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Celebrations

How To Heal the World with a Few Forgotten Changes

Hi there! What country are you currently in? Would you say you live in a land that needs God’s intervention?

America, heading into her 246th birthday, needs Him like never before. She needs God to step in with forgiveness and miraculous healing! He will, if…

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

2 Chronicles 7:14, 15

God didn’t tell me just to hope and pray for America to change. He told me to humble myself, pray and seek His face, and turn from my sin. I don’t need to bring revival to the country, only to me. If each of God’s people would change only themselves, God would change the World.

Will I? Will you?

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Recommendations

Choose Foods That Will Make You Feel Better

Hello, my precious friends! I hope you’re feeling sunny and bright on this wonderful day. But even if not, I’m so glad you’re here!

What I have to share might help with some physical, mental, and emotional angst we’re carrying. Much of it is likely linked to what we’re eating. Why not choose foods that will make us feel better?

I want to choose better foods to address three specific areas of interest

1. Brain Cognition

If you read my last post, you know I have been dealing with brain fog. It has been interesting. You all have been so supportive and kind. I really appreciate your encouragement and prayers! I have been doing some research and reading up on things that can help with clarity of thought. I’ve been specifically focusing on which foods I should choose for better brain cognition.

2. Lower Cholesterol

I conducted a similar study awhile back when I received lab results indicating unexpectedly high cholesterol. I wanted to do better. I discovered that I could choose foods which would lower the numbers.

It was a chaotic time in my life and instead of making the necessary changes, I put my research in a file for a later date. My most recent lab tests revealed that my cholesterol is still a problem. No surprise there since I never really addressed it.

3. Gut Health

Another interest (just pure fascination), which has caused me to study food choice, is gut health. I’m learning about foods in both probiotic and prebiotic categories. By maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, we can counter much of the inflammation from which we suffer. I’m not an expert, by any means. I’ve just done some digging and saved the information I’ve gathered into my growing file of findings.

microbiome: noun / the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body).

Dictionary.com

An overlap in the research results?

Was there a significant overlap in the suggested diets for these three areas of interest, or was it my imagination? This week, I finally sat down and opened my fat file to pull my research together. I charted it into a concise cheat sheet with the goal of centering my diet on these healing foods. I also wanted to share it with you because life is beautiful, and we enjoy it most when we are feeling our best!

A chart illustrating the overlap of suggested foods to eat for enhancing cholesterol levels, brain cognition, and gut health
Choose foods that will help you feel better! Here is a cheat sheet.

I put the foods which I read could help lower dangerous LDL cholesterol into the blue circle. (Some of them can also boost the helpful HDL cholesterol while they’re at it!) The teal ring encapsulates foods which have been found to assist with brain cognition. The foods in the purple circle are said to improve gut health.

There really is a large overlap! The foods that are known to be good for all three areas of interest are nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, green tea, fruits, and soy products. These are in the center where the circles converge. Choosing these over other things can help you feel relief from several ailments at once!

The graph also logs foods which have been shown to help with one area of concern or overlap on two of them. Around the edges of the illustration, I have listed the specific items I found mentioned under some broader category headings. For instance, “whole grains” are widely touted, but specifically, I saw oats, bran, quinoa, and brown rice repeated in my research.

A few disclosures

I cannot certify that these findings are proven or complete. This is just a compilation of what I read, from sources I consider to be reputable. I plan to use it as a tool for my own meal planning and thought you might be interested as well.

Full disclosure – One of my granddaughters is visiting for a couple weeks and my grandson will arrive just after she leaves. Summers and grandkids pretty much require ice cream dates and other treats which are not on this list. They yield a different kind of wonderful feeling and I’m all here for it while I can be! I will embrace these ingredients completely in my daily menus next month.

But I’m looking forward to mid-July to see if I begin to feel better. I will eat with intention and keep you posted. There, now I’ve said it “out loud” and I welcome the accountability!

Use the cheat sheet in any way that is helpful

How about you? Have you noticed a correlation between your quality of life, sense of wellness, and your diet? Do you choose foods based on what will make you feel better? Are you interested in any of the categories I’ve studied? If so, please feel free to save, print, share, or do whatever you like with this chart I’ve made. Here’s to better health for us all!

One more thing…

P.S. one last thought. I called these foods “healing” because of the benefits they offer to our physical bodies. But they are only so because they were designed and given to us by an All-Powerful God who is Jehovah Rapha, our Great Physician. He is our Creator, Healer, Life Giver, and Sustainer.

Never do I want to elevate the created thing above the Creator. My faith is in God. He is the Good Father who gives good gifts. Healthy food is one of those gifts, given for our enjoyment and benefit. So is the gift of taste. I’m incredibly thankful for the creativity in His provision, aren’t you? All glory to God by Whom we are enabled to live well, eat well, and be well!

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Emotions

Living a Heart-Rock Life in a Proven Hard-Knock World

It’s the hard-knock life! I’m sure you’ve heard the sentiment, made famous by the popular Broadway musical “Annie”. It is relatable as it focuses on the difficulties of living.

Empty belly life

Rotten smelly life

Full of sorrow life

No tomorrow life

Excerpted from the lyrics of “It’s the Hard-Knock Life” by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin

I went to the store last night and found the price of eggs has TRIPLED in the last couple of weeks. So much for inexpensive protein! Empty belly life? Not quite. But I briefly considered a chicken coop in my small space, which could make for a more rotten smelly life for sure!

Jokes aside, this world is full of tribulation, and it is easy to get focused on the hard knocks. But God.

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33b

Have you noticed the lens through which you look at life can be changed dramatically by a few hard knocks? I have! My optimistic nature which typically notices blessings and beauty can flip on its pessimistic head and suddenly the struggles loom larger than anything else.

I was out walking a few weeks back and I was burdened by some hard knocks. My fur-baby had died (you can read about that here) and it was lonely to be on a walk without him. I had also received some pressing news about a loved one which weighed on me. I’m sure you know the feeling.

I was in an area where my dog had loved to sniff around. My heart was heavy. My footsteps felt labored. My eyes were downcast.

God knew it and He met me there. We don’t have a God who says, “Eyes up! You know better. When you pull yourself together and look at me, I have something to show you.” No, He gets in our line of sight and attracts our focus to Himself. From there, He lifts our heads.

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts up my head.”

Psalm 3:3

With my head hanging and my gaze downward, I saw this:

A grey heart-shaped rock on a bed of red gravel and pine needles.
Hard-knocks are real, but so are heart-rocks!

I’ve been on the lookout for hearts in creation. It began in January with Valentines from God. I started a photo challenge and boy, have I been feeling the love ever since!

On this day, Jesus reminded me that hard-knocks are real, yes, but so are heart-rocks. In other words, the struggle is great, but He is greater. I feel burdened but He is there, offering encouragement and aid.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

It’s the heart-rock life for us! We walk through the hard knocks with a Savior who loves us. He has promised perfection in Heaven and, if we have accepted it, He is personally escorting us there. He keeps us going; encouraging us when we’re down, giving us strength when we’re weary, and carrying us when we can’t muster another step.

Are your eyes open to the figurative, and maybe even literal, heart rocks our God places around you? He is Love. Any token of Himself to which He draws our attention should remind us of His affection toward us.

When we start to dwell too much on the hard knocks of this broken world, may we refocus on the heart rocks He offers along the way !

Will you be on the watch for hearts from God? When you see one in the clouds, shadows, trees, rocks, or anywhere, snap a quick photo and share it! Be sure to link back to the original Photo Challenge post so we can gather them all in one place.

Be blessed today, my friend. Time has proven there will always be hard-knocks in this world. What kinds of struggles are you facing? It would be my honor to pray for you.

Together, we can give our tribulations to the one who has over come them. Because of Jesus, it’s the heart-rock life for us! May His joy and peace be with you.

Categories
Emotions

A Gift of Love from God’s Heart is Special Anytime!

Hello everyone! I hope you’re feeling loved today! Because, you know what? You are! Think about this for a minute…

Jesus, Creator of the whole universe, loves you so much that even if you were the only person on earth, He would have willingly died on the cross to make a way to spend eternity with you.

“He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed. For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

1 Peter 2:24, 25

I really believe that! I don’t understand it… but I believe it! I was telling my husband the other day that it makes no sense to me that God is so enamored with His human creation. We are ridiculous, are we not? And yet, we cannot even fathom the depth of His love for us!

“How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure”

Stuart Townend

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38, 39

At the end of January, I proposed a photo challenge related to Valentines from God. Click here to see that original post. Since then, I’ve been finding hearts in all kinds of places.

Let’s be honest, all of nature is a gift from our Creator. He didn’t have to make it so pleasing to our senses, but He did! It is spectacular in every way. But when it comes shaped like a heart, I can’t help but feel the love. Here’s one of my recent favorites:

A heart shaped tuft of grass
A little “Psst, I love you!” note from God as I walked past the medical office the other day.

It’s just a little tuft of grass, but God designed it, gave it life, made it grow, directed my eyes toward it, and touched my heart with it. I’m hoping He uses it to encourage you today too! Don’t think for a minute that God doesn’t care that much about grass or about you…

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith!”

Luke 12:27, 28

A gift of love from God’s heart is special anytime, right? Tokens of His affection feel good all year round. So, I decided to gather the hearts I’ve been finding and restart the photo challenge. Stay tuned for more!

In the meantime, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for tokens of affection that God has placed around you. Please share them! Tag this original post, Sunning Valentines from God Photo Challenge, when you do, so we can compile them all in one place. Awesome, thanks! I can’t wait to see what you find!

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Recommendations

The Powerful Gift of People in Battle-Worn Armor

The final whistle blows at the end of a high school football game. The coaches call the players into a brief huddle, then dismiss them to the locker room. They don’t make it too far in that direction before the sea of proud parents, close friends, and maybe a reporter or two, flood onto the field and block their way.

Proud words are exchanged and photos are taken. Some of the athletes look and smell great, and their families gather in close. But others look tired, smell like they need a shower, and their loved ones may be reticent to touch their dirty, sweaty, and sometimes even blood-stained uniforms.

The truth is those people who are battle-worn have been a powerful gift to the game, their teammates, and the fans. They’ve dug deep, fought hard, and look and smell worse for wear. Grime on a player is an indicator of hard work. It shows diligence in the off season, extra effort at practice, proven skills, and a willingness to do whatever was needed to excel in the game.

Football players in the mud
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Grime indicates grit.

Spiritually, we need to perceive people the same way. Sometimes, we seek out the appealing scent of those fresh from the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong, we can find friends there. But we must recognize the powerful gift of people in battle-worn armor. When push comes to shove, and the enemy comes hunting, we need those who can, and will, put it all on the line to battle with us and for us.

We should seek out prayer warriors, soldiers of the cross of Christ, people decked out in worn-out Ephesians 6 armor. We need those who diligently train for spiritual warfare, fight hard, and emerge victorious in Jesus’ name.

People who are equipped and ready to speak the words of God over us are an invaluable gift. We want friends with battle-worn armor, because those are the ones with experience. They have expertise to lend.

The words "Find friends with battle-worn armor" against a cloudy sky.
Pristine armor probably indicates someone who is ill-equipped or reluctant to join the battle.

Like it or not, we are called to Spiritual Warfare. Don’t look first to keep company with someone whose armor is shiny and neat. Seek out the sword that is tattered, the helmet that is worn, and the shield that is scarred. The bearer of those arms is a true warrior who will battle for and alongside you with determination and valor. Never underestimate the powerful gift of people in battle-worn armor.

Mama Lava

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

This is a good time for self reflection as well. What kind of friend are you? Is your armor in used condition? Do people find you to be a powerful and prepared, battle-worn gift when they need one most?

Is your Belt of Truth securely buckled? Is your Breastplate of Righteousness in place? Are your Feet Fitted with Readiness to share the Gospel? Have you taken up your Shield of Faith? Have you accepted your Helmet of Salvation? Do you have the Sword of the Spirit ready in hand? Have you assumed a Posture of Prayer? Are you resting on an Attitude which has been grounded and founded upon Christ Jesus? Is your outfit appropriate for a dress code which requires full armor? And most importantly, is your armor tested and battle worn?

Categories
Emotions

One Insider Tip for Handling Searing Dread

Dread. It’s one of those experiences which, once felt, lingers just under the surface for easy access. I’ll bet you sensed the shudders of it as you just read the word.

I can tell you, verbatim, the stories which have accompanied my encounters with searing dread. I had reason to share one of them with my son the other day, along with one insider tip I gained. A good thing about a strong emotional experience is that the accompanying lessons stay close for recall.


This story took place thirty years ago and yet my blood pressure still rises with every thought of it. Chances are, you’ve lived through a similar situation. Let me set the scene.

I was newly married and starting life with my handsome groom. We had one car between us. I needed employment, so my grand plan was to find one near where he worked and commute together.

I got dressed up and drove in with my husband one day. I had 8 hours, the duration of his shift, to visit the businesses near his job site and collect applications. I gathered several, planning to complete them that evening and return them the following day.

After a few hours, I had covered several large city blocks. I walked into a sandwich shop and asked if they were hiring. The man behind the register surprised me by motioning to a table and asking me to have a seat. He brought me an application and a pen. It felt nice to sit for a minute after walking such a distance in heels, so I completed the paperwork.

The words "If I'd only known then, what I know now..." against a blurred brick wall backdrop
Hindsight is 20/20

Just as I was finishing, the man – who turned out to be the owner – joined me at the table. He looked over my application and told me I was hired. He handed me an apron and started my orientation. I was so surprised and so completely taken off guard, that I just went with it.

Before I left, he handed me a schedule. My first full shift was to be the next day. I walked back to the car, just as my husband was getting off work. We felt celebratory! As far as we could tell, my day had been an unexpected success.

I worked a few days at the sandwich shop. I discovered that the manager enjoyed putting people ill at ease and watching their reactions. His move of hiring me on the spot and expecting me to complete orientation in my heels was part of that power play. He was pushy. He found entertainment in causing and reveling in the discomfort of others. I found it awful.

So when the proprietor of the cozy café just behind where my husband worked suddenly offered me a job, it took me less than 2 seconds to accept. But I had to quit the sandwich shop. Enter the searing dread.

dread /dred/ verb: great fear or apprehension.

Dictionary.com

I knew the owner would not make it easy on me. This was before the days of cell phones or email, so I had to face him. As expected, he displayed great satisfaction from throwing a fit and embarrassing me in front of everyone. I tried to give a 2-week written notice. He tore it up with flair.

His reaction confirmed for me that I’d made the right decision for myself. But I will never-ever forget the lump in my throat as I walked the longest few blocks in my life to go resign. The searing dread was real! I had to will my feet to move against what felt like a wall of bricks that got heavier with every step. Do you know the feeling?


I’ve shared that story several times because I’ve known others in similar dreadful positions. The most recent one was my son. He had a choice with his. He could ignore the difficult situation, not have the dreaded conversation, and just walk away. Or he could face it and put it to rest.

I told my story to my son and pointed out how well I remember it. I warned him that he’d probably always remember his too. I expressed to him what I believe is the key, the one insider tip I know for handling searing dread.

Situations of searing dread need to be handled with utmost integrity.

If the experience is going to stick with him, he needs to know that he handled it correctly. Wouldn’t it be awful to recall shame on top of dread?

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Psalm 34:4, 5

I will always feel badly about quitting a job so soon after being hired. I do not like to disappoint or inconvenience others. But I am grateful for a clear conscience about it before the Lord. The few stressful days I spent at the sandwich shop really made me appreciate the sweet café job He gave me instead.

Yes, I remember the searing dread. Boy do I! But I gained one insider tip about handling it with integrity, which has served me well over the years. Hopefully it will now benefit my son, and maybe you.

Can you relate to my story? Have you felt searing dread that you will never forget? How did you handle it? Do you have any insider tips to share from your experience?