Saturday, August 30, 2008

God's Pharmacy

If you've already seen this, I apologize. It actually posted yesterday but I just had to take it down and put up Obama's acceptance speech instead. Have a great weekend!


I was checking out pastor and fitness trainer Greg Cheney's Faith First Fitness blog and found an interesting post, which led me to the Faith and Health Connection blog, where I found the complete article. It was so intriguing, I had to post it here. Although I'm in no position to vouch for the accuracy of the information, it's certainly worth considering.

God's Pharmacy
Author Unknown

Then God said, "Let the land burst forth with every sort of grass and seedbearing
plant. And let there be trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. The seeds will
then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came." And so it was.
Genesis 1:11

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound
heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neocortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neurontransmitters
for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Eggplant, Avocadoes and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? .... It takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm cells to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

Grapefruits, Oranges, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the
epithelial layers of the eyes.

Isn't this amazing?

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama at the DNC: Now Is The Time

If I featured Michelle, you know I have to put up Sen. Obama. (I'd have had it up earlier if I could have found a full-speech video I could embed fast enough.)

I think the speech on race was more inspirational but as political speeches go, it doesn't get any better than this. What more can folks ask?

Now is the time--to register, to vote early, and to encourage others to do the same. Let's get out the vote!!!!

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mid-week Worship: One Thing

Today is Hubby's birthday!

And in honor of his birthday, today I'm featuring one of his favorite worship songs. One Thing by Dr. Marvin Sapp. I heard this Monday morning and it got my week off to a great start. It's been humming in my head ever since.

Happy Birthday, Babe! I love you!

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?

They played the absolutely perfect song at the conclusion of Michelle Obama's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention. Isn't she lovely?

Michelle embodies everything any mother could want their daughter to be. Smart, witty, poised, self-assured, down-to-earth, hard-working, caring, compassionate, and in love with someone who is in love with and committed to her.

Hey, I want these same things for my sons!

I think she will make a fabulous First Lady of the United States. I hope the majority of Americans agree with me.

In case you missed her speech last night, here it is:

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekly Check-in: August 25, 2008

It was a hard but great week for getting the healthy!

First, the stats:

Week of August 18, 2008:
Weight Loss: 1.5 lbs.

Average water per day: 4 cups

Number of exercise days: 5

Total min exercised: 195 (avg of 39 min per day)

Woo-hoo! I actually exercised 5 days last week and I did 45 min of exercise on 3 out of 5 days. I'm working toward 5 days consistently and an avg of at least 45 min per day.

Last week was the first week of school for my boys. I was sooooo afraid I would fall back into my old habits. Dragging myself to bed late, too tired to get up in the morning, no time for exercise.

But this year is different. First, Hubby is helping out a bit more with the morning routine. He's always been a part of it but by him getting involved more helps me alot. I'm getting up earlier but I'm also going to bed earlier most days. That, coupled with the iron tablets the doctor ordered earlier this year, is making a HUGE difference.

Mentally, when I got on the scale this morning, I had to chide myself for the flash of disappointment I felt. I lost weight this week although it seems I've been gaining and losing the same 3-4 lbs all summer. After my great exercise week, I wanted the scale to drop at least 5lbs. But it's not all about scale movement. My clothes are fitting better and I have more energy than I've had in a long time.

Still a bit too much snacking but less then before. And this week is full of eating challenges. First Hubby's birthday on Wednesday and our 17th wedding anniversary on Sunday. But I'm really going to try to be mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth and get up and exercise every day like I did last week. If I keep in mind the challenge, perhaps I won't sabotage my efforts. Hubby will help because he's on a weight loss quest too and may not even want a cake. (We both passed on the Dunkin' Donuts the kids had for a treat yesterday.)

So I'm off and running on what will be another banner week for health and fitness. Can't wait to find out how my friend, Chicki, is doing with her walking desk.

How about you?

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

I recently read a short abstract of a book called "Nudge: Improving Decisons About Health, Wealth, and Happiness". It's a business book aimed at helping corporations and organizations better understand how to frame and provide choices for people for greater satisfaction.

The main premise is that groups should "nudge" individuals toward good decisions. It goes on to say the default choice should be a beneficial one, like automatic enrollment in the company's retirement plan, so that if the person does nothing, in the end, he or she will still benefit.

There's a lot in this material for personal consideration and use level. Things like:
  • Types of choices: Auto-pilot vs. reflective.
  • Choices are always made within the influence of context.
  • What kinds of things influence choices
This paragraph really struck me:
"People need assistance in making decisions when the stakes are high (health-care choices), when the situation is complex and rare (buying a house), or when human nature would lead them astray (saving money versus gambling)."

It goes on to say:
"If the benefit is immediate (ice cream tastes good), but the risks or costs are delayed (your arteries will clog and you’ll get fat), receiving guidance about healthful choices can help. Some think that the best choices come from having totally free options in a free market, but that’s not the case. People make faulty decisions if they believe wrong data, lack key facts or fall under the influence of someone who misleads them for selfish financial interest."
Isn't that something to think about as we consider electing the next president of the United States?

So having a sense of urgency and information one can trust are important.

My urgency is increasing regarding weight loss and the need to get healthy. 50 isn't that far away and it gets harder and harder to make significant progress each year.

I want to have an Oprah-moment for my 50th birthday. Remember a few years back when she lost all that weight, looked fabulous, and gave herself a year-long celebration, including singing with Tina Turner? That's my plan.

The weight loss, not the singing.

Then, there's the less selfish motivation that I want to live a long life for my children. I'll be retirement age when Littlest One graduates from high school. That's a pretty humbling thought. I'd like to be healthy enough to guide my children into adulthood and see them prosper. I want to travel with my husband to visit our children and grandchildren.

I need to remind myself of these things when I am knowingly indulging in behavior that is counter to my goal, like eating handfuls of Cheetos in the evening after eating really well throughout the day.

It's all about goals, choices, and decisions. My goals are good ones. My choices are obvious. I've got to work on the decision-making in the moment.

God, thank you for giving me a mind to be healthy and for providing the breadth of information necessary to get there. Grant me the presence of mind to make good decisions when faced with choices, decisions that move me toward my goals. Help me to develop a greater sense of being in the moment so that I don't mindlessly make bad decisions and wonder why later. Most of all, draw me closer to you, the source of my joy and strength.

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Corrective Measures for Self-Sabotage

I've been talking about self-sabotage.

When you feel yourself heading down a worn and familiar but not very friendly path, there are things you can do to halt, turn around, and snatch back a positive psyche. In on particular order, except I do suggest starting with the first item on the list:


Take a long, luxurious soak in a warm bath.

Sing worship songs.

Read a devotional book.

Listen to thumping, gotta-get-out-of-your-seat-and-dance gospel music. Kirk Franklin comes to mind.

Spend some time around children. Not caring for them but watching them.

Connect with a friend with whom you are 100% transparent. Let it out if you need to, then have them pray with you.

Do something that makes you feel good, like baking a cake, planting flowers in a garden, strolling on a beach, etc.

Take the focus off you and do something nice--and unexpected--for someone else.

Write a letter to someone you haven't been in touch with for a while.

Look at photographs of memorable and happy times.

Eliminate the triggers that are contributing to your downfall. (In my case, that might mean getting out of the house and away from readily-accessible food for a while.)

Try something new you've always wanted to do, like a new recipe or a new hairstyle.

Sing. (Out. Loud.)

Go for a walk. (Great time for that singing or praying or even better, listening.)

Take a nap.

Do whatever it takes to break the negative thoughts going on in your head or to cease the negative actions you are in the middle of taking.

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mid-week Worship: I Call You Faithful

Pastor Donnie McClurkin was the minister of music for a time at the church where I was a member as a teenager back in NY. I've always been mesmerized by his musical talent. He has such an anointed voice.

Donnie's had his struggles over the years, and some folks would crucify him for that or at least for what he says now about those struggles. But to me, he'll always be simply Donnie, someone who loves the Lord and who doesn't mind telling whoever will listen.

He influenced my life relative to being bold for God. And I still love to hear him sing God's praises.

We serve an awesome God. What do you call Him?

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekly Check-in: August 18, 2008

Week of August 11, 2008:
Weight Loss: None

Average water per day: 4 cups

Number of exercise days: 4

Total min exercised: 150 (avg of 37.5 min per day)

It's the first day of kindergarten for Middle Son. I cried for the oldest so I said I wouldn't cry this time.

I didn't cry but my heart burst with pride.

Youngest One is still in daycare and The Eldest (he likes to be called "Most Honorable Number One Son") starts his last year of middle school later this week. (Now Monday due to Hurricane Fay.)


I had a great time at the Faith and Fiction Retreat. I'll be detailing that experience over on my writing blog over the next few days.

But how'd I do this weekend re: healthy choices?

I'm stalling.

Actually, I didn't do too badly. I did little snacking during the 7 hour drive up to Destin or back. The first night we went to Trader Vic's and I had a seafood dish. The second night, we had a luau with cake for dessert.

I ate that night. Really ate. But at least I didn't eat the sugar-laden frosting from the cake.

Came back 1.5 lbs heavier than last Monday but since I felt like it might be 5 lbs, I'm actually pleased. Especially since I actually went to the fitness room and did 45 min of exercise on Saturday AM.

Could be worse. Not complaining. Off to a good start this week.

Why is weight loss so hard?

Don't answer that. I know some things that I need to do differently but one thing at a time. And my "one thing" right now is to get to where I'm exercising 5-6 times per week for an avg of 45 min each.

How'd you do?

Please be in prayer for the residents of the state of Florida. Hurricane Fay is supposed to hit the Tampa area, where we live, sometime tomorrow.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Show Yourself Friendly

I'm off to make some new friends this weekend. I'll be attending the Faith & Fiction Retreat with some writer-friends and authors I've only met online.

I hope to come away rejuvenated and with great new friends.

The first need that God saw in man after He'd finished his creation was the need for relationship.

That's why people who isolate themselves are often unhappy, depressed, angry, or otherwise heartsick people.

Because we need other people. We need relationship.

Relationship with God is priceless and family relationships can be wonderful.

But some of the most cherished relationships are friends.

God draws us to Him and waits for us to respond. Family, well, they get us through birth or other connections. But friends? We get to choose our friends, and they us.

Some of the best friends come from childhood because these are the folks you learn and grow with. Unfortunately, as distance and time separate, these friendships are often lost or diminished.

Then there are friendships that come in adulthood from school, work, or church. These friendships bring value because we connect over shared interests, likes and dislikes. We choose to spend time and energy cultivating the relationships.

Most of my friends live in other states, a fact I detest. As much as I enjoy keeping in touch with people online, and that would include the many people I've met online in the writing community, there's nothing like getting together with a friend.

Because we've only lived in FL for four years, and in that time, we've lived in several different places, I haven't made too many friends here yet. I have a few co-workers who I'd call friends now and we're finally in the area where I expect to be for a while so I hope to make some friends there too.

I miss the camaderie of hanging out with my "gurls".

But, once again, friendship begins with me.

In order to have a friend, I must first be a friend.

"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly"

Working on this year's presidential campaign will give me a chance to get to know some more people in the area and it's too early to say but I've already connected with one woman with definite girlfriend potential. We have a lot in common--married, three sons, from NY--and we clicked.

Time will tell but in the meantime, I'll just try to be friendly.

Do you spend time with your friends? Have you reached out to old friends recently? Have you made any new ones?

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Negative Self-Talk

Been talking about self-sabotage.

Thoughts swirl about my head, sometimes forming a conversation, one in which I might ask a question, get an answer, and continue the dialogue (preferably in silence).

In writing, we call this introspection or internal monologue.

I call it self-talk.

Some people do this more than others. Some not at all, or seeminglyso. Others, non-stop.

Whatever your frequency of self-talk might be, what's most important is the tenor of your self-talk.

Are you encouraging and kind to yourself?

Do you speak affirmations to yourself?

Do you quote Scripture to yourself?

Do you see yourself with your inner eye in a positive manner?

Do you envision yourself as beautiful?

Do you bring to rememberance happy, joyful times?


Do you have negative tapes and images that play over and over in your head?

Are your images of negative, unhappy events or times?

Do you hear whispers that nudge you toward the people, places, and things that you know are not good for you?

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Rom 12:2 NLT

We need to take control of our thoughts and wrestle them into submission.

How do we do this?
By feeding positive thoughts and images into our soul.
You are what you eat pertains to more than food. That's why so many people are up in arms about the many negative images the media blasts 24-7 and to which our children are particularly vulnerable. It's about the music we listen to, the books we read, the movies we watch, the places we spend time, the people we allow to be around us, the influencers we choose to follow. And the most powerful influencer we have is God's Word.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalms 119:11

And that you might not sin against yourself.

By reciting affirmations.
It's pretty hard to tell yourself, "I'm beautiful" every day--every single day--and not start to believe it. Oh, you might not be there 100% on the first day, the second, or even the four-hundredth but, if you keep saying it, it will take root.

For as a man thinketh, so is he. Prov 23:7 KJV

By acting the part.
If you say, "I'm beautiful", then you should act as though you are beautiful. If you water your affirmations, your good thought, by acting as though you believe them, they will blossom and before you know it, you'll have a garden of positive thought blooming in you.

By allowing the blessed peace of God seep into your spirit.
This takes meditation. Listening to God. If you're hearing negative things more loudly than the positive, you know it's not God speaking!

I've had moments when I've had to pray, then argue with myself, then pray again and listen to God before I could get my thoughts under control. Sometimes it's one session. Sometimes it takes a few days. When I'm done, I sometimes feel wholly renewed and rejuvenated. Sometimes I feel optimistic but mentally drained.

However it occurs, it's okay. Because I'm worth the battle.

Do you suffer from negative self-talk? If so, what things do you do to keep it from taking root (or to pluck up the roots already in your mental ground)?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mid-Week Worship: Breathe

I feel terrible today.

My family has lamented the lack of soul food in the Tampa area. Any soul food. So of course, when a new soul food restaurant opened up around the corner from us about a month ago, we knew it was a matter of time.

We tried it last night. The food was very good. But my body, which has not consumed that type of food in that quantity in some time, is not appreciating it this morning. I woke up 2 lbs heavier due to water retention, from the salt intake I'm sure. My head hurts and I feel woozy.

I think I'll stay away from the soul food and focus on feeding my soul.

It doesn't get much better than this!

Michael W. Smith must be one of the most prolific and most impactful worship songwriters ever.

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Focus on God

There's a great online Christian women's magazine. It's called "Christian Women Online".

Gotta love the simplicity of the title!

The name may be simple but the information shared is encouraging and life-changing.

Like this article that Darlene Schacht wrote about keeping one's focus on God in the battle for weight-loss. It worked for her sister who went from a size 14 to a size 4.

Now I'm not trying to be a size 4. I wasn't a 4 in my early years. Well, I actually did get that small once in my life, as a result of pledging a sorority and rarely having time to eat or sleep, much less sit down. I stayed at that size for all of a few months.

No, although I'm not focused on my dress size, I figure I'll bottom out at maybe an 8?

Anyway, the point is bringing God into the mix, in fact putting Him first, can make all the difference.

Is God the leader of your weight-loss efforts?

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekly Check-in: August 11, 2008

This weekend was all about family and back-to-school.

I love spending time with family. If I think about it on the front end, sometimes it feels like a big effort but I always enjoy myself and am glad we had the time together once it's over. This weekend was my in-laws and three of my nephews that I hadn't seen in years. Good stuff.

Back-to-school. Last week. School starts Monday. Shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. Bargain hunting, slashing ridiculous item counts in half (like 13 glue sticks), and much sighing. Lots of "It is what it is". You know.

But they're pretty set now, except for a few big ticket items that remain to be purchased. I'll pick those up between now and the end of the first week of school.

How'd my week go?

Week of August 4, 2008:
Weight Loss: Not sure but I liked today's number

Average water per day: 3-4 cups

Number of days exercised: 3

Total min exercised: 105 (avg of 35 min per day)


I don't know how much weight I lost last week because I don't remember where I started. (Because I don't want to post the actual number here. I did in the first post but quickly revised it.) So I have to make sure I write it on my calendar. Somewhere between 0 and 1.5 lbs. I do know that I'm down 5 lbs total from where I was when I started really making a concerted effort.

Water intake was up a bit. Very consistent with iron supplements, which I think my body has finally adjusted to, and vitamins.

Exercise was okay once I got going about mid-week. Have to work on getting that first Monday AM workout, like I did today, so that I can end the week with 4-5 workouts. But I got a tremendous workout while shopping this weekend. Mall

This week, I'm focused on consistency. Consistency in water intake (4-8 cups per day), AM exercise, and snack-less evenings, which I pretty much did over the weekend.

I need to start increasing my exercise to about 45 min per day. When I hit the next exercise plateau--when you can do the exercises pretty easily without heaving or even sweating much--it will be time for weights.

Heard a great message at church yesterday. God tests us (test, not tempt) in order to teach us and to refine our faith. He also tests us that we might remember from when He has brought us. (Judges 3:1-2, Exodus 16:4, Deutoronomy 8, 1 Pet 1:6-7) So if you're going through something, think on it as the refining of your faith and hold your head up. If you're not going through at the moment, remember from whence you came and thank the Lord!

Happy Monday!

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

Yesterday I was talking about personal struggles, in particular self-sabotage.

This is a bit lengthy, about eight minutes, but when you have a moment, take a look. You can't help but to be touched and to think about your own life.

I suspect many folks have more than one of these cardboard testimonies in their lives. I know I do. Here's one:

Suffered depression following stillbirth of only daughter.
Restored and renewed by His love; gifted with three healthy sons.

Do you have a cardboard testimony? If you're not sure or you've only completed the first side of your cardboard, you should meet my friend.

His name is Jesus.

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Am I My Worst Enemy?

I've been thinking about self-sabotage.

Because I succumb to it. Not every day or even every week. But I do. Too much.

Like when I'm on a roll health-wise and I fall completely off the wagon and into a ditch in one fell swoop by way of a ridiculously sugar-filled dessert.

Or a no-holds-barred weekend of eating whatever I want. Sort of like the last two evenings when I found myself snacking almost incessantly. (And I knew this was today's post because I drafted it on Monday.)

Or I take a "diet vacation" at the end of the year, and even after I put back on the first 5-7 lbs, I keep eating whatever I want, knowing what the end result will be.

Or not exercising for a whole week, or month, or ...

Or staying up late to watch re-runs of some television show or a movie that I've seen a million times.

Or not drinking enough water when all I need to do is fill the cup and start drinking and I just feel too lazy to do that.

Or I start thinking I'll never lose all this weight.

Or I start seeing everyone as taller, sleeker, more fashionable, more glamourous, etc. and wondering when I became a dual-candidate for "What Not To Wear" and "Extreme Makeover".

The negative energy can be overwhelming some times. The enemy's minions are always at work and they know every weak and vulnerable point I have.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Isa 26:3, from the NIV Translation
People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole.
Isa 26:3, from The Message

Sometimes I have to remind arrest my mind, turn it around, and head it in the right direction. Sometimes that's pretty easy. Other times, it's a herculean effort, especially if I'm pulling my body, my flesh, my mind in one direction when there's an equal and opposite tug in another.

The peace of God is always available but I can't say I always live in it.

I wish I could.

Because I've talked to God for so long about these same things. And I am selective in who I talk to about these things outside of Him. Or I have been...until now.

Why is it so easy to give God the big things but we hold on for dear life to the things that seem both trivial yet insurmountable?

Don't worry. I'm in a good place. Just a little slippage, in part brought on by monthly hormonal changes that are all too real and seem like they'll never end. But I started thinking about this topic and wondering, since I know how the film of my life to this point goes, why I do keep re-enacting certain parts over and over?

What causes self-sabotage?

I know I'm not my worst enemy. That would be the spirit that comes "to steal, kill, and destroy". I know that he's coming and that I have victory. I know that should I fall prey, I can get up and try again, and I do so much more quickly than I did years ago. But after all these years, how is it that as a believer, I'm still vulnerable to his ploys?

Thinking about all this gets me to thinking about another topic. Valuing myself.

Do I truly value myself? Do my words say so? Do my thoughts? Do my actions line up with what I say and think? Do my words, thoughts, and actions line up, more importantly, with what God says? Is it possible to value yourself in many ways but devalue yourself in others?

I'll be pondering these questions here for a bit. If you have any thoughts on the subject, I'd love to hear them. I may be a pastor's wife and a victorious child of the King but as much as I give praises and encourage others, I struggle too.

What about you?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The New Black Politics?

One of the things I said I'd talk about on this blog is politics.

This Sunday's New York Times magazine has a cover story that I think should be widely read and considered.

The article is entitled "Is Obama The End of Black Politics?"

Since you're online, you can read it now.

I can say that I'm pretty close in age to Obama and as much as I'm proud to see an African-American rise to the level in American politics that he has, I'm definitely of the "new" mindset. Time to understand that the civil rights era is over.

I say that with much gratitude and applause for those who were a part of that era and paved the way to where we are now.

There are new ways of addressing old and lingering, as well as new, challenges.

Today's problems are as much about economics and social status as they are about race.

And this whole thing called racial identity is waaaaayyy more complex than folks realize.

Take for example, the fact that I'm both of Hispanic and African-American heritage. In fact, I'm of Hispanic and West-Indian heritage. I was raised in a small, working class, all-Black neighborhood, borne of 1970's "white-flight", the child of a blue-collar worker and a teacher prematurely retired due to disability. I was educated at an Ivy League school. I'm married, a working professional, a Northerner living in the South, a mother of sons, a wife of a pastor/entrepreneur.

All of those things bring with them issues, some the same but with difference nuances based on the selected group. Which shape my opinions more? If I lean one way, am I being insensitive or maybe traitorous to the other groups?

Politics has always been about protecting one's interests. But what about when one's interests cut across many groups?

It comes down to thought and listening, compromise, and opportunity and choice. The ability to put one's self in another man's shoes, if only to truly hear what he has to say from deep inside.

That's some of what the Obama campaign is all about for me.

What say you about the emerging black politics?

Peace & Blessings,

Mid-Week Worship: You Are Holy

Doesn't this just usher you into His presence?

Hubby and I stumbled upon Hillsong many years ago on one of the late night church telecasts, long before many folks in the US knew about them. I remember trying to introduce worships songs like this in our predominantly African-American church. It wasn't that folks didn't like it. It was just different.

I'm glad that in Christ, we have no differences.

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What Are You Doing With Your Time?

Recently, I've felt really productive in my life but especially in one area that I've struggled with.

My writing.

I started writing fiction about six years ago. I've taken a few online classes and I've sold some short stories but I really want to write Christian romance novels. So I started working on my first novel last year. I got through the first draft, some 68,000 words. This year, I got off to a rocky start for personal reasons but I'm back on track. In fact, of late, I've been pretty productive so I started thinking about what I was doing differently.

Aside from creating this blog, one of the things I've done is ignore my television.

Not an easy thing to do at Casa Woodside. Seems like there's always at least one TV on in our house.

And my family watches a wide range of stuff, from The Gospel Channel to movies, cartoons to home & garden shows, not to mention all the news channels. Always something to grab one's attention.

But even quality television watching takes time. Time away from other things, things I keep saying are important to me. Like playing with my children or reading to them. Like talking with Hubby about something other than sports, church organization, or politics. Like exercising. Like Bible study.

Like writing.

TV is a huge time stealer. That's probably not news to anyone reading this.

Even though I'm one of those people who frequently does other things while watching television, like cook, pay bills, make lists, or read a book, the fact is that I give too much of my time to the little black box.

So I've gotta work on reducing the time spent TV watching and shifting that time to other things.

Notice I didn't say give up TV. Why? Because, just as with food, anytime I tell myself I'm going to completely stop doing something, I set myself up for an epic battle that I'm unlikely to win. Plus I really do enjoy certain shows and watching TV helps me to relax.

I don't do well with extremes.

But I will commit to only watch the shows I really want to see, as opposed to turning the TV on and channel-surfing to find the best of the not-so-great show options. Turning the set off at the end of a show will be a big behavior change.

Is there a particular thing that steals your time? Could be TV for you too. Or maybe the Internet. Or socializing when you have other things to do. Or simply procrastinating. (another one of my major challenges)

Whatever it is, I challenge you to go on this journey with me to make a significant reduction in your time-stealer, not by trying to stop all in one fell swoop but, by making a conscious choice each time you realize your time is being stolen to stop right then and do something else. Something more productive, more important.

Life is all about moderation, or so my 87-year old mother always says.

And she's a pretty smart lady.

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weekly Check-in -- August 4, 2008

It was a solid week, an average week.

Week of July 28, 2008:
Weight Loss: - 4 lbs (net -3.5 lbs)

Average water per day: 2-3 cups (although I upped that significantly over the weekend)

Number of days exercised: 3

Total min exercised: 114 (avg of 38 min per day)

Not my best week but not my worst. I struggled with getting up to exercise, in part because I was awake later. I worked really hard on the novel I'm writing in the evenings. When I do things like that, my mind is racing at bedtime and doesn't slow down right away.

I also have to drink more water. LOTS more water. I need at to get back up to at least 8 glasses a day. When I'm at that level, I can almost feel my body working more efficiently.

But overall, I feel pretty good about the week.

What went well? My weight is moving in the right direction. The weight loss is only as much as it is because I'd ballooned at the end of last week due to outrageous eating. Half of the lbs lost was simply getting back to where I'd already been so it was really just an average week on the scale.

I continue to exercise and I'm getting stronger in my legs. I'm walking up stairs more upright and without running out of breath.

I cut down on my snacking...some. I varied my food choices more. I took my vitamin and prescription meds (to help control blood sugar and to increase my iron count) more consistently, despite the havoc that last one is wreaking on my digestive system. It takes a while plus trial-and-error to get the right amount of fiber in my system on a daily basis to counteract the effects of the extra iron.

Most of all, in addition to thinking more about God, which is one thing this blog helps me to do, I was kind to myself mentally. More God-thought tends to do that for me and what a difference it makes!

How'd you do?

Peace & Blessings,

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Walking While You Work....De-de-de-de-de-de-de

I exercised this morning. 50 minutes of cardio & strength training. I'm drenched with sweat but it feels good.

I was thinking about this blog. I wanted to say something about exercise. But before logging in, I checked my email. And I found my topic, thanks to Chicki, my crit partner and fellow soldier in the War Against Weight!

You remember "Whistle While You Work", the song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, right?

Well, how about "Walking While You Work"?

Doesn't have quite the same ring but this ditty could yield tremendous results!

Chicki saw something on ABC's 20/20 last night that could revolutionize the workplace and obliterate obesity in our country.

The Walkstation. Check it out here.

They're pricey, at $4k per desk but man, would it be worth it!

First, I've always been a walker. I like walking. When I was a teenager, it was nothing to walk what I now know is 8 miles one way to the local mall. Nothing. I'd walk to the mall, shop for a couple of hours, and walk back. Probably did a total of 20 miles or more each time.

But as I've gotten older, I've walked less and less. In fact, I've moved less and less, given 20+ years in a desk job. Occasionally I walk across campus for a meeting. A co-worker and I walk two laps around the parking lot in the months when it's not hot enough to bake.

That's not too many months in central FL.

So mostly I sit.

And the one thing I do know is that in order to lose weight, no matter what I eat or don't eat, I have to exercise. I have to move.

So the walking desk would be perfect for me. I'd get at least some exercise in every day, including those days when I'm just too tired to get up early for my pre-work exercise. And when I wake early enough for a workout, I could focus totally on strength training to build muscles.

Of course, there still would have to be regular desks for when you just can't or don't want to walk. But gee, it would be hard to sit all day while your co-workers are exercising their butts off, wouldn't it? Wouldn't you be inspired to do at least an hour or two?

I love this. Gotta look into getting one for home. Then gotta figure out how to keep Hubby off it when I want to work/walk.

Great idea, Chicki! Let's pray for walking desks, whether someone gifts us with them, God blesses us with unexpected financial largesse, or we come up with some creative, more affordable ways to make them ourselves. And while we're praying...let's walk!

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Life-Drainers and Life-Fillers

Let's face it. Some of the things we have to do, like stand in lines at the grocery store or post office, are life drainers.

Other things, typically things we choose to do, can be life fillers. Like publishing a book of devotionals, playing with children, or enjoying a warm bath to destress.

There used to be a fabulous blog called The Charis Connection. It was a group blog written by Christian fiction authors about writing-related subjects.

One of my favorite posts, which I immediately printed and have kept on my desk at work, was written by author Angela Hunt. The subject was "Life-fillers and Life-drainers".

Although the blog is no longer active, the good news is you can read her inspiring post in full here.

I'm glad that blog is still up even if the authors decided to suspend it. (They were just too busy publishing.) You can find a lot of jewels there. I'd suggest you spend time reading the old posts but I suspect that would be life-draining. Think, "Forward March!"

I'd say I have days when I'm really good at filling my life and other days when I allow too many things to drain my life. Like getting annoyed when I have to stand in line a lot. Or when I end the day, having run around and done a million things, only to wonder what I did and why I am so tired.

Confession time...

My biggest life-drainer has to be television. Yes, it's a great way to relax and I do learn things, especially since I watch a lot of shows on HGTV and the Food Network. But are the things I learn there really priorities for me at this point in my life? Just when will I use that recipe for French Toast Crostini with Honey Creme Fraiche or make my own ottoman from wood, caster rollers, and extra thick batting? I mean, c'mon!

So one of my challenges eventually will be to minimize and maybe even eliminate TV watching.

Are you filling or draining your life with the choices you make?

Peace & Blessings,