There is a blogger who has some pretty awesome things to say. I just wanted to share one of those blogs with you and I highly recommend that you take a look at more of the Master of Life in Earth, Sky and Sea blog.

master of life in earth, sky and sea

It is a call that is for me as an individual and for us as a body of believers.  It is a call to those who do not know God to come and join us in the worship of the one, true God.

The call to worship is a calling, a purpose in our lives – without it we would literally die.

I do not believe that there is a single other purpose, calling, mandate or service that we can give to God that is greater than worship.  Worship is the climax of our touchpoint with God.  It is the time we bend our knee, our heart, our mind, our soul and claim Him to be Lord, Almighty God.

It is a calling out, a calling towards God, it is the very “protein” of our spiritual make-up.

There are two clear times in my life when I sense the…

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Right on Target!

Hmm…  I was in the middle to trying to formulate my post and…  it published on me, completely unfinished.  So, if you received an unfinished post via e-mail, my apologies.  I’ll start over again.

At the beginning of January, I laid out my weight loss goals.  It would take approximately 1.5 pounds per week to reach my goal by December.  So, my target by today should be 72.6 pounds still to lose.  Here are my results.

Beginning of week 1:      78.6 pounds to lose
End of week 4:                 72.4 pounds to lose

Goal:     6 pound weight loss.
Result:  6.2 pound weight loss

I seems like it is taking forever.  Like everyone else, I am a product of our instant society.  I like instant gratification, or at the very least, quick results.  But, I have to remember that I only need to lose about 1.5 pounds per week… and that’s good.  And I have to keep reminding myself that losing it slowly and developing a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating patterns as a habit is the best way to make sure that I keep the weight off.

So, I’m learning and I’m right on target.

So Much Information!

Since I’m on a year long journey to reach my ideal weight and be healthy, I have read SO much information… much of it conflicting.  Here are some examples:

Soy is really good for you.  
Tofu, soy beans, soy milk, and all the soy powders added to foods is really bad for you. 

Whole grains are essential to your health.
Whole grains are harmful unless soaked or sprouted.
Only some whole grains are healthy.

Never use saturated fats, period.
Coconut oil, a saturated fat, is incredibly good for you.

A low-carb diet is essential to good health (ie Atkins)
Carbs are absolutely essential to health.

Keep fats out of your diet.
If you don’t have fats in your diet you won’t be healthy.

Fruit is bad for you because of the fructose in it.
Fruit is essential and very good for you.

Everything should be eaten raw.
Cook proteins, for sure!  Cooked or raw fruits and veggies are fine.

No sweets are healthy.
Stevia and raw honey are excellent sweeteners.

On and on it goes.  So, I am now on a mission.  I’m going to find out as much as I can about what really is healthy, what keeps blood sugars balanced, and what works for me to burn fat, lose weight, give energy and keep my body healthy.  I will read everything that I can and give you my progress as I go along.  I’m going to do what I think is most logical, based on what I’ve read.  We’ll see if my logic (my sense of what is right or wrong for me) turns into real live results.  The bottom line is that I don’t want to ruin my health with fad diets or crazy diets.  I believe in balance.  It has to be something that is going to make sense and last a lifetime.

In January, I’ve been eating what I considered to be healthy foods.  For the last two weeks I’ve been on a plateau of sorts.  Clearly doing what I’ve always been doing and cutting down on portion sizes isn’t the answer for me.  Portion control got me started, but it’s time for a lifestyle change.  So, February is the month of dietary changes for me.  My diet will include healthy oils, lots of fruits and vegetables, proteins, and certain kinds of whole grains.  From what I’ve read, I’m not eating enough.  I need to cut out processed foods altogether and eat more whole foods.  As I go along, I will give examples of menus, pictures, etc.

Here’s to experimentation… and health!

We’re All Imperfect Humans

I was reminded tonight of the fact that when you choose to post your thoughts and values in your blog online, not everyone will like you.

I screen comments to my blogs simply because my blog is my “home” and just like I wouldn’t welcome crude behaviors and foul language in my real home, I don’t welcome it on my “internet home”.  I do, however, welcome questions and comments and have no problem posting something if someone disagrees with me.  God wants us to ask question.  He wants us to use our brain.  Over and over the Bible tells us that.  It’s life’s questions and disagreements that should get us to think, that file off the rough edges, and that help us learn and mature as we work through tough issues.

(Jesus said) “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart,
all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.”  Luke 10:23
(New International Version)

I Peter 3:15 says that we are to be ready to give an answer to anyone who
asks us for the reason that we have hope.  That means that we need to
study and understand, we need to ask the tough questions of ourselves
and be willing to welcome the tough questions others have.

I could give a number of verses where God tells us that He created us, He gave us a mind, and He expects us to use it.

One of the comments attached to my blog today was polite, but I get a lot of spam, some of it not filtered.  So, before approving it, I decided to go to the link and see if this was an advertiser.  It turns out, it was a person who “wouldn’t darken the door of a church” and who had linked my blog as a related link to a blog about awful church music.  First of all, I have to thank that blogger for giving me “air time.”  I have to admit, the video clip that was posted there was, indeed, very painful to listen to and I would have had a difficult time listening to the whole thing.   But, the sense of anger seemed to be against Christians and churches in general.

If we’re talking about music, there’s a lot of incredibly beautiful Christian music out there.  My own church sings some beautiful music with powerful, life-changing words.  We have instruments (guitars, drums, piano, keyboard, horns, violin, etc.) playing and a worship team leading the singing.  One of my favorite things is listening to soloists, duets, trios, quartets, the children’s choir.  I love music of all kinds and styles.  It’s wonderful.  But, music isn’t the only thing it’s about.  It’s the message of the music that is life-changing.

There are churches who may not have the most wonderful music and they may have tiny choirs who can’t keep a tune, but my experiences have been that these singers sing with all of their hearts and these churches are filled with people who have big hearts and loving spirits.  There are some churches who have fantastic music and people whose lives haven’t been changed one iota on Monday through Saturday because they’re there on Sunday to be entertained and not to grow spiritually as well as churches who have fantastic music and make a difference in people’s lives.  The music one hears from a church shouldn’t be the reason one chooses to reject God.

Here’s an example of how music is used in one church as a youth puppet team is moving to the music.

From YouTube

We’re all imperfect humans. 

We all have to grow and learn and change over the course of our lives.  We all have strenghts and weaknesses in every area of life.  The question is, how do we choose to grow and in what areas of life.  Many people completely neglect spiritual life, growth and development.   But, God created us with a spirit, a internal longing for Him, whether we’ll admit it or not.

The bottom line isn’t whether you’re going to choose to push God away or not based on whether someone who can’t keep a tune enjoys singing.  It’s whether you’re going to accept or reject God, period.  That’s a personal decision between you and God.

Once you accept God and understand and believe that Jesus Christ was God, the Son, who came to earth as a man so that he could experience life and it’s temptations as you do, yet made choices to live a sinless life, died as the only pure, once-for-all-time sacrifice for your sins and rose again with power and victory over sin and death… going to church is about fellowship with other believers, learning and spiritual growth.  It’s about praising and worshiping God and Jesus Christ for what He did for us.  It’s about Christians spurring each other on to good works, encouraging each other to live right before God, motivating each other to share God with our communities and the world around us, learning to love each other despite all of our human imperfections, learning to love others as God loves, learning to grow to be more like Christ Jesus in character, and much more.  There are many things that add to that experience of spiritual growth and development.  Music is only one of those things.

So, if you’re someone who cringes at poorly sung music, don’t let that keep you from hearing about God or choosing God.  We’re all made differently.  There are churches that are more liturgical in nature, some more free-spirited in worship, some in-between.  There are churches who don’t use instruments in worship at all, some who have full orchestras, some who have organs, some who just play piano accompaniment.  There are big churches, medium-sized ones and small ones… you get the idea.  Find one that is comfortable for you, talk to the pastor and say that you’re new to church and are seeking for the truth, and then stick around for a while.  Get involved in the Sunday morning classes and/or mid-week small groups.  You’ll get to know more people much sooner and you’ll learn even more.  Just make sure that the church you choose to attend teaches from the Word of God, the Holy Bible.  Or, that church is really nothing more than a social club.

So, you can use bad music as an excuse.  But, there are plenty of options out there.  There isn’t an excuse in this country for not learning about God’s plan for man and what Jesus Christ did for you.  You can find truth all over the internet.  You can find truth in churches all around the place.  You can go to a Christian bookstore and get a Bible and find truth just quietly reading to yourself.  (If you do that, start your reading with the New Testament.)

God says, “Seek me with all your heart and you will find me.”

And, remember… We’re All Imperfect Humans.

Don’t expect church attenders to be perfect.  We’re learning and growing, too.  We’re developing spiritually.  And, we don’t belong on a pedestal.  Only God belongs up there.  If someone in a church hurt you, don’t let that fallible human being be the thing that keeps you away from the God who created you and the universe around you.  He’s not finished changing and “growing” the person who hurt you… and He loves you very much, too, and wants a relationship with YOU.

Count Your Blessings

For about a week I have had a song stuck in my head.  Remember the old movie, “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby and Danny Kay?   In that movie Bing sings a song that has the following lines:

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep.
Just count your blessings instead of sheep.
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

(I can even hear the piano music exactly as Bing plays it.)  I really like that move and enjoy singing that song.  But, it must be stuck in my head for a reason.  I tend to sing when I’m worried.  Maybe subconsciously I’ve been worried and that song is a reminder not to worry.  (Well, OK…  I sing and hum when I’m happy and excited and upset and nervous and for many other reasons as well… such as, “I just like singing.”  So, singing doesn’t automatically mean worry.)   But, if you find yourself worried, better yet, here are verses that talk about blessings and how God wants to take our burdens on Himself.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings
In heavenly places, in Christ.   Ephesians 1:3

But my God shall supply all your needs
according to His riches in glory
by Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:19

Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden
and I will give you rest.   Matthew 11:28

To me, this is incredible.  The God of the universe cares for you.  He wants to share your burdens so that they’ll be lighter for you.  If you’re “heavy laden” with worry or concern, He wants you to bring it to Him.   He has spiritual blessings for you.  He wants to supply for your needs. 

Last year was particularly difficult for our family.  My son almost died and there was a lot of illness in the family.  Because of God and a supportive church family, we were able to get through some really tough times surrounded by love, encouragement and prayers. 

But, through it all, I kept counting my blessings… and they were many.  Yes, we were going through tough times, but I can count on all fingers right this very minute people who are walking a difficult path.  I know several people who are struggling with cancer, someone who has had a lung transplant and is going through the healing process (which includes figuring out how to keep the body from rejecting the lung), and someone who recently lost a parent.   I know people who are going through relationship troubles, job losses and other things.

If we focus only on ourselves, our problems seem so huge.  If we can look outside ourselves and focus on others, we have room in our perspectives for looking at the blessings in life that accompany the tough times.  We can reach out to others and that’s healing, in and of iteslf.

So, if you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.  Keeping the blessings of your life at the forefront of your mind will help you see life in a different way.

No Progress!

It’s been a hectic week and today was incredibly busy.  But, I needed to log in a report on my progress.

Not only did I not lose weight this week, I gained 1 1/2 pounds.  But, I’m not concerned.  My “big slacks” are moving around on my waist.  That’s a good sign.

Folks, if this happens to you, keep the end goal in mind!  Don’t get discouraged and eat a chocolate cake or a quart of ice cream.  Women in particular tend to have fluctuations in their weight.  So, keep focused on the goal, keep working out (I’m using my eliptical machine when the weather is cold), and keep eating healthy foods in appropriate portions.  You’ll lose the weight, but not if you get discouraged and splurge.

I expect to have weight loss to report by next Monday!  (My goal by January 30th is to have lost 6 pounds total…. hopefully more because I had a good head start.)

Have a great evening!

Mulligan Stew

My Father-in-Law used to make Mulligan Stew every once in a while.  What that meant was that he took all the leftovers in the fridge from the week and made a soup out of them.  I was told that when they had been warned that it was Mulligan Stew night, my sisters-in-law would make sure to go to the fridge before their Dad would get there and get rid of all leftovers that they didn’t think would taste very good together.

Well, tonight I had a bunch of leftovers so it was Mulligan Stew night.  We had soup and biscuits.  The “leftovers” soup ingredients that I threw into the pot to simmer are:

  • homemade “smoky” salsa (with turmeric and cumin in it instead of cilantro and lime)
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • yellow squash
  • cabbage, chopped
  • parsnips, chopped (using up four remaining fresh parsnips before they went bad)
  • 2 fresh potatoes, chopped
  • chicken bouillon
  • taco meat (that just happened to be roasted venison cut into bite-sized pieces and stewed in taco seasoning from another meal)

I threw it all in the pot to simmer on the stove.  There was actually enough flavor between the salsa, the chicken bouillon and the seasoned venison to give the soup a delicious flavor.  It had a light broth that were slightly reminiscent of Mexican food.  My husband and older son had seconds on the soup.

We enjoyed apricot jam on our biscuits and dessert was home made chocolate orange pudding.  I was experimenting so melted dark baking chocolate in milk, added orange flavoring and agave nectar (for sweetening), and thickened it with cornstarch, disolved in milk.  It was lovely as well.  My husband decided to wait to have his until mid-evening for a snack.  He wants whipped cream, nuts, and coconut on top.

Try being creative by using up leftovers in the fridge and making your own Mulligan Stew.  The fun thing about Mulligan Stew is that it is literally an experiment in being creative and making leftovers tasty.  It will be different every single time.