Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Mighty to Save

Nothing deliberate this week. Found this one on Youtube while hunting down worship videos. I liked the song so I'm sharing it.

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Wonder I Can't Lay Off The Junk Food!

Dr. David Kessler, former medical school dean and former head of the Federal Food & Drug Administration launched an investigation into why people crave and keep eating junk food. He climbed into restaurant dumpsters in order to find an answer.

"Much of the scientific research around overeating has been physiology -- what's going on in our body," he said. "The real question is what's going on in our brain."

Turns out the foods we eat are loaded with a deadly combination--salt, sugar, and fat--which have an effect on the wiring of our brains, causing involuntary reactions which lead to eating, overeating, binging, and all the guilt associated with these responses. Read more here.

I know I've battled within myself, literally having back-and-forth conversations, sometimes aloud, in an attempt to resist the foods I know I shouldn't eat. I guess I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was happening in my brain, but I was very clear that eating sugared or salty foods only makes the body want more of them. That first bite can be deadly.

Just something to keep in mind.

I'm still stuck at my 18 lbs off this year to date, where I've pretty much sat for the last two months, and feeling as though my midsection is beginning to expand again, I'm returning to a strict no-carb diet for a short period of time. Two, maybe three weeks, with an increase in my daily exercise duration.

Pray for me.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rev. Timothy Wright Has Passed On

Rev. Timothy Wright, pastor of Brooklyn's Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ died early this morning. He was 61 years old.

Rev. Wright succumbed to the injuries incurred during a car accident that occurred last year when he was returning home from a denominational music conference. His wife and grandson were also in the car and died at that time.

Rev. Timothy Wright, or "Timmy" as my mother-in-law often refers him, both of them Brooklyn-born and raised and long-time members of the COGIC denomination, will be long known for his rousing, easy-to-learn gospel songs that were popular with choirs across the nation.

You Must Come In At The Door is not one of his originals but, it has the same high-energy style and he recorded it on one of his later albums. Here is Rev. Timothy Wright in a live performance:

My prayers go out to the family of Rev. Timothy Wright and to the Grace Tabernacle church.

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just One of Those Days

Yesterday was one of those days.

First, I overslept by 45 min, which meant no workout.

Then, rushing out of the house to get the boys to school on time, I popped an entire prescription drug pill when I was only supposed to take half. Figured it wouldn't hurt, right?


The pill, Metaformin, is prescribed to help diabetics control their blood sugar. I'm pre-diabetic, and trying desperately not to go there. My doctor has me taking a half pill twice a day.

Shortly after dropping the boys off, about 35 minutes after leaving home, I realized I needed to head north (my job is south) to pay a bill. As I progressed up the highway, I suddenly felt very nauseous. Like pull-over-the-car-before-I-barfed nauseous. Except I didn't pull over. I clamped my lips and took deep breaths, figuring I'd get something when I stopped.

My blood sugar was plunging. All I'd had to eat was one lightly cooked egg.

After taking care of the bill, I went to the gas station store next door, and looked for some crackers or a bagel. Felt like I need something bread-y. Nothing. The best I could come up with was a packaged cream cheese cake with the look and consistency of cornbread. Knew it would be too much sugar but at this point, I needed sugar to raise my blood sugar level.

Now heading south to work, I took a couple of bites, and quickly knew the cake wasn't the answer. Good thing I'd had the forethought to also purchase a yogurt-covered peanut-flavored protein bar. Normally, I enjoy these because the protein content is high and the sugar content fairly low. But the protein bar wasn't the answer either. The sweetness of the yogurt covering made me more sick. Ate only half of that.

I'm almost up to the bridge--12 miles across--and, with the two half-eaten goodies on the seat next to me, I feel as though I'm going to puke any second. I'm almost biting my lip now. I've got the windows rolled down to take in some fresh air, and I'm steering with one hand, while I tap my leg with the other.

Salt! I need salt!

As soon as I get into the office, thankfully distracted most of the way by a call from my childhood friend and sister-in-law, I head for the snack machine. I snatch the bag of salted pretzels out, rip it open, and begin munching as I make my way back down the halls to my desk.

I start to feel better.

Here's where things get silly. While I'm working, I finish off the half-eaten cream cheese cake and protein bar. Why? I don't know. Most likely because they were there.

And I start to feel nauseous again. I ask my body, "What do you want?"

It responds, "A Burger King hamburger." (BK because I love the flame-broiled taste.)

I totally understood. So toward the end of the lunch period, I head over to BK and get a whopper, ketchup, mustard and pickles only, and a BK strawberry-banana smoothie. Because while I waited in the drive-thru line, I convince myself that something milk-based would be just the ticket, and besides, it contained real fruit.

I haven't eaten a fast food meal like that in months!

But you know what? I felt so much better after I did.

Through all of this, I drank not one drop of water, which is probably why my stomach was hurting by the end of the day when I was ready to go home.

I decided to take it easy at dinner time, having clearly already exceeded whatever calorie count anyone might select for the day.

Today is a new day. Got up feeling fine, exercised, and had a slightly more filling breakfast. Passed on taking the pill, even half of one.

Didn't want to take any chances.

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Better Than That

I heard this one as I wrote while listening to radio on the Internet. I'd heard it before but this time, I really listened to the words and I was hooked. Because no matter what I come up with to describe God, He's always "better than that."

Took me a while to track down the artist and the song but I'm glad I found this catchy tune.

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Broken But Healed

I first heard this song over a year ago, but I heard it performed live by another group.

Fell in love with the words.

We're on the heels of Easter Sunday, one of the most uplifting times of the year for Christians. Yet, I know in my heart that today, just three days later, someone still needs to know that God can heal and He can deliver. He does it every day.

And he'll do it for you.

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time for a Correction

I need to make a correction.

A health correction.

I've been doing really well this year, with eating right (mostly) and exercising (mostly).

But in the last week or so, I've gotten off track.

Okay. More like the last month.

I've allowed sweets to sneak into my mouth. Miniature Snickers bars. Skittles-flavored jelly beans. Chocolate easter bunnies.

But I can't blame it all on Easter. Oh no.

Because Easter candy doesn't include the pop tarts (cherry frosted) or the Cheez-its. They don't account for coconut cookies I had at work just today (three small). Nor do they explain the increase in pasta, rice, and bread that I've ingested--even if all of those things were whole wheat.

The good news is I'm still down 17 lbs on the year. I just haven't lost any additional weight in the last two weeks. And my middle feels like it's slowly inflating.

So it's time for a correction. I've got to clean up my food act. I've also got to work harder at lengthening my morning workouts. Instead of 5 45-min exercise sessions per week, I'm averaging about 4 30-min sessions, which is adding to my problem.

When I push myself physically, I'm less inclined to make bad food choices or overeat. Not sure why, but I am. Plus, the additional exercise will help me move toward my next goal, which is to be under 190 before Mother's Day.

I can do this. I came across another blogger who has lost 60 lbs in the past year. Her name is Lyn and her blog is Escape from Obesity. Lyn is real about the struggles of trying to lose large quantities of weight, but she's determined and getting it done. I'm trying to surround myself with people who are not talking about it, but doing it.

Congratulations Lyn, and keep up the hard work! I'm right behind you.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday, April 10, 2009

Resurrection Weekend

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jesus lying dead in the tomb.

Sunday is the celebration of Jesus defeating sin and death, rising from the grave, and ushering in eternal life for all who believe.

It's Resurrection Weekend!!!

This has always been a special time of year for me, going back to when I was a little girl with a brand new dress, a new navy and white, spring coat, a white straw hat on my head, ruffled socks and white patent leather shoes on my feet, with a tiny matching purse swinging in my hand.

I've long since gotten away from the whole Easter outfit thing, although I love the pomp and circumstance of Easter Sunday that will be found in Black churches all across the nation come Sunday.

But most of all, older, wiser, and more grounded in Him, I enjoy the remembrance and celebration of what Jesus has done for me. I can never think on those days, what they must have been like for Him, and not be moved. And I can never thank Him or praise Him enough! Where would I be...

Enjoy this Easter weekend!

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Steady Pace

Yesterday was National Start! Walking Day. Did you start? Are you walking?

Better yet, the topic that came to mind over the weekend had to do with running.

Running? What, you just started walking, and now I want you to progress to running?

Yeah. LOL!

I'm talking about running a different kind of race. I'm talking about getting ahead of ourselves in life, as we are oft to do.

When you have financial blessings coming your way, do you start spending them before you have the money?

When you envision free time, do you allocate all of that time to tasks that need to get done before the time is actually upon you?

Do you get excited by a little progress when you've set yourself to a task--writing a book, losing weight, painting a room, finishing a project--such that you almost lose interest/enthusiasm once you're well underway?

I do.

I constantly have to remind myself to slow down, not to get too excited, too worked up when I'm moving toward my goals and things are going well. A little enthusiasm is great if it carries you like a brid's wings further down the pathway to completion.

But if it distracts you to the point of getting off track, then it's best to tamp down that enthusiasm until the task is finished.

We've all heard it said before. It's not about how you start, but how you finish.

"...the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all
Ecc 9:10, KJV

Time and chance. Time and opportunity. Making the most of the time we have and the opportunities before us because we all have them.

I remind myself of this when I get excited by my weight loss. Sure, I've dropped 18 lbs, but I've got a long way to go to reach my goal for good health. I remind myself when I'm writing. Sure, I've got 15,000+ words and a synopsis, and entered two contests this year so far, but I'm got to finish the stories and then, still seek publication, a thorny path at best. When I daydream about what my life will be like after I... Sure, I've got big dreams, but I have to live in contentment and be a good steward over that which I am and I have right now.

How's your race? Are you getting ahead of yourself, envisioning crossing the finish line long before you round the first turn? Are you lagging behind the pace you wish to run?

Lord,help me to pace myself to use the gifts you have given me to achieve the goals I desire for Your glory.

Peace & Blessings,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tomorrow is National Start! Walking Day

The graphic really says it all, but tomorrow, April 8th, is National Start! Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association.

I enjoy walking. Always have. Back when I was a teenager and it was rare for teens to have their own cars, walking was one of my main modes of transportation. I'd walk to places most took the public bus to, including the nearest mall, some 6 miles away. I'd walk there, window shop, then walk back.

Walking fatigues the body in a different way than choreographed cardio or weight training. For me, it's a "feel good", like I'm using my body the way God intended. And the nice thing is anyone can do it almost anywhere, taking into account that some neighborhoods are safer than others. Both in NY and FL, I've walked around the track a nearby local school. I've also walked through the streets, a great way to get to know the area more personally, meet neighbors, and interact with nature. The best of all was the walking I did last summer campaigning for President Obama.

The recommendation is 30 minutes a day but hey, if you can only walk ten minutes a day, that's ten minutes more than you're doing now. Increase slowly and always remember to stretch before and after. (Can't say I always stretch before, but I've never been hurt even after miles of walking.)

So, why not give it a go? Get up and walk a little. Start! walking!

Peace & Blessings,

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Kind of Faith Do You Possess?

After being in church my entire life, I occasionally need to be reminded of spiritual lessons I've previously learned but may have tucked into the recesses of my spirit mind.

I had such a reminder yesterday where the message was about faithfulness and the pastor talked about three kinds of faith.

The first type of faith, he called "conditional" faith. It tends to follow the path of "God, if you will only ______________, then I will..."

In order to believe, or to grow in that belief, God must first prove Himself. This is the most elementary of faiths. I call it "If" faith.

Then there's what the pastor called "thanksgiving" faith. I call it "Because" or "Payback" faith. This type of faith focuses on worshipping God because of what He has done for you. "Because you ______________________, I trust/believe/worship you, Lord."

This is secondary faith. You already believe, but your belief is strengthened each time God proves Himself again. Every blessing becomes a faith deposit.

Of course, a corollary of this is that every (perceived) missed blessing or unanswered prayer is a faith withdrawal. Not a good way to be living your life in times like these.

The third type of faith is the strongest and most desirable faith. The pastor called it "Regardless" faith. I call it "Yet" faith.

This is the faith exemplified by the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace, determined to worship God and only God even in the face of death; the faith of Job when he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..." or of David when he wrote "But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more...; and lastly, the faith of Jesus.

Is your faith of the "If", "Because" or "Yet" variety? I believe it is entirely possible to experience different levels of faith in different areas of your life. Like people who believe God wholeheartedly for a medical miracle while not trusting Him fully for their daily provisions.

Without regard to how tough the times may be, it may be wise to sure up the foundations of one's faith by spending more time with God, studying His Word more, seeing Him in action.

Whether God does or doesn't bless as we desire, He's still God, and that alone is enough.

Peace & Blessings,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Strong Body, Spiritual Worship

" strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Eph 6:10, NIV

I feel strong today.

As I worked out this morning, I noticed that my knee bends were deeper, my kicks were stronger, my punches were harder...

I'm getting stronger.

Oft times when trying to lose weight, we focus simply on the number on the scale. We might even focus on our clothing size, whether it's shrinking in proportion to our pounds dropped.

But do we think about getting stronger?

" view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship." Rom 12:1, NIV

Exercising at 6 AM is most certainly a sacrifice, but one that is having tremendous benefit on my body. In addition to being stronger, I have more energy. I'm more physically fit, as evidenced by how much longer it takes for me to get winded and how much stamina I have.

And, this week, I fought off what I believe to be a sinus infection. Scratchy throat, nasal drip, chest congestion. Pushed through my workouts, drank lots of water, and took a couple of Tylenol once. After a few days, symptoms are all but gone. I think my improved health affords me an increased ability to fight disease.

I also realized, the mental struggle I've had with getting up is waning. I still want to lose weight, which I'm doing, but there clearly are benefits I hadn't considered.

I like the idea of presenting myself to God in my best possible physical condition. That in doing so, I'm worshipping God. Maybe that's why the getting up isn't so hard anymore.

Aside from trying to lose weight, what are your health goals? Are you presenting the best "living sacrifice" possible?

Peace & Blessings,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Worship: Praise Him in Advance

Have you been praising God? If things are going well for you, have you taken time to praise God for your blessings? If you're moving through a wilderness experience, are you praising God while you go through?

In this song, Pastor Sapp sings about confounding the devil. The surest way to do that is to praise God, in season and out of season. On the mountaintop and in the valley. In abundance and in famine.

I know that's hard sometimes. Trust me, I can't say I'm perfect in this area, but if you've been lacking in your praise, because you've been too busy or too hurt or too sick or simply waiting anxiously...whatever the case, you can start right now!

Praise Him in advance!

Peace & Blessings,