A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is stone heart syndrome?  Well, a stone heart can come from many sources, and certainly in this world filled with mean people, it’s easy to see how a person can have stone heart syndrome.  How many times can a person be hurt before their heart turns to stone?  Well, as a wise person once said…  that is up to the individual.  You can choose to take the hurt and save it and let future hurts add to that one until they stack up and the heart turns to stone.  But the better choice is to let go of the hurt.  How?  Pray and cry out to God.  Tell Him everything, holding nothing back (He knows it all anyway).  Ask Him to take your hurt… every bit of it.  

They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”   Acts 16:31

Once you’ve rid yourself of all the pain and the hurt, ask God to give you something much better.  He will because He loves you so much!  He wants to give you a longing for the things He longs for…  the fruits of HIS precious Holy Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23  

Regardless of education or experience, it’s true that only God can change your heart – from a heart of stone that keeps others at arm’s length, to a heart of flesh that has genuine compassion and a sense of empathy for other people.  God loves people more than anything.  We should too.  It’s not a quality that comes easily for some of us.  I’ve found that there are ministries for we introverts too.  When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, just one word came to me.  Encourage.    

Do I have to encourage others in person?  Well…  no I don’t.  I can encourage through social media – in my groups and on my pages.  I can encourage with a card or a phone call.  I don’t skype, but that’s certainly another way to encourage someone.  We all need encouragement once in a while.  I’m just so thankful that God can use me in that way for His glory!

Let His truth transform you.  Let His words conform you.  Let His Spirit indwell you.  Let His love restore you.  Kick the hurt to the curb and allow the Lord to give you His joy, peace and love.  Find Him and hold Him close because He will never fail you.   🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When Jesus walked this earth in human form, what was the last act of good will and fellowship?  It was THE LAST SUPPER.  Jesus ate with His disciples and attempted to explain the drama to follow, though they understandably did not comprehend what they were hearing.  I’m not quick to judge them – I’m not sure I’d “get it” either.

What have Christian churches considered tradition since the beginning of Christianity?  It’s a POT-LUCK DINNER.  Everybody brings a covered dish (preferably with food inside).  We stand in line after the church service, tummies growling and eyes enlarged as we carefully examine the good stuff we have to choose from.  We communicate and laugh and if somebody says they forgot or they think they should not stay – we talk ’em into stayin’ anyhow, right?  We tell them there’s plenty of food.

Nobody knows how to make good relationships into better relationships like the followers of Christ.  I believe that most people here in Wichita still believe that America is a Christian nation, founded on the values and principles of Christianity.  We love, we mentor, we pray for everybody (except maybe ourselves) and yep – we EAT TOGETHER.  We break bread and with true concern for our fellow person – we communicate and laugh and with a sincere heart, we try to listen to the views of everyone and come up with solutions when there is any conflict.  THAT is what we do.

I could not be any more proud of Wichita right now.  While race relations are escalating across the country, in Wichita, our officers are taking a cue from the Christian community around them.  They are meeting with the group Black Lives Matter at a cookout.  Food – the breaking of bread (and hopefully some hamburgers inside – and hot dogs) along with meaningful dialogue, communication on both sides which includes some listening – real listening, and I hope and pray some moments of levity – laugher perhaps.  We need to initiate some conversation that leads to some answers – not for one side or the other – but answers we can all LIVE with.

We all need to LIVE to our greatest potential – because LIFE is a precious gift and not to be carelessly taken by anyone.

Let’s all have conversations at a cookout.  Christ knew how to talk with His crew about serious stuff.  Christians know all about making good fellowship into great fellowship.  Please America…  stop the violence.  Instead, let’s have a real conversation at a cookout.  Talking, listening – and FOOD.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I’m so thankful to God for guiding me in the right direction so I can manage my type 2 diabetes.  I’ve been committed to exercising 3 days a week and have embraced a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet.  I’ve lost 13 pounds so far and have not needed to take a shot of Levemir at night – for the most part.  My blood glucose has been consistently from 82-110 throughout the day.  I’m also thankful for the prayer support from friends on facebook and in the DOC.  Our facebook group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor and a Pinch of Faith, has been so wonderful and supportive – thank you!

I want to share some of the recipes that have made my blood glucose happy.  I wanted to wait until I knew for sure that this would work before sharing.  I’ve seen positive results, so I’m going to post them here for you.

I love Mexican food!  I was so happy to find this recipe because even though it’s a salad, it is a taco salad – and I’ll be honest – I like that “taco” part!

LOW CARBOHYDRATE TACO SALAD

Makes 4 servings, (approx. 2 cups ea)

9g carbohydrates / 31g protein per serving

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1 pkg. low-sodium taco seasoning

3/4 C. water

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 C. shredded lettuce

1/2 C. chopped tomatoes (omit if you want to lower the carbs even more)

8 Tbs. sour cream

1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

With olive oil, brown ground beef in skillet.  Add taco seasoning mix with water.  Simmer until reduced.

Mix with remaining ingredients.  You can layer them in a big clear bowl – but I’m not fancy – I just mix it all up and serve.

Sometimes I pick up a little bag of Nacho flavored Doritos from the checkout line at Walmart to crush up and put on top.  Yeah, it adds a little carb, but you can add just a few for flavor.  It’s a small bag and there’s 4 servings – don’t sweat it.  I also add about 1/2 Tbs. of Catalina salad dressing sometimes.  Yes – I know…  I know.  Shh…  don’t tell.

I did say LOW carb – not NO carb, right?  😉

 

 

NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTH

TL JULY IS NATIONAL BLUEBERRIES MONTHI’m the first to admit that most low carbohydrate blueberry muffins, while keeping my blood sugar in check, don’t taste as good as the real McCoy.  Today I want to share a little trick I’ve learned that will enable type 2 diabetics to enjoy the real McCoy and keep blood sugar in check.  It’s called “piecing” or “pinching”, and believe me, it works!

You can’t “piece” or “pinch” if you don’t work out.  If you are not exercising, this won’t work for you.  But you can have a little bit of real as long as you work it off.  After my workout at the gym, I headed over to my favorite breakfast spot, The Egg Crate.  They make the most wonderful blueberry muffins in Wichita!

IMG_1319If I were to dig in and eat this whole muffin, my blood sugar would spike – and that’s not good.  I will begin by eating an egg.  You can have whatever style egg you want – I just crack open an egg and whisk it up in a mug and microwave it so I can eat it quicker.  Add a little cheese if you want – it’s low or no carbohydrate so that’s fine.  Always eat protein first!

Eat just a pinch of your muffin and enjoy it with coffee or tea if you wish.  Then wrap it with foil so it doesn’t dry out.  Check your sugars in a couple of hours.  If they’re okay…  you can eat a cheese stick, then another pinch of your muffin.

Eating pinches of carbohydrate-rich foods is not a new concept, but it’s one that works!  I don’t know why eating protein makes carbohydrates nicer to my body, but I’m sure glad it does!

If you’re exercising on a regular basis and eating plenty of vegetables every day, there’s no reason you can’t introduce a complex carbohydrate following a little protein.  Maybe that’s why dessert forks are smaller than dinner forks.  The idea is that we can eat as much protein and vegetables as we want, but when it’s time for dessert, we need to dial back our enthusiasm a bit and try to think about what we’re eating and how it will affect our blood sugar.

I’d rather have a pinch of the real McCoy than live without it completely.  A wise diabetic educator once told me, “You can eat pretty much anything you want as long as you are exercising on a regular basis.”  I can eat as many vegetables as I want.  I can eat tuna salad until I turn into Charlie the Tuna.  I can go nuts eating nuts.  Black olives are my friend, as are other Mediterranean foods.  Those are the go-to foods.  But once in a while, I get a craving for a blueberry muffin.  Maybe it’s all this writing about blueberry month, I don’t know…  but I just had to get one!  But I know how to work it into my diet without spiking my blood sugar…  one pinch at a time.  😉

Slow and steady will win this race.  Exercise consistently and eat protein first.  I can do that!  🙂

PHYSICAL WELLNESS MONTH

TL APRIL IS PHYSICAL WELLNESS MONTHIf it was easy everyone would be a size 2…  that’s what everyone says.  Nowhere in the Bible do I see a verse in the Beatitudes that says, BLESSED ARE THE HEALTHY, FOR THEY SHALL LIVE FOREVER.  Life comes with challenges – some are emotional, some are mental and yes, some are physical.

I’m facing the challenge of my life.  I recently got my A1c checked – it’s a 3 month average of blood glucose levels.  It’s gone up again – now I’m at 8.3.  It should be under 7.  My doctor asked questions about my eating habits and I admitted my love of fruits and vegetables.  I like goldfish crackers and have little pouches which provide portion control.  I don’t eat more than one a day – honest.  But those little golden beauties are 28 g. of carbs so I can’t keep eating them every day.  I have to give up many fruits that I love – and can’t have fruit juices, even low sugar brands.

The thing that my doctor emphasized to me was that no matter what dietary adjustments I make, the most important thing I can do to regain my health is EXERCISE!

UGH…  the dreaded “E” word again…  but I hate it – I hate to exercise!  I’d so much rather get up in the morning and waddle to the bathroom and make a beeline for the coffee pot.  Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 – go straight to the coffee pot.  🙂

It’s no longer an option – it’s a necessity.  I keep wishing I had a partner in crime…  somebody to say COME ON, LET’S GO!  Some enthusiastic voice beside me, saying, LINDA, YOU ARE WORTH SAVING AND HERE I AM TO HELP YOU – TO WALK WITH YOU AND TALK WITH YOU ALONG THE WAY.

I’m taking the largest dose of Metformin, Glipizide and 40 Units of Levemir every night.  I have to bump up the amount of insulin, which means I’ll have to buy pens sooner – and that is hitting my budget in a BIG way.

I’ve hit the proverbial brick wall – head on – this is it – I have to decide if I’m going to do this or if I’m going to pay out upwards of $400 a month for insulin.

Note to self:  SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!  You have absolutely no choice.  Get out of this bed and put on your walkin’ shoes – get out there!  It’s a beautiful day – and yeah, you’ll walk alone, but you have no choice.  You just gotta do it.

So…  from now on, my routine will be get out of bed, waddle to the potty, waddle to the closet and put on my walkin’ clothes and head out the door – get it done while I’m still half asleep, right???  When I get home I can then waddle to the kitchen, fix breakfast and brew the coffee!

I can do this…  I CAN.  I WILL.  🙂

WALK ON YOUR WILD SIDE DAY

TL 4-12 WALK ON YOUR WILD SIDE DAY

Steph_AIGA_Holiday_Poster_2small_versionIsn’t this a beautiful design?  This was created by graphic designer, Stephanie Fong (http://www.jsfong.com).

Define WILD…  well, skunks are wild animals.  They are cute and furry, but don’t get them riled or they will leave you with a lasting impression.  Don’t hit them with your car or you will be sorry.  There are not enough tomatoes in the world to deal with the consequences.  Is that the kind of wild you want to be today???  I don’t think so.  Don’t be that kind of wild, brothers and sisters.  That just stinks and God won’t be happy with you.  It’s better to just be good to begin with and not have to ask forgiveness for being stinky.skunk-1239764_1280Is it wrong for Christians to have a little wild streak?  Can wild be used for God’s glory?  Well of course it can!  Have you ever watched wild mountain goats?  They live in those mountains and maneuver through them like it’s just no big deal.  Is there a mountain you need to climb?  Pray for strength from God and go for it today!  Accomplish that task that you have been too afraid to begin – because you know that with God ALL things are possible!  Even if you try and fail, it’s way better than not trying at all.mountain-goats-1156056_1920

Whales are so large and majestic!  You could live like a whale today.  Did you know that only 1/2 of their brain sleeps at a time?  They have to rise to the surface often to breathe, so their brains cannot be all the way asleep.  Talk about multi-tasking!  Maybe today you will be a whale of a go-getter and multi-task like crazy – how wild is that?whale-1149826_1920

Wild geese are so disciplined!  They eat a high protein diet and are very lightweight.  Coincidence?  I think not.  They also have those great waterproof wings that keep them dry and happy.  Maybe today is the day you begin to eat a more healthy diet, lose weight, don’t let things get to you so you can fly high!  wild-geese-1148899_1920Walking on your wild side is not just about changing your outward appearance!  Of course, that can certainly be a part of it – it shows you have a sense of confidence and a new positive attitude toward your life.  But the real changes – the real walk – happens on the inside!  Let God show you how life can be so much better than ever before!  Let Him break chains of addiction and lead you in a direction that brings the glory and honor to Him.  🙂

WORLD BOOK DAY

TL 3-3 WORLD BOOK DAY

There are so many great books to read, but a few come to mind that seem especially right for the season of Lent.  Here are my top ten picks:

  1.  Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  He has been called America’s first great Christian writer.  If you like a bit of mystery thrown in as you learn, you’ll enjoy the Reverend Hooper in The Minister’s Black Veil.  His veil, like the gray cross on some of our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, proclaims the sinfulness of our hearts and forces us to reckon with it before God, alone.  I like this book because it’s a compilation of short stories, so I don’t get bored.
  2. Think Well On It:  Consideration on the Great Truths of the Gospel by Richard Challoner.  Well written and thought-provoking.  If you want to meditate and deepen your understanding of the Bible, this is a great book to help you.
  3. He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado.  I’ve read this book every year during the Lent season since 2009.  I never get tired of reading of the outstanding and perfect LOVE with which my Savior went to the cruel cross of Calvary. https://youtu.be/gnKiJnQAgsk
  4. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  I’m only on the first chapter, but it sets a great tone for Lent.  It talks about how we need to deny our own vanity – and all the sins to which it leads.
  5. The Power of Less:  The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta.  By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, you will be happier and feel lighter in your own life.  Contentment in Christ alone is what we all want.
  6. He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek.  God has powerfully used this book in my life.
  7. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur:  The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.This inspiring book gives you a splendid example of how to live as a Christian in a secular environment that can be indifferent or hostile to your Faith. For Elisabeth Leseur had two great loves: God and her husband Felix, who was an atheist. Felix loved Elisabeth as well; yet to their mutual sorrow, he couldn’t share the life of the Spirit that Elisabeth cherished.Occasionally the happiness of their life together in upper-class Parisian society was shattered by Felix’s frustration and impatience. How could such an intelligent woman waste her time, as he saw it, with ignorant superstitions? Sometimes he and his friends would even ridicule and mock her faith.But Elisabeth loved Felix too much to allow their home to degenerate into an emotional war zone. She realized that confrontations and arguments were useless; she chose instead to keep quiet and pray for Felix. In her secret diary she recorded how she used his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God.Throughout their life together, it grieved Elisabeth to think that Felix might be separated from her for all eternity because of his rejection of God.For her, life in Heaven wouldn’t be happy without him. Yet when she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever.The story doesn’t end there. When Felix found this diary, he discovered how Elisabeth’s whole life bore witness to the truth of the God she loved.

    In time, Felix was transformed by the diary and his memories of Elisabeth. He became a Christian and, later, a priest. Now she may even be declared a saint. Elisabeth’s diary and spiritual writings (all included in this one volume) map out for you a path to marital harmony and greater love for God — especially if you love someone who stands outside the Faith. Let Elisabeth’s two great loves, and her faith and perseverance, inspire you now.  This is an amazing book, an amazing journey which brought me to tears more than once.

  8. I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee.  Based on St. Therese’s little way, it stresses confidence in and abandonment to Jesus.  I’m reading it a few pages at a time.  It’s written with such depth that a little dab will provoke thought and provide inspiration.
  9. Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg.  A life changing guide about prayer.  It helps us discover how to increase loving thought and feelings toward family, then friends, then people we are ambivalent about, then people we dislike and eventually, all people.  It’s a perfect book for our journey to become more like Christ.
  10. Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar.  Pure paschal poetry of distilled Gospel.

I am actually very partial to one particular book – and I’ll bet you know what one!  😉  I want to encourage you to read Lucinda Berry Hill’s A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS, the follow-up to her popular book, COFFEE WITH JESUS.  Both of the books are excellent, but of course I’m going to recommend the one that she so graciously asked me to write prayers to go with her wonderful poetry.

I want to share the poetry for both books, in which Lucinda so cleverly used the titles of the poems in the book to write a poem!

Here’s the one for COFFEE WITH JESUS:

BE BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE GOD'S CHOICE

And here’s the poem with the titles from her book A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS:

FINDING HOM WITH A GOD OF ALWAYS

I hope you’ll check some of these books out.  They’re good reads no matter what time of year, but seem especially good during Lent.  I’d love to hear what your favorites are.  Please let me know in the comment section below.  🙂