  So I used these new ingredients and created meals and desserts from the book.

Good Food?

Everyone has different taste buds.  There were some recipes I didn’t care for and some I liked, so I marked the things that we didn’t enjoy and highlighted the ones we did. Then I started looking online for information, found a Facebook group where THMers encourage each other, ask questions, get all kinds of information, etc.  It was great.  I found out about a lot of people eating the THM way who had experimented and created recipes, many of which we really liked.


Finally, I finished reading the book. During this whole time, I was losing weight… but, by ounces, not pounds.  However, I was OK with that because I started noticing a change in the way my clothes were fitting.  Then I noticed that the headaches I had been getting that would lay me low were gone.  The swelling in my joints calmed down.  (Clearly, the headaches and swelling in the joints came from the foods I had been eating before THM.)  So, there were benefits to this way of eating even if I was being a turtle on the scale.  (Unlike so many others who are losing reasonably quickly, it took me MONTHS to lose 11 pounds.)

Change in Perspective

On February 27th, I decided to do THM all the way.  I hadn’t been eating as often as the book says to eat and I would skip meals without even realizing it because, frankly, I just wasn’t hungry. I knew my metabolism was really slow, but on top of that, I didn’t seem to experience normal hunger pangs.  I’d literally forget to eat.  So, with this new commitment to eat as often as it said, I had to eat mindfully, really paying attention.  Doing the THM program just the way they say, I have lost an additional 6.2 pounds since February 27th.  Considering how long it took me to lose before that, this was amazing.  On top of it all, I have started to feel hunger pangs when my body needs nourishment.  That’s a good thing.  My body needed MORE food than I was giving it (and I wasn’t eating tiny meals).   Because I hadn’t been eating enough, it had been hanging on to calories for dear life.  This experience helped me understand what Pearl and Serene had written. I got rid of the “diet” mentality, ate more (whole healthy foods), and started losing more quickly!

Would I recommend THM to others?  Yes, absolutely.

Did I need to buy all these special ingredients?  No.  Once I got the concept of THM down, I realized that I can simply apply it to my own cooking style.  It’s not difficult to eat this way in restaurants, either.

Can THM be done on a budget?  Yes.  There’s even a Facebook page that gives great ideas for THM meals and snacks on a budget.

IMG_0246Do I need to buy the book?  Well… you do need the book.  It’s loaded with information that is important if you’re going to change your lifestyle.  However, your local library may have a copy that you can borrow.  Or, you can purchase the electronic version if you’d prefer.  But, yes… you do need the book in one form or another.   Mine is marked up and highlighted. I have post it notes in certain places that I go back to over and over and have written changes/variations to recipes right on the pages of the book.

If you need to lose weight or even if you don’t, but you want to get healthier, THM is a sensible and simple lifestyle change that works.

Check out Trim Healthy Mama.  See if it will help you get healthier.



Have you ever laid in bed at night or taken time out of your day to think about someone who has hurt you and what they’ve done? Do you review a situation over and over again in your mind?  I think that many of us do this.   We might think of how we could have responded differently, said something differently, or even wished we had walked away before saying something we might have regretted.  I’ve even been known to royally tell someone off— after the fact and to myself when they’re not there to hear it, of course.  I picked up the habit of talking a situation over out loud (whispering quietly of course) from my Mom.  I remember hearing her go over situations to herself repeating what she would have or should have said as she thought it through.  I love my Mom dearly and she’s an amazing woman, but that’s one habit that I picked up that I’m trying very hard to drop… and not pass on to another generation.

I’ve been sick for a few days and I’m having a hard time sleeping tonight.  So, what did I find myself doing?  Two nights ago, I was laying in bed going over, in my mind – not out loud, some situations that happened 7 years ago that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.  I usually don’t come across unkind people.  In fact, I can count on both hands (during my entire life) and personally name (meaning I know them well enough for them to hurt me) people who have deliberately been nasty, unkind, and/or arrogant.  So, with much less than even 1% of everyone I know, you’d think I would have plenty of wonderful things to think about.  But, not that night. Someone I know had, at the time, kept taking the things I said the wrong way and would respond in a nasty, arrogant way.  He got angry at me for something I wasn’t even thinking, let alone actually saying.    He never apologized and when I called him on how he had responded, he said not to shoot God’s messenger as if he was God’s personal messenger sent to tell me something nasty.  Clearly, he didn’t think there was a need for apology.  Has that ever happened to you?  Something similar happened to me again several months ago with someone else.  I’m sure that if it (a misunderstanding that perpetuates a problem) has happened to me, it’s happened to other people, too, so I wanted to write about it.


Don’t you hate it when people misunderstand you?  It hurts when they respond badly toward you based on their perspective of what you said and not on what you really said.  It’s as if they’re determined to think/assume the worst of you instead of actually having a conversation with you to find out what you really meant or simply trying to think the best of you.  And, if you’re like me, their unkind response and assumptions make you angry.

Well, I had enough of laying in bed rehashing all of that old stuff so I got up to wash dishes that hadn’t been washed while I was sleeping the day away.  Sadly there is no dish fairy or genie who comes and does the dishes for me, even when I’m sick.  As I was washing dishes, I asked myself why in the world I was bringing all that 7-year-old nonsense up again.  I thought I was past that.

Do you want the answer?  Even if my story might impact you?  OK.  Here is it…


I was bringing it up again because…  I had never forgiven that person.  I didn’t even realize it until now.

So, tonight I asked God to forgive me for my “unforgiving spirit” and to help me completely forgive that person in my heart.

Forgiveness isn’t only for the person being forgiven.  In fact, sometimes it’s not for that person at all.  He or she may not even be seeking forgiveness.  Maybe they’re no longer living.  Maybe they’ll never see life the way you see it and always look at you as if you’re the cracked clay pot and they’re the gold one.  Maybe they’ll always be the kind of person who assumes the worst of you.  That part doesn’t matter when it comes to forgiveness.  I believe that forgiveness is primarily for the person doing the forgiving.

What does it mean to forgive?  I looked it up in the dictionary for the purpose of writing the dictionary definition in my blog and there are a couple of definitions that apply specifically to forgiving an offense against you as opposed to forgiving a financial or other kind of obligation.

1. To grant pardon for or remission of an offense or debt, to absolve.
2. To cease to feel resentment against.


Last night, as I was thinking through this it was pretty clear that I still felt resentment against this person and that my experiences 7 years ago have made me look at him in a totally different way ever since.  When others praised him or spoke highly of him all I could see was arrogance and a nasty manner.  When he was trying to be pleasant in social situations, all I could see was hypocrisy.  After all, he was always pleasant in public, but had been unkind to me in private.    But, was my perspective reality?   I don’t know.  When I called him on his nasty arrogance I tried to explain what I had meant, that I hadn’t even thought what he said I meant, and then said something like, “I don’t believe I deserve what you said or how you said it.”   His response:  “Don’t shoot God’s messenger.”  It was as if he felt that he had not only not misunderstood me but, also, that his manner was completely acceptable… labeling himself as God’s messenger.   I do believe that my later perceptions of him came out of my hanging on to those offenses and letting resentment built up.  Have you ever experienced that?  Resentment can blind a person toward reality.

My goodness.  I got to thinking about myself.  What if I had a bad day and said something I shouldn’t have said.  (I’ve done that before… on more than one occasion.)  Will the person I spoke to think of me in light of that unkindness forever?  I hope not because that’s not who I am in reality.


Regardless of the situation, regardless of whether someone is intrinsically unkind and arrogant or sweet, but just had a bad day, forgiveness of offenses against you lays firmly on your own shoulders.  There’s no point in going through life being resentful of others.  You’re the only one who is harmed by hanging on to your resentment.

If you choose not to forgive and let it go, you’re letting that other person rent space in your head… and for what purpose?

Don’t waste any time thinking about it further.   Forgive.  Let it go.  Experience freedom and peace about the situation.


Look for an upcoming post going further into forgiveness and why it’s so necessary.

The Flood and the Plumber

I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had logged in and posted something, let alone answered people who responded to my blogs. It’s so easy to get swept away by the activities in life like one can get swept away by a river. it’s time to be far more intentional…

I woke up just before 4 am this morning. (I’m not a morning person and that certainly wasn’t on purpose.) After laying there for about 15 minutes, I decided to get up and have my quiet time, catch up on Facebook, plan my day, and log into my blog. It has been a very positive start to the day. So, this morning I have a story to tell you.

On Christmas Eve Day I went to put clothes from the washer into the dryer and heard the oddest noise. It sounded like water spraying, but that couldn’t be! I listened closely and opened up the door to the hot water closet. Water was spraying out of one of the bendable copper pipes. How does a copper pipe break when it has been a couple of years since anyone touched it??? (Our landlords installed the water heater.) My husband was gone for the day (shopping with the kids) and wasn’t taking his phone into the stores with him. I couldn’t get ahold of him. There was no shut off valve to the water heater. (Why wasn’t there a shut off valve???!!! I’m not a plumber, but that would be a logical thing to install when one installs a water heater.)

I didn’t have a clue how to stop the water. I called our landlord and, of course, couldn’t reach him. I called every plumber in the book. Most didn’t respond because it was Christmas Eve. A couple said they didn’t have anyone to send over and couldn’t tell me how to shut off the water. Meanwhile, water is spraying from the pipe. I called my sister-in-law (a 45 minute drive away) to see if she could try to reach my husband by phone and let him know what was going on. She suggested I go to the neighbor up the hill. (Now why didn’t I think of that?) I got in the car and drove to his house, telling him I had an emergency and needed help. He came down and checked our well. No cut off valve there. Finally, he told me to shut off all of the breakers because he couldn’t find the cut off valve in any accessible spot. None of the circuit breakers seemed to work, so I just shut the whole house off. THANK GOODNESS, the water stopped spraying.

I was beginning to think we’d have to go through a freezing winter night (or however long it might be before a plumber can come) with no electricity/heat. I also felt badly. Our neighbor is over 80 years old and crawling around under our house to find a shut off valve. He finally found it so I could turn the electricity back on again. I thanked him profusely.

I finally reached my husband and he suggested I call a business associate of his who is a plumber. I did and, bless the man’s heart, as soon as he got my voice mail (later that night), he called and said he’d be there first thing in the morning. He took time from his family’s Christmas morning activities to fix the problem and then came back a week or so later to put shut off valves in appropriate places.

Then this last week, we had problems. It turns out there was another leak, but this time under the house. The landlord and his wife came (he has a 2 or so hour drive) to fix the problem themselves. So, all day Saturday they were working on it. With everything they did, another part of the plumbing would burst. They kept going back and forth to Lowes to pick up more supplies. But, it was finally fixed.

It turns out it wasn’t fixed. For the third time since Christmas Eve, we are without water. Yesterday before dinner we lost all water pressure. My husband went under the house and there was a river under there. The plumbing the landlord had fixed broke. We got in touch with him and he called the same plumber who was so willing to respond quickly at Christmas. So, the plumber will be coming this morning to professionally fix the plumbing. What a blessing that he is so responsive. (In the meantime, there are half washed dishes in the dishwasher and soaked clothes in my washer. We’re pouring water we’ve bought into the toilet tanks so that they can be flushed and are brushing our teeth in drinking water.) I am sincerely hoping this is the end of it, but the house is 19 years old. So, I’m wondering what else will happen.

I am determined, however, that no matter the circumstances, this will be a good day! And I wish the same for you.

Going to the City

We live a 12-minute-drive from the closest city.  The word city is relative in people’s minds.  Folks like me who spent years in places like Vancouver, San Diego County, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, New York or any other big city… well, we might call this a very, very small town, indeed.  However, its articles of incorporation as a city were filed in 1855.  So, a city it is.  (As a point of reference, the entire population of our little city, according to the latest census, is equal to the membership of the church I attended in San Diego County.)  For the purposes of this little post, I shall call this a “town” and the closest bigger city a “city”.

Our little town has its own charm, but it is missing the conveniences of the city.  Many of the people I know go to the city to see a doctor, go to stores like Costco, drop off at the Good Will or Salvation Army, go shopping in a mall, go to organic food stores, or to even have a choice of restaurants at which to eat.   (The selection in our town is very small, although slowly growing.)

The closest larger city from our house is 45 minutes away… driving to where we want to go in that city takes longer.  Most of the big shopping we need to do is done there and certainly, if we want to do a good deal of organic shopping, we need to go in to the city.  So, we have to save up and combine all errands that are city-related to do in one day.  Unfortunately, it is often an all-day proposition.  Today was a “going to the city” day.

It’s been a LONG day.  I’m so tired right now.  So, tonight we’ll simply have polish sausage and potato soup with toast for dinner.  It’s the easiest thing I can think of with the ingredients I have on hand.  (It’s simmering right now… potatoes and polish sausage cut into bite sized pieces and thrown into chicken stock with diced carrots, diced onions, peas and corn.  I also added a bit of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  The stock I’m using has no gluten or MSG in it, but has big flavor and doesn’t need a lot of seasoning.  The sausage and veggies will flavor it up nicely.  In the meantime, as soon as I’ve finished writing this I’m going to sit down and start watching a Christmas movie.  I’m not going to do one more thing tonight… except dishes.

Happy Dance, Happy Dance!

Tonight I didn’t feel like making a big dinner.  Then my husband remembered that he had a meeting tonight.  (We had both forgotten.)  So, while he rushed out the door, I tried a new recipe.

I’ve been intrigued by Amish cooking lately.  In fact, I’d like to do some research, purchase a good Amish cookbook and go through it from beginning to end, making everything in there.

Tonight I found a recipe called Angel Biscuits and so the boys and I had breakfast for dinner… scrambled eggs, angel biscuits, and milk.  Yup.  That’s all.  The biscuits were very simple… put together like regular biscuits.  But, the difference is that they have baking powder, baking soda and yeast in them and they have to rise.  I had never baked anything with all three before.

The result was the lightest, fluffiest and tastiest biscuits I’ve had in a long time… a texture that is different from baking powder biscuits.  They’re like a hybrid between baking powder biscuits and yeast rolls.

Here’s where I found the recipe for anyone who wants to try it:  Angel Biscuits

Angel BiscuitsThe recipe says to mix and roll the dough out.  When I put the liquid into the flour, the dough was very wet.   So, I put quite a bit of flour on the counter, scooped the wet dough out of the bowl on top of that, put more flour on top and gently worked it until I was able to roll it.  But, instead of rolling, I patted it out to 1/2 inch thickness, cut it with a biscuit cutter and put it closely together on a cookie sheet.   To make these look different from my regular biscuits, I took a fork and poked gently into each one three times.  My husband’s mother used to do that.  Finally, I brushed each one with melted butter before putting it aside to rise.  It actually took about 1 hour for it to rise to double.  Into the oven it went and 8 minutes later I had the lightest, fluffiest biscuits.

It seems to me that these biscuits would be good for the Southern biscuits and sausage gravy kind of breakfast.  The recipe made so many that we ate them for dinner and have enough left over for breakfast tomorrow and probably another meal.

Try these.  I really think you’ll like them.  My husband had one when he came home.  All three of my guys say this recipe is a keeper.

Hatefulness or Love?

My heart is heavy today as I write this post.  More and more our government and a very vocal, but minority group of people in our country are becoming religiously intolerant and breeding an atmosphere of religious intolerance of one particular kind.  And the media is promoting the same thing.  This post may make some people mad, but I feel that it needs to be said.

Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech

Folks, the Constitution of the United States of America gives all peoples in the US the right to religious freedom and the right to freedom of speech.  It is in our very Constitution.  It is a part of the American way of life.  That means that as people living in the US we may worship in any way we wish and speak about the object of our worship freely.  It means that we can share our faith with others.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a Hindu, a Mormon, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Protestant Christian, a Catholic Christian, an Orthodox Christian, a Seventh Day Adventist, an Agnostic, an Atheist, someone into witchcraft, or any other group.  We all have the same rights to freedom of worship and freedom of speech.  Along with that comes the right to live as our beliefs and faith teach us to live and not be forced to do something that is contrary to our very beliefs.

Now, along with those rights comes responsibility.  We are American citizens.  Our entire country was founded on immigration… many people from many nations.  By nature, our society is a hodge podge of various cultures from each family’s unique and individual culture (our histories, backgrounds, ways of doing things, etc.), to religious cultures, to regional cultures (for example, folks on the Bayou are different from those in Pennsylvania Dutch country or the Smoky Mountain region or the mid-West), and so on.  But, more than that… along with being a human being in any society comes such things as just plain good manners, caring about others, being kind and considerate, working together for the common good, growing together as a country, and growing individually in every way possible.

What I see becoming more and more prominent in America today is hatefulness.  Evidently hate speech IS allowed, but only if it is against Christians.  If it is against any other group, it is not tolerated.  The same person who is vicious with Christians and can get away with it and even have the government use him as a consultant on such things would be blasted out of the water should he say the same type of things about Muslims.  In my humble opinion, NONE of it should be tolerated.

Our men and women in uniform, people of many religious faiths, have fought to protect us and to protect the rights of US citizens regardless of their beliefs.  Yet, in the military, Christians are being viciously and angrily targeted in a very real way… a blocking of their very right to worship God and speak of Him.  The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is an organization that fights for the Constitutional rights of American citizens as well as for people all over the world.  Currently, they are helping with cases where our own military is taking away from Christians in the military the very religious rights for which they fight and serve.  Here is a petition for some work the ACLJ is doing.  I have to ask why the Pentagon is disregarding hate speech and is consulting with someone who is an extremist himself in his hatred for, disregard of, and vengeance against Christians.  His attitude, extreme intolerance of Christians, and name calling is not what America is all about.  Why is he advising the Pentagon on religious freedom and freedom of speech issues in the military?  His goal to take away religious rights from Christians is very clear.  Yet, Christians make up a massive portion of our US population.  Is the intention to debase, label as extreme, and stop all Christians from being able to freely worship and speak of their faith?  Evidently, that’s the goal in the military.  What happened to our Constitution?  Why all the viciousness?  And why are the very people who are fighting for our Constitutional freedoms not allowed those same freedoms?

Name Calling

Calling people “monsters” and “unconstitutional carpetbaggers” because of their faith does nothing helpful.  The Constitution assures their right to worship and speak about their beliefs.  According to the Constitution, those people have the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.  This person’s behavior and attitude says everything about him and nothing about those he is attacking except for what he personally thinks of them.

That’s a real problem because he’s using what sway he has to influence others to do the same.  But, it’s a two way street.  It’s also a real problem in the “Christian” community.  Note the quotation marks.  There’s a saying that there are some bad apples in every barrel.  Well, without a doubt, there are some people who call themselves “Christians”.  But, in reality, they live and teach their children to live completely opposite to what the Bible teaches us.  Name calling against those whose lifestyles or beliefs are different, hatred against anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe, legalism to the extreme… it’s all there.  But, don’t be fooled.  People who live contrary to the teachings of the Bible are not followers of Christ (or Christians).  Don’t confuse them with true Christians.

What does the Bible teach?

Galatians 5:22-23
But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:25-36
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Do any of these verses encourage name calling, hatefulness, unkindness, determination to say things that provoke others?  Not that I can see.  But, this is how the Bible teaches us to live our lives.  To be sure, the Bible teaches us to also live in purity and watch what we say, eliminating crude speech and jokes from our lips, to be obedient to God, and so much more… but, our lives are to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.   If we are loving others the way Christ loved us, how can we name-call and be vicious toward them.  We can’t.  This is not to say that all Christians must be perfect.  We’re all human beings who are striving to live the way God wants us to live.  We blow it, ask forgiveness, learn, grow and move on, strengthened in our Christian walk.  Over time, we learn to live more and more like Christ commanded.  Can we do it in and of ourselves?  No, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  (Philippians 4:13)

I Corinthians 13:13
“So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I Thessalonians 3:12
“…may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…”  
John 13:35
“By this will all people know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

Over and over the Bible teaches us to love.  In I Thessalonians, it’s not just love for one another (Christians), but for ALL.  That means all people, not just the ones in our church or the ones with whom we agree or having something in common.

So, I’m feeling sad that people who are not Christians are attacking Christians and trying to take away our Constitutional rights in this free land.  But, I’m also sad that in general the Church of Christ has been so lacking in demonstration of love towards each other and toward all peoples that we have lost our witness.

Ephesians 4:29
“Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Attacking people who believe differently will not help change their minds.  Being unkind to them and calling them names doesn’t ever help a situation.  All these things do is to put up walls and show that you’re not walking the talk… you’re not living out your Christian life.  So, church people who are negative and offensive, who attack others for believing something differently or living differently need to understand that this doesn’t show Christ’s love to others at all.  It pushes them away from God.  Perhaps that’s why people like the one in the petition I posted above are so angry, offended, offensive, and vengeful.  They’ve experienced anything but Christian love, Christ’s love… agape love.

We need to stop being the Holy Spirit in the lives of others.  Yes, our job is to tell them about Christ and to live the true Christian life, but it is NOT to be their personal Holy Spirit.  It is not to badger them into the Kingdom through negativity, criticism, attacks, anger, or anything of the sort.  We are clearly to love them even if they are being unlovable so that they can’t help but see God’s love through us.  Then we pray and leave it up to the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to them and to show them their need for Him.  It isn’t until someone feels loved and accepted as a person that they’re willing to open up.  We don’t need to love the actions, lifestyle or choices of others, but we are commanded to love them as people.

So, my precious brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that all of us will seek to know Christ ourselves, to understand God’s love personally so that we can show it to others.  I pray that our lives will be filled with prayer for others who need Christ rather than attacking them personally.  Because if we truly pray for them we open our hearts to showing love to them.  Let’s pray that God will work in us so that we can have an impact and that He will use us to change the world around us for the better.  As Jerry Falwell often said, “Nothing of eternal significance is accomplished apart from prayer.”