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.”


Juicing… Does It Work? (Part 1)

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Recently I watched a movie called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“.  (You’ll have to put in your name and e-mail address, but if you don’t want to be on their mailing list, you can opt out later.  I haven’t received a bunch of e-mails, if that worries you.)  The movie was a little over 1 1/2 hours long.   It was a documentary of a man’s journey from literally being fat, sick and “nearly dead” back to health and how he helped other people in the process who helped others.  His weight loss was amazing, from 325 down to his ideal weight and health.  One of the men he helped weighed over 400 pounds and got down to his ideal weight as well, was phased off of all of his medications and finally felt healthy for the first time in his life.

I was amazed that anyone could go on a juice fast for as long as he did.  He fasted on freshly made fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days.  But, seeing the transformation in him made me realize that there is something to this juicing thing.  There’s no way a person can eat the amount of fruit and vegetables in a day that would be beneficial.  But, we can get additional nutrients through vegetable and fruit juice.  So, adding juicing to our diet to boost our nutrient intake is a good thing.

Why I gained weight

I have had the hardest time losing weight.  Every time I lose, I gain it back again.  But, how did it all start?  Let’s be honest.  My weight gain came from eating too much fast food.   I was constantly on the go and not getting nearly enough sleep… unorganized (with regard to bringing my own food), working with my husband on our business in the evenings, taking care of a home and family, and so busy at work that I would just quickly swing by a fast food place to grab a lunch and eat it at my desk while working.  Sitting at my desk, sitting in the car during a 45 minute commute (each way), sitting at my desk at home, sitting, sitting, sitting.  Then, because I was working late and didn’t have time to make dinner, I would run by the store or another fast food place and bring a pre-made dinner home.  (Not every day, but too often.)  Then I lost my job and our budget was severely cut.  So, I started making more pastas, breads, and other starches to stretch our food budget out.

I gained so much weight and I have not been able to take it off since, with the exception of a few yoyo experiences.  When I first started this blog I had great plans to lose weight, but no matter how hard I tried, I’d lose only a little and then hit a huge plateau.  It was frustrating.  My earlier blog about not getting frustrated was more for my benefit than any reader’s benefit, but I was hoping to encourage others along the way.

What is happening now

Well, this movie has encouraged me.  Right now I’m 80 pounds overweight (at least 80 pounds above where I want to be) and have aching in my joints and pain in my chest.  I wake up in the morning with everything hurting, from my neck to my fingers to my feet.  The joints are all so sore.  I’m told that the pain in my chest is from severe heart burn, not actual heart problems.  My doctor, as wonderful as he is, tends to cover up symptoms using medication rather than discovering the root of the problem and addressing that.  Medication has side effects which cause other symptoms.  I’d prefer to find the cause and deal with that.

One thing I noticed in the movie was how it was helping reduce inflammation.  So, I started juicing yesterday (careful to avoid vegetables that encourage inflammation such as tomatoes and peppers).  Last night I did not have chest pain (from heart burn).  This morning I weighed precisely 3 pounds less than I did yesterday.  So, I’m all in.  I’m now committed to seeing how juicing will help reboot my body and help me address the cause of my health problems.

Let’s do it!

I’m now on day 2 of juice fasting.  A full glass of juice periodically throughout the day works for me and I have not felt hungry yet.  But, I do have to say I am not on a true fast.  I am drinking about 8 glasses of fruit/vegetable juice a day, but am also eating vegetables and fruits to get the fiber and a sense of crunching on something.  Last night when I made the family their dinner, I ate a serving of the vegetables that were being served.  I get the shakes on plain juice diets, but I may not on this because it is freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, not processed and bottled ones.  That may be the difference.

So, I’ll get back to you to let you know about the progress of a fruit/veggie juice fast and how it effects me.  Maybe this will encourage you to reboot your own body.