“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” Deepak Chopra
Are relationships important to you? Does your schedule show it?
And this is His commandment: We must believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23, NLT)
Sharon and I were invited to take part in a wedding a few weekends ago. Actually, Sharon was the Mistress of Ceremonies and I was the Mistress’ go-fer. It was a wonderful event. Everything went just as it should and it was “picture-perfect.”
Not only was the couple being married very special to us, but the event was made even more special in that it provided an opportunity to see lots of folks who we were very close to at one time, but due to various life transitions, we now see only at weddings (and funerals).
Really made me stop and think. How do our lives get so busy that we can so easily cast aside relationships that were once very significant? I bring this up because this issue is really at the heart of this new daily email we are sending out.
As we look through our email address books and our Christmas card lists it is sad and almost embarrassing–people who we had very special relationships with, we now only communicate with once a year (if that) with a cold Christmas card. What’s wrong with this picture?
It is our sincere hope that by writing a daily thought, or word of encouragement, i.e., a way to reach out and “touch” our current and past friends, that we can do a little better job of maintaining contact. Hopefully that will also inspire some of those same friends to reciprocate and dash off a note to us about a significant event, or a prayer request, or whatever.
As Sharon and I get closer and closer to our mature years we want to rekindle and do a better job of maintaining those special gifts that God has given us through the years. We do think about you more than you know.
Lord, we thank you for friends. We thank you for people that you bring into our lives. We ask forgiveness from you and from them for not being as diligent as we should to maintain those relationships. We pray that you will bless this “high tech” attempt to stay in contact with some of those very special people. Let this be a blessing to each and every one of them.
Link of the Day
Grace & Truth Relationship Education
Blessings for your schedule to show that relationships are important to you!
“A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.” Edgar Watson Howe
Are you enjoying life’s special treats?
Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much of it, or it will make you sick! (Proverbs 25:16, NLT)
I’m sure you’ve seen the cute quip (or variation thereof) of “Life is short, eat dessert first!” Even though I am passionate about educating people to make the best food choices, there is a time and place for special treats and healthful desserts.
With the launch of our daily e-mails regarding nutrition and encouragement, we’ve decided to feature at least one recipe per week. So for all of you “treat lovers,” let’s start with dessert first. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to love desserts. I made a lot of them. And even though they were made with the best and most healthful ingredients, they were still desserts–and desserts on a regular basis is not a healthy habit. Other than fresh fruit, we now limit desserts to special occasions and our bodies and waistlines are happier for it.
God’s design for dessert is wonderful fresh fruit! We’re blessed in this country to have easy access to fresh fruit most all year round. Always buy the best that you can. Organically grown fruits not only are far superior in taste, but they contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Plus they lack the dangerous pesticides and herbicides that are extremely detrimental to our health.
Anyway, I developed this recipe to celebrate holidays and special occasions. A little goes a long way. Enjoy! I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
Father, we thank You for all of the special “treats” in life that You bless us with continually. May we never cease to recognize and appreciate all of Your goodness.
Link of the Day
Decadent Chocolate Cheese Pie
Blessing on you as you enjoy this special treat.
Freedom isn’t free!
What can you do to bless our troops overseas?
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, NIV)
Dr. Randy Peck has been our mentor with the redesign of our web sites and the use of these daily email “Reflections” as a way of contributing to and (hopefully) blessing the people God has brought into our lives. Randy has sent out a daily devotion seven days a week for a couple of years now. (To see some of his work, go to www.YourDailyBlessing.com.)
This past Sunday, Randy sent out a very short devotional which focused on a link to a very touching YouTube video with a song by an American soldier overseas which had been emailed to him by one of his readers, Jeanne Nixon. Randy’s comment was, “If this won’t get you to pray for our troops in foreign lands, nothing will.”
We couldn’t agree more, so we couldn’t resist sharing it with you as well.
Randy’s prayer was, “Heavenly Father, thank You for the soldier who wrote and sang this song. Bless him and his family abundantly. Thank You for all those who put their lives in harm’s way to protect our freedom at home here in America. Bless and protect our troops. Encourage them. May this email make the rounds to touch the hearts of one million people, including the soldier who wrote the song. In Jesus name, I pray.”
Link of the Day
If I die before you wake…
Blessings on you as you seek and find God and thereby His favor this day.
Fat does not make you fat.
Are you ever confused over what are good fats and what are bad fats?
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5, NIV)
Hmmm, low-fat cookies, low-fat ice cream, low-fat cotton candy! Are low fat foods really life-giving, God foods? Since the advent of today’s processed, low-fat foods which began gaining popularity in the early 80’s, our country’s obesity levels have skyrocketed along with the incidence of diabetes. Low-fat foods lead the list of the most processed and altered foods.
When food manufacturers remove fat from foods or make a food with little or not fat, more sweeteners, food additives, preservatives, colorings and artificial ingredients are used in an attempt to make the food “taste” good and get you to eat it. Thus ending up with a food with more calories, more carbohydrates, and more ways to destroy your health.
Our bodies need fat. If we removed all fat from our diet, we would do what the first three letters of that word describe–die! The question lies in what are the good fats that we should be eating. We’ve been fed more “falsehoods.” Good fats come in the form of foods that God made. Avocados, real butter (not margarine), extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, and yes, egg yolks! Eggs do not cause high cholesterol levels, by the way. Another myth of modern day!
Healthy, saturated fats are not the “dietary demons” that we’ve been led to believe. According to God’s Word and anthropological evidence from past civilizations, and recent scientific research, saturated fats play a crucial role in body chemistry and in maintaining optimal health.
There are many well-documented and sound books available telling us more about healthy fats. Let us know if you’d like the titles.
Father, thank You for providing healthy foods that help to nourish and replenish our bodies. May we seek You for wisdom on the best food choices we can make?
Link of the Day
Dangers of Trans Fat
Blessings to know what are good fats and bad fats and as you choose life!
“A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
How many friends have you encouraged this week?
Never abandon a friend–either yours or your father’s. Then in your time of need, you won’t have to ask your relatives for assistance. It is better to go to a neighbor than to a relative who lives far away. (Pv. 27:10, NLT)
The launch of our new and revised web sites and the daily Reflection emails has made this a very exciting week for us. Monday’s Reflection ruefully spoke of the evaporation of relationships as the busyness of life pushed its way to the front. We mentioned that it was our desire to be more purposeful about staying in touch with those people whom God had blessed us with and that a frequent email from us was an attempt on our part to fulfill that goal.
I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t know how that would be received. We all get so much email these days that another regular email from somebody (even if they were a friend) could be viewed more as a curse than as a blessing. Sunday night, we said a little prayer, held our breath, and pushed the send button.
Five days later, the dust is beginning to settle. From an email list that hadn’t been “scrubbed” for years, amazingly we had less than 15% bounce due to an incorrect address. Unfortunately, we don’t know how to get the latest address. We had less than ten opt out, effectively saying that they chose to not receive the emails. No hard feelings–we totally understand.
But the good news is that we must have received close to a hundred short notes (some not as short) from people who thanked us for reaching out…who thanked us for including them on our list. Incredible!!! Talk about being blessed. A number of the people we heard from we had not heard from for several years. It reminded me of reminiscing through the pages of an old photo album.
So to all of you who took a moment from your busy schedule to send us a note of encouragement–we thank you from the bottom of our heart. To all of you who took a couple of moments to read what we wrote–we thank you as well. And finally, for those who didn’t write–we totally understand. It was no where in our expectations that people would write back.
God has favored us with some incredible friends.
Lord, thank You for the blessing of our friends. You are truly a God of abundance. We thank You for sending them to us even as we have to ask many of them for their forgiveness when we were less than careful with such a precious gift. Guide us as we daily seek to speak a word of encouragement or blessing into their busy lives.
Link of the Day
The Friendship Page
Blessings on you as you reach out and touch someone special today.
“Good health or bad health is usually a manifestation of a right or wrong lifestyle.” Richard Possett
What’s keeping you from preparing healthy meals?
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. (Proverbs 15:17, KJV)
When I first started on the journey of healthy eating, it was new and strange territory! There were few books available and most of the ingredients in the books were unheard of to me–and certainly not available in any of the stores where I shopped. Perhaps some of you can still identify with that today. However, my journey began almost thirty years ago! (I know I can’t be THAT old!)
So, as I continued on this path of educating myself and preparing healthy food, I took more and more time in the kitchen. It became a hobby for me that developed into a passion. It was delightful for me when friends would say, “Sharon makes healthy food taste good!”
I soon began spending hours in the kitchen doing food preparation. As I began consulting with people and then coaching clients about how to take responsibility for their own health, I realized that NOT everyone wanted (or had the time) to spend hours preparing a dinner meal. So, I began exploring ways of making simpler meals while still containing healthy ingredients. Before this revelation, I rarely used anything from a can or jar. I made everything myself in my own kitchen. I now know that that’s very unrealistic for today’s fast paced family.
So, enjoy this one skillet meal that takes about twenty to thirty minutes to prepare. Serve with a green salad and some fresh fruit for dessert.
Father, we thank You for Your grace and mercy that you extend to us each and every day! We thank You for your wisdom that you so lavishly pour out on us when we seek You. Thank you for Your grace as we seek to glorify You with all of the daily choices we make, including what we’re eating.
Link of the Day
Easy Skillet Supper
Blessings as you seek the Lord for your food choices today.
“This particularly nasty substance should have never even been approved for human use.” Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.
What changes would I make if I knew I was being fed poison?
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. (Proverbs 23:32, NIV)
For those of you who know me, it’s no surprise to you that I can get on a soapbox and echo some harsh words about certain so-called “food” items, with aspartame being one of the worst culprits. Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names of NutraSweet, Equal, and Spoonful. I am quick to tell audiences that it is indeed a poison and in no way healthy or fit for human consumption. It is a hugely political issue backed by strong and powerful lobbies.
Aspartame is found in diet sodas and in many “light” foods. It is an artificial sweetener that millions have been duped into thinking will help them shed pounds. In reality, your risk of becoming overweight increases by 54.5 percent by drinking one to two cans of diet soda a day. It actually causes the body to store fat. Nice thought, huh?
Lest I sound like a raving madwoman, let me give some chemical background. Aspartame is made by combining two amino acids; aspartic acid and phenylalanine that are never found combined in nature. To stabilize the substance, methanol or “wood alcohol” is added. When broken down in the body, methanol is converted to formaldehyde–yes, embalming fluid.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. I have personally worked with many clients to decrease and stop their consumption of diet soda, thus improving their health and longevity. People begin to feel better, have improved memory, have less frequent headaches, and sleep more soundly. There are hundreds of articles and books written about the horrendous side effects from consuming this poison.
Bottom line: Don’t Do It! You life is too valuable!
Father, thank You for blessing us with real food to eat! Thank You for giving us wisdom to know the things that are harming our bodies. Lord, I pray blessings on each of our friends who read this. May they not take offense, but may they search their heart for what You have to say to them about what they’re eating and drinking.
Link of the Day
Most Dangerous Food Additive
Blessings on you as you as you search your pantries and refrigerators to make sure you have an aspartame-free home!
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melodie Beattie
When is the last time you counted your blessings?
Lord, accept my grateful thanks… (Psa. 119:108a, NLT)
As soon as I got up this morning, I knew I had done it. As my mother used to say, “You must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” I never could figure out which side of the bed she was referring to, but I sure knew I was guilty as charged this morning.
I had a strong recollection of what I was dreaming about when I awoke. The dream was far from a nightmare, but it was one of those times when you just felt lousy about what was happening in the dream. Then I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
I came into the office to pray…I knew I had to stop thinking about that dream, but I just kept coming back to it and feeling crummy. I’ve learned that all too often, what we think about magnifies. I had to become “master” over my thoughts. This was not going well at all.
All of a sudden, the idea came to me that I should begin to list everything that I could think of that I was grateful for at the moment. Within three or four minutes, I was on a roll. And since you can’t think of two things at once, the dream and all of its yucky feelings were soon gone. How easy was that? Frankly, now, just a couple of hours since all this happened, I can’t for the life of me, remember what that goofy dream was all about.
A bright fellow named Alfred Painter once said, “Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.” All I can say is, “Amen, brother Alfred!”
Lord, I am so grateful for that little idea about listing my blessings that You dropped into my mind this morning. You saved me (and those around me) from a lot of grief today. We all have so much to be grateful for…bad dreams or not. Thank You for the lifeline. You are so good to us.
Link of the Day
Creating A Gratitude Journal
Blessings on you as you reflect on your many blessings from the Lord today.