Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Fifteen Freewrite: State of the Well

It is good to reflect upon where I am and where I am going. I am typing away. No proofreading and probably many mistakes. Just sayin' if you are  reading this. 

The Well-Watered Soul/Well-Adjusted Heart

I always find that soul and heart really go more together. 

"Seek God for the City 2013" was so rich! I loved prayer walking all over my beloved Corvallis. Many people saw me and commented. Little did they know I was praying. There were a couple of times when I did not realize people were near me and probably thought I was crazy for praying out loud, but I do not care. Our city needs prayer, and I willingly gave it. I walked around city and county government buildings and offices, commercial centers, jails, youth centers, churches (God gave me a word for Calvary Chapel that was quite exciting!), major employers, the university, etc. It was fun and fulfilling! I finished on Palm Sunday.

I continue to "Walk for the World" with my Unreached People Prayer App. Love that too. Been doing it since last June, but I just got the app at the beginning of the year. Now I don't copy off pages from my computer to carry with me. I love the ease of it. 

Along with all of this, I have loved the last few weeks in the Word. It is not that I didn't like it before, but I love epistles. I really, really do. They are like coming home to an old and dear friend because I have studied them so much over the last 36 years of inductive study. Yes, I started this journey in July of 1977! I still have the first study I ever did on a piece of notebook paper. :) 

Anyway, I am in my favorite book and chapter: Ephesians 1. WOOHOO!  I hope to meditate and write this morning before continuing with my taxes.

Well-Educated Mind

I like this new list much better than last year's list! Those 100 Great Books were interesting. Some were lovely. Others were very YUCKY, and I did not like filling my mind with them, but I am doing "promiscuous reading" because Milton says I can (see post on Booked if you do not know what I am talking about)! Invitation to the Classics has a much more devotional bent to its list, and I love that (even though Calvin's Institutes was insanely long!).

Well-Tuned Strength of Body

Hallelujah. I have lost 28 pounds (Even though my BMI indicated I was only 6 pounds overweight in December, I am now in the "middle" of the BMI range instead of the top - at my height the range is 50 pounds.)! I feel so great. I am at the same weight I was at the start of my sophomore year of basketball (1978 - 19 years old) and want to be in the range of where I was at the end of the basketball season which is only a few pounds away. I will do that slowly since I feel great. This is definitely my "fighting" weight! YAY! It was not weight "loss" but weight "removal." "Good-Bye, you were the weakest link."

My back is doing awesome too! I have not had it go out since Valentine's Day! Only had two ribs out, and George popped them right back in for instant relief. YAY! I have a preventative massage with Doctor Koen today too! Those have really helped to keep my back in top condition! 

Which brings me to something I am contemplating. I think I might become a personal trainer. I already have a degree in Foods and Nutrition, am a former college athlete, 25 years of counseling experience, and I love to teach. What a great combination for helping people reach "Wellness" both physically and emotionally (because I think they are very intertwined!).

I have 10 seconds. Off to Ephesians! Energized for it! 




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stress-Free Freewrite

What were those stress points? I do not know because I am not stressed now!

I had a good day of prayer on Saturday. All the stress fell way, and I haven't really thought much about it.  God's will be done. 

Let me look back to see what they were . . . 


#1 Job uncertainty - George was offered the Hillsboro job at 2:15 pm today; but honestly, I had absolutely no stress about it anymore. He will also probably be offered a temporary/no benefits position at his old job.  Who knows what we will do? (God does, silly!) I walked the day before yesterday with excitement about what God has around the corner. I could see us going either way. Oh, and I am not in the least bit mad at his current employers anymore. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing! I did want him to get offered the Hillsboro job because I wanted him to be AFFIRMed after AFFIRMATIVE ACTION axed him out of getting the government job he was up for (Even though they asked him to apply, a woman applied, and they had to hire her, and now she doesn't even want to do what she was hired to do!)

#2 Dental care - We have a reprieve from going to Eugene until April 22, and it was nice to have the drive down and back last time with Michael for talking. I took a nice walk while he was in the office; and next time, his appointment is around lunch, and we can go to RED LOBSTER because there isn't one near here. We cannot do dental work with Paul yet. So, we will see what kind of dental insurance we have when he needs it. 

#3 Taxes - George got his information to me with much groveling. (He is so cute when he grovels.) Also the stress of #2 dental care has given us a BIG BREAK when it comes to taxes (By the way, the dental care is not just orthodontics, but it includes oral surgery of dental implants, prosthodontics, and dentures for a about $20,000. Thankfully it has been spread out over several years, but 2012 was the biggest year of expenses.) 

So, every hassle/stress has a silver lining. Part of me not wanting to do taxes was knowing that we usually owe! This year, it might not be the case with over $10,000 in medical and dental expenses for this year alone. WOOHOO!

The fear of starting was causing me more stress than starting so after time in Ephesians and a walk of pouring out my fears to God this morning, I took the plunge and spent a solid six hours. I had a long set back looking for some 1099-INT's. I couldn't find them because the investment places do not send them if they are under a certain amount! UGH!

Our taxes take a long time, and my labor was multiplied threefold in the dividend department when George's dad died (MY mom had all of her money in ONE account with ONE 1099. Not so with George's dad.)  George self-employment income also was not as big this year. So, overall, I think that our tax bill will be much better than last year. I just need to add up utility costs, mileage, medical expenses, volunteer miles, college expenses, and make a deposit to the Oregon College Savings Plan, and I will be done. I will do that tomorrow and maybe part of Saturday or wait until Monday. I am going to have plenty of time to get it all done! No need to stress!

#4 Needs Around Me - The day of prayer was so good. I just gave it all to him. I am so good in that department. :) People are hurting, but I do not need to absorb their stress. 

#5 Bible Book Club - I have had a BURST of writing since March 21, and I am up to Ephesians 1. I realize the Epistles are the easiest for me to write since I have studied them the most. I also have many posts but smaller chunks of Scripture to work with. NO STRESS and only joy in doing that. I even incorporated this into my day of prayer, and I was so blessed by it! 

#6 Jesus Community - Since I wrote this, one of the guys did suggest that they lead the MOP studies, and I heartily agree. So, we can be in and out of it. I think we are going to go to eating with our family before we come to JC too. I end up eating before we come anyway because 6:30 is really late for us to eat. 

#7 Friendships - Things have been less stressful for my friends. So, I am less stressed about them. 

#8 Possible Move - The person who was most verbal about us "not" leaving here prayed with me, and I think the person gets it. We have been very quiet about the erosion of our income because we are very frugal people, and it hasn't been stressful (I have driven less, walked more, eaten less, and lost weight - there are advantages to having less money!) and somewhat fun ("Dependence dates" are an adventure, and I like walking rather than going out anyway!). I do not know if this job will even mean an immediate move anyway. We just have to pray and wait on God's timing. 

I suppose it will be George's call on this. I am flex either way. I do not want him having to commute, but I see the advantages of him being with his mom more in these later years of her life. :) Thy will be done, Lord. 

Not stressed anymore!!!

(P.S. By the way, I also was reading two books at the same time, and I cleared them out of my way, and that was a big stress relief too! I am only reading one now, and it is an easy read!)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Galatians 2:19-20

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Ga 2:19-21). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reflections on Eating FAT!

I have not eaten anything really high-fat for 3 months and 6 days. We went to the coast, and I ate a big fat Teriyaki Burger at Flashbacks; a 1950's-era diner on Hwy 101. It came with fries, and usually, even when not watching my fat and calories, I will order an alternative like salad or cottage cheese. I went for the onion rings this time for the extra dollar

I could have skipped that.

OUCH! 


Even though I only ate 1/4 of my onion rings (They really didn't have much flavor, and I do not like them like I did in high school. The only kind I REALLY like are the Walla-Walla Sweets specialty onion rings you get from Burgerville in August), I ate all of my hamburger. By 7 or 8 pm, I had a HUGE stomach-ache! I had to take Maalox and suffer through it for most of the evening. I couldn't even eat any dinner.

My calorie intake was only about 1340 calories for the day but a whopping 50% fat was from fat with 22% of total calories for the day being  saturated fat!

(I do not care what anybody says, I cannot think that an Atkins Diet would be good for anyone. It makes you feel really lousy!) 

The Teriyaki burger was delicious though. Next time, I will skip the onion rings and eat only half the burger!  YIKES!

Not to mention that eating that high of a fatty meal really leaves you with one thing the next day: CONSTIPATION!

YIKES!  

So, after my breakfast of steel-cut oats, raisins, and almonds (YUM!), I am snacking on more almonds and edamame and drinking boatloads of water to flush out my system!

Ahhhhh . . . 


Monday, March 25, 2013

19. Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

BEAUTIFUL READ!

I pretty much savored every bite of this book like I would this pear on its cover. 

I had my library buy it, but once I started reading it, I realized I wanted to mark it all up so I did something I usually do not do: I bought it! That says a LOT about how much I liked this book! 

There is so much to love. Karen Swallow Prior weaves some of her favorite works of literature with her personal journey of the soul. It was heart-warming. It doesn't hurt that many of her favorite works are my favorite works too. 

The only work I was unfamiliar with was "Aereopagitica" by Milton. I think I loved this one best of all! Milton stated that books should be "promiscuously read":

In making his argument, as a churchman speaking to fellow churchmen, Milton cites the biblical examples of Moses, Daniel, and Paul, who were all steeped in the writings of their surrounding pagan cultures. Milton also invokes a leader of the third-century church who asserted that God commanded him in a vision, “Read any books whatever come into your hands, for you are sufficient both to judge aright and to examine each matter.” Such advice mirrors the Pauline suggestion to “test all things and hold fast to that which is good.”  Milton puts it most profoundly when he says,  
Well knows he who uses to consider, that our faith and knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs and complexion. Truth is compared in Scripture to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition. A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the Assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy. 
In other words, the power of truth lies not in abstract propositions but in the understanding and willful application of truth by living, breathing persons which can occur only in the context of liberty. (p. 21)
 The “best books,” Milton argues, “to a naughty mind are not unappliable to occasions of evil.” On the other hand, “bad books,” Milton continues, “to a discreet and judicious reader serve in many respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, to illustrate.” (p.23)
This is precisely why I read books from these lists (see pages above)! I know some of my conservative friends may not like this, but I agree with Milton that these books have served me well and have opened my life up beyond my wildest dreams. I am a better believer because of it! They help me to become more "discreet and judicious" the more I read them, and they cause me to run even more quickly to Him who is the source of abundant life!

There is so much to this book. I loved this:
Some people think to abridge a classic work of literature is an act of sacrilege, but my junior high experience of reading an abridged Great Expectations might be likened to a child's first communion: a step taken in immature faith toward a fuller, richer experience to come." (p.56)
Someone who speaks my language! I have been saying this for years, but the purists always put me down! I wholeheartedly believe that exposing kids before they are ready to unabridged classics poisons them from reading them as adults! I did this with my kids, and they love classics now!

There is too much about this book that I liked. It will probably be my favorite one for 2013 (Although I REALLY liked Of Virgins and Martyrs too). I have so many quotes, but I will just say go and buy it! It is amazing!

18. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book 4 by John Calvin



Book Four of the Institutes discusses "the Church and the Communion of Saints, or of the external means or helps by which God invites us to fellowship with Christ, and keeps us in it." This includes Church government, with scathing denunciations of the Papacy and Catholic Church. (Summary from Wikipedia & TriciaG)

How ironic that I would go for my day of prayer at the Mt. Angel Abbey and Seminary in Mt. Angel, Oregon while in the middle of Calvin's "scathing denunciations of the Papacy and Catholic Church."

Within minutes of arriving, the bells rang for what I thought was one of  many Benedictine prayer times, but as I walked toward the library, a throng of seminarians came running (some with cheers) out of the library in the opposite direction of the church! I thought that was weird until I entered the deserted library. There was one employee watching television on her computer, but I quickly skirted by her, not wanting to embarrass her for not working. But as I settled into my day of prayer, I overheard what she was watching: the white smoke had risen! The bells and running seminarians were because the new Pope had been selected on the third vote of the conclave of the cardinals, and they were running to watch it on the big screen television in one of the classrooms. 

My day of prayer was changed, I journaled my prayers for him as I heard his first address to the world. I prayed for unity in the body of Christ. I do not understand the "ins and outs" of the Catholic Church, but I love my Catholic brothers and sisters. Calvin came out of the Catholic Church, and I find people that have are the hardest critics. So, I cannot judge. I will continue to pray for unity of the body of Christ and Francis. 

The great news is that I am done with all 1775 pages of the Institutes! Woohoo! 

(I did a combination of Kindle and listening on Librivox. The person with the annoying voice was only on a few tracks for this book and many of the tracks were narrated by a distinguished sounding Brit!)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frenetic Fifteen Freewrite

I am calling it for what it is: STRESS! (The word "stress" is from estrecier, to tighten.[1])

I do not usually succumb to it, but I think I have it. It is a back burner kind of stress right now. My day to day activities are not any busier than normal (well maybe a bit busier). 

#1 Stresser - Job uncertainty. There are so many unknowns about George's future. I am a bit mad that current employers really want to keep George, but they aren't willing to find funding to keep him and want him to piece together a job that means he gets paid a fraction of what he has been paid when he first started. I do not think they realize what they will be missing. It is the nature of "soft" money, but if we had a house payment, we would have not been able to survive. I need to forgive them. I will do that right now. Breathe. Drop down to your gut Carol (Experiencing God's Presence 24/7) and forgive with Jesus' loving forgiveness. They are not intentional about their neglect. People get so busy with their lives. 

#2 Stressor - Dental Care. Because of #1, I am frantically trying to get things done before the benefits run out. That means completing the homestretch of Michael's 10 year dental journey. This involves multiple trips back and forth to a dental specialist one hour south of here. Just an extra stress for our lives. This will all be completed in May, but it is just an extra thing on my plate.

#3 Stressor - Taxes. I just have not had time to complete these, and it is coming down to the wire. It is always difficult with George. He does not get me the information. I asked him to have it to me on January 1st. It is March 21, and I am still waiting. Not that I even have had time to start anyway.

#4 Stressor - Needs Around Me. There are so many needs, and I am a sucker for a counseling emergency with people outside of my "sphere of influence" and more in my "sphere of concern." This has gotten me in trouble in the past but not as much lately so it surprises me that I have not said "no" more often (as much as I hate to say "no"). I should focus on those going out into the world, but I also know that the potential for many from that group going out is HUGE. I prayed about this latest one and feel that I need to finish what I started. At the time I committed, there was nothing on the horizon, but now there is one going in 18 months that I really want and need to invest in. I will not say yes to any more sessions with any of their people and will recommend that someone in their group get peacemaker AND theophostic/listening prayer training. SO many hurting people, Lord! So much brokenness. I have a heart for this!

#5 Stressor - Bible Book Club. I love this but feel like I need to stop everything else in order to get this done. 

#6 Stressor - Jesus Community. I am thinking of phasing out because I do not want to go there without George if he starts commuting to Hillsboro.  Maybe I can just meet with key women: Kathleen, Abi, and Leslie (maybe Sandy but Grace is always an issue as they are not keen on getting a baby sitter) between now and next June. Maybe TrueFaced? I am tired with the nights of Jesus Community and cooking meals when I have a family who needs a meal at home is a bit much for me. 

#7 Stressor - Friendships. I want a balance of listening/talking, and I am out of balance in this area due to high needs of some of my friends. It has to be give and take in my peer friendships since the 20-somethings are much more consumed with what is happening with them rather than us/me. 

#8 Stressor - Possible Move. That is always stressful for anyone. It is hard when others "don't want me to leave" and put pressure by saying, "I am praying that the miracle funding comes through for Corvallis" instead of just saying "I pray God's WILL be done." Frustrates me must admit, just adds extra stress. We are not the same as many in our company. George's calling is to secular employment. They must understand that but don't. It is as if they think it is a sell out or something. 

Fifteen minutes was up a while ago, but this was good to get it all down through the keyboard. 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Loved How This Verse Shouted Out at Me This Morning!

Listened to this just as the sun was shining in my window this morning:

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12, The Message)

Blessed Friday to all!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Minutes Freewrite

I have not done one of these for a few days. I haven't written on Bible Book Club for a few days and need to get some writing in!

We went to the coast. Beautiful trip to Bandon with having to turn around less than 24 hours later to be with Teala while her brother was in the hospital again. I could not stay down there with her being alone. I don't think he will live much longer, and that makes me sad.

Today, I hope to go shopping, write 1 Corinthians 12, work out, straighten up things around here, cook a nice family meal of spaghetti since we have not sat down together for a few days, and read Institutes and Booked.

I need to look up when I am meeting with Jennifer next. 

My health is really good. I thought I was sick last Wednesday, but it was allergies! I had problems Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I stayed home Sunday because my ears were so stuffed up I could barely hear anything.

My back is stellar lately. I have a couple of neck twinges, but it is nothing that I cannot work out. I am SO GRATEFUL that I 

1) Got Physical therapy for my back - never thought to do that, but it really does depend on the therapist. Logan was perfect and had worked with athletes before. 

2) Do daily back exercises

3) Got a good weight lifting/ core strategy - I have a plan from Logan and make sure I hit on those points if I decide to do a Fitness on Demand video at the gym or DVD at home. 

4) Lost weight - I am sure that contributed to the back difficulties.

5) Quit running - this really should be number one because it was hindering me from losing weight, getting my back totally in shape, etc. 

6) Made a rule for how much I am going to sit every day - cut back on my therapy appointments, get up every 25 minutes, only allow myself to write if I am at a certain weight, etc. 

7) Incorporate 2 & 3 into my stand up breaks from sitting.

I know I was going to write for 15 minutes, but I am tired at ten. 

Friday, March 08, 2013

From My Study of 1 Corinthians 9 Yesterday

Well-Tune Strength of Body

I love it when my two "Well" things collide. Yesterday, I realized my post from 1 Corinthians 9 was not adequate to repost for this new cycle of the Bible Book Club. So, I spent in-depth time in 1 Corinthians 9 (but eventually got to my goal of finishing 1 Corinthians 11 too!).  I am so wanting to combine all this "balanced life" stuff because of all the things I am clicking in on with this weight-loss and strength journey. 

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NASB95)
Warren Wiersbe comments:

In recent years, evangelical Christians have rediscovered the importance of personal discipline and the relationship between a disciplined body and a Spirit-filled life. We must, of course, avoid extremes. On the one hand, religious asceticism is unhealthy and of no value spiritually (Col. 2:18–23). But on the other hand, there is something to be said for disciplined eating, exercising, and resting, and a Spirit-directed balanced life. We smugly congratulate ourselves that we do not smoke or use alcohol, but what about our overeating and overweight? And many Christians cannot discipline their time so as to have a consistent devotional life or Bible-study program.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (1 Co 9:15). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Stand up for your health - Health & Wellbeing

Stand up for your health - Health & Wellbeing:

'via Blog this'

Twenty Five Minute Freewrite

I think I will give an update in all the areas today.

WELL-WATER SOUL

Who knew that I just needed permission to cut back on my "goals" for the year to get others goals finished. I was meeting on campus with Kathleen every week, but I was also wanting to just finish the Bible Book Club. She said, "Take off coming to campus on Wednesdays and Jesus Community and just write for two weeks." That is what I did! I loved the remainder of Acts and see why God had me wait until "such a time as this" as the Perspectives course was on "Acts of Obedience" in the reader (I posted a section of it in a previous post) by my old leader Steven Hawthorne. So, it fit right in to what God had been doing in my life. YAY GOD! Loved the richness of the extended time in the Word without interruption. I am a "mid-trovert" at heart. I need that balance of time alone with God and time with people, and after Jeff Johnson's visit, I was tipped over on the people side a bit too much! :)

So, now I am in 1 Corinthians and church discipline is on my mind. I have had to work through some lack of forgiveness toward my old church leadership, not for what they did against me, but what they did against my old pastor who is suffering health-wise now, and the trigger was their NON-BIBLICAL release of him in the early 2000's. It sent him into a big downward spiral. I have learned to "forgive them with Jesus' forgiveness from my gut" as Experiencing the Presence of God 24/7 would say!

I have LOVED praying through "Seek God for the City" and walking the streets of Corvallis! That has so enriched my prayer life! 

Prayer and word are balanced, and I love that!

WELL-EDUCATED MIND

I write a lot of book reviews. So I don't need to say much about this other than I feel like I have a very GOOD BALANCE in that area too. I have discontinued doing the early book reviews for people. They are very time-consuming, and most of the books are not very exciting, but every once in a while you come across ones that are lovely like Les Miserables, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, and Of Virgins and Martyrs. So, I am glad I did that more this year, but it is time to REALLY focus on JUST the Invitation to the Classics list (along with all the other books that already get thrown at me because people think I should read them OR I see them on an NPR book review, etc).

WELL-ADJUSTED HEART

I truly feel like God's destiny name for me: BOLDLY Beloved (had to bold that word!) is coming true. I had this peaceful boldness lately that is truly OF HIM and not of my own doing. Cannot describe it, but I am very healed, and I am learning to just forgive with Jesus' forgiveness with the slightest thing like being aced out of helping Michelle with meals by Lisa. I had to just forgive and realize that God has another assignment for me and that is to focus on finishing the Bible Book Club, my family, my ministry women (Leslie, Abi, Kathleen, Eunice, Sandy, Jennifer, and Rachel - Lord, I didn't realize it was so many!), and standing alongside friends in turmoil (Teala). Teala and Michelle are on an equal footing of need right now, but others want to step in and help, and that is very appropriate for me to just focus where God has planted me. ALL GOOD! I am glad I didn't send that letter to Lisa and Michelle and just let it go!!!!

WELL-TUNED STRENGTH OF BODY 

I am at fifteen minutes but on a roll!  I cannot ignore that God has done a supernatural work in me since December 20, but it really started when I decided to take that medical leave from the Club and concentrate on physical therapy for my back. That was the turn around, and I don't even know why I did it other than I was SO TIRED of having my back be better only to have me push a little bit more in the workout area to have a set back AGAIN when I was working out so diligently!

That and the sickness in October that sent me to the doctor and having a little higher blood pressure (when normally WAY low), blood sugar (which turned out to be totally normal on the second test), and LDL's. That just is not me. So,  I have lost 11% of my body weight even though the weight chart said I only need to lose 3% (I know what my "fighting" weight is, and it was lower than that) , but I have also got a whole new mindset when eating. I am "eating to live" now and not "living to eat." I have this mind shift that I have always wanted, and I know that it is supernatural. I know that I will not go back again. I know that maintaining this weight is my goal rather than losing the same few pounds and gaining them back again. I think what helped is knowing that I was gaining them back less quickly this time, and I was encouraged that I was going in the right direction (see an earlier post about that) of just burning 80-100 calories a day  more or consuming less on the eating side. That was doable for me to prevent gaining it back. I had improved, and this encouraged me to do so. 

I also know though, that I need to record what I eat because I still don't know when I am overeating that 80-100, and my issue was not gluttony because I dealt with emotional eating a long time ago. The issue was just lack of knowledge and food recording (and the gloriously effective Body Bugg) give me that knowledge that I need to make a choice to eat that caramel and dance around the living room for 10 minutes versus not eating that caramel. It is as easy as that. Knowledge is power.

I want to harness all this knowledge in a class for overweight women. I want to use my nutrition degree and college athletics background (I am only three pounds away from what I weighed when I was playing basketball my freshman year in college - how is that for battling the middle-aged bulge. Thank You and glory to YOU, God for that) AND communion with the LORD (prayerwalks being a key in this journey) to help women FLY and be all that God wants them to be without the nagging weight in the back of their mind as a failure issue. 

Anyway, my back is GREAT too. I only had had it go out when I do dumb things (like before - I just had not done dumb things for three years before I severed my tendon and LOST all what I had achieved previously). I also do preventative chiro appointments now and massages (although I will cut back on them to every other month since my insurance does not cover them).

The regular exercises and getting up from writing have revolutionized my life. I am so grateful for a new lease on everything.

Now I am done. No proofreading. Just sending. Sorry for the mistakes.

Biblical Bibliophile

I think I just coined a new phrase.

A believer who reads and analyzes everything she reads with a biblical mindset. :)

I am so clever. LOL!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

17. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book 3 by John Calvin


The title of Book Three is The Mode of Obtaining the Grace of Christ. The Benefits It Confers, and the Effects Resulting from It. 

Quotes:

This Book, which contains a full exposition of the Third Part of the Apostles’ Creed, treats of the mode of procuring the grace of Christ, the benefits which we derive and the effects which follow from it, or of the operations of the Holy Spirit in regard to our salvation.

I like what he says about repentance and there being no need for confession to a priest. I loved what he said about our righteousness being by faith in Christ. Good meaty stuff!
Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue, but of the life; is not apprehended by the intellect and memory merely, like other branches of learning; but is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds its seat and habitation in the inmost recesses of the heart. (III, vi, 4)
To doctrine in which our religion is contained we have given the first place, since by it our salvation commences; but it must be transfused into the breast, and pass into the conduct, and so transform us into itself, as not to prove unfruitful.(III, vi, 4)
Doctrine is not my favorite thing. His Institutes are 1775 pages (And you ask why am I reading all 1775? Call me crazy!), and that is longer than the Bible! Why not just read the Bible? That is what I keep thinking as I listen, but he was counteracting years of misinformation on what was Scriptural and what was not. So, I see why he had to do it.

He gets into the whole election thing. I believe in the elect, but I believe that Jesus died for all too. So that is where we part ways, but I still think he loved God and was brilliant (even after 1207 pages!)

I wonder if there is an index for all the verses he quotes. I love hearing Scripture as I read it and listen to it while I work. I think this is the one he quotes most of all:


He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, 
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
2 Corinthians 5:21

Amen! I will never get tired of hearing that!!!

By the way . . . 


You might notice that I no longer have the Librivox.org audiobook cover. I broke down and bought a recently released (Dec 2012) 99 cent Kindle version because it is easier to keep track of where I am, and I can switch back and forth between listening to it and reading it. I was reading it on my Logos version, and then trying to find where I should go on the audio. Too much of a hassle.

Also, the monotone girl read many of the sections on the Librivox.org version, and I just cannot handle her anymore! 

(Plus, I like my digital voice pal. We have been friends for 4 years now. I think he has even become a believer after reading me so many Christian books like Institutes!)

January/February Movie Reviews

I review every book that I read, why not review the movies I watch too? 

Here is the whole list for January and February. The short reviews follow and are in "bundles" for series:


JANUARY


1. Gilmore Girls Season 3
2. Miracle on 34th Street (so sweet)
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
4. Gilmore Girls Season 4
5. Little Women
6. Doctor Who Series 1
7. Gilmore Girls Season 5
FEBRUARY
8. Gilmore Girls Season 6
9. Gilmore Girls Season 7
10. W (clearplayed)
11. The Conspirator
12. The Real Jane Austen
13. Doctor Who Series 2
14. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (warning: racy part and unexpected for an old movie!)
15. California Suite



GILMORE GIRLS SEASON 3-7

This all started because I had no idea who Rory Gilmore was. My friend just sent me her book list. I like that she reads lots of books. It is funny, and I don't necessarily like the morals that Loralai displays, but there are other parts that are clever and funny. The creator/writer of the show must be brilliant. It clips at such a fast pace, and I love all the references to cultural and classical things in the dialogue. Sometimes, you have to rewind though!

Season 4 had some things that I was really sad about, but we had to have closure so we finished the series. I do not like how it is a given that college girls (and their mothers!) are going to sleep around! YUKE. YAY to Lane who stuck to her morals.

The acting was very good though. I wish Lauren Graham would go back to doing comedy. She is perfect for it. I saw about five minutes of her on Parenthood. She is such a talent, but I like her as funny with a bit of somber rather than all somber. 

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

I put this on hold during Christmas because the boys and George had never seen it, but it didn't arrive until after Christmas so the boys weren't interested in it anymore. So, I watched it with George. I had not seen it in year, and I had forgotten how absolutely adorable and sweet it is!  I had also forgotten that it features a very young Natalie Wood!  I watched the colorized version, and I loved it. I want to reserve sooner this year so the whole family will be in the mood to watch it!

SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2

I saw both movies in the movie theatre because it was something Teala and I did together a few years ago. At the time, I had no idea who Alexis Bledel was, but now that I have watched her as Rory Gilmore, I wanted to watch her again in another role. All four of these girls are very talented actresses. It is funny that at the time of this movie, Blake Lively was probably the least famous of the four, and now she is the most famous, and the other women have not really done anything since they big roles in Joan of Arcadia, Ugly Betty, and Gilmore Girls.

All that to say, I think these are sweet movies. I love the views of Greece and makes me REALLY want to go to Santorini, Greece someday! Look at that blue!

File:Ia Santorini-2009-1.JPG

LITTLE WOMEN

As per my tradition, if I read a book, I usually watch one or all of the movie adaptations. I had seen this one years ago, and I have to say that I still love it and may even buy it. Winona Ryder may have had her problems over the years, but she is a superb actress. She was even nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Jo March. You also cannot beat the acting of Claire Danes, whom Winona recommended for the part, and she plays Beth exactly how I envisioned her!  Lovely movie in every way. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. 

DOCTOR WHO SEASON 1-2

We went to a special screening of Dr. Faustus from the "Globe on Screen" series. There were two women who had come down from Portland just to see one of the actors in this play because he was in the Doctor Who series from the BBC Wales. I had heard about this series before, and then I saw my oldest son watching it because, apparently, many of the people in his college group love Doctor Who. 

It is so quirky and funny and has so many of the British actors we have come to know and love. We love it! The writers must have a total blast writing these, and they are very clean (so far).



Josh Brolin did a brilliant job as George W. Bush as did all the actors. They made him look really bad, but one name: Oliver Stone. You understand.


We got it because a speaker born in Iran played a clip from the movie about Iran and oil. It made us curious. I would not have watched it without ClearPlay though because of the bad language. 


The Conspirator


Beautiful Robert Redford film that involves the trial of the mother (played by Robin Wright of Forrest Gump fame) of one of the conspirators to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Was she part of the conspiracy or not? I do not think we will ever know. Regardless, she did NOT get a fair trial because it was done in a military court (something the Supreme Court would later rule unconstitutional). The acting was absolutely riveting! Perfect in every way.


The whole reason I check it out was my Alexis Bledel kick. She has a pretty minor role though. 



The Real Jane Austen

This was so interesting, but everything about Jane Austen is interesting. They used actors to portray the story of her life even though it is a documentary.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (warning: racy part and unexpected for an old movie!)

I saw Maggie Smith on 60 Minutes and wanted to see her academy award winning performances. It is a very weird movie, but she does a good job.

California Suite

Maggie Smith is an academy award nominated actress from England who flies to California with her husband, played by Michael Caine, to attend the Academy Awards. It is pretty funny that she actually won an award for this performance too! 

Bill Cosby and Richard Prior are hilarious in it. I liked this one much better (especially since I grew up where it was filmed!). It is also little cleaner than the previous film!


Acts of Obedience


I have been doing correcting for the local "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" class and writing about Acts 26 at the Bible Book Club. I love how the reading for Perspectives and my writing have collided this week. God's perfect timing! No wonder it took me so long to write through the book of Acts! 

Here is an excerpt from the reading in Perspectives: 

Boldness in Costly Public Witness

Were they faithful to the mandate Christ had given them? As Luke records it, they were to take a public stand as witnesses (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8). To act as a "witness" in Luke's way of speaking had very little to do with personal one-on-one communication of the goespel to friends and family. Only in recent times has the term "witness" been equated with general gospel communication. Reading Luke's use of the term "witness" revearls that almost eveyr time someone acts as a witness, they did so in a public setting.

Why was a public declaration in courts or in the streets so important? God wanted something more significant than a widespeared awareness of Christ's resurrection. God was establishing an unshakabel church. A witness not only asserted the facts of Jesus, they also established the profound value of following Jesus by their readiness to suffer.

The ordeal of public trial served to distinguish the movement of Christ followers, placing the entire church in public view. Ordinary men and women went on public display, along with their Christ-like character. Even their enemies recognized them "as having been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). Their lives became an expression of the highest ideals of their people (5:13). The function of witnessing could not be reduced to a brief commuicative action -- it was a process. Their obedience as witnesses transpired over weeks ormonths or longer. 

Witnessing has to do with the paradox of shame and glory. After one courtroom appearance, Peter and his fellow witnesses rejoiced that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name (5:41). Jesus relays word to Paul by Ananias that Paul was a chosen instrument "to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel." It sounds like a regal duty, but the cost is severe -- a tetimony comprsied of suffering. The very next phrase the Lord gives Paul ist his: "for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake" (9:15-16). Their shame brought Chrsit's glory. 

The Lessons for Obedience Today


Witnessing is not so much personal sharing of the gospel as it is the public estalblishing of the Chruch. It will take more than slick communication to plant churches where there are none. The drama of Acts may be a portrait of the way any new church is planted. There maybe be exceptions but for the most part, the record shows that thriving movements for Jesus must emerge into the public view. Secret movements grow weak and often disappear entirely. Movements that endure bear Christ's name boldly and at the same time display much that is recognized as the finest ideals of their people. How does this happen. it is by men and women (usually ordinary local people rather than missionaries), who are falsely accused and are brought into a setting of open testimony. At that moment, the value of following Christ is established. 

(Excerpt from "Acts of Obedience" by Steven C. Hawthorne from Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Fourth Edition, edited by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, p. 139)

16. Warrior: How to Fight for Your Faith, Family, Finances, and Future


This book was sent to me in exchange for an unbiased review.

We are in a battle, and Ed Rush makes that abundantly clear as he walks the reader through the life of Christ, the Warrior King and a man on a mission. I like that the author is fairly self-effacing about himself. He is transparent about his weaknesses and foibles. I also appreciate what he did for our country as a fighter pilot in Iraq. All those are things in this author's favor. 

Rush talks of the power available to us through the Holy Spirit and that prayer, fasting, and obedience are part of the "power pattern," and this is awesome. He talks of Jesus telling His disciples to wait until they are clothed with "power from on high" (Luke 24:48-49). He talks of the authority we have been given by Jesus' Great Commission to "go and "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:18-20). 

This results in Rush concluding that you should make disciples by choosing fellow warriors who "love to spend time with Jesus, who understand his word, who cast out demons, and who make disciples" (Location 1433-41). Amen! Loved that. 

Rush clarifies the mission:

 "So what is our new mission on earth? Here you go: exercise our authority and crush Satan."  

But then he doesn't go on with that. He doesn't flesh out what it means to make disciples of all the nations. I would have liked to hear more about the Great CoMISSION to go out making disciples of all peoples of the world. This was disappointing because part of "crushing Satan" is seeing his dominion diminish throughout the darkest parts of the earth (Matthew 24:14)! That is what the disciples did after they were clothed with power on high (Acts 1:8). Where is the call to go to the ends of the earth to start disciplemaking movements throughout the most unreached people of the world? Where is the call to a lifelong commitment to disciplemaking? It builds up to that crescendo about halfway through the book, and then it falls short for me.

Warrior did not "wow" me like it did all the other reviewers on Amazon.com. But most of those reviewers were written by men. Rush gives solid biblical advice. I wish he would have given a William Wallace war cry to go into enemy territory and fulfill the Great Commission, but that doesn't always sell books and fill stadiums. 

Rush is a man's man. So I think he is probably speaking to the men out there who need a good military kick in their personal lives and families, there is nothing wrong with that, but Rush built up my expectation to believe that his charge would be bigger and beyond that, and I have to admit I was disappointed! So close, yet so far. 

For more on what you can do to take up the battle cry, go to Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: http://www.perspectives.org/site/pp.aspx?c=eqLLI0OFKrF&b=2806295





15. Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict by David Jacobson


First of all, let me say that this is the coolest cover EVER for any book I have ever read. The woman's eyes are amazing against the purple head covering. Perfect.


I finished this book two weeks ago, and I cannot tell you how many times I have referred back to it whenever I hear a news report or have a discussion with others about what is happening around the Muslim world. This book will inform your perspective in very profound ways. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 


In his introduction, the author states, "I have endeavored to make the text as accessible as possible to the interested general reader, while (I trust) not sacrificing the rigor of argument and supporting evidence" (p. 18)


I believe he strikes the perfect balance between good scholarship and readability for the common man! I could not put this book down. 

Jacobson explains global terrorism in its cultural context rather than generalizing and blaming it all on the religion of Islam. He does this by using the Tribalism Index:


The Tribalism Index is able, on its own, to explain a remarkable 68 percent of rates of religiously motivated violence (based on data drawn from tabulations of the National Counterterrorism Center [NCTC] for 2005 to 2010.) This influence is dramatic— the likelihood of a national from a country with a tribalism score of 1.0 causing a terrorist incident is 6.5 million times higher than a national from a hypothetical state scoring 0. If we add additional variables of social globalization, Muslim percent of population, and per capita GDP, we can account for 93 percent of the religiously motivated violence. . . we are able to isolate tribal patriarchy as a major factor in driving religiously motivated violence when we seek to predict the patterns shown in NCTC data. We are able to state, with assurance, that a state’s movement from one end of the tribal patriarchy spectrum to the other predicts an extraordinary increase in the production of religious violence on the part of nationals. (p. 118)
Simply put, Muslim societies are somewhat less violent than their non-Muslim counterparts if we factor out the presence of tribalism. However, when increasing Muslim population is combined with high levels of tribal patriarchy, religiously motivated violence is more likely to be exported across national borders. (p. 118) 
On top of this, he is able to predict how tribal patriarchy affects groups of people who migrate to other countries, specifically Britain and France. He comes to the fascinating conclusion "the French republican model, with its stress on assimilation, works better than British multiculturalism, with respect to Muslim women’s progress and to national integration in the respective countries" (p.18). So fascinating!

This review cannot possibly convey the brilliance of this book. It is revolutionary and should be a part of college global studies courses and read by anyone dealing with the Muslim world.  


The only drawback of the Kindle version is that the author's charts are difficult to read and cannot be enlarged, but I was able to find similar charts online here:


http://citizenshipinitiative.org/tribalism-index/ 


The difficulty reading the charts has nothing to do with the content. Therefore, I still give this a full five star rating. 


I was sent a complimentary Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

More on "Stay Calm and Hydrate"

Drinking Water May Speed Weight Loss:

'via Blog this'

This is an expansion of that Berlin study. Fascinating that for women they burned carbohydrates and men burned fat when they drank the water. Why is that? Inquiring minds want to know! My husband and I think it is because women's body prioritize energy expenditure differently. We need biologically hold on to more fat because we need it for child bearing. :)

Finally found the actual scientific study (for the science nutritionist part of me):

http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/88/12/6015.short

Also got this fun email from someone in my weight accountability loop:


Let’s all remember to drink plenty of water today! J . . .  and to smile! J




The Bible and Classical Literature

I found this on a blog called "Classics and the Bible" by Adriana@Classical Quest, and I could not agree more:


"The centrality of the Bible for Christians means that they ought never to despise learning. By precept, by example, by its history, and by its very nature, the Bible opens up to us the whole world of truth."
~Gene Edward Veith Jr.


This reminds me so much of what I am learning as I read Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior. Stay tuned for a review of this book (I am savoring the chapter on Jane Eyre and do not want it to end). It is SO where I am with classical literature and the connection with truth!!!!!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Stay Calm and Hydrate


Last week, I CRASHED energy-wise on Wednesday and Friday, but I think I was DEHYDRATED! That makes me tired and really MUNCHIE!

I hydrated really well on Saturday (drank a bunch when I first got up in the morning, had my 20 ounces bottle with me as I walked to book club, filled up with yummy lemon water while there, filled up again for my workout, filled up again for my walk home, etc.). I have not been as good with that in the last couple of weeks.

This is what I read recently:
Staying hydrated will help you lose weight. Nutritionists and trainers always notice that their clients seem to lose weight more easily if they drink enough water, and now researchers from the University Medicine Berlin in Germany may have discovered why. Their studies show that drinking two cups of water raises metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories) by about 30 percent. This effect peaks in about thirty minutes and disappears completely in about an hour. Researchers estimate that if you drink about six cups of water daily, you could, theoretically, burn an extra 48 calories a day, which could translate into a 5-pound weight loss for the year. 
Other ways water may lower the number on your scale: it might help you eat a little less. We often mistake thirst for hunger; instead of filling up a glass with water, we turn to food. So stave off thirst, and you may shave off some calories. And going into your workout well-hydrated gives you more energy and endurance. You'll get the most out of your hour at the gym or your walk, burning more calories and increasing fitness. 
(http://www.sharecare.com/question/how-drinking-water-helps-weight-loss)

So, that is my goal for the week: Stay Calm and Hydrate! 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

14. Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache by Alice Wisler

 I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. 

This book is beautifully written, hitting all the points of working through grief in a way that is not overly sentimental but focused on the God who daily bears our burdens. I love her reflections and prayer walking ideas. I would definitely recommend this for any one who needs to gain perspective when the journey of life seems hopeless. This woman has been through the Valley and has come through it with a depth of relationship with God that is mature and beautiful. She will mentor many through this book.

ISBN: 0891124195

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Final Frontier

". . . the love handles will probably be the last thing to go, because that's where most of your fat is stored." (http://health.ninemsn.com/whatsgoodforyou/theshow/694570/how-much-exercise-do-you-need-before-you-start-burning-fat)


Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Freewrite

I am a little down right now. I think I am just exhausted from all the drama over the last couple of days. Not drama of my own making but other people's drama that I have chosen to be a part of to support those who are hurting.

I am sad, and I am sure that the drama reminds me of my brother's death. I am grieving that this afternoon. I do not have big "dips" in my mood any more, so this down feeling is pretty foreign to me. 

I think I am at the end of my intense writing phase. I took the last nine days and really cracked down hard, and I got a lot done. It is going to take a long time to finish it up, but I need to take breaks now and then, and I am ready for that break now. Need a time of refreshment.

So, I will do that tomorrow. I think I hear George coming in the truck. Maybe I am wrong. I am resting and watching the news right now.


I know that I is OK. Bye

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...