“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” Randy Pausch, Ph.D.
If you had only months to live, what kind of legacy would you want to leave behind?
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Rejoice. Change your ways. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11; NLT)
Our good friend, Janet Kennon, recently sent me a link to a replay of an 11-minute segment from the Oprah Show. This story definitely falls into our list of “overcomers.” Perhaps you’ve seen this as it’s getting phenomenal play on the internet (over 6 million views), but in case you haven’t, I can’t urge you enough to take a few minutes and watch.
The background goes like this. Dr. Randy Pausch was an extremely bright and popular, young computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Last September, he gave “My Last Lecture” before over 400 students and faculty at the university. The “My Last Lecture” is apparently a long standing series that allows professors to deliver a lecture that answers the question, “If you had one last lecture to give before you died, what would it be?”
Dr. Paush’s lecture was a bit more poignant than others in the series given the fact that he was losing the battle against pancreatic cancer, and the doctors had only given him a few months to live. (The full Carnegie Mellon lecture is on YouTube if any of you want to watch it after you see the shorter version he did for Oprah’s audience. You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo. Warning–it’s 75 minutes long, and very inspiring to watch.)
This is not a tear-jerker video. Dr. Pausch is not making the presentation to elicit sympathy nor pity. The whole thing is very upbeat and inspirational to say the least. One of the quotes of Dr. Pausch from the Ophra version is, “I can’t control the cards I’m dealt–just how I play the hand.” There’s really not much more that I can say that would add to the story.
I encourage you to watch the video. It will definitely make you think.
Lord, we pray for a miracle of healing for Randy Pausch. Clearly this young man has a lot to say that we all need to hear. We thank You for the technology that has allowed millions of people to already be impacted by that message.
Link of the Day
Randy Pausch on Ophra
Blessings on you as you reflect on the attitude of this brave man.
“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” Mark Twain
Do you know where the fish comes from that you’re eating?
Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. (John 21:11; NIV)
Now, I am not a fish connoisseur, nor will this be a treatise on fish. We used to eat more fish than we do now though. Fish used to be a healthy food for us to eat. However, sad to say, fish has now become so contaminated that one has to be quite watchful about what type of fish they eat as well as where the fish came from.
Sorry to say, eating farm-raised fish is NOT the answer. Farm-raised fish are raised in so-called “feed lots of the sea.” Here they are put into overcrowded pens where disease and parasites like sea lice flourish. They are fed synthetic diets that wild fish would never eat and their waste devastates the marine life living on the ocean floor beneath the pens.
Not to mention that they’re pumped full of pesticides, chemicals, and artificial coloring — and are widely known to be chock full of cancer-causing toxins like PCB’s. Since farm-raised fish do not eat a natural diet, their flesh would be gray if not for artificial additives.
Since farm-raised fish are fed grains such as corn, and we know that grains do not form the beneficial fatty acids, DHA and EPA, we don’t receive all the benefits that many studies ascribe to eating fish. Farm-raised fish may also be exposed to tremendously high pesticide levels, which results from run-off coming from nearby agricultural crops that are heavily sprayed.
When I buy fish, I buy wild-caught fish preferably from the Pacific or Alaska or even New Zealand. I never buy farm-raised fish.
Lord, we are so grateful to You for the wisdom You give to us. Thank You for helping us to make the right food choices for ourselves and our families.Link of the Day
Lemon Baked Fish
Blessings on you as you as you enjoy some fish.
“Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.” The Talmud
When did you last get something that you had been wanting for a long time? How did it make you feel?
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. (Phil. 4:11; NLT)
Last month, I did a short series on three guiding principles to achieve “Happiness for No Reason” from Marci Shimoff’s book, Happy for No Reason. (See 2/13, 2/15, 2/18 DG.) To finish out this week, I’d like to give you two “happiness blockers” from that same book. You may find these hitting a little close to home in some respects…I know I did.
The blocker we’ll look at today is what Marci calls “The Myth of More.” I’m sure you can already figure out the gist of this little guy. The more I have, the better I’ll feel and the happier I’ll be. As my Mom used to say, “Balderdash!!!” I believe that most of us know intuitively that this is not true, and our intuition is backed up by plenty of statistics and surveys. Money will not buy happiness!!!
Since we all know that fact, why do we so easily forget it? Largely because we are bombarded with messages extolling the virtues of having more, having bigger, and having better hundreds of times each and every day! There is virtually no escape unless you become a recluse to our culture. Our whole economy seems to be built on rapidly growing the consumer demand. With all those messages telling us that having more will make us happier, it has to erode our belief to the contrary…even if just on a subconscious level.
The remedy? I don’t necessarily have a “quick fix.” However, we can begin by recognizing what is going on and consciously and purposefully take action to fill our mind with the truth. Take the time to reflect on the last time or two you satisfied that urge to acquire something because you knew it would make you happier. How long did the new-found happiness last? I can’t deny that it is a constant battle, but the more you can fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude the less susceptible you will be to fall prey to the Myth of More. Remember that happiness and contentment is an inside job and will never come from the outside in.
Lord, forgive us for those many times when we get caught up in the “I need more” syndrome. Thank You for being the supplier of all of our needs.
Link of the Day
Money Won’t Buy You Happiness
Blessings on you as you write in your “gratitude journal” today.
“If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.” Louis Parrish
What one small investment could you make to have your kitchen function more effectively?
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:27; NIV)
Last Thursday I talked about various kitchen machines and utensils that are helpful when equipping your kitchen for health and success. Today, we’ll look at some more fun ways to make food preparation easy and palatable. A salad spinner is another must for our kitchen. Since we eat a salad almost every day, washing lettuce (NOT Iceberg) is made much easier with a salad spinner. It spins the lettuce until dry and crisp.
Good, sharp knives are also a must for a highly functioning kitchen, (as opposed to a dysfunctional kitchen J ). My best knives are Henckels that Jerry bought me when we were first married. And after twenty-five years, they are still my most favorite knives. A huge key is in keeping them sharp. Dull knives are much more dangerous than sharp ones. Going hand in hand with knives are cutting boards. I have a ceramic one that I use for cutting meats and poultry. It can easily be washed with hot, soapy water. I cut vegetables and fruits on a wooden butcher block.
Kitchen scissors are also a wonderful kitchen tool. Use scissors to open food packages, rather than your good, sharp knives. Knives are used for food….not for plastic or paper. A garlic press is another must for a healthful kitchen. Fresh garlic can make all the difference in a recipe.
A portable mixer is another nice addition. I use mine mainly for whipping cream or beating egg whites. A hand-held blender or whizzer is also nice. I use this right in a pot or pan to puree soup or vegetables.
Various sizes of stainless steel mesh strainers are also a must in a well-stocked kitchen, along with stainless steel or enamel coated colanders.
Finally (for today anyway), most of my cookware is either stainless steel or cast iron. Enamel coated cast iron is some of the nicest and healthiest cookware available now. A vegetable steamer is also a must. They are readily available. Always look for stainless steel — never buy any aluminum cookware.
So, now that your kitchen is all stocked with the finest of kitchen aids, how about stepping out and preparing a healthy meal? Let me know how it turns out…and don’t forget to send me an invitation to dinner!
I’ve provided several different links today with various kitchen gadgets and appliances. Have fun.
Lord, we thank You for our wonderful readers. Bless them Lord as they seek to serve You and walk in all that You are calling them to.
Links of the Days
Blessings on you as you enjoy your kitchen!
“So often, we blame other people when, really, the problem is right down in here. I’m not happy. I don’t know what’s wrong. If I just had another job, I could be happy. If I just get married, I would be happy. Well if I just wasn’t married, I would be happy. Well, if I just had some kids, I’ll be happy. I’ll be happy when these kids finally grow up and get out of here. If I had a bigger house, I would be happy. Well, I got a big house. Now if I just had a maid to clean, I’d be happy. Well, now if I just had a maid, I could get along with better, I’d be happy.” Joyce Meyer
What goal are you working toward that will finally make you happy?
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. (Prov. 3:18; NLT)
On Wednesday, I began a two-part series on the “happiness blockers” from Marci Shimoff’s book, Happy for No Reason. Wednesday’s happiness blocker was the myth of more and today’s is the myth of I’ll-be-happy-when. They are obviously very close, but just enough different to justify a separate discussion.
Like the myth of more, we have all fallen prey to this myth as well. Most of us are very familiar with the tune–I’ll be happy when ________. You can fill in the blank with any of several hundred goals such as, when the kids are grown, when I get a different job, when I finally get my degree, when I get married, when I retire, when I lose these extra pounds I put on over the holidays, et al. It’s a never ending list.
And that’s the problem. It’s a never ending list. Accomplish one goal and you’re elated–for a nanosecond or two. Then it’s off to the next, and the next, and the next, forever. It always puts happiness in the future. Future happiness isn’t worth much. Happiness is a now thing.
Is it bad to have goals and aspirations? No! Not at all! But what’s bad is to tie your happiness to them. Far better to be happy while you’re achieving your goals rather than defer your happiness until you have achieved it.
Marci sums it up well in her book, “To become happier we have to snap out of the trance that your happiness rests in ‘more and better’ which we’ll get ‘someday.’ No matter what we have, Happy for No Reason exists only now, now, not later.”
Lord, we have so very much to be thankful for. A list would be virtually endless. Forgive us when we so easily turn our focus from how blessed we are to what we want next, and next, and next.
Link of the Day
I’ll Be Happy When…
Blessings on you as you choose to be happy right now.
“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.” Martin Luther
How have you honored your parents recently?
Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Deu. 5:16; NIV)
Sixty-two years ago today, my [Sharon] parents became husband and wife. World War II had just ended a few months prior. Dad served our country in the Philippines during the war. Mom waited faithfully at home for her sweetheart and worked as a welder on an assembly line making proximity tubes for the war effort. Well before the days of computers, email, and cell phones their only form of communication for three, long years was through hand-written letters.
As was the case with many men then, once Dad returned home, he was ready to settle down and get married. Money wasn’t abundant, nor were elaborate church weddings and fancy receptions common in rural Pennsylvania at the time. Theirs was a simple ceremony in the little church down the road from where Mom grew up. Their parents and some of their siblings attended the ceremony.
During my growing up years, I would often get their wedding picture out of a dresser drawer and marvel at how beautiful Mom was and how handsome Dad was as well. Theirs has been a marriage of devoted partnership and admirable stability.
A few years after they were married, Dad and Mom purchased a dairy farm. Dad had worked for “Uncle Harry” on this farm before going into the Army. It was a natural transition, as Uncle Harry got older, for him to offer the farm to Dad and Mom. Mom wasn’t raised on a farm, but she certainly knew how to work hard. And work hard they did! Together they turned that farm into a beautiful, productive dairy.
After several years, my brother and I came on the scene. We both loved the farm even as young children. It was such a wonderful way of growing up. Yes, we had chores, and yes, we worked hard, but the dividends of our upbringing far outweighed any of the hard work or sacrifice we made.
Dad will turn 86 this year and Mom will turn 84. Certainly life has had its challenges, hardships, and heartache. However, together they have persevered and trusted the Lord when things didn’t make sense to the natural eye. Up until the last few years, they both have enjoyed robust health and led extremely productive and busy lives. The last couple of years have not been kind to their physical bodies, but their spirits remain strong.
In a world where the divorce rate is at an alarming level (current statistics say 40-50 % of marriages will end in divorce), I would like to pay tribute to my parents who made the decision to “make it work,” in spite of what life threw at them. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for your faithfulness, your perseverance, and your LOVE…for us and for one another. I am proud to be your daughter! Happy 62nd Anniversary!
Lord, thank You for my parents and the wonderful example they have provided for me in so many ways. Thank You that they were always there for us. May You bless them, Lord, on this special day as only You can do.
Link of the Day
Some Tips for a Long Lasting Marriage
Blessings on you as you remember your parents!
“We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?” S. Parkes Cadman
How are you feeling about the food choices you’re making lately?
If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. (Deut. 22:6;NIV)
Last month I focused on various vegetables dishes for the month. This month I’m offering main dishes. Today’s recipe originally came from our dear friend, Bonnie Kyle. I may have made a couple of minor changes to her recipe, but essentially it’s still the same easy, yummy casserole. The recipe calls for 5 eggs. I addressed the egg issue in the Daily Gram back on 12/18/07. In case you weren’t able to read that issue, I talked about the wonderful benefits of eggs, and the fact that eggs do NOT cause high cholesterol levels within the body. In fact, eggs are one of the healthiest foods we can eat. However, sad to say in this day and age, all eggs are not “created equal”…as odd as that sounds.
When coaching a client about making changes with their food choices, I always tell them to use their food dollars to buy the best eggs they can find. Begin looking around and asking your friends and acquaintances if they know of someone who has chickens and sells their eggs. There are many areas in the country where people raise chickens and sell their eggs to the community. Seek them out.
If you’re not able to locate a local farmer with eggs, then buy either organic eggs or free-range (or cage-free) from the grocery store. This means that the chickens were fed a better diet, had access to some light of day and weren’t given routine hormones or medications.
I also recommend organic cottage cheese and organic cheddar cheese for the recipe. Again, sorry to say, all dairy is not “created equal” nowadays either. An artificial hormone called rBGH, was created by Monsanto and is sold as Posilac. rBGH is injected into many of America’s 9 million dairy cows to increase milk production and boost farmers’ per-cow revenues. Consumer advocacy groups have opposed rBGH since it’s FDA approval in 1993, claiming its full effects on humans are unknown. There is a large amount of research indicating severe ramifications on the human body from ingesting dairy products containing rBGH. By buying organic dairy products, we are at least decreasing our incidence of this artificial hormone in our diet.
Another ingredient in the recipe is diced green chiles. If you’ve never bought green chiles, don’t be leery of them. They come in small cans and add flavor to the recipe. They’re not spicy hot, but do add a nice addition to the overall dish. I buy a brand called Natural Value. Their website is http://www.naturalvalue.com.
Lord, You are so gracious and giving. We thank You for Your love and provision for our readers. May they know of Your grace as they purpose to make the best food choices.
Link of the Day
Easy Supper Egg Dish
Blessings on you as you prepare a home-cooked meal.
“You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
What book are you reading currently? What did you read last month?
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. (Acts 8:30, NIV)
Revisited, huh? Does that mean that you’re normal now? No, not at all. I still believe that it is an incredible compliment when someone tells us we’re not normal. I titled this “Revisited” because last November, I wrote a two-part series entitled “You’re Not Normal” (DG 11/16/07 and 11/19/07). I was reminded of those DGs when I received the following in an email “sales” letter:
“You’re not normal because you like to read. Guess what? Most people don’t. Take a look at these sad facts, which are a bit outdated and are most likely even sadder in 2008.
58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
42% of college graduates never read another book.
80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last 5 years.
57% of new books are not read to completion.
Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
And yet, there’s a book that’s been written on just about any topic you can think of.”
As an avid reader, I find those statistics incredible. And since you, one of our DG readers, are reading this…I can only conclude that you are a reader as well. Therefore, you’re not normal either!!! Hallelujah!!! Who even wants to be normal these days?
That’s it! No deep and profound message here other than I thought you would find those numbers as amazing as I did. Rejoice in (and flaunt) your abnormalities for the rest of the day.
PS…I’ve successfully escaped the allure of Harry Potter, but Today’s Link seems to describe what “normal” adults think about reading. BTW, I had no clue as to what a muggle is, let along an adult muggle. The Internet to the rescue…”A ‘muggle’ is a human, non-magical person.”
Lord, thank You for making each of as totally individual. Forgive us for for those times when we focus more on pleasing others in our attempt to be “normal” than we do on pleasing You.
Link of the Day
Harry Potter and the Reading Habits of Adult Muggles
Blessings on you as you relax with a good book tonight.
“WARNING: Your Cookware Could Be Making You Sick!” Dr. Joseph Mercola
If you were going to purchase new cookware, what would you buy?
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Prov. 2:6; NIV)
Since I wrote about the perils of PFOA in the 2/21/08 Daily Gram, I’ve had several readers ask further questions about cookware. They’ve asked if all non-stick cookware contains Teflon, and if all non-stick cookware is hazardous to our health. I’ve also been asked for alternatives to use instead of Teflon.
Since I’ve not used any non-stick cookware in many a year, I needed to do some research on the subject. From what I’ve gleaned, all non-stick cookware contains either PFOA or PTFE. PTFE is polytetrafluoroethylene and is extremely deadly to birds. Several different sources gave numerous examples of birds being killed just by people using non-stick cookware. One has to wonder if the chemicals are that toxic to birds, what are they doing to humans? (Remember the canaries that miners used to carry into the mines as an early warning system for toxic gasses?)
So, I would have to say that any brand of cookware, which states “non-stick,” should immediately send up a warning flag as it probably contains one of those known toxic chemicals. Unless the manufacturer states in writing that it does not, and then explains exactly how it is non-stick, assume it does contains PFOA or PTFE.
One more note on what NOT to use for cookware. I would not recommend using any aluminum pans for cooking if you want to enjoy your golden years. Aluminum is a strongly suspected causal factor in Alzheimer’s disease. People dread Alzheimer’s disease more than cancer and heart disease, and for good reason. According to Dr. Mercola, aluminum is considered a “reactive” metal, meaning that it reacts with salty or acidic foods to release itself into the food. You can also be exposed to aluminum when Teflon chips off a coated aluminum pan.
So, by now you’re probably asking what cookware CAN you use. Enamel coated cast iron is some of the best cookware available. Today’s first two links give sources for those. If you’re not ready for that type of investment, but you want to get rid of your Teflon, then look for stainless steel cookware. I went to Sears last evening to see what they had available. Most everything was non-stick! There were two sets of stainless steel pans that were very nice and very reasonably priced. If you can only begin with one pan, I have seen nice, heavy, stainless steel pans at K-Mart and Walmart. Start there.
Today’s third link is a story about Mike Adams and his experience with deceptive marketing. Very interesting read.
Lord, thank You that You offer Your wisdom to us freely. May we tune our ears to continually hear Your voice.
Links of the Day
WARNING: Your Cookware Could be Making You Sick!
Consumer Fraud Alert
Blessings on you as you seek to educate yourself and your family about healthy living.
“Coaching is not reactive looking back; it’s proactive looking ahead. It is not about healing; it’s about growing. It focuses less on overcoming weaknesses and more on building skills and strengths.” Gary R. Collins
When did you last experience the support, encouragement, and accountability that inspired you to make a change in your life that took you to a new level?
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure. (Prov. 11:14; NIV)
One of the “pioneers” in bringing the coaching profession into the church world was a very well-known and widely respected psychologist and author who wrote more than 50 books mostly in the field of Christian counseling. Gary R. Collins wrote yet another book in 2001, but this one was entitled Christian Coaching: Helping Others Turn Potential Into Reality. This book, authored by such a prestigious author, turned life and leadership coaching from a “humanistic business tool” into a respectable service that could provide a valuable assistance to a Christian audience.
Sharon and I have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Collins speak in person twice when he was visiting Regent University to speak to some of Dr. Joseph Umidi’s coaching classes. In fact, it was in Dr. Collin’s first presentation that Sharon was inspired to boldly go up to Dr. Collins and introduce herself as a nutritional coach–a niche so unique that Dr. Collins admitted he had only heard of it once or twice before.
Dr. Collins continues to write even to this day. He writes a weekly e-mail newsletter, half of which is devoted to coaching, and the remainder to counseling. It is from his most recent newsletter (3/13/08) that I wish to bring this extended quote:
“Next month a new print version magazine for Christian coaches will make its appearance. In contrast to several existing on-line secular coaching journals, the new Journal of Christian Coaching is bright, attractively produced, and innovative. The first issue focuses on the importance of coaches working together in community, in contrast to what seems to have become ‘an isolated, fractured profession’ of coaches competing for clients, for students to take coaching programs, for people wanting certification, or for ways build private practices. According to Editor Jerome Daley, it is ‘our great hope that we can draw together a wide sweep of training schools and…professional associations into a wider fellowship that will allow us to engage in a much larger conversation about our place as coaching leaders in God’s Kingdom purpose.’ This is an admirable, lofty, and needed goal.
“Authors in the first issue include Tony Stoltzfus who, more than any person I know, is committed to coaching as more of a Kingdom building ministry than a path to riches and prominence. His article, ‘I am a coach, I am an island’ captures where we need to move as individuals who offer competent services but also work together in community. Like any field of endeavor, the early stages of coaching have been marked by some questionable values, unexamined assumptions, sometimes overly enthusiastic claims of success, and turf building. But there also have been innovators who have raised questions and taken actions that are committed to moving coaches forward in unity rather than in isolation. The actions of these innovators are to be applauded.”
Regular Daily Gram readers may remember our 12/5/07 DG entitled, “Thank You, Tony!” Tony Stoltzfus, praised in Dr. Collins newsletter is the one who taught Sharon and I virtually everything we know about coaching. We are blessed and privileged to count him as one of our most loved mentors and friends. What a blessing to see him get that well-deserved public recognition by Dr. Collins. Way to go, Tony!
One last little detail. Sharon and I are also blessed to be counted among the authors who have an article in the inaugural issue of the aforementioned Journal of Christian Coaching. Together we wrote an article entitled, “Plumb Line Coaching.” It’s primarily an article about Wellness, directed to coaches, but we’ll be glad to send you a copy if you would like. Just send us an email and we’ll get it right out to you.
We pray that you have a better than fantastic weekend!
Lord, we thank You for our dear friend, Tony, and pray that You will continue to pour out Your blessing on him and his family. We also thank You for the privilege of having the opportunity to meet and hear Dr. Gary Collins speak at Regent University. Bless his ministry as well. And Lord, finally we pray a blessing on all our faithful and loyal readers.
Link of the Day
Journal of Christian Coaching
Blessings on you as you enjoy this coming weekend.