The Kiss

So this is my very first blog post and my thoughts are on kissing. Why? Well because it is International Kissing Day! Do you remember your very first kiss? Did it surprise you, ignite you? The first one I remember took place in our kindergarten classroom…In the back of the room were these panels with hooks behind them for our coats and book satchels as we called them. Chris Hays must have thought this an ideal spot to sneak a kiss. Sweet Innocence.
The last kiss. What about this one? Who will be your last kiss? My mom kissed my dad while he lay in a bed in a nursing home. I wondered at the time whether he was aware of this or if he even knew we were there at all. A different kind of kiss, selfless.
Love, hearts, adoration, joy, happiness, you must think of these words in relation to the word kiss. But what of betrayal?
Wounds from a friend can be trusted but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6
A famous kiss. Jesus Christ was kissed by Judas to single Him out from the crowd to be carried off by the soldiers. But why kiss Him? Maybe I am a coward but I see myself quietly standing on the sidelines secretly pointing and whispering: “That’s Him, there.” But no, Judas was bold and walked straight up to Him, knowing Jesus was aware of what was happening and greeted Him and kissed Him. Not so sweet or innocent.
So think about it and make certain you kiss someone today, but only out of Love.

The Kiss By Gustav Klimt *in honor of International Kissing Day* img alt=”The Kiss” src=”” /> By Gustav Klimt *min hojjnor of International Kissing Day*

Jesus Feeds the 4 Thousand

1In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

2I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

3And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

4And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

5And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

6And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

7And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

8So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

9And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Jesus feed the multitude

So Jesus and His disciples were somewhere near the Decapolis (which means 10 cities), this was the center of Greek and Roman culture. This area was mostly Gentile. The people have been with him for 3 days. Scripture doesn’t tell us what happened during those 3 days but it is possible He had been teaching a lot during that time. They were in a remote area and Jesus knew they were hungry.

Lesson 1: Jesus sees your need and He cares. In this case it was a physical need. He knows ALL your needs and He does care.

It is possible He was almost baiting the disciples. Just 2 chapters ago they witnessed Jesus feed the 5 thousand. At that time the teaching was mentioned but the disciples were actually the ones to call His attention to the crowds’ hunger. The disciples have no ideas to speak of for Jesus to resolve the hunger problem in chapter 8. Maybe they didn’t speak up for fear of being wrong. It is very possible that they are so dull they have already forgotten He just fed a giant crowd recently in their presence.

Lesson 2: How soon we forget how easily God will meet our need when met by faith. Even as a disciple.

7 is God’s number of completion. In chapter 6 when He fed the 5 thousand who were probably Jewish, there were 12 small baskets leftover. In this current miracle there were 7 large baskets leftover. The possible significance of the numbers could be that there are 12 tribes of Israel. So Jesus fed the Jewish, He came to them first, they are His chosen people. His ministry touched them first, then He went to visit the Gentiles. So the miracle that had 7 baskets leftover means the feeding is now complete, all His childrens’ needs were then met. And there were leftovers at both feedings.

Lesson 3: God has infinitely more than enough to meet your needs. There are lots of baskets of leftovers you are too full to eat.

Jesus is still training the disciples. (He never stops training us). He instructs the people to sit then has the disciples serve the people. Our God is a detailed, orderly God, He is not a God of confusion. There was a structure to this feeding, this miracle. And He always models servanthood. Remember, Jesus Christ washed feet&He died for your sins so you can go to Heaven if you accept Him into your heart. There is no better example of servant leadership.

This is a huge miracle. Some interpretations say that there were 4000 MEN there which means that there were at least twice that many total PEOPLE there because the women and children were not counted in that number. It is possible then that He fed at least 8000 that day. Can you imagine? Notice, He gave thanks for the bread. We should always give thanks at the very least for our food. And in our case, ask our Father to bless it. Since Jesus is God in human form, He doesn’t have to ask God to bless it as you see in chapter 8.

So walk away from this and contemplate, how does God want to bless you today? Are you standing in His way? Do you have unrepentant sin you should deal with? Do you need to work on your faith to receive blessings He is holding for you? When was the last time God took care of something for you and you were soooo joyfully grateful? Dwell on that a moment, think about His perfect timing in that situation. While you are thinking, go ahead and journal on it. You will find His timing will once again be perfect. He is always right on time, HIS time. Just have faith and trust Him, He’s got this.


Verses copied from:


What I Believe



    Who is God? God is love. God never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God is the only one true God. He always has been and always will be. He lives outside the constraints of time because he created time. Because He is holy He is incapable of lies or deceit. He is faithful and true. He is our Father who lives in Heaven. He sees all, He knows all and He controls all. He is the creator of all things. God is perfect, and all life comes from Him. 

     Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is God in human form. He left His kingdom with our Father God and the Holy Spirit in Heaven to come to earth for us. Jesus lived an earthly life like us who are fully human. His father is fully God and His mother is fully human. His mother was a virgin. Jesus was tempted but He never sinned, it is impossible for Him to sin since He is God and perfect. His main purpose here on earth was to die for our sins. Since God is ultimately good, Holy and just, something had to be done about our sin. There had to be a propitiation, a sacrifice, a replacement or a payment for all our sins. His death paid the debt for all our sins : past, present and future. He did this for us so that we wouldn’t be liable any longer and if we accept His gift then we will live eternally with Him. Death did not defeat Him as He rose from the grave and went back to live with our Father in Heaven.

     Who is the Holy Spirit? When Jesus went back to Heaven He sent in His place the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in spirit form, sent to dwell and reside with us here on earth. The Holy Spirit offers comfort, guidance, support, help, advice, strength and encouragement. He is a replacement of sorts for Jesus. 

     Who am I? I am a child of God. He created me in His image along with my brothers and sisters. That means that in some tiny way I am like Him. I have a soul that will live forever. Since I am saved I will spend my forever with Him. As humans we only have access to use a small portion of the power of our brains. It is possible that the rest of those circuits will be turned on when we reach Heaven. Then we will see more clearly, not through a glass darkly as now. I did not know love until He loved me. He is love and He teaches love. Creation was an act of love and sending His son to earth was an act of love. Then sending the Holy Spirit here to comfort and guide us was a further act of love. I am nothing and can do nothing apart from God. I was not created for this world, I was created to be in relationship with Him. That lonely ache for home is for a home that we have not yet seen. I do have free will. God did not create us as robots. We can freely choose to love or not to love God back. We can freely choose to accept His gift of eternal salvation or not. But at the same time that we have free will, God is totally in control. This is one attribute that sets us apart from other living creatures is our free will, another distinction is that we have a soul. Also, we are the only creation that is made in His image.

     How does God relate to the world?  God has a definitive purpose for my life. I believe that I have completely free will. At the same time though, God is in total control. I do not understand this at all. But I think that I can choose to do whatever I want. I believe that when I do things that are outside His will for me He then prunes me and tries to further mold me into a semblance of His son. He works all things together for my good so if I learn from my missteps then I will get more back on track with where He wants to use and develop me. We never ever arrive to anything near perfection and at the same time he never ever gives up on working on us. I do believe that we can influence God. There are stories in His word that show that prayers or urges made a difference in the future.

     What is the Bible? The Holy Bible is the inerrant inspired word of God. It is living and breathing and capable of illuminating truth to its readers. Its teachings you never graduate from. The Bible is one unified message from a single primary author conveyed through multiple secondary authors. The authors were the instruments of God. From a secular standpoint the Bible stands as one of the most often purchased and read books ever written. It is respected by many a non believer as an incredible work of art, history and poetry. For me is it of immeasurable value as it is God’s word for me, like love letters of instruction in how to live out the best life He has for me. The reading of the Bible should be approached in prayerful awe. Sometimes what the Bible says doesn’t exactly equal what it means. Sometimes it seems the more I learn, the more questions I have. But one of the cool things is that somehow my faith grows the more I study. It is vitally important to study alongside other believers to glean from them and hear what the Spirit is teaching them through His word. We must share and grow and expand together. This builds up and strengthens the body.

     What is salvation? Salvation is a gift of grace, it is not something we can ever hope to earn or gain. We cannot do anything to earn God’s love. We cannot make Him love us any more or less than He does. He loves us all. I am not more worthy than anyone else. Actually, we all are unworthy of the gift we have been given. Salvation is given to us from God but we have to accept it. God knocks on your heart’s door, you are convicted and drawn by the Holy Spirit to take action. That is, you let God into your heart and promise your life to Him. He is a gentleman, He will not force His way in and we have free will so we can choose to deny Him entry. Once you are saved you always will be and will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord. There is nothing you can do to lose your salvation. If there were that would lessen the value of the gift and lessen the value of His sacrifice of His life to us. It would also presume that there were something more powerful than His love and gift such as sin or the power of the enemy. We as fallen sinful man require salvation in order for God to see us as whole and blameless. The blood of Jesus paid the price so that our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. In order to be saved we must:

1. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ  

2. Confess that we are sinful and need a Savior  

3. Believe and confess that He rose on the 3rd day  

These 3 steps should be followed up with Baptism in obedience to His command.

     Who is the Church? The church is you and me and all the believers all over the world including those who are already in Heaven. It is not a building, it is the unified body of believers both near and far. We are set apart to serve and worship the Lord as brothers and sisters in one accord. We are called to gather together and share time with God and with the saints who have gone before. We are called to worship in spirit and in truth. We are then sent back out into the world to witness to non believers.

     What is Christian hope? This word hope is not the hope we speak of today 170px-ThinkingMan_Rodin   in secular language. You may say “I hope to finish my essay tonight“, in that sentence you are not totally sure that you will complete the essay. The Christian hope is one without any doubt that the Lord is returning to take us home with Him. We are supposed to be watching and waiting for Him in alert anticipation of our life to come. No one knows when He will come, not even Jesus. I do not believe we should fret or over-study signs as I think that is a bit too close to “worry”. And we are told specifically not to worry about the end of this world besides being told not to worry about anything at all. I believe that the saved will be taken before the second coming. I believe He will rapture the church away. But I certainly need to give this much more prayer and study.

      I was tasked with writing this essay as part of a leadership class I attend at church. I challenge you to take the question that begins each paragraph and write your own essay into your journal. And of course, I’d love to hear what you think and any feedback. Thank you for reading.

Image credit:


Endangered : Chivalry , May I see your man card please?


What is your definition of gentleman? Of chivalry? I must admit I had to look up the word chivalry. Apparently the roots of this policy of how men should treat ladies came from our knights in shining armor.

Knights were expected to be strong and courageous in battle and to kill and defend against the enemy or bad guys. But off the battlefield they were to show kindness to those weaker than them, such as the elderly, widows, orphans and ladies in general. Can we compare this to men of today? So they go off to work to beat up that paperwork, to negotiate and win battles at the office? On their route? Is it really so different today?

I left the house to get “hot and ready” pizza the other day. I thought it would be a cinch to tote all my groceries into the pizza joint, pick up the pizza boxes and take it all back to my car..quicker. As I neared the door balancing everything I was focused on not dropping anything and thinking about how to hold it all so I could take the cash out of my pocket. There is a “male” standing there inside the warm store, hands at his sides. No, he is not on his phone and he is not blind and he is not doing anything but watching me try to get inside the door. Was I dumb to try to be superwoman today? Should I have put all this junk in my car? Do the answers relieve him of his responsibility to open the door for me? Am I undeserving of his assistance? Is any of that relevant? I don’t know. What I do know is that the longer I thought about it the more angry I got. What if he had not only opened the door but warmly acknowledged my plight, smiled at me and offered to hold my bags,man offers to help lady up chivalry perhaps even helped me to the car? I considered asking for his “man card” but no, that would not be ladylike 🙂 If I were in his spot though I would have acted differently. Women can be chivalrous too.

Maybe part of the problem is the state of our families today. Many women are raising sons and daughters on their own. Some men who take an active role in their children’s lives are doing the best they can to provide and survive and these issues are just not important enough to discuss. So do we become a people who do not help one another out? If we decline this discussion are we then teaching entitlement out of default? Have we taught our children to simply watch others struggle as we march onward in our self – absorption?

I remember a conversation with a man I consider a gentleman. He told me as a lad of 10 or so he got on an elevator with his uncle. He made the mistake of stepping in front of a lady…When she exited Uncle smacked him upside the back of his head. He said “What’d you do that for?” He said “You don’t ever step in front of a lady. You open her door, you step aside, you give up your seat. For any woman, anywhere, anytime.” He said he will never ever forget that moment, it made an impression on him (and his head, literally). So men, let this be a lesson to you. It could make a huge difference in your son’s or daughter’s outlook on life. Daughters will learn to value themselves and not spend so much time in ungentlemanly company. Sons will learn what a lady is and how he should treat her. Moms, I know dad may not be around. Well that is indeed sad, so you have an opportunity to teach your sons how to behave. He best be helping you with the groceries, opening your door and never think of stepping in front of you. If you walk down the sidewalk he should be on the side the cars are on. He should practice giving up his seat to you, he should never be seated while a woman has to stand. Boys/ men have been given more physical strength and were designed in part to defend us and no it does NOT matter if we deserve it or not. Do not even start with some weak wimpy excuse. If anyone is hurting or bullying a girl or woman in a man’s presence and he does not step in to defend and help her then in my opinion he is not a man.

The inspiration to actually write this came after I read Matt Walsh’s blog this morning. I was motivated to write about chivalry from a female perspective. To all the real men out there, the valiant, respectful, gallant brave warriors of modern day chivalry, I tip my imaginary hat and say thank you. Thank you for treating us like ladies. For extending your hand, for teaching our sons and daughters how to behave like we should in a barbaric, unkind, unappreciative world.


Our Father’s Novel~a plan for Bible reading


little girl reading bible

March 25, 2013 at 10:23am

Okay! A couple of people have asked me what they should read in their Bible, where to start. I’d like to share where I was only a few years ago when I asked a very wise mature pastor this same question, it may help you feel better about the feelings in your own heart.

I was overwhelmed at the size of my Bible and maybe it has to do with the way my dear Father wired me but I wanted to read the whole thing in like a month and totally comprehend everything immediately and be able to easily convey it all to someone and quote verses. Again like I said, in like a month. Yeah, right. Patience, young grasshopper.

So I had to have a talk with myself and hear a great sermon and came to the conclusion that you cannot approach this like some other things in life like a hurdle that must be leapt over, JUST DO IT, get er dun, whatever, this is different. This is not a race, it is a relationship. Our Bible is a precious living breathing manuscript that out of God’s love wisdom and perfection He chose to hand down to us. We cannot be competitive about this. We must take our time, take a deep breath and know that this is going to take a lifetime. You have a lifetime to read and reread and study it all, I promise.

So, every day be reading some of His poetry. Don’t you love dessert? I have a sweet tooth, as long as I have something sweet to look forward to I will eat my brussel sprouts. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Isaiah, Song of Solomon, these are the hot fudge cake reward for the tougher reading you will need to do to increase your knowledge.

Alongside the “dessert” reading you must begin with the gospels. Read Mark, one verse at a time, even just a verse a day. LISTEN, if you only read a verse a day you are one verse closer to finishing and one verse closer to God. So read at least a verse. Ok? I know you can do it! Once you complete Mark, read it again. It will go faster this time. You do this for multiple reasons, to get to know the writer, to hear the tone of the book and to see things you didn’t see the first time. You will be amazed. THEN read it a third time before you move onto Matthew. Notice how the story is similar but not exactly the same. Isn’t that awesome! Jesus chose these men and they wrote the books but the men themselves were all different (like different parts of the body, hmmmmmmm), they had different personalities and different perspectives and this makes Jesus’ story so beautiful to see it in 4 different lights. Then read Luke, then John. Please read each book 3 times before you move on to the next one.

Keep a notebook, journal, something and a pen or pencil beside you cause God is going to reveal things to you and you will want to jot them down. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3. I don’t know about you but when God decides to tell me something great I would like to have a little paper and pen to write it down cause my memory ain’t so sharp.

This journal “lives” alongside my bed along with my Bible on an ottoman and a couple of pens. I also write in my Bible and have sticky post it notes to mark pages. I use the Bible gateway website on my phone at times if I am looking something up and can only remember a phrase or even just a word of a verse and want to locate it. This site is super cool cause you can click a button and see additional interpretations side by side. Another pen lives in my Bible always.

Bible shopping: Okay, I have a Life Application Bible cause it has all this explanation stuff at the bottom of the page to further understand what the meaning may be. It is the New International Version. I also have several King James Bibles and on a trip to Lifeway I discovered the Message Bible. It is gorgeous and small and shiny iridescent purple. It is my favorite Bible cause it is pretty, easy to carry and easy to understand. BUT I do not use this one exclusively because the language is so current I fear we may have lost some of the meaning of the verses. I recommend using more than one Bible but if you can only afford one just read that one.

Back to the order. . . once you finish Matthew, Mark, Luke and John go to Acts and Romans. Then read Ephesians, Exodus, I II Samuel, I II Kings, Nehemiah, Esther, I II Chronicles, Ezra, Genesis, Leviticus, Daniel, Colossians, Titus, Hosea, Revelations. I keep a post it note in the front of my Bible and keep up with what I have read so far. Indeed this is a journey. Once you finish the gospels and Acts, Romans, continue to read a “dessert” book alongside it but at that point you might just ask God what he wants you to read next and follow His lead. OR I was going through something, like most recently I read Hosea cause I was personally kind of feeling like Hosea’s wife and wanted some inspiration. There is no CORRECT way to do this but this works for me. Just try to complete a book at a time so that you have a plan of sorts and aren’t just jumping from page to page with no goal in sight. Eventually you will have read and reread several books.

Feel free to copy and paste this list, print it out, hand write it in the front of your Bible or journal, whatever works for you to influence you that you have a plan and START!!!

*Mark (3 times)                                                           *Psalms

*Matthew (3 times)                                                     *Proverbs

*Luke (3 times)                                                           *Ecclesiastes

*John (3 times)                                                           *Ruth

*Acts                                                                         *Song of Solomon

*Romans                                                                    *Ephesians



*I II Samuel

*I II Kings



*I II Chronicles









Try not to listen to the enemy, here are some things he may tell you: you don’t have time to even start. You are too tired. You are not smart enough to understand. You never complete anything. You will never finish so why start? If any of these thoughts pop into your mind just say JESUS outloud, put on some Christian music, dance around the room, whatever works but don’t listen to him. And don’t get discouraged if you fall out of the habit for a few days. They say it takes 21-28 days to create a habit. So in as little as a month you can establish the most healthy habit EVER! YOU can unleash the power to change our world for generations to come. Daily Bible reading will change you and will change your life. Just get started, today!

******Update********* It is 11-20-13 and I look back at the post and am amazed, simply amazed at how much His word has taught me since I wrote this post. I have now completed 43 books of the Bible and have 23 to go. Some I have read more than once, some of the 23 I have already read but not marked off from this journey with Him. I hope this post encourages you to start. God bless you. ImageImageImage

For the Love of a Friend


This is Dana Lewis, friend of Ashley’s. She created a page on Lotsa Helping Hands but asked me to write this out for us all. We welcome you, we appreciate your presence here. Please take a moment to look through a window into her world…My heart breaks watching Ashley hurt. My Ashley, my soul sister. Tonight I walked over to see her, she sat before me with her long raven hair gone. As she opened her front door I caught a glimpse of the tiny scar on the sweet tender skin of her neck where the doctors took the evil knots out. How could any woman be this beautiful, unabashedly beautiful with all her glory, her hair stripped away?  Her voice is weak, her white cell count has been down. Today has been tough. Treatments are getting harder and she is physically tired and emotionally spent. Her youngest angel wanders down the stairs into the foyer, being the little fairy God intended her to be. My eyes drift to her as Ashley talks, shares and weeps. Her gaze follows mine to one of the two loves of her life and she pauses to smile now and almost giggles…our focus returns to the pain. Indescribable pain that will only increase as the battle rages on. It hurts, it feels like you are slowly dying from a terrible hangover. I chime in “but one with no relief?” “Right, there’s no relief.” Finally, time to sleep but your tummy hurts, a gnawing ache, your head in a fog, there’s a bad taste in your mouth and you hurt all over. Although you are cranky and tired it is now morning and as a Single Mother you must arise to feed the cherubs, care for them, arrange for pick-ups, drop-offs, give them love, maybe even get groceries before work but after breakfast, showers and getting to school. … this is indeed a battle. And now you feel bad, sad, mad because if nothing else at all you have always been strong. Damn it, just the sheer force of your will alone has allowed you to survive thus far. Now you are so vulnerable, so shaken, so worn. As a result maybe, just maybe for the first time in a long time – afraid. It’s hard to be strong when you are fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Haley has now climbed into her Momma’s  lap, safe in a perfect embrace. I get a peek at her smile again as she pulls Haley away from her to run her hand up her chest. “Drool, she is so exhausted she is drooling, it’s running down my shirt!” She shifts this sleeping child we both love while continuing to rock her.  God knew what He was doing when He planted us side by side as neighbors. It is an honor to write for this blog. My wish is that you visit the community page at Lotsa Helping Hands as often as you like, bookmark the page, send what message you have in your heart to her.  Go ahead, take a shift, get groceries, take a child to a game, make a meal or two or just come in and check on her. Yes, help out, we are so glad you want to. Just know this: the ultimate gift is prayer. Earnest prayer for Ashley, her family, especially her Mother, Mary Sue and her sister, Amy, who all put on their “Super Woman” capes everyday to help Ash…her sisters Tayler and Rebecca and her brother Derrick. And then most importantly: her girls ~ Hannah & Haley. Praise the Lord, they caught it early, the doctors say that once she reaches the end of her chemotherapy treatments, there is over a 90% chance it could be cured.  . Thank you so much for your precious kindness.

Helping Hands for Ashley Henkel – Sign in to a community | Lotsa Helping Hands

Directions on How To Join: Instruct the people you’ve invited to fill out the right-hand side of the form which is a Request to Join the Community. Once they’ve done this, you will begin to receive emails back stating that there are “pending members”. Coordinators can “approve” the pending members from the pending members page on their Administration tab. Once you have approved them, members will be automatically added to the community and sent instructions for setting a password and signing-in.

My Diet Adventure

So many of you asked how I lost weight. This is not the healthiest thing in the world so I would not recommend it long term. A little over a year ago I had lost some weight by cutting out carbs, sugar and any kind of dairy product. I have done something very similar this time.
I am eating mostly protein now. I eat every 2-3 hours without fail. I drink at least 80 ounces of water every single day. I eat 5-7 times a day every day.
Today I had an egg mcmuffin with no muffin for breakfast at 8:30 along with my multivitamin, also got a large unsweet tea and put stevia in it at work. I do not recommend drinking any caffeine at all but I do it occasionally. I may have drank a fourth of that, I put it in the fridge and drink it the next day. At 10:30 am I opened a can of tuna in water, put quite a bit of real mayo in it, stirred it up and ate it straight out of the can. If I were home it would get natural pink sea salt, pepper and pickles of some kind. At 1:00 I didn’t have any time so I only had a protein drink. I use EAS carb control and my favorite is strawberry, they are much better cold but if you are desperate you can toss one in your handbag and drink it warm, don’t forget to shake it up..I was supposed to eat by 4pm but had sales calls today and couldn’t stop. This is extremely rare for me. When I got back to the office I did tuna again with another multivitamin. It was 4:45. At 7 I had several bites of cheddar cheese and took a walk and wound up running 1.6 miles. Around 9 I stuck a spoon into the peanut butter and ate maybe a teaspoon of that. Then I took my 2 calcium tablets and fixed my Greens Drink. It is powder kept in the fridge and you mix it with water, shake it up, I need it for the probiotics. Lelan wanted zaxbys at 10pm (yes I am not kidding) so I got him zaxbys and I ate his slaw and like 2 french fries. I am still drinking water and will probably wind up with about 90 oz in me for the day. For me this was a terrible day, I didn’t really eat enough and I cheated a little tonight. Usually I have at least one real meal a day most days it is at lunch. I will have a salad which many times spring mix or spinach with cheddar or feta or goat cheese, sometimes bacon (only real, don’t eat that fake junk), grilled chicken never with any skin, nuts but only if they are not coated in something (totally raw is best), and salsa, guac and sour cream if possible. For dressings blue cheese is best with ranch as second. Vinegrette is a trap, if they made it they put gobs of sugar in it so avoid it. You cannot put any kind of bean, corn, tortilla strips, tortilla bowl, crackers, croutons, all no-nos. And measuring any of that, yeah whatever. I like dressing, pour it on. Some veggies are ok, watch your sugar content though. Avoid carrots, you may not have sweet potatoes or any root veggie at all, no white potatoes of course. Fruits like berries and granny smiths I gave up even though they are low in sugar, that tiny bit of sugar would make me have cravings later in the day.
Have breakfast very soon after waking. You need to eat soon after you wake up. You need to get your metabolism going. Fit in a veggie if at all possible. I put spinach in my egg, if I have a cucumber I will cut a bit of that up and put olive oil and salt on it. Yum.
Other snacks: half cup of almonds (coconut and cocoa ones are killer but limit this) walnuts, pecans, cottage cheese (limit to a cup and get the real kind not that putrid low fat stuff and organic is really yummy), cheddar cheese (you can have any hard cheese, you can have cream cheese and sour cream), canned tuna or chicken, just a grilled chicken strip, EAS low carb protein shakes, a scoop of peanut butter.
“Meals” I have are salads, grilled or baked fish or chicken, hamburger no bun with gobs of mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, pickles, yum. Steak ~ be careful with this, they put marinades on this you need to check the carb and sugar count online if you are eating out. You may also have brisket keep in mind most of the BBQs they put lots of sugar into the sauce so you cannot have it. Brisket is usually made with a dry rub which isn’t as bad.
If you are at the ball park which I often am, have a hot dog with mayo and mustard (no ketchup, no bun). I have been desperate enough at home before to do a slice of bologna with mayo and mustard……
I generally keep some baked chicken strips ready to go and some kind of salad and dressing. The best dressing you could ever use would be just olive oil and vinegar. Watch this when out, sometimes they are rancid which makes me gag, its old or the temp it has been exposed to messed it up. I always have bacon and the protein shakes, cans upon cans of tuna at home.
So, sometimes I crave something sweet or I crave carbs. I have resorted recently in keeping peanut butter ice cream at home. I don’t eat very much. I read the carb count in almost every box at the store and this one was not incredibly bad and I thought, well I am getting the peanut butter too. Now do NOT do this early in the diet because your body needs to reset itself lactose free. I am in month 4 now. I also keep the cocoa or coconut almonds so again I am getting a good protein in either cheat food.
But every now and then I really cheat. Sometimes I feel like I really need a carb so I will eat a few potato chips or eat mexican and eat a few chips n salsa or splurge on fajitas and eat the tortillas. Or if I have sweet tooth I may go crazy and get a small or medium sonic blast or come home and devour about 5 chocolate cupcakes. Yeah, I do. BUT I then act like I didn’t even do that, I eat the next snack or meal as planned I do NOT beat myself up about it and go along my way. Everyone cheats, just don’t go completely crazy, limit how much you have, keep bad stuff out of the house and away from you. When you go to the birthday party decide beforehand how you will handle the cake and ice cream. For me I make a decision based on how healthy I have been about my eating and exercising lately. If I decide to have some I don’t have very much. Sometimes I don’t do it at all. After all, it is just cake same as every other bite of cake I have ever had.
You may not want to have planned cheat foods in your home. Keep in mind, I didn’t do this until like the end of month 3. But for me that is better than me dreaming up fried chicken or something and leaving home to get an entire meal of fried food…..
I have a scale now and I weigh maybe 3 times a week. I have lost at least 25 pounds and I am almost finished with month 4. I also have those skinny clothes that get bigger and bigger, that is more fun and I think tells you much more than the scale ever will.
I am not an exercise freak. I love to be outside and love to put on my ipod and walk. Sometimes I cannot stand it and have to run. Some weeks I do this 5 times, it is always for at least an hour. Some whole weeks go by and I do nothing. Sometimes we all go ice skating together, I am good enough now that I don’t embarrass myself as much, it is a great workout. I am drenched in sweat usually, we go for an hour and a half. I have a bicycle now and sometimes when I go walk I just wanna go fast so I get on my bike, I love it. Sometimes I follow Lelan on his which is a challenge. You need to find something you like to do, I don’t care what it is and do it. If you like to swim find a way to get to swim often. If you like to hike go hike. Ignore the people who say you must do this or that or half cardio or whatever. Uh huh, just get off your butt and go get active and enjoy it. Your body, mind and spirit are all connected and if you force yourself to run and you hate it then your feet will tell your legs will tell your butt will tell your heart will tell your brain YOU DON’T LIKE THIS so it sends a signal to your metabolism not to work as good. Yep, it is a very scientific finding…Oh and by the way, when I go walk or skate or bike my heart rate goes up and my lungs expand, seems like a good thing so I will just keep on doing that. If you have a bad week and don’t do anything but warm your couch that is fine, maybe you were tired or stressed out, you needed a break. Come next week get out there again. Do not give up. If you mess up start over. Don’t wait til tomorrow or next week, start over again right now. Oh and the experts say that this whole thing is 90% diet 10% exercise so make sure you get that food part right folks.
You must drink your water. Find a water bottle you like. I found a 74 ounce jug with a handle at Publix. Whole Foods has reverse osmosis water, it is the best for you. You buy these huge jugs and just refill them, it is very inexpensive, almost unbelievable. If you do not drink enough water you will have cravings for real. If you need to squeeze lemon and stevia into it then do or if you have to, get that MIO stuff. Get the water down. IF you are like me and like your tea or coffee then drink that amount of water EXTRA to make up for what you lost by drinking the caffeinated drink. For what cooking at home I only buy grass fed, no hormones beef, pork and chicken usually at whole foods. The turkey sausage I get is delicious and easy to fix sometimes I have that with my egg in the morning or sometimes it is a snack on weekends, it is AppleGate Farms and Kroger has it, Whole Foods has it. Publix carries the apple chicken flavor and it is disgusting. I buy the best eggs I can find, cage free, not grain fed.
I cook my eggs in butter, real butter. Coconut and olive oils are sooooooooo good for you. Be careful with the temps you cook them in, they are rancid once they get too hot.
I promise once you get through a week of eating like this you will not have cravings, your glucose levels will stabilize and you will feel so much better. You are training your body to start burning fat again instead of sugar as fuel. If you have a yeast overgrowth in your body or tummy ( yeah many of us do ) you will starve it so this fat will shrink. You will have more energy. This routine is training you to eat protein at every meal, to use smaller portions and to eat more often. You can do it, don’t give up.
So this is an ideal day for me. Wake at 6:30, eat breakfast at 7:15 : egg in butter with pink sea salt, pepper, 1 cheddar cheese square melted in and 2 or 3 turkey sausage links, take a vitamin, downing the water. 10am tuna with mayo, pickles, a little onion, salt pepper. 12:30 go to Jasons Deli have spinach, spring mix, shredded cheese, a hard boiled egg, cucumber, red, yellow and green bell peppers, broccoli, sliced almonds, mushrooms and a lot of ranch dressing. At 3pm I have a cup of Horizon organic cottage cheese and my multivitamin. At 5:30 I have a hamburger no bun with mayo and mustard. At 8:30 I do a little scoop of peanut butter followed by greens drink then calcium. And I don’t eat a lot of food late but if I have my little nibble of peanut butter or a few almonds late like this it helps me sleep. I think the greens drink and calcium also help me sleep. Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
I see a gifted chiropractor every week. Dr Ben Sweeney is at 180 Chiropractic in Cool Springs and he has encouraged me every time I have seen him. He lives by the Maximized Living principles which you can google to study. His business partner Dr Gebhardt is also awesome. If you are not seeing a great chiropractor go see one immediately. Your spine to your body is like your motherboard, if it is malfunctioning somehow you will have a problem show up in your body. You might even lose your appendix, gall bladder and start to have trouble with your colon and constant headaches like me. Go see one now. Get adjusted weekly.
My motivation was my wedding. I want to be a beautiful bride when I take my little walk on the beach in my white dress with my fair prince. The full length picture included is fairly recent and the other one is the only one I could find that was about the time I started this change of habits.
Buying good food, taking care of yourself, seeing your chiro weekly, drinking water, getting sleep, exercising, it all takes time and effort. It will pay off though in huge dividends, it is an investment in your future and it is much cheaper than cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Get started right away. You are worth it.

me in a white shirt march 2013

me at lucky store July 2013

Sitting in the Pew Alone ~ from one Divorced Church Member

No matter who left who, divorce feels like rejection. It is a fog that surrounds your very being with every step you take away from one life altering decision that was anything but easy.
Going to church is an activity you once did with your spouse, your child or maybe not. Maybe you always begged her to go, now if she ever does it won’t be with you. Or maybe your child always goes with his dad since he has her on the weekends. Maybe you spent too much time at church and that’s one reason why he finally left. Whatever led up to this point, you now sit alone feeling rejected inside your fog with a gaping hole in your heart.
As you look around all you see are happy fulfilled married people with shining eyes who seem to glow. As a woman, now that you are divorced the married men act differently towards you, the brave ones still speak to you but in a guarded way, they are afraid to get too close cause you may be lonely and cling to them. The rest won’t even make eye contact which leaves you feeling like you don’t exist at all. Surely they just don’t know what to say to you. The women are worse somehow because if they do speak, they hug you if they know and say things that make you feel so pitiful. If they don’t know then they ask “where is your husband, your child?” And this happens multiple times and you have to tell them and every time you repeat your little memorized story the knife cuts into your gut again as the fog thickens. When she looks at you with her sad eyes it isn’t her fault but you feel so ashamed.
You sit in the pew surrounded by fog, the pastor tells his joke. What is the joke about? Oh, of course, he is talking about a family again. A dad, a mom, children. He speaks of the roles of each family member. You peer out of the fog to watch a wife nudge her husband and smile as he puts his arm around her. No one touches you anymore. What did that feel like? Somehow it feels like they mock you.
And the adventure of discovering a small group that fits begins. Why do I feel like a leper? Like I have a dreaded disease no one wants to catch. And then it happens, you are in a room filled with happy married couples talking about someone getting divorced : “Why didn’t they try harder? The Bible says it is wrong. How could they just give up? Didn’t they make vows to one another? Didn’t that mean anything? How could they do that to their children?” And the wound deepens as the fog thickens. You stand there reliving all the pain of those moments while you doubt everything and your pain intensifies until it seems to take on a shape and color. Somehow you wander into the single parents’ class and sit through an hour of people commiserating while putting down their x. Wow, that was uplifting…
Alone in the pew then alone afterwards. Busy happy families dart off into their busy worlds and leave you behind stumbling along in your fog, planning to eat lunch alone and go home to nap alone.
My daddy died. The church sent a gift and I got a phone call. I got divorced and no one looks at me. More rejection.
Now, at home suddenly there are a million more things to do, everything needs repair, the toilet is leaking, the car is making a weird noise. Or maybe now you have to figure out laundry, cooking, bathing the baby. How in the world will you fix your daughter’s hair by yourself? Pay the bills? Feed your children? You feel so inadequate and overwhelmed and there is this enormous weight of making decisions all alone now. No one to lean on if I mess it all up.
But God. But God placed these people in my life, these angels, my true friends who did not attend my church. There was a place to stay when I had nowhere to go. There was food, clothes, a warm hug, someone to hold my hand. A friend says to me, let me help you think this through. Let’s get your child into counseling, right now. Like life after divorce is this car ride down the road and the friends are the rest areas, you get a safe break before you get back on your way again, slightly refreshed for the drive ahead.
As a woman I personally encountered a group of Christian men in one of the circles I belonged to. These were kind men who somehow were not afraid to speak to me, look me in the eye, or even touch me. They were bold, wise, intuitive. They gave hugs. Safe, warm hugs, believe it. I am not sure why but those interactions were very healing. And each time I got a hug, guess what? The big red D etched into my forehead got fainter, and the fog faded. And it is okay to smile again.
Please don’t be sad for us, the divorced church members. Read this and think, search your heart. How would you like to be treated? Is it fair to judge decisions if you haven’t walked in those shoes? Do you have any idea what they may have survived to arrive here appearing intact? Please consider your words and remember that love is the key. Look around, invite him to lunch. A smile, a real hug, a true gesture of kindness goes a lot farther than anything you will ever say to him. And those ladies you see sitting alone, hmmmmmmm wonder if they have something at home that needs to be fixed? What would it hurt to ask her how you can help? Maybe you should bring a friend along so that if something heavy needs to be moved you can handle it. Be the hero God intended you to be cause guess what? Right now she needs one. Be bold.




Summer Evening at the Park


This is it, my favorite part of this day. Between work and a meeting with time to kill I choose the park, great idea. Outside with no deadlines I absorb, write, interpret, create. No one to judge it but me. I keep my hair over one shoulder so the sun’s rays touch my back where the neckline dips down. It is about 90 degrees and as the sun warms my skin I adjust my skirt carefully to cover my knees. Beneath the wooden bench sit my consignment find heels as I relax cross ankled at an angle facing the parking lot and grass. In my full skirted red floral dress I feel like a Spanish maiden, lacking only a red rose held between my teeth. The sky above is a pale baby blue with fluffy happy white clouds floating lazily along. As an airplane flies over, I wonder where its going. The bugs that unluckily land on me meet their end.

Everything changes. The cars come & go. The basketball game gains and loses players. People grow stronger and either win or lose. The wind tosses the leaves as the clouds shift and the sky brightens to a new hue of blue above the cloud line. The birds eat, fly and grow as the grass and trees reach toward heaven. Trees sometimes seem to grow in rows, like they are standing in line to get somewhere. Which one was the first tree? Is this one the leader?

People show up who just got off work, they are relieved to be here, maybe some are not. Either dreading or looking forward to some exercise. Grass crunches beneath a man’s tennis shoes as he carefully balances a box full of soccer balls. I hear car engines, voices, balls bouncing, hands clapping, children, swings and birds. A little girl is running past me now, she is smiling ear to ear and giggling because she is excited to get to play, she is alive, head to toe. Her dad follows behind her with a straight serious face. Play. When did you last play? Did you stop playing when you became an adult? How long since you laughed? Laughed from deep inside your soul til your cheeks ached…

Life is short. I made a good choice today, a choice for me. Was I productive at the park? Not really, but I am working on slowing my pace and living in the moment more. So this is a step in the right direction. When we are frantic and busy it is easy to miss the little things and not be grateful for all we have. Be sure to do something you enjoy every single day, just take a deep breath and look around you, who knows what you might notice.