Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Actions and Choices...ugh!

One of my favorite iris shots for a couple of years ago.


Even if we justify our actions or blame someone else, we are still responsible for the choices we make.

Saying, "I can't help it." or "I can't control myself!" will not wash as a good enough excuse when we are face-to-face with the One who suffered and died for our freedom.

Wishing I wasn't "this way" is not an excuse.

Tell yourself "no." and make your flesh obey.  And if you're like me, tell yourself to shut up even now and again....

...because I have really been wanting to write Ashley Judd an open letter.  But that argument with myself is for another day.

Tulip petals

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday!

Monday.
Today, I vow to not focus on weight loss or food. No counting of calories, worrying about fat grams, carbs, or protein.  
 
Today, I will seek to obey God’s commands:
  • I will feed on His faithfulness (Psalm 37:3)
  • I will taste and see that He is good and I will take refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8)
  • I will not labor for food which perishes, but for the food with endures to everlasting life… (John 6:27)
  • …because He is the bread of life (John 6:48)
  • I will eat only as much as I need.
  • He is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1), and I will let Him feed me with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15)
  • I will remember that because He died for me, I am no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:6)
  • And I choose to NOT LET SIN RULE in my mortal body, nor will I obey its lusts…sin shall not have dominion over me. (Romans 6:12-14)
And as I do these things, I will reap what I sow, and weight loss will be one of them, but that is not first on my list. Foremost, I seek to have a closer relationship with Jesus.
Have a great week!

Friday, August 11, 2017

♪♫...It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world...♫♪



Transgenderism and Sports
Not surprisingly, this is only a real issue in women’s sports.  A man who is a woman in his head still has a man’s body.  Dysphoria is in the mind not the physique, and a man, on average, has greater strength in his legs and even more so in the upper body.  If you don’t like those facts, talk to God…that’s the way He made us.  How can it be fair for women to compete against men, no matter what the men think they are?

After all, if a man thinks he’s a bull, you don’t put him in the pasture.  You get him help and keep him away from the cows.  

Do I think gender dysphoria is real?  Yes, I do.  But the answer is not to dress them in different clothes and chemically or medically alter their bodies.   The answer is Jesus Christ. 

North Korea and President Trump
I remember when Donald Trump first announced his candidacy.  I said that if he did get elected, he’d have us in a war within three months…but at the time, I did not, in my wildest dreams, think he would be elected.   In the end, I voted for him, I support him, and I fully believe God placed him in office.  Oddly enough, I am less worried about Kim Jong-un now than I would have been with the previous administration.  I believe that Trump will do as he says, and removing the Kim regime is in the best interest of the world.   I do wish President Trump wasn’t quite so antagonistic with his comments…but we definitely know where he stands and what he intends to do. 

North Korea needs Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit infiltrate that country.  Ours, too.    

Reparations
There are more than one group of people who should be given compensation for past sins if one group gets it.  We should all hope that we don’t get what we deserve…that’s where God’s grace comes in.  What we need is forgiveness.  If you want money, work for it.


The so-called actress…who got her knickers in a bunch because someone called her “sweetheart” and said her dress was pretty…made a Facebook rant that was two and a half minutes long, which was two and a half minutes too long.  My best guess is that this is an attention seeking scheme because she realized her star has faded to the point of obscurity…floating around in oblivion (and you’ll notice her trying to wipe the smirk off her face in the beginning of the video).  

Some people don’t like being called sweetheart, honey, sugar, etc…I understand that.  But is being called “sweetheart” any reason to go to their manager…who, by the way, she :::gasp::: touched!  By her own admission, she shook his hand.   The manager may be like me and hate hand-shaking.  

There are too few compliments in this world.  Please stop subjecting us to your absurdity, Ms. Judd.  You are an embarrassment to womanhood, as you proved all too well in January.  You need Jesus.

Insults
Is there a moment when someone is giving you a piece of their mind (which they usually can’t afford) when you just want to say, “Are you talking to your reflection in my eyes?  You are describing yourself!”   

And by the way, when someone is being unfair or baiting you, you do not have to answer the phone, read the text, acknowledge the comment, or remain in the room…walk away…unless you want to fight.  Some people do enjoy a little scrapping.  Maybe some would argue that I insulted Ashley Judd.

The reason I bring up insults is the musings above have a way of getting people riled up, and riled-up folks are not always nice.  They need Jesus.  I do, too.  More and more every day.


Monday, August 7, 2017

My Completely Erroneous Diet Rules


  1. You can only start a diet on Monday. 
  2. You can’t start a diet on Monday if you know you are going out to eat on Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday…or any day that particular week. 
  3. If you have a Jack’s biscuit (of any variety) for breakfast, the day is shot, eat all you want. 
  4. If you eat candy as a pick-me-up in the afternoon, the diet is over. Start again next Monday. 
  5. If you are going on vacation, put off all dieting until the second Monday after you get back. 
  6. If you lose 3 pounds in a week, reward yourself with a Jack’s biscuit and refer to Rule 3. 
  7. If you eat too much for lunch on Tuesday, do not skip supper. In fact, the diet is shot, eat all you want, plus dessert! Start again on Monday. 
  8. Have a plan, think only of that plan, feel guilty even if you think of anything but that plan. Beat yourself up for eating a marshmallow; refer to Rule 4, then wonder how much you can eat before Monday. 
  9. On the days that you are doing great, judge others for what they are eating. If you know them well enough, judge them out loud and to their faces. 
  10. On the days that you are not doing so well, pester those people you judged the day before until they give in and eat the pizza buffet with you for lunch. (Make sure they leave as miserably stuffed as you.) 
  11. While on a binge, when you eat (which will be most of the day) remind yourself constantly that you’ll get started on Monday. 
  12. While binge-eating, eat fast. It won’t make Monday arrive any quicker, but you can eat more that way. 
  13. On Monday, try one of the plans you’ve already failed at 170 times. 
  14. Spend half of your paycheck on one of the various diet plans, chemical concoctions, gym memberships, or “diet” food. 
  15. And finally, weigh every day and agonize over every ounce that is gained, even if yesterday you weighed naked in the morning, but today are weighing fully clothed at night.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

An Uninformative Update...

I haven’t blogged this summer.   Have you missed me?   I know you have!   I have no reasons and no excuses, just no energy.   Could be the heat, could be the carbs…but I won’t tell you about that in this post.

I went to a family reunion in Texas in July…it was absolutely wonderful seeing everyone.   It’s been a whole month, and I have still not sent a thank you note to my host-cousins.   That’s just how I roll…I’ll get to it this week…I hope.  

Last weekend, I went to Gatlinburg, TN, and Maggie Valley, NC.  It was really nice, and for the last weekend in July, the weather was pleasant.   The devastation from the fire in Gatlinburg wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned, but that does not mean it wasn’t bad.    Homes and businesses destroyed and lives lost...it’s heartbreaking.  But if you are thinking of not going to East Tennessee because of the fire, they are up and running, and would love to have you visit. 


Once upon a time, I envisioned myself as “amusing,” hence the blog domain of “AmusingMargaret.”  Over the years (I have been blogging over 15 years) I have realized that between politics and crazy antics by crazed people that I feel compelled to address, I find not so funny anymore.   So I bought another domain:  MargaretsMusings.com.   I’ve mentioned it before, but I am seriously wondering what to do with it.   I mean…all the world needs is one more blog, right?  And…uhm…I don’t have just ONE more blog, I have several.   

While in Texas, my phone went haywire.   After lots of tweaking the settings, several resets and much frustration, I bought a new phone.   My grandson got the old phone (which wasn’t that old), put his SIM card in it, and it works perfectly.  Go figure.   My new phone’s camera is pretty good…here’s a small sample of what it can do…

Apple Valley Stores and Cafe, Townsend, TN

Streets of Gatlinburg
Streets of Gatlinburg

Streets of Gatlinburg
 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Those Devilish Cell Phones

A beautiful sunset in front of her, but her
cell phone has all of her attention.
I don’t have the patience to learn patience, and its Thursday…my patience supply is severely depleted. I don’t even want to hear my cell phone ding.

Are cell phones of the devil? I grew up in a religion where just about anything could be evil. If “they” didn’t like it, understand it, or think of it, it just might be of the devil.

They may not be so very far from wrong. What happened to the good old days when you didn’t have your conversation interrupted because “Oh, I have another call.” (Even my mom does that!)

There was a time when you didn’t have to pause your face to face conversation until your lunch companion could answer that call, respond to that text, play that next word on Words with Friends…on that devil’s plaything.

Remember those quiet moments when you just couldn’t be reached? Cell phones put an end to that because, you know, there’s apparently no “off” button.

With cell phones, too many bosses feel they have 24/7 access to you.

What about those days when you didn’t see even one person walking around with their eyes glued to a device in their hands? Or talking to the air…I mean that little thing clipped to their ear.

There was a time when you could make a mistake in public (or have a really bad day and do something stupid) and it not be in danger of being in a viral video complete with comments meant to shame you for simply being human.

Since when did “viral” take on a new meaning? If I think about it long enough “viral” actually makes sense for the whole cell phone debacle.

I wonder…if parents weren’t glued to a cell phone, would most of the forgotten children who have died in hot cars over the past few years still be alive? (I don’t believe for a moment all of them were forgotten, but some surely were. We are indescribably too distracted when year after year people forget their babies are in the car.)

How many other people would still be alive had they not been killed by distracted drivers on cell phones?

Would you have ever imagined 20 years ago that somebody's best friend would be a hand-held device? It goes everywhere they go, work, church, bathroom, bed. Personal interaction has been replaced by a mini-computer. People have years-long relationships with people they’ve never touched!

What if people paid as much attention to their children, their mate, their friends…their church family, their Lord, their Bible…it would surely be a different world.

The word "their" is looking funny to me now. It's time to close the post. I think my cell phone may be ringing, or dinging, or just waiting for me to pick it up to see if I’ve missed a text, or if it’s my turn to play a word or roll the dice.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Photo Fallout

Kathy Griffin 2009
KG waving us goodbye!
(Photo by Greg Hernandez
Wikimedia Commons)
Kathy Griffin (KG)
I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.  She was led to believe nothing was off limits in this godless society with its rebellion against authority and lack of respect in general.  She is paying a heavy price for her action: CNN canned her, Squatty Potty dumped her, and venues are canceling her all over the country.  But I wonder if her greatest surprise in this fiasco was realizing she really didn’t have any friends to back her. Anderson Cooper, her CNN New Year’s Eve Cohost, the ladies of The View, Chelsea Clinton, and Hollywood starlets like Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano to name a few, all publically decried the deed. Even Roseanne Barr had some pretty unprintable things to say.

(Is it just me, or do you find it hard to pray for people whose opinions, values, and morals are completely different from yours when they are very in-your-face about it? I often do, and therefore, I often don’t.  I freely admit my attitude needs adjusting.  Loving others doesn't always come easy.)

Unfortunately, instead of letting this blow over, KG continues to stir the proverbial pot:

Lisa Bloom
KG hired attorney Lisa Bloom to make things much, much worse. I’m sure that wasn’t the intention, but that was the result. In the first few sentences, Bloom managed to alienate even further those people she was hired to manipulate. (Yes…when we get down to it, that is exactly what she was trying to do.)

Then KG took the microphone and blamed older white guys, being a woman in a male-dominated field, President Trump, his grown children, and the First Lady, saying the First Family is "personally trying to ruin my life forever.”

Sadly, she just may believe that…
but she really only has herself to blame, doesn’t she?

Bloom called the photo an “edgy work of artistic expression,” and said that Kathy was fine with knowing the photo could be interpreted in different ways. Bloom stated that it was misinterpreted as a threat of violence towards President Trump, and added,
“…as soon as she (KG) learned that this is how it was being perceived (as a threat of violence), she was horrified, and she took down the picture, and she asked the photographer to take it down. And as fast as possible, she videoed a heartfelt apology, literally begging us for forgiveness. That should have been the end of it.”

Not exactly, Lisa. I think what KG does not realize…and most of the world with her…is that she is reaping years of sowing disrespect toward others while falsely labeling it “comedy.”  (God is not mocked, what is sown will be reaped. Galatians 6:7)

When was it exactly that comedy ceased to be funny and became hateful, disrespectful, and mean? How did the Kathy Griffins and Stephen Colberts slip in with their vile verbal garbage and dupe people into believing it was okay, that it was art…that it was funny?

People are deceived. We are living under a huge cloud of lies and deception, lawlessness, crudeness…and we have become a nation entrenched in self-love, greed, bragging, proud, blasphemers, disobedient, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.  (The last days...2 Timothy 3)

We really need Jesus.
Yes, Jesus Christ.
The one to whom KG held up her Emmy and said things to Him I will not type.

Ken Jennings
Remember the record-breaking Jeopardy! winner? With all of the backlash and criticism against KG, Ken Jennings apparently thought it was a good idea to tweet mocking remarks about Barron Trump’s reaction to “the photo.” I have to wonder if he was either hacked (but considering the last time I looked, there were well over 4,000 comments condemning his words and calling for his publishing company, Simon & Schuster, to drop him, I don’t believe he was hacked) or if he is mentally unstable.  He writes children’s books, yet chose to ride Kathy’s coattail into career suicide?  It will be interesting to see if he faces any consequences.

Tyler Shields
Do you know who Tyler Shields is?  He is the photographer who took the infamous KG photo, and it seems to have been his idea.  His comments about it?  He wouldn’t change anything even if he could, and said, “I can’t censor myself.” Again, another slap in the face for KG, as it may very well have marred her career permanently, and he’s just fine with that.

UPDATE: According to an article by Peter Sblendorio and Leonard Greene on nydailynews.com, Shields said the photo was mostly Griffin’s idea. “She came to me,” Shields said. “She said she’d like to do something political, that she’d love to do something that makes a statement. It’s always a collaboration. It wasn’t completely her, but it wasn’t completely me, either. Without Kathy, I would have never done a photo like that.”


The View
It galled me to call the co-hosts of The View 'ladies'…well, two in particular, with one riding the fence. I’ll let you decide who’s who. Or ask, I don’t mind sharing my opinion. (I should probably pray about my opinion and words about others.)  The View sometimes surprises me.

Prayer
My remarks about prayer are done in complete sincerity. They need prayer. America needs prayer. I definitely need prayer. When Paul said “pray without ceasing,” I believe he knew that there was always, always issues that needed God’s attention, then and now!  The Bible tells us that Jesus often got alone with God and prayed.  If He did it, it’s for sure I should be, even if I don’t see the results I am seeking.  Have I prayed for Griffin, Jennings, Shields, or the ladies of The View? No. Will I?  I do not know.

Sometimes, the pollution of the news, social media, 
and life, in general, chokes me.

I hope your weekend is a grand one.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday's Uncommitted Thoughts about Something...


Something I know:
If that webby-looking thing dangling from my hair that I see in the corner of my eye is a spider, I know I will compulsively beat myself in the head until either I or the monster is dead. A fight to the death.

Something baffles me:
Why does it take only Saturday and Sunday to gain back everything it took me Monday – Friday to lose? (It’s time to readdress weekend activity and refocus, isn’t it?)

Something I taste:
If you walk past me and I can taste your cologne, you are wearing $40 worth too much…and that particular scent may not cost $40 to begin with.

Something I (don't want to) see:
If I can see the print of your drawers or your thong (translated “hind end cheeks”) through your leotards/way-too-tight tights (that you call “yoga pants"…which would split if you actually attempted yoga) you are not properly dressed for the public. What? You feel body shamed? Please. I feel eye-raped.

Something I cannot understand:
Why have “female parts” become such a thing in the feminist community? How does it make sense to be rude, disrespectful, yell vulgarities, picket, and march demanding, among other things, that women not be viewed as sex objects, while going topless and wearing pink hats representing their under-yonder?

Something I might understand:
I can see how the above behavior could cause misogyny...I’m female, and I’m disgusted by those shenanigans.

Something I question:
Do feminists think with their under-yonder, or with their brain? There are so many better ways to accomplish things. Keep in mind that no matter who you are or what you do, there will be people who strongly disagree with you.

Something irritates me:
Me. I get annoyed with myself when I fight the same battle repeatedly instead of making a firm decision to let it go and sticking with it.

Something for you:
Have a great day.  Make good decisions for yourself and know that not only is it okay to love yourself, it’s a commandment:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  (Mark 12:31)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bitterness, Forgiveness, Decisions

Tulips, University of North Alabama
There are days when I’m a little mad at the world, and a lot mad at things closer to home. Something will remind me of past hurt, one I think I’ve forgiven and gotten past, but then there it is, reaching out to slap me, giving me a vivid reminder to forgive again. Forgiveness is rarely easy. I’d really rather hang on to my grudge, nurse it, nurture it, slowwwly letting it go back to the land of forgiveness. That only hurts me because the offender has no clue I am still dealing with the after-effects of their actions. 

Forgiveness is a tricky process, too. If you tell a person, “I forgive you,” their first response will normally be, “For what?” words that will sting like a slap in your face because while you struggled greatly in the battle of hurt vs forgiveness, you suddenly realize that the person who wounded you is oblivious to your pain and is living carefree and easy. You find yourself standing on the shore of unforgiveness with waves of bitterness lapping at your feet.

That’s when you get out of the sand
And back to the Rock.

If a person hasn’t asked for your forgiveness, they probably don’t think they need it. Sometimes, our desire to say, “I forgive you” is more of a need to remind them one last time that they hurt us than it is to absolve them of their transgression against us. When it backfires and you have to, again, pick up the pieces of your broken heart, readdress the anger, and push aside the resentment, it is then you finally begin to understand that forgiveness is a covenant between you and God, and that it is through His grace we are able to finally and completely let it go.

Forgiving and Forgetting
Forgiveness, I am sure you know, is for you, not for the person who hurt you, who is unconcerned with your hurt and who caused it. To forgive is a decision we have to make, and rarely is it an easy one. But unforgiveness breeds bitterness, and bitterness produces resentment, hostility, and anger. It also gives you wrinkles! Most of all, bitterness is a venomous root that grows around your heart, choking the joy and life out of you, and it alienates you from God.

Forgetting is a different matter altogether because we really don’t have much control over what we remember. Memories of bad experiences are scars left behind when someone hurts you, especially if that person is someone you love. As Christians, we work through the forgiving process, but the scar can still serve as a battle tactic the enemy of your soul will use to thwart your journey to joy, to God’s rest and peace. We may not always think about it, but the memory is there, and one day you see or hear something that reminds you of what happened, and a flood of feelings can make you feel as if you’re drowning. You have to make the decision to forgive all over again, and the quicker you do that, the better. It’s like quicksand…the further you sink, the harder it is to get back to solid ground. The moment you find yourself lingering on an uninvited memory, remind yourself you have already forgiven that transgression, and choose not to lug that baggage back to Square One.

Here's one that can be the toughest of them all…forgive yourself. Since this post is already over 600 words, I will cover forgiving myself in another post.

Final Thought:
Don’t let unforgiveness control you, and if you hang on to it, that is what it will do.
Make the choice to forgive so that you don’t end up back in The Pit.

Tulips, University of North Alabama

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Still Standing My Ground

I lost 12 pounds in March.

I wasn’t perfect. 
There were days I struggled.
There were lessons I learned.

I have said for years that diets don’t work. “Lifestyle change” is just another word for a diet. Is there a diet I haven’t tried? Probably, but it would just be a recycled version of one of the countless plans I’ve tried before…many of them repeatedly, but all with the same loss/regain result. Falling off the wagon came easy. It seems insane to let one meal, or one “wrong” thing derail a whole month of struggle. Then there’s the discouragement: after being “good” all week and only losing .5 of a pound…but here’s a thought:

If I lost only 5 pounds a month for a year, I would weigh 60 pounds less. Would I have loved to have started this year off 60 pounds less than I did? You better know it.

In two years, I would have lost 120 pounds, and I would have been ecstatic, had I lost only 5 pounds per month and not gotten discouraged! Actually, I probably did lose close to 120 in two years, trouble is…I lost and regained those same pounds on a vicious tilt-a-whirl carnival ride.

Hard fact: If your goal is the number on the scales, in five years, you’ll still be riding the same merry-go-round…or roller coaster, with its ups and downs. I keep telling myself…and anyone who will listen…we have to find a way to eat that we can live with for the rest of our lives! And it shouldn’t involve spending 2/3 of our day planning/counting/stressing/worrying about food.

Here’s the biggest thing I am learning: 
It’s not about the weight. 
As long as I keep making it about the weight, I’ll keep failing. 

Let me interrupt myself…if this is your first visit here, please consider reading Choosing My Obsession and Standing My Ground (Part 1) and Pit Pollution (Part 2).

My Love Affair with Sugar:
A few weeks ago, I went to Nashville to celebrate my aunt’s 89th birthday. There was a plate of home-baked chocolate chip cookies on the counter, and eventually, I ate one. On the first bite…before I even swallowed, I thought to myself, “This is not going to be enough.” (Which tells me sugar addiction is partly mental!) I had two more, and I shared a piece of coconut cake with Ole Boy. Later, I had a fried dinner…catfish, fries, hushpuppies, slaw, cornbread. The next day, I ate at a Chinese buffet.

Normally, a weekend like this would be enough to derail me for the rest of the month…or year. But I remembered (or perhaps God reminded me) that I can’t rely on my own strength. It has failed me countless times!

So I made me an index card and propped it up on my desk at work:
I have written more on it since this photo.
See the end of this post for my Power Verses.
I read that card often. I cannot tell you how many times I said myself, “Lord, feed me with knowledge and understanding.” These scriptures worked every time. Every. Time.

To be Clear:
This is not about just reading/reciting scriptures! It is about having faith in them…believing the words are living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) It is renewing the mind!

Let me tell you yesterday:
I decided to eat an old standby for when I’m on a binge (yeah, who knows my reasoning?!) I stopped at Jacks for a bacon & cheese biscuit, fried potatoes, and a large sweet tea. My intention was to go on to Walmart and get some cinnamon buns, or donuts…you know, something for a binge. On my way to Walmart, which was only a few blocks from Jacks, I gave my normal thanks to God for my food, and asked Him to bless it. I often feel funny about asking God to bless food that are really bad choices, but I ask Him anyway. Then I just talked to Him.

I told Him that my eating the fast food wasn’t a sin, it just wasn’t a good choice. I asked Him to help me remember that even if I have a whole day of bad choices, I still do not have to be a glutton.

Y’all! It’s not about the food.
It’s the obsession.
It’s the gluttony! 

I sat in the parking lot and ate my food, telling myself I’d just get one piece of pie, or only one or two donuts so that I couldn’t binge. I mean, that makes sense, doesn’t it? I just ate a bad-choice breakfast, so I’ll top it off with an ever worse bad choice, even though I was full, because I cannot deny that when I eat sugar-laden food, I find myself obsessing about eating. Making better choices helps me in more ways than one.

While shopping and thinking about what sugar product to buy, I realized I was relying on my own strength: justifying, plotting, planning…obsessing! See where my own strength gets me? Somewhere near the shoe department, I recited my power verses…out loud, (but under my breath so that no one would think I was crazy). And I believed in the power of those verses.

By the time I got to the cake and pie section, my intention had changed, without any effort on my part. My effort had been walking through the store reciting scripture. I walked right past all the donuts, Little Debbie’s, cakes, and pies, and hardly glanced their way. I picked up some grapes, a honeydew melon, some peanuts, and came home.

I didn’t binge, and it wasn’t a struggle.

When I am obsessing about food, I want the food more than I want to read my power verses. Sometimes the pull of the obsession far, far outweighs my desire to lose weight or get healthy, and sadly, my desire to please God by not being gluttonous. I have to make the hard choice to give in or rely on the Word. And the Word has not failed me. The next time I find myself seriously considering giving into gluttony (a binge, that is, I am not talking about just making a bad choice), I think I’ll meditate five minutes on my power verses, breathing in the “living and powerful” and breathing out the words.

Still can’t let go the number on the scale?  Remember this:

If you hope to lose 15 or 20 pounds a month, you set yourself up for failure. Other than the first month, that is an unrealistic goal. Eight pounds a month for an obese person is a reasonable goal, remembering that there are times you will only lose five or six pounds, and you cannot let that derail you.
My Power Scriptures/Prayer:

  • Lord, You are my Shepherd.  (Psalm 23:1)  Feed me with knowledge and understanding.  (Jeremiah 3:15)
  • Let me taste and see that You are good, let me take refuge in You.  (Psalm 34:8)
  • I will trust in You and do good; I will feed on Your faithfulness.  (Psalm 37:3)
  • Lord, I will not worry about what I will eat.  (Mathew 6:25)

This is the scripture that I came across in my daily reading that put me on this path:
Jesus speaking:

  • Do not labor for the food with perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.  (John 6:27)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quit Tooling Around

I have been thinking of writing this post for a month or so. When a friend, who sometimes has lingering doubts concerning President Trump, recently asked how I thought he was doing as president, I decided it was time to finally write one of the hardest posts addressed to Christians I’ve written thus far.

Bear with me as I start this post with very blunt words: If you are maligning, making sarcastic comments, or posting disparaging remarks on social media concerning the President, you are not walking according to the dictates of God’s word. Please don’t do that! Speak evil of no man. (Titus3:2) Don’t allow yourself to be used by the hand of the enemy as a tool to further divide America.
Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (1 Peter 2:13-17 MSG)
It is no coincidence that the media and many people from the liberal side of politics are so driven to destroy a newly elected President without even giving him a chance to preside. What you see is anger from satan, himself, because he was JustThisClose to destroying our nation with a political spirit that was choking the life out of us. I am not saying that we have a nation of demon possessed people who, among other things, march in protest, or that demons are running the airwaves. I am saying, however, that these people are blind, willing participants in the schemes of the devil to divide our country, because he knows that if we are divided, we cannot stand:
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand…” (Matthew 12:25 NKJV)

Christian friends, don’t be a part of division! Ever!
Do I think Donald Trump is our savior?  No, I sure don’t.  Jesus is!  I do not know Trump’s personal relationship with God, but I do know that he is surrounding himself with people who are born again, who openly profess Jesus Christ, and God placed them all there, including Donald Trump.

…For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. (Romans 13:1)
It is not my intention to offend, but perhaps to be on the offensive…that is, to join the (spiritual) battle for our great nation in prayer and truth, and to get those who have not joined to do so by praying daily for our leaders and particularly our President. There is no better time than now! If you do not like your president and are having a hard time praying for him, keep reading, I’ll give you some starting points.

But first, understand that before Donald Trump was born, God had a plan for him. He wrote in His book the days fashioned for Trump….just the same as He did for you and me (Psalm 139:16). Before the foundation of the world; He chose us! (Ephesians 1:4)
…You covered me in my mother’s womb… Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13, 16 NKJV)
It is our responsibility to pray for our leaders…do you want a great awakening in America? I know I do! I long for the day God heals our land. We won’t get that just because Donald Trump is in office. We will start to see revival sweeping our nation when we humble ourselves and seek God. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Otherwise, we remain in a state of complicity in the demise of America.

Pray.
Pray hard.
Without ceasing.
If Jesus often prayed often,
how much more do we need to pray?

Prayer points for President Trump:
  • Pray for his salvation, that he be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that his eyes be opened so that he sees, that his ears be opened so that he hears from God, and pray that his heart is opened so that he understands.
  • Pray for maturity in his position.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit infiltrates his every decision.
  • Pray that God gives him spiritual wisdom.
  • Pray that President Trump is consistently surrounded by God-fearing, praying men and women.
  • Pray that God gives him strength to follow through with Godly decisions, even in the face of much opposition.
  • Pray for his safety.
  • Pray for Truth to sweep our nation, that the blinders be removed from God’s people, and that the Holy Spirit will permeate and saturate this nation in a way that those of us living in this day have never seen.


Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Psalm 33:12

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
Psalm 33:22

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pit Pollution

He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime),
and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings. (Psalm 40:2 AMPC)

Last Wednesday morning, after publishing my last post, I sat talking to God, remembering all my past failures and how many times I’d fallen back into the pit.  I asked Him if what I’d said in the post was true…that He is listening and His hand is already extended to us when we are drowning in the mire. Searching for an answer, I randomly (or not so randomly) opened my Bible to this passage (complete with highlights and underscores, and an arrow pointing to the word “hand”):

Jeremiah 23 NKJV
From that point, I walked in faith knowing that He would help me through that first day of letting go of the food obsession. And He did! I have lost a few pounds and haven’t even been tempted to binge.

But I was in a funk.

I wasn’t overeating, but I brought some pit pollution with me when God pulled me out to solid ground.  My feelings were hurt because of some offhand comments made by someone, and I was having a hard time getting past it.  I couldn’t find any joy, even though God had shown me through His word that He knew exactly where I was, and it was His hand that pulled me from the pit.  But still, I was gloomy.
I am blessed enough to still have my mom…a faithful prayer warrior…and I called her to share my heart about what I was experiencing.  I know she prayed for me, because it wasn’t long before He lifted the sadness.  He also let me see clearly something that perhaps I missed in the past:
Getting out of the pit is always a good thing, but when we bring pollution with us, we may not recognize that we are no longer in the pit because we are looking through the unforgiveness, or the anger, or the hurt that we did not let go of when we were pulled from the miry clay.
When we are grasping things like unforgiveness and anger instead of God’s unchanging hand, it will not be long before we are back in the pit!

I cannot stress how important it is to pray for others who are struggling. There are times when the struggle is so desperate that people stop praying for themselves. That is when praying people step in and pray on their behalf.

God knows. 
He hears every prayer. 
His Grace is sufficient for us.


Appetite Update:
Old habits sometimes die slow, painful deaths. I’d like to report that I haven’t dwelt on what to eat, what not to eat, or my next meal…but the truth is, I did think about those things. I will also admit that I failed at my scripture memorization. I wrote my scripture choice (Psalm 103:1-6) on index cards and kept them at my desk to refer to it as needed, but I didn’t memorize the verses. When I realized that I was thinking about food, I made a conscious choice to look at the index cards I’d made…and in particular, this verse that spoke to me:
But don't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. John 6:27 NLT


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Choosing My Obsession & Standing my Ground



Weight loss often eludes me.  I can be derailed by a Girl Scout cookie...to be truthful...the whole box of cookies.  Is polishing off a bag of chips because I already ate too many cookies acceptable behavior?   No?  I didn’t think so.

It is insane how food/weight obsession destroys a person from the inside out!   It is also very misunderstood because "normal" folks can't fathom why we don't just "stop doing that."  When we fail, we beat ourselves down with guilt until we slide down that very wide channel that leads straight to The Pit, where hopelessness, despair, and discouragement claw at us like the demons they are.

I say “we” because I am not in this pit alone.
I don’t plan to stay here.
I hope no one else does, either.

The Pit is a cesspool of tormented thinking, where we tear ourselves down until we have absolutely no faith in ourselves and little faith in God.   Those of us in the pit who have prayed and prayed diligently for relief, deliverance…freedom…feel ignored by God.   I wish had concrete answers.

Oh, wait.  I do.

I have to quit making it about the weight loss!
Well, yes, of course, I know it is about weight loss,
but the real culprit is the obsession.
Get rid of the food obsession, the weight loss will follow. 

Too often, when trying to lose weight, we will trade one obsession for another.   When we are consumed by every calorie/fat gram/carbohydrate that goes into our mouths, carefully following our new plan to the letter, we do not have freedom.  What we have is temporary and limited success.  And we have insanity.  The bigger the success (the more weight loss) the harder the fall (regain).   Then we punish ourselves, our weapons of choice being more food and more guilt, because what better way to remain in this vicious cycle but to feed it?    

Some of you reading this really, truly understand what I am saying.  You know the heartbreak of obesity, obsession, and addiction. 

You know what it’s like to trade a food obsession for a diet pill obsession (perhaps you think that’s the only way you can lose weight)...
  • Or alcohol. 
  • Or sex.  
  • Or spending 92% of our day planning what we can or cannot eat.
  • Or…whatever
And as long as we are relying on the same way of doing something that never worked long-term in the past, it probably won’t work long-term in the future. 

What I know is this:  We will have to find something that we can live with for the rest of our lives.  Can I go without sugar, fast food, bread, etc., for the rest of my life?  Yes, truthfully, I suppose it is possible to live that way, but will I?  I know can I work my way up to exercising two to three hours a day or walking 15 miles a week, but that is not doable for me for the rest of my life.  (I hate exercise!  I am willing to admit I do need some…but I recognize that extreme exercise will never work for me.)  Better slow and steady with a few bumps than to get derailed completely because I ate a cheeseburger and fries. 

Sugar?  That’s another story.  As I already mentioned…one Girl Scout cookie means the whole box, and if the truth be told, two boxes in as many days.  Sugar addiction is real, my friends.

How can we get out of this vortex of self-loathing and binge eating? 
How, indeed?   We are feel beaten and weary.  
Weary, I tell ya!
But we cannot believe everything we feel because feelings lie.
Tomorrow is March 1.   I am going to choose my obsession and stand my ground.  It’s just one day.  I can do all things with Christ giving me strength, and I only have to deal with One. Day. At. A. Time.  

Today’s preparation: 
I will remind myself strongly that I am not worthless just because I don’t like how I look or feel.
…Or because of what others say or think, or what I think they think.
I will remember to not worry about tomorrow.
I will cut bitterness and unforgiveness loose, even toward myself. 
I will recognize that I do not have to rely on myself, but remember that I can always rely on God.
I will read Psalm 51, out loud, and mean every word.
I will demand that this pit release its grip on me, and…
I will ask God to pull me from The Pit, fully believing that He will.
Believing is the important part. 


I choose my obsession:   
Scripture memorization.   
Here is a passage from my own Bible, a very good place to start:


As an afterthought:
The Pit is a real place, and it is a horrible place to be.  It's where our identities are stolen and we believe the worst of the lies about ourselves.  It's where we question God's goodness and love.  It's where we drown in the mire of hopelessness.   It's a dark place, and it's very easy to slip into and extremely hard to get out of...until you realize that God is listening and His hand is already stretched out.   But when we are sinking in the quicksand, it's so much easier to believe His hand is not there, and that we are truly on our own.  I know what I'm talking about...I know it all too excruciatingly well.  The first step is making the decision to get out of the pit.  I have to believe...it really is as simple as that...Faith as small as a mustard seed that God will meet me right where I am.   To believe anything else would be one more lie.   Jesus died to set me free, and who the Son has set free is free indeed.  If I remain in the pit, it's my choice, and I choose to leave the pit behind me and the lies under my feet.


So I say it out loud...and type it here as a proclamation...
BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I AM COMING OUT OF THE PIT AND INTO LIFE!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Elementary, My Dear Elementary...School

I came across these memories from elementary school on Facebook that I had written almost 7 years ago!    If you didn't go to Underwood Elementary, you may not be too interested in my rambling thoughts...but I'm sitting here tonight, on my 53rd birthday, mentally walking down memory lane....



*IF* my mind works correctly…and that can definitely be iffy…I’m going share a few Underwood Elementary memories. Since I am relying on faulty recall, forgive me if I have names or grades wrong, and feel free to correct or add to my story.  Proceed at your own risk through my rambling words and jumbled thoughts in print of the years 1970 – 1976.
When I first started at Underwood, drink machines had 6 oz Cokes for  5 cents and 10 oz Cokes for 10 cents.   Maybe the 10 oz drinks were only 8 cents that first year. The school secretary, Mrs. Quillen, ran a little candy store out of the school office, where penny candy was actually candy for a penny.   As I was picking out my stash one day, I once rudely told third-grade teacher, Mrs. Poole, to “Move!”  She promptly gave me a (much needed) lecture on courtesy.  I believe it was Mr. Myhan who handled the popsicles…it seems like there was a popsicle of every flavor.
Around the third grade, Ms. Sewell became our first art teacher, and we had a music teacher that year, as well.  Mrs. Beck was our PE Teacher in fifth grade.  She was a maniac with her paddle...after seeing her use it one time, I made sure I didn't do anything to meet it cheek-to...board.  But I believe Ms. Lewis taught PE before Mrs. Beck...possibly fourth grade, she was only there one year.  Mrs. Broadfoot, (Laura’s mother) was my favorite substitute teacher.  There was another substitute I liked, too. I think it was another classmate's mother…Denise Hill’s maybe?
My introduction to school wasn’t a pleasant one.  My teacher, Mrs. Moore, wasn’t always nice to me. Was it possibly because I was precocious and loud and got on her nerves?  Whatever the reason, I suppose it’s my own unforgiveness that I need to face. I remember Sharon Risner was on crutches for a while, and Laura Broadfoot had a bicycle wreck that resulted in a hospital stay…and when she came back to school, she had a badly bruised face. I remember Mrs. Moore gave each child a chance to be “Teacher’s Pet” for a day, and we were often given orange juice. However, I think that was a school thing, not a Mrs. Moore thing.
Wasn’t Mr. Terry a scary man to reckon with? I’d never heard of a first name being a last name…and I dared to say “Hey, Terry!” as I passed him in the hall. (In my defense, I really wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.) He quickly set me straight, and I didn’t do that again! I also remember they gave immunization shots at school in those days. I hated that, and everyone within earshot knew I hated it, too.
Second grade was a much better experience. Mrs. Hall genuinely liked children. There was a new girl named Beverly Holden in our class for a while. She didn’t stay long…but when I was a senior, I got a job at Shoney’s, and Beverly was working there. By then, she was called Chita, but I knew I remembered her from somewhere. When I finally heard her first name was Beverly, I was able to put one and one together and came up second grade. There was also a girl named Mary Christmas in our class.
Once, when Mrs. Hall was out of the room, for some unknown reason, I was running around and knocked the record player off the counter…thankfully it still worked. I was scared to death of the trouble I was going to be in when she came back in….but I wasn’t. I stole 5 cents from Selena Middlebrooks that year…oh, the times I have thought about that with shame. I have never again stolen from another individual.
One of the best things about that year, though I didn’t know it then, was that every morning, Mrs. Hall had us say the Pledge of Allegiance and the 100th Psalm. I have never forgotten that Psalm, and I rarely recite it without thinking of Mrs. Hall.
Third grade gave me Mrs. Poole. I thought she was so pretty!  She didn’t have her classroom set up in the traditional rows of desks….there were short rows of about 5 or six desks, strategically placed about the room, and I sat beside Laura Broadfoot and behind Jay Cruise for a while. I also have a memory of sitting very near the teacher's desk…hmmm. Wonder what I did to get that special place in the room? This was the year I fell in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books because Mrs. Poole read us The Little House on the Prairie in the afternoons. I read all of LIW’s stories, and I loved the TV show.  (I visited her home in Missouri a few years ago. Laura wasn’t there…)  Years later, when my daughter was at Underwood, Mrs. Poole, who became Mrs. Griffith, was the principal.
My fourth-grade teacher was Mrs. Witt…possibly my most favorite teacher of all my years in school (I had a few favorites). I think this was the year that Kathy Thompson broke her toes. I remember she didn’t let that stop her from playing PE…kickball and softball. She fell down once, and I could tell it hurt her…but she didn’t cry. I was really impressed. 
This is a memory I am really not sure of, and I may have it all wrong, but at the risk of my embarrassment:  In fourth or fifth grade, Lori Olive hurt her arm during PE. The PE teacher, who I believe was Ms. Lewis, told her to “sling it” and she didn’t mean put it in a sling!  Turns out, it was broken pretty badly...
Pam McInnish and I sang “The Church in the Wildwood” to the whole class. I say “we” but I didn’t sing very much at all. I had told Pam that I would help her, but I must have developed some sort of stage fright when faced with the whole class looking at me. Tammy Irons and Cindy Townsley, I believe, put together a magic show for us.  It was actually pretty good, and I still remember two of the tricks they did. I asked Tammy how they did it, fully expecting her not to tell me, but she did.
Fifth-grade…we were the big kids and started changing classes!  I liked both Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. McGuire… That was the girls and boys really started noticing each other and pairing off…though it had started in third and fourth grades.
Sixth-grade teachers were Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Alexander, and I like them both as well. Mrs. Pierce was my homeroom teacher, and she used the phrase “Woe be unto you…” when she was threatening us for whatever reason. I think we realized that's when she meant business. Early mornings would find many of us (Jeff Yerby, Julia Richards, Mark Davis, and others) playing softball before the bell rang.   There are classmates I would really like to see again from Underwood, like Julia "Renee" Richards, and and then there are those who I have run into, like Melanie Cox, who stopped me in WalMart one day because she recognized me, just to say hello...and we connected on Facebook...like I have with so many other former classmates.   Facebook is very handy for that...so many I have "found" like Robin Lovelace (love her!), Tracey Tyler...I remember spending the night with her...she had huge dobermans!
Sadly, sixth grade was the year that I learned that children aren’t immortal with the freak accident that claimed the life of second grader Tyra Townsley.  Her cousins were in my class, and I remember them crying.  A 12 year really doesn’t know what to say in times like this.
My years at Underwood are very special memories. I met a girl there named Carol Belew. She left Underwood to go to Cloverdale after only a year or two, and it wasn’t until the 9th grade that I saw her again. She became my High School "BFF" and is still my very dear friend to this day.  We’ve lost a few classmates along the years, including Mark Davis, Mark Hanback, Anita Looney, Tim Smith, Lisa Hill (who left after the 4th grade), Cindy Crews, and Sharon Risner.  I still live near the school…though it looks a little different these days, one thing remains the same, memories are being built, lifelong friendships are being formed, and America’s bright future are learning and discovering life in those elementary classrooms.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Committed Thoughts: Choosing Those Thoughts

It all starts with a thought, both failure and success. Thoughts become actions, actions become habits, and habits, a lifestyle. We are going to have uninvited thoughts…and if you are like me, lots and lots of them. It is our choice what we do with our thoughts; we can choose to arrest thoughts that are detrimental to our mental and physical health, such as thinking we are insignificant or unloved.

We can’t ever let the actions of others make us feel like we don’t matter. We also have to accept the fact that there are times when we don’t matter to a particular person, and when that time is realized, it is time to make changes in more than just our thoughts.

No, I’m not telling you to get a divorce if you are having marital problems. I am also not telling you to stay in an abusive situation. But there are things you can do to help yourself even in bad situations, and one of the first things to do is not let yourself believe you are worthless because someone may be telling you that. You are worth much! Just ask Jesus, He’ll tell you!

However, I am telling you not to marry that person who doesn’t treat you with love and respect.  Run away as fast as you can!  If he or she hits or shoves you, or is mentally abusive, don't stay there.  I wrote about domestic violence here.  (I have had the hardest time getting this link to work correctly!)



Success involves choices. More directly, it involves making the right choices. I know that the right choices are often the hardest choices, but when the temptation has passed, the joy for choosing correctly far outweighs the fleeting pleasure that comes from giving into the temptation. And there’s no guilt, no self-loathing, no wallowing in hopelessness and discouragement after the fact.

I used to think my problem was food. It’s not. My problem is me. I have quit begging Jesus to free me from an obsession of food, and have come to know that He is my freedom. All that the Bible says is true, and if He sets me free, I am free, indeed. If I am not walking in freedom, it’s because I’m not close enough to the source. And He is so much more than just the source. He is…my everything.

This is a poem I wrote some years ago. I’ve tweaked it over the years, but if we want true liberation from whatever chains have us bound, we must recognize Him as our all in all.

My All in All


He’s my Teacher when I ask for wisdom,
Crying out in an unashamed voice, 
My Forgiver when I’m off my knees,
And knowingly make a wrong choice.
Patient endower of knowledge, 
While in ignorance I seek to know,
As I grasp, at times rather blindly,
Trying to learn what He’s trying to show.

He’s my Defender when I need protection,
My Freedom when in chains I’m bound,
An ever present, calming deliverer,
When my bonds have kept me down.
He picks me up and helps me stand
When finally I submit;
A solid Rock to place my feet 
When He pulls me from my pit.

He’s my loving Lord, the giver of grace,
My strong and mighty tower.
Ready Redeemer who rescues me,
Protecting me with His power.
Heavenly Father, who is my rest;
Counselor to ease my mind
He’s both Lamb and Lion, the Great I Am,
My all in all combined.

The above poem I have reworked several times because I never
could get the last verse to say what I wanted it to say.
I may just leave it as this:



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