Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Midweek Worship: The Feast of the Lord/At the Table

Come on here where the table is spread
And the feast of the Lord is going on...

I heard this one on the radio a couple of weeks ago and went looking for a video. Boy, was I surprised to find this live performance by Richard Smallwood and the Smallwood Singers (as they were called back then) where they sang the song twice, first the old way, then with that extra special Richard Smallwood spin on it.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there will be a lot of feasting going on, even in these tough economic times.

Those who have will be extra thankful for the blessings of the Lord, I'm sure.

Many, more than we've seen in a long time, will not have. Charities across the country are reporting greater needs than they have resources to meet this year.

So let us be thankful for the blessings we have and let's take a moment to do two things.

First, let us pray for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Second, and sometimes as important, if not more, let us give out of our blessings to help someone else, whether it's a donation of food or money, time to serve others, an invitation to dine, or whatever God places on your heart.

Let me throw in one more thing. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in this holiday season, remember that everything we need is "at the table". The invitation has already been extended. All we have to do is sit down at the feast of the Lord and eat up!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Developing Discipline, Part I

Back in September, I waxed eloquently about the difference between will or willpower and discipline. I went back hunting for that post because I continue to think about and wrestle with will vs. discipline.

I wrote
"Bottomline, there is one thing takes us from desire to result. It's not education or knowledge. It's not the support of family and friends. It's not even the ideal environment, be that a paid-in-full gym membership, an in-home personal trainer, a personal chef, a spa retreat, or any other things that we dream about, wrongly believing "if I only had..."

That one thing is discipline.
I have tremendous will, which is why I'm always trying to lose weight.

I fall exceedingly short, however, when it comes to discipline.

Take this week for example. The first four days of this week, I got up, slightly later than usual but still early enough to exercise. I started the morning breakfast routine, put on my workout clothes, put the DVD in the player, and...

I did not exercise this week (or most of last week.)

Oh, I did get through about five minutes of a workout DVD on Wednesday. The warmup. I kept getting interrupted by my children, as they finished their preparations for school and headed out of the house.

By the time, I took a calming breath, there just wasn't enough time left to get in twenty minutes and still get myself and Youngest One out of the house.

This same routine worked very well for the first three months of the school year. What happened?

What happened is that, in lacking discipline, my wake-up times have gotten later and later. A couple of minutes here, followed by a couple of minutes there. I'm now waking up at least a half hour later than I was at the beginning of the school year.

What happened is that I've hemmed and hawed while serving up breakfast, all the while knowing that I was sabotaging my workouts.

What also happened is that, in breaking my workout routine, I've lost some of my passion for working out. I'm trying to hold on to the memory of that great feeling I had on the mornings when I actually did work out. How light I felt when I'd get on the scale and see even a half-pound change. How refreshed I felt after showering and even after I'd gotten to work. How motivated I was to make good food choices. How buoyed I felt when my husband noted positive changes in my physique. How proud I was when my sons noticed too.

I'm trying but the memories are waning.

Memories and feelings do not amount to discipline.

Discipline is "activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training". It is also defined as "controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control."

A regimen. Training. Controlled behavior. Self-control.


Whenever I think self and control in the same thought, decidedly a dangerous, slippery slope, I immediately think about God. So I go to my Bible, and turn to the chapter I think of specifically as the book of instruction, Proverbs.

It begins with
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-

6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:1-7
Then, in the third chapter, I found
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in
Proverbs 3:11-12
As the Lord disciplines or trains His children, so must I discipline (train) first my mind, then my body.

Mind first because the biggest thing I got from these passages, relative to discipline, is that it's all about attitude.

I don't like exercising so my mind and body resist it.

I resent that I need to exercise in order to lose the excess weight so my mind and my body resist it.

I don't love my body as it is so I resent what it requires from me.

I've got to work on my attitude in order to develop discipline.

Are you disciplined? What is your honest attitude toward doing things you don't care for but you know you should?

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Stuff About President-elect Barack Obama

Can you stand another post on President-elect Barack Obama?

Hope so because I'm sure there will be many more.

This one is fun though. And he looks like a guy who enjoys a good laugh. Doesn't he?

First, 50 Fun Facts about Barack Obama you might not know.

My boys will get a kick out of the Spiderman thing.

Then, how Barack Obama is changing the lexicon. We now have something called Barackisms.

I've seen some cool magazine covers, photos, and other ways that folks are immortalizing President-elect Obama's historic victory. I love this stuff so keep sharing!

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Midweek Worship: One More Chance

This is more praise than worship.

And it's really more old-time, foot-stompin' gospel than a lot of what you hear today.

I love this song!

Enjoy Ricky Dillard and New G's One More Chance.

Aren't you glad God is a god of many chances?

Dance with me...

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Midweek Worship: 'Tis So Sweet

We're living in uncertain times. Now more than ever, we must trust God for our lives, present and future.

I heard Melinda Watts's sing 'Tis So Sweet on the radio.

I had to look her up.

Melinda won The Gospel Channel's Gospel Dreams show, which I missed. During one episode, she sang one of my all-time favorite hymns (I love hymns, y'all!):

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know "Thus", saith the Lord...

Here's Melinda...

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Celebrating My Favorite Veteran, Daddy

Today is Veteran's Day. It is a day to honor all those who have served in the branches of our military, in war and in times of peace.

My oldest son is currently working on a family history project. What I've learned is that I don't know enough about my family's history. And much is lost to us forever because many our relatives were so much older than my siblings and I that we didn't get a chance to hear all the stories (or really absorb the ones we did hear) while we were young.

But I do know that my father, who was 50 years older than me, was a Navy veteran. He served in World War II on a Naval aircraft carrier. He also served in Korea.

My father was very proud of his military service and his adopted country. You see, my father emigrated to America from his birthplace, Panama. He became a naturalized citizen while serving.

I'm sure life on board that vessel wasn't easy for my father, a man of color during a time when race relations in America were more hostile than today. Add to that that he was a Spanish-speaking man, at a time when being bilingual wasn't as cool as it is today, who had achieved only an 8th grade education. Not a bed of roses for a proud man.

But Daddy was also a hard-working man and a man of integrity so I know he did his part, without a lot of grumbling. And he made the most of the opportunities that came his way.

Daddy went on to become a dental technician when he settled in the States. Flags flew high at our home on Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Veteran's Day. Daddy taught us the proper care and handling of the American flag, and he used to let me dress up in his Naval uniforms.

We, influenced by the 1960's and 1970's of our youth, wanted nothing to do with the military, which I think disappointed Daddy greatly. Doors were opened to African-Americans in increasing numbers that had been closed before, allowing us to pursue higher education, a fact Daddy understood. What parent doesn't want more for their children? So Daddy cheered us on, even if he had little to contribute, having worked low-paying jobs to support his family and having retired from work on disability.

I still think just one of us seriously considering Annapolis would have made his day.

He and Mommy were married for over thirty years when he passed in 1986, a day shy of the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an event he always remembered.

So on this day, as I will again in a few short weeks, on the anniversary of his death, I salute my father, Martin Luther Markham, along with all United States veterans.

Remembering still brings tears to my eyes. I miss him dearly.

Note: I've got a picture of Daddy that I'll add once I get it scanned.

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Check-in: November 10, 2008

It's Monday and time to check in again.

No need for the usual statistics. I'm getting back on track.

I didn't gain any weight again. Hooray! What this really means is that after losing some weight and gaining it back, I'm holding steady.

And that I'm at the same weight I was in January so things are not as bad as they sometimes seem.

I got good news about my B-12 level over the weekend. It has skyrocketed since I began taking mega supplements. (I'll have to keep taking them though since the body doesn't really store this stuff long-term.)

My iron levels are up. Again, thanks to mega supplements.

Doctor was not crazy about my weight being up too but I convinced her I can at least hold steady, if not lose a few lbs, between now and the end of the year.

Hey, I can do this!

We entertained a guest this weekend, which meant eating out. It also meant a ridiculously hectic schedule, which included having dinner after 9:30 pm two nights in a row.

I still didn't gain weight.


I exercised this morning. I mean really exercised.

I'm changing my regimen. I'm going to try strength/resistance training for 30-40 min 3x per week, and cardio for 30-45 min twice a week.

Now if I can just get the evening snack attacks under control...

How'd you do?

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

America's First Family

Cuz I just can't get enough of this!

Aren't they beautiful?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Midweek Worship: Taste 'n See

First, congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama and our next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Congratulations to America for taking a giant leap forward in our collective history and psyche.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about music of today that reminded me of music "back in the day". Tye Tribbett and G.A. (Greater Anointing) is another group like that.

We didn't have quite as much energy nor were we allowed the stage antics that these folks perform (we'd have been on the front pew tarrying for months!) but I enjoy them anyway. In fact, I really don't have a problem with their supercharged performances. I do know how difficult it is to be real with the Lord in a group like this, how easy it is to act the part when you are living anything but saved. Only God knows their hearts and I choose to believe these are simply young folks on fire for the Lord! We were, even when we weren't 100% in line with God's way.

This is not one of those supercharged songs but it's one that I enjoy even if I couldn't find a live video. Taste 'n see!

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pray for America, and Vote!!!

Today is Election Day in America!

We will choose between two candidates for the presidency of the United States of America.

Before you vote, pray for America. Pray that we take our opportunity to choose seriously and that in that serious consideration, we choose wisely.

In my opinion, that means voting for Sen. Barack Obama.

You may feel otherwise.

We should agree to disagree.

What we should not do is stay home.

We have a responsibility to our country, to our children, and to ourselves to exercise our right to vote. If you are eligible to vote and you did not register, or you are registered but can't be bothered, you lose the right to complain about the final choice. Just my opinion.

This is serious business. America has experienced things this year alone--in Iraq, in our financial markets, in our economy, in this presidential campaign--that no one could have predicted.

So, if you do nothing else today, pray, then VOTE!

And in your prayers, pray for healing in our nation. This has been a long, ugly, and divisive presidential campaign season. In participating around the blogosphere, I'm sure I probably screwed up some publishing opportunities and lost some potential readers. Let's hope I invited some as well. Worst of all, it may be difficult for some to see or hear Christ in me because they've hardened their hearts. But let's pray that when all is said and done, we'll remember that we are ALL Americans, grateful for the opportunity to live in the greatest nation on the planet and desirous of helping our country to continue to be the leader of the free world.

God Bless America (and all the other nations too)!

Finally, please say a word of prayer for Sen. Obama and his family on the loss of the senator's grandmother on the eve of this election.

Here's the Clark Sisters reminding us to pray...

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Check-in: November 3, 2008

Week of October 27, 2008:

Weight Loss: None.
This is a good thing. October was a bad month. A sure sign is that I didn't even post my status last Monday. After indulging myself with a lot of chocolate bars and very little exercise, I am happy to say I did not gain any weight. The prior couple of months did me well.

My upper tummy, as I call the bulge beneath my breasts, has inflated again, and my youngest has again taken to poking Mommy in her "fat stomach". Don't you love, kids?! Although I tell the 3yo that's not nice, I really don't make a big deal out of it. I'd much rather lose the stomach so he could tell Mommy her stomach isn't fat.

Average water per day: 3 cups.
Did a little better than I'd been doing, and continued to improve through the weekned. Today, I've already drank 3 cups so I'm on a roll.

Number of exercise days: Uh, exercise? Oh yeah...
No AM exercise last week. Not one day. I did walk at lunch time with a co-worker on Monday, and I did go canvassing on Saturday.

Total min exercised: 40 min
I don't include my canvassing hrs here although I probably should.

I feel so much better this week and I'm off to a good start. To some degree, I was burned out from all the time I've put into the presidential campaign. My work is done, except for one last day of poll watching, so it feels like I can regroup and get back to doing what I was doing. My combo living room/dining room and kitchen floors will be thankful.

Now don't get me wrong. I will never lose weight, nor achieve any other goals, if I go simply off my feelings.

No, I feel better because I shook myself off, ended the pity party, and re-purposed to doing the things I know I need to do. Like stopping the candy binge. Like getting to sleep earlier. Like exercising before work.

While waiting in the doctor's office for Hubby over the weekend, I saw one line in an article about weight loss that struck me. It said, "Keep your body guessing." As in keep varying the intensity and type of exercise. As in keep varying the foods I eat. When the body doesn't know what to expect, it keeps the engine (metabolism) revving and reacts with force. If it knows that you're going to do the same thing every day and eat the same foods in the same pattern every week, it makes the necessary adjustments in metabolism to accomodate the established habits.

Isn't that wild?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalms 139:13-14

How was your week?

Peace & Blessings,