HAPPY NEW YEAR

TL 1-1 HAPPY NEW YEARHAPPY NEW YEAR!!!photofunia-calendar-large-2017-01-01-01-11-44

As usual, I’ve seen the advertisements for fitness equipment, diet fads and all sorts of quick ways to lose tons of weight for the new year.  It’s a cycle, isn’t it?  We give ourselves permission to eat anything we want from Halloween to New Years – then BOOM – we’re supposed to be on this track toward nutritional nirvana or something.  It’s crazy!

I’m not going to give you more hype about how having a better body will magically improve your life.  It will make you more healthy – that’s all.  There’s more to having an improved life than a new diet and exercise routine.

For me, in 2017 it’s less about what I want to be and more about what I do NOT want to be.  I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone else this year.  What IS a stumbling block?  There are several portions of Scripture that explain.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.  – Romans 14:13

It’s a decision – a choice – a will of the heart and mind… not to put any stumbling block or OBSTACLE in the way of a brother or sister.  Think and count to ten before you spew criticism out of your mouth to anyone.  You do realize that once those words are spoken, you can’t reel them back in, right?

That OBSTACLE can be verbal, it can be put in their way through actions or inactions on your part.  Your attitude or behavior could be considered a stumbling block to someone.  We have to be so very careful with each other because everyone is fighting a battle in life and we all come from different backgrounds.  We need to try to show more understanding.  I want to do that this year.

God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.”  – Isaiah 57:14

Instead of throwing rocks and stones at others, I want to help them clear them away.  I want to help others have a smooth path to walk.  I want to pray for them and let God do the work in their lives.

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.  – Leviticus 19:14

It’s possible that not everyone has heard the gospel of Christ.  Certainly there are those in our world who are blind to the truth of it.  I can’t believe in the place of anyone else.  It’s my job to share – not to beat anyone over the head with a Bible.  This year I want to pray for the deaf and the blind – and make sure my life is the way it needs to be.  Any prayers said for me are appreciated, to be sure.  I’m not perfect, but I sure do want to be the person God wants me to be.

“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty.  – Malachi 2:7-8

Preachers and teachers should be especially careful.  What you’re preaching and teaching should not cause folks to stumble.  Sometimes the truth can hurt, but it should never be delivered in such a way that it causes anyone to throw their hands up in defeat and give up. Pray before you preach and lean on God’s Holy Spirit to guide you.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”  – Matthew 16:23

So now we know where these stumbling blocks come from, don’t we?  Big surprise – a stumbling block is one tool in satan’s tool box.  He gets someone to put the obstacle in front of us, which in turn gets us discouraged and ready to give up – and if we quit – split-hoof wins the battle.  He doesn’t win the war – he’ll never win the war – but he can win small battles.

Don’t be angry at the person putting the stumbling block before you – be wise and look beyond what you can see.  Only our Lord can actually call His disciple out on it – but we can essentially do the same thing – take the stumbling block to your prayer closet with you – and show it to Jesus – and say “Get thee behind me, satan, in the mighty name of Christ Jesus, my Lord and King.”

It hurts when obstacles get thrown at us – the enemy of our soul knows it will – that’s why it happens.  If we’ll just lean strong on God and His Word, nothing that is thrown at us will make us give up and quit for good.

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  – 1 Corinthians 8:9

Let me ask you a question.  If you have a RIGHT to do something, but it infringes on another person’s BELIEFS, do your rights mean more than their beliefs?

HOW SELFISH if you answered yes.  We live in a country based on a Constitution and I’m so thankful for it; however, let me share a basic truth my parents instilled in me:

MY RIGHTS STOP AT THE END OF YOUR NOSE.   I’m a big fan of personal space, so my rights end a little further than the end of my nose – give me a couple of inches of personal space.

The right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’ve lived by that simple truth – and it is the truth.  Nobody’s rights mean more than another person’s beliefs.  Rights and beliefs can and should live in harmony.

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.  – 1 John 2:10

Ah-ha!  Did you read that?  I want that…  I want to live in LIGHT and LOVE with others and have nothing in me that makes me stumble – and …  nothing in me that will make anyone else stumble!

I wouldn’t call it a New Year’s resolution exactly…  but I sure would call it a goal.

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Oh Lord break my heart for what breaks yours. Let me love others as you have loved me.

Happy New Year!  Have a blessed 2017 in which you encourage and iron-sharpen to your heart’s content!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Some folks go on diets to get a summer-ready body for the beach.  Others want to lose weight to get into a dress for a special occasion.  My reasons for dieting?  I either have to lose weight or spend hundreds of dollars every month on insulin.

I was sitting in my recliner watching TV and saw Marie Osmond talking about Nutrisystem.  No, I’m not going to do that – although that’s where my train of thought started.  I said to myself, half jokingly – “Well, I suppose I could pay those hundreds of dollars to Nutrisystem instead of the pharmacy – and eventually not have to take insulin anymore – when I get to my goal weight.”

The seed was planted in my brain – and something just snapped inside.  From that moment, I felt a determination to get healthy like I’ve never felt before.  I don’t want to have to take those shots anymore – I really don’t.

When I was in high school – in the late 1970’s – I kept my weight in check with the Weight Watcher’s points.  Nobody wants to be the big girl in high school, and thanks to this program, I was able to stay at 125-130 pounds.  I counted and wrote down every morsel of food I put in my mouth.  I never ate more than 20 points a day.

I was much more active back then, obviously.  Today I ride my recumbent bike for 30 minutes every day.  According to the chart online, it will take 35 weeks to get to my goal weight of 125 pounds.  I’m ready and very excited to embark on this adventure.  I’m ready to get more healthy and be a controlled type 2 diabetic, but controlled with diet & exercise instead of pills and shots.

What’s your favorite Weight Watchers recipe?  Please leave it in the comments section.  I’m very interested in collecting them but I’m too cheap to buy a cookbook.  Here’s one we made last night for supper – and it was pretty good!

Weight Watchers Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 10 ounces lean boneless beef loin, cut into 1/2″ strips
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups small whole white mushrooms, woody ends removed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon reduced-calorie tub margarine
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, to garnish

Directions

In large pot of boiling water, cook noodles 5-6 minutes, until tender; drain, discarding liquid. Set aside; keep warm.

In medium nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Remove beef from skillet. Wipe skillet clean; set beef aside.

Spray same skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat. Add onions; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 7 minutes, until golden brown. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove vegetables from skillet. Wipe skillet clean; set vegetables aside.

In same skillet, melt margarine; sprinkle with flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling. Continuing to stir, gradually add broth, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Stir in sour cream.

Return cooked beef, onions and mushrooms to skillet; stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is heated through.

Divide warm noodles evenly among 4 plates; top each portion of noodles with one-fourth of the beef mixture. Serve garnished with parsley.

I’d appreciate your good vibes and prayers as I begin week #2 of this journey!  If you’d like to talk more about healthy eating (and sometimes eat some virtual chocolate) – come on over and join my group on facebook – A Second Helping of Wellness… with a dash of humor & a pinch of faith.

See ya there!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Does your happy place involve a certain place or a certain person?  Maybe both!  I feel sorry for folks who are ultra high-maintenance.  It seems they are not happy unless they are going to some far away place – and once they have been there, they don’t seem to be much happier for having gone.  What was the point?  :-/

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that happiness is not about our environment – but it is really an inside job!  It’s about a word I have embraced since childhood – SERENDIPITY.  Wherever you are, whoever you happen to be with – you can be happy inside because you make a decision to be happy inside no matter what!

Out of curiosity, I asked the group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith, a question:  WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN THE WORLD?

If we would dare to be just a bit self-indulgent, where would we go and with whom?  The answers were varied as I expected, and some thought of an actual physical place while others thought of the person they’d like to be with – it was interesting.

  • Pat said, “In my husband’s arms!”
  • John said, “Since I haven’t seen the World, I’d have to say, walking along the sands of one of our nearby beaches.” 
  • Kelly said, “My living room.”
  • Richard said, “My recliner within easy reach of my laptop.”
  • Ally said, “Bike path in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, near the Verrazano Bridge or where the professional kite fliers are. That or if I had the money, the Lacoste – for now I settle for eBay or thrift stores.”
  • Tom said, “Warwick Castle, Great Britain.”

Where is your happy place?  I’m still recovering from surgery on June 3rd and have discovered how little it takes to make me happy!  Today I sat up on the side of the bed with very little pain – what a victory!!!  That, my friends, made me very happy!  I look forward to an outing on Friday.  My husband will be driving me, since I’m still taking pain medication.  But the point is – I’m going to get out of the house for a short while.   God has helped me embrace SERENDIPITY…  I’m open to happy accidents around me.  I’ve decided to be happy in any circumstance!  Wink!  😉

 

 

SPUNKY OLD BROADS DAY

TL 2-1 SPUNKY OLD BROADS DAY

2-1 A PRAYER FOR SPUNK

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.  – William Harris

Today is SPUNKY OLD BROADS DAY!!!  Some of the sassy, spunky broads I’ll feature here are not necessarily OLD.  I’ll leave it to your discretion which ones are and which ones are not.  This is one of those posts that could go on and on with many examples, but I have to put a limit on it.  I will name my top ten picks.

1.  I feel blessed to have been around some of the sunniest gals with spunk ever – through the medium of television and radio.  Here from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville is cousin Minnie Pearl.

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2.  While we’re on the subject of country spunk, check out this video from Dolly in the movie 9-5.  I think I read her lips when she was telling her boss she’d change him from a rooster to a hen…  whew!

http://youtu.be/_Z3ScqlwiYk

3.  How about our favorite redhead – Reba McEntire?  Natural red-head have built-in spunk.  It’s just part of the territory.  She shares some of her spunk with us on her TV show – Reba.  I think she has some attitude in this song too.

http://youtu.be/OVXNOIWqcTc

4.  Even our greeting cards got a kick in the attitude when Maxine came along!

http://youtu.be/28_jlWQOuSc

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5.  How could I even consider making this list without the remarkable and spunky Vivien Leigh?

Can’t you just hear her saying FIDDLE-DEE-DEE???

Spunk is that quality that sets older women apart from the rest.  I meet my friend at the beauty shop every Friday, and let me tell you…  that shop is full of women with SPUNK – and they are all over 60 years of age!  I listen to them talk every week and I walk away thinking, “I want to be just like them when I get older.”  Yep – watch out world – you’ve been warned.

God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them.  – Author Unknown

6.  Did you know that Katharine Hepburn was a natural redhead???  Does it surprise you?  Talk about some major spunk, she had it!  Remember when women would not entertain the notion of wearing slacks?  This is the gal who changed all that, and her 5’7″ frame wore slacks very nicely.  She was tough and bold even as she got much older.  When she developed the shaking of her head, she was quick to set the record straight when she proclaimed that it was not Parkinson’s, rather it was inherited from her grandfather.  She was known as “The First Lady of Cinema” for movies which are now considered classics.

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7.  Today we know Betty White as a legend, but I thought it would be fun to show a video from 1945 when she was just starting out.  Even in this video her spunk is showing.  I like that she is now a spunky lady, but I wish she’d throw some of that off-color language to the curb.  She would be funnier without it.   :-/

http://youtu.be/ZnREvTHj3g4

8.   There are so many great quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt, and I believe I’ve used every one of them at some point or the other.

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She overcame loss and it made her more determined to be a strong woman with character, intelligence and spunk.  I was surprised to learn she had lost both her parents by the age of ten.  She really must have had to dig deep into her faith pocket to keep going.  It’s a woman just like this who needed to be beside FDR when the country was going through the stock market crash on October 29, 1929.  Known as Black Tuesday, it was the worst economic collapse in the history of the modern industrial world.  Close your eyes and image him talking with her about this situation – and about The New Deal.  She had to be strong – and a very good listener, I suspect.  Spunky women don’t always talk – sometimes they know when it’s time to be quiet and listen.

9.  Della Reese showed her spunk in the hit show on CBS called “Touched by an Angel”.  Here she is explaining the premise behind the show.

http://youtu.be/CMvQastGhf0

As I previously mentioned, spunky women do not have to be loud and irritating to show their spunk.  Della is a great example of this as an angel “supervisor” – which brings me to…

10.   Roma Downey, the “angel girl” whose gift from God was not music or art.  Her gift from God was truth.  She spoke truth with kindness, but also with her own brand of spunk.  You GO, angel girl.  Here are Della and Roma in real life.  This is so powerful, I had to share it.

http://youtu.be/qe5_zlJjNUE

You can’t go wrong asking God for His brand of spunk.  I will continue to do that as I get older.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PURPLE HEART DAY

TL 8-8 PURPLE HEART DAY

8-8 TEMPTATION'S TUNNELOn this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, created the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action” and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree’s name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a “Book of Merit”.
Click image to enlarge

Today I overcame temptation and wanted someone to award me with the purple heart (or something similar).  This morning I was standing at the counter in Starbuck’s looking at all the really great espresso and lattes on the menu board. I was tempted to order something other than the tall skinny mocha latte I usually get.

Here is my thought process: For nearly FIVE YEARS I have tried to be good with my diet to support my husband on his diet. But guess what? I am here at Starbuck’s and I am all alone. If I did order something more yummy than the tall skinny mocha latte – he would never have to know about it! What harm would it do? I’m the only one that would have to know!

Then my brain paused and I caught a glimpse of my reflection (profile – eek!) in the shiny glass where they keep all the decadent pastries and things – and it dawned on me. I would know. Me – and my size 16 petite jeans that I fought so hard to get into… we would know.

I’ve not had to buy women’s sizes for almost 3 years. I’ve exercised myself silly and eaten healthy and for just a moment I thought I could sneak in a 500 calorie beverage. I was tempted.

Did I sin? Praise God – NO, I did not sin! See, those “temptation tunnels” are costly! There is a toll you pay before you enter in. And – if you make a choice to go in, it gets more and more difficult to turn around in there – the passage gets more narrow and darker as you go. You aren’t aware it’s going to do that (you think Satan’s going to tell you?). You just think it’s a tunnel and you’ll go through and come out on the other side into just as much sunlight as there was when you went in.

That’s not how it works. Think twice before you pay the toll and go into that tunnel. God loves you and He will help you out if you’re stuck. There’s no other way out but through Him. Pray and ask God through Christ to help you. He wants to make a way for you.

Some people think that freedom would be choosing the 500 calorie beverage. I think the REAL freedom is choosing the right – choosing FOR MYSELF – what I know is best for me. I choose the skinny mocha latte, not because I’m forced to choose it, but because it is the best choice. I choose to follow Christ because He has my best interest in mind and HE keeps me safe and away from the tunnel of temptation. Praise His Name!  I don’t really need the Purple Heart – I just need God to keep helping me do the right thing. 🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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FACE TEMPTATION
We face temptations daily – and that’s the bad news.  The good news is, we do NOT face temptations alone – or at least we don’t have to.  Temptation does not come from Christ, but from Satan.  When you read “fall into temptation” you automatically think it’s about what you do wrong – but it’s not necessarily limited to that.  It can refer to anything that puts our faith to the test, not just temptations to sin.

 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  – James 1:12-14

Some commentaries refer to the character of those who persevere as patient or constant.  You know how blunt I am.  My description of the Christian who perseveres through the trials and tribulations in life – is stubborn!  Oh, you know a stubborn Christian, don’t you?  Sometimes they make you crazy because they seem to be so immovable.

We know that the road is narrow and a crown of life is promised to us if we have the love of Christ reigning in our hearts.  If we truly love God, we will strive to endure in His name.  His love is perfect and if we have that same love along with stubborn determination and call on God’s Holy Spirit to guide us, we’ll have a crown to cast at Jesus’ feet one day in heaven.

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.  – Newt Gingrich

A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions.

There’s something to be said for being a stubborn Christian.  Not like donkey stubborn because God is love.  Ready, set, GO!!! 

THANKS LIVING DAY 24

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PRAYER ABOUT THOUGHTS

Today I am thankful for the spark of enthusiasm that God puts inside of me to write! He is the giver of purpose, passion, desire and drive to succeed. Success is measured differently by everyone, but God wants His Word to reach every person. When God gives me an idea or a concept to run with, I trust that He will provide the means with which to complete and share the project as well.

I thought about where my desire to write may have come from and came up with a couple of answers. Beside the obvious answer – that God put the desire in me – I was inspired by my 8th grade English teacher to pursue writing. Our class was asked to write a poem about our favorite subject. I wrote a poem about Elvis Presley. I researched stories about him and basically wrote about his life – with rhythm and rhyme. It was the most fun I ever had in school. My teacher took me aside and let me know that she thought I had a gift for communication. I let her know that my daddy told me I have a big mouth and asked if that was the same thing. She laughed, but I’m not sure why. :-/

Funny thing about praise from a teacher – it goes a mighty long way! I have held on to that encouragement from her all these years. Every time I receive a rejection slip, I remember the words of encouragement from my 8th grade teacher! Too bad she didn’t write me a reference letter while she was at it. LOL!

The light bulb shines brightly inside me and the words keep showing up in my heart and mind. These days I have to find pencil and paper fast before the thoughts drift off, but I always want to be God’s vessel to reach the world with His Good News!