Step By Step

I was encouraged by the support that you have given me in my personal challenge. Even more surprised by those who decided to join me.

So far I have been doing great with my meals and recording them. Where I am struggling is exercise. I am up almost 2,000 steps a day, but struggle with getting my weight lifts (small 10 lb weights) twice a day. I do them at least once a day. Then the recording of blood sugars and blood pressure. That won’t be important to everyone, but remember I want to get off insulin and other meds. I must document these readings for the doctor.

I have always struggled with details, but details keep you accountable. If I am to reach goal, I must do everything decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)

One of the things I learned by doing Susan Gregory’s Daniel Fast for Weight Loss Plan is that if you mess up, get right back up and begin again. Do not wait until the next day, Don’t let the enemy get a foothold. Repent and begin again.

WiseGeek says, “The slang term “the devil is in the details” has a number of different senses. All of the meanings for the term boil down to the fact that it is often the small details of something which make it difficult or challenging. These details can prolong a task, or foil an otherwise straightforward dealing. Like many proverbs which involve the devil, it is meant to sound a note of caution. It may also be used to excuse or explain the obfuscation of an otherwise very simple project or task.
In one sense, one might say “the devil’s in the details” to refer to very small but ultimately important components of a larger task. For example, performing a scientific experiment in a laboratory is a hugely involved task which can sometimes be highly dangerous. A small error at the beginning can translate into a useless experiment at the end, so experimenters are reminded that the devil’s in the details. This reminder is intended to encourage the scientists to check their work, and to be thorough and careful in the lab….

Looking out for the small details in life is generally a good practice, since it greatly reduces the risk of surprise. While some surprises are pleasant, those planned by the devil are generally not, so it pays to avoid pitfalls which are preventable by remembering that the devil’s in the details. This behavior is also often rewarded by the world in general, as you will gain a reputation for being careful and thoughtful as well as difficult to fool.”

Dismissing details is an easy trap to fall in and may be our downfall.

I learned in Weight Watchers that it is important to stay near your point level. If you don’t, your body will think you are starving and slow down your metabolism to keep weight on.,

I learned from Be in Health that my body responds to my thoughts. I have to pay attention to how I think and speak about myself.

These are life lessons that we must not only learn, but apply. If we fall, we get back up and begin again.

Have a blessed walk today.

Beginning My 90 Day Challenge

I am not a lover of accountability. Accountability eliminates your ability to lie to yourself and live in the isle of denial. Accountability always brings much-needed change.

So today I start Weight Watchers. I will have to write what I eat. I am diabetic and even though it allows me to eat an unlimited amount of certain fruit I really don’t metabolize it at this stage of the game. I have to count points. I cannot lie to myself any longer.

Now for me and for the goals I have set, I am also committing to recording blood sugars and blood pressure. I want to get off insulin this year. That would be like getting an annual income increase  of $5,000.

I will record exercise. I already record steps on my Fitbit, but I need to double the steps. I have a very simple beginning upper body exercise to do as well. I have bat wings and they have to go.

May is chocked full of family events. I have two grandchildren graduating from high school in Florida on separate dates, of course. My mom will turn 90 in May. Even though I cannot go to her because of the other two trips, the best gift I could give her is to weigh below 200.

I have recognized that self-retaliation, self-sabotage and guilt have held me captive and caused a lot of joint pain. Obesity causes joint pain. Sugar causes joint pain. Running to false comforters whether sugar or carbs, causes joint pain. This is why I must journal intake and the result.

I am a visual learner and this journal will certainly help me. I hope to honest record emotions and feelings for they have controlled me too long. I choose to be free of that bondage. How about you?

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

This is my goal. I believe it will enable me to finish strong.

Ninety days end Sunday, May 20th, smack dab in the middle of the graduations. I am believing that I will have my sort of graduation as well.

Hope you will join me.

Tumbleweed Season of Life

This has been a very interesting year. It actually began the last week of last year when I dear friend provoked me to think deeper into some past history. The purpose was to deal with things I had stuffed at the time and had never had the courage to face.  It has been like a tumbling tumbleweed experience.

A tumbleweed is rounded and when it breaks off, it isn’t just to tumble but is actually spreads thousands of seeds which will in due season bring more tumbleweeds. Often those seeds don’t seem to take root, because the soil is parched and cracked.

As I broke off  stuffed thoughts and began to tumble about, I received a deeper freedom and new revelation about the truth of some matters. I spread seed to share truth.

The really cool part has been that as I spread more and more, I see more clearly. We are called to be transparent. The more seed the tumbleweed sows, the more transparent it becomes.

The truth is, it is not all about us, but it about the lives we touch.

What ONE Thing Can You Do?

A friend texted me saying she was returning some containers that Ray and I had sent up with soup. She feeds the homeless in Atlanta in the most novel way.

I immediately called Ray and asked him to boil and soak three pounds of different beans and take out two ham bones. By the time I got home, the beans had soaked and were ready to cook. We added onions, peppers and those meaty ham bones that you get from Honey Baked Ham. I added the rice about a half hour before she came. She brought the containers and I refilled them.

She puts them in insulated coffee cups with lids and then takes them to her adjacent neighborhood where there are small groups of homeless gather. It was going to be a rainy week.

I no longer have the stamina to stand in a soup kitchen and cook and serve, but this one thing I can do. I sincerely believe everyone has that ONE thing that God has called them to do. There is no comparison. None greater than the other. It may be giving someone a ride or mowing a lawn. Everyone has the opportunity to do something.

There are several places in the Word where we are called to that ONE thing:

Philippians 3 says:

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 27: 4 is my heart’s cry: One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in works that we overlook that ONE thing He has called us to. What is that ONE thing for you?

I was struck by a video found on my friend, Mona DeFries Facebook page.

Mona and Larry have mastered the ONE thing concept and began Boundless Pennies. Right now she is the middle of her biggest challenge. For several years she has among other things, she has helped people with their dental work. In the beginning it was a challenge of perhaps $1500, BUT LAST YEAR THE LORD PRESENTED HER WITH A $80,000 CHALLENGE. She and Larry had never done anything close to that, but the need was so great.

She met a woman who could not open her mouth to eat. She is doing a fundraiser in a matter of weeks. Can you help Bonnie with her surgery needs?

I want to close with this video that shows the power of one:


New Level of Freedom

Yesterday I ended my 21 day Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is a partial fast that eliminates anything not grown from a seed and only allows water to drink. I discovered a lot about myself in this journey.

First I purposed that this would not be all about food. Although I have issues with carbs and sugar, I am a triune being- body, soul and spirit. It was my heart’s desire to confront the sin in all the corners.

Do you remember that child’s toy where you hammer one thing and another pops up? That is a picture of my fast. There was one big difference this time. When I saw it, I didn’t go under it. When I recognized it, I took it to the Father and repented.

I did not have victory every single time. For instance, I ate all the proper foods and drank only water, but in all honesty, there was a constant struggle with portion size. Now I could reason that an extra salad or piece of fruit isn’t the end of the world, but the reality is my body did not need it and my stomach would never shrink if constantly overate.

Part of the time I was doing physical therapy for my body, but when that was up, I did not follow through with the next level. I received some information today that may take care of that.

Where I made the most gain is in the spirit realm by a steady diet of His Word. Chapters I had read many times before came alive to me and convicted me and transformed me.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I began to treasure that early morning time alone with Him. It was a habit that I had let fall when I focused more on the cares of the world. I found by spending that sweet time alone with Him and His Word,  He ordered my day and I was not overwhelmed by anything that came my way.  I figured that God wasn’t caught off-guard. So why should I worry?

The fast exposed another level of critical spirits that I had to weed out. Before I began I had read a secular book that exposed the reason that I always held people at arms’ distance. So I made strides to correct that.

Ray and I got involved in feeding a small cadre of homeless in Atlanta through another ministry. We both love to cook. So we simply prepared hot soups for them to share. We were also gifted with other things to share with them. It is a small thing, but a beginning.

Just to be clear I did not do everything perfectly, but I had a new level of freedom to forgive myself and keep on going. I didn’t beat myself up for not doing it right. Nor did I not make excuses. I made course corrections instead.

By no means am I suggesting that you immediately begin a 21 day Daniel Fast. I believe that you are called to fast. When you heed that call, it is so much easier because you are not doing it in your own strength.

I do believe the first fast you should do is found in Isaiah 58:

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

This should be our daily fast. Begin.

No Longer Slaves (I own no rights)

Loving Him With Your Whole Heart

During this Daniel Fast, I have seen how I serve God with a divided heart. Now they aren’t BIG sins (funny how we measure sin. They are little things like for convenience using the restaurant’s dressing which you know will have sugar. Or the other night I was feeling all righteous ordering a salad at a pizza parlor. When it came with their dressing, it had mozzarella cheese on top. That’s dairy. Not allowed. But I ate it anyway, because it had been hours since we had a meal.

The point is I am still making exceptions for myself and, therefore,  not loving Him with my whole heart. I found a very encouraging word in the Bible this morning. Jeremiah 32:39-41. God recognized the sin of His people but this was His future promise.

39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

The Israelite had done everything from denying God as Lord to burning their  babies to Molech, but he promises a future. He sees the beginning to the end.

I was reminded of a prophecy I heard years ago in Dallas. It was a call to lay it all down and He will restore. I face today with a hope and future.

Charlotte Baker in 1981
Worship Symposium
Dallas, TX

…The Eye of the Needle … The Eye of Needle
The Gate of Worship

The Ultimate Choice
“I have brought this people together today to make unto you a choice. You can minister unto men…or you can minister unto the King of Glory!”

I stood among the sons of men, strong and tall. My heart was filled with enthusiasm. My life was given to the purposes of God. Upon that day, I said to the Lord, “I will do mighty exploits in the name of my God.” The Lord came unto me and He said, “What is it, son of man, that thou would have?” I said, “Lord, if I could only be among those who play sweetly upon an instrument and who sing well in the house of the Lord, then I would do great things for my God.”

The Lord came to me and He gave unto me the desire of my heart. He let me play and He let me sing. I saw the day when the hearts of men were moved by that thing the Lord had given unto me. After hearts of men were moved, I stood back and I said to myself, “Now I will be content for I have been able to move the hearts of men.”

But in my secret hour I bowed my head before my God and said, “Lord, You have given me what I asked for but my heart is heavy. I have a longing for something more.”

He came again unto me in the night season. He asked me again, “Son of man, ask Me again the thing that thou would have of Me.” I said, “Lord I see men bowed by burdens low. I see hearts that are broken. I see sadness and discouragement. Oh give me the power of the spoken word that I might speak the word and their hearts be delivered.” The Lord came unto me and said, “Son of man, I have given thee the things which thou hast desired.”

With great joy, I marched before the people of God. In my youth and in my enthusiasm, I spoke the Word and men were delivered. I spoke the Word and their hearts were made whole. I knew what it was to bind up the broken hearted and to pour in the oil of joy replacing their mourning.

While men were yet praising Him, glorifying His name, I went back to my secret chamber, I bowed my head in sorrow. I said, “Oh my God, my God, I am not satisfied.”

He came again unto me and He said, “Son of man, what is it that thou desireth of Me?” And I said, “Oh my God, give me power in my hands that as You did, I might lay my hands upon the sick and see the healing flow.” He said unto me, “It is done as thou has commanded.”

God healed the sick. I went to the nations of the earth and I saw the sick raised from their beds. I saw pain and suffering go away. I was rejoicing as I went to my secret place. I bowed my head before my God. I said, “Now my God, I will be satisfied for you have given me that which I have desired.” No sooner had the words come out of my mouth when the heart within me began to ache and cry. I said, “God, I don’t understand. Again my heart is sad. Lord, will You, just one more time, give me the thing I ask of Thee?” he said, “It is done.”

“God, I desire to go against principalities and powers, the powers of the wickedness of this world and spiritual darkness in high places. He said, “Surely I give it unto thee. Now go.” So I went and the Lord allowed me to go into dens of iniquity, the holes and dives where men hide from the light because of the sin and evil that is upon them. There was a day when I saw demons cry out at the very presence of the power of God that rested on me.

Then I went back to my secret place broken. I said, “God, I have asked You for all that I desired and still my heart is not yet satisfied. Nor do I feel that I have touched the thing that You have called me to. In my youth I have expended myself with all the things that my heart had desired.”

Then one more time a gracious and loving God visited me in the night season. He said, “Now – what is it that thou dost desire?” In brokenness of heart, I bowed before Him and I said, “God, only that thing which You desire to give unto me.”

He came unto me and said, “Come with Me and I will take you on a journey.” He took me past my friends. He took me past those with whom I had come into the house of the Lord. He took me into a desolate place. He caused me to go into a place alone in the wilderness. I said, “Oh my God, what are you doing to me? You have cut me off from those I love.” He said, “I take thee to the place where all men must come if their heart’s cry is to be fulfilled.” At a certain hour, I bowed before a gate that is called…

The Eye of the Needle, The gate of Worship!

There before the eye of the Needle I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Bow low.” So I bowed lower. He said “Yet lower. Thou does not go low enough.” So I went as low as I could possibly go.

But I had upon my back my books of learning. I had with me my instruments of music. I had with me my gifts and abilities. He said unto me, “Thou has too much, thou can not go through this gate.”

I said, “But God, You have given me these books. You have given me these abilities.” He said, “Drop them. or thou dost not go.”

So I dropped them. I went through a very small gate that is called “the eye of the needle.” As I went through this gate, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Now rise to the other side.” As I rose, a very strange thing happened to me. You see, the gate which was so small on one side that I must lay aside everything, was now so wide I could not fill it. As I stood in the presence of the Lord I said, “God, what is this thing that You have done unto me, for my soul is now satisfied?”

He said, “Thou has come through the gate of worship. Now come up to the circle of the earth & I will show thee a great mystery. I will reveal unto thee the thing that I doing among the sons of men.”

The Spirit of the Lord caught me away. He took me to the circle of the earth, higher than where the eagle flies, beyond where the clouds can rumble, beyond where the sun shines or the moon finds her path. There at the throne of my God, He said, “Look down upon My people.”

I saw strange things. I saw my companions gathered around a very small gate that is, “the eye of the needle, the gate of worship.” I saw them wringing their hands and crying. They were saying one to another, “But God has given us these instruments of war. This sword is my sword and I will work with it against the enemy to bring him down. I cannot go through this gate, for, if I go through this gate, I must put down my sword. God has called me to be a warrior and therefore, I will not do it.”

And I heard another one say, “”Me? Lay down my instruments of music? Lay down all God has given me, just to go through that silly little gate, to be nothing but a bare man who comes out the other side stripped of everything? I cannot do this thing.”

I saw them as they stood aside in their pride, afraid to bow themselves before a very small gate.

Then I saw again, as the Lord brought me closer to the gate. I saw a man bow low, laying down everything that he had. As he came through the very wide gate on the other side, his instruments of music were there. His sword was there. His books were there. The power was there.

The Word of the Lord came to me, “Go now and tell this people before you, I have given unto this people extreme talents and much ability. But I say unto you today, if you do not come through the very small gate, which is the gate of worship, and bow low and lay before me thine instruments, thy talents, abilities, vision and power, thou shall always be among those who will only be able to minister to the hearts of men, and bless the hearts of men.

But there is a gate open to the Church in this hour, a very small gate. And through this gate, only men and women who are worshippers will go. These people will lay their talents before their God. These people will say, “God, we will be Your worshippers.” Through that wide gate they will come and they will arise on the other side, not to minister unto men, but to minister unto their God.

I have brought you together this day, to make unto you a choice. You can minister unto men and I will cause you to sway the hearts of men with your talent. Or, you can go through a very small gate, that is “the eye of the needle, the gate of worship,” and while making new worshippers, you will minister unto the King of Kings and Lord of lords!”

Taking Out the Trash

I had a visitor after Christmas. She is a very dear friend who seems to love me warts and all.

One of the things that we discussed was my time in a home for unwed mothers over fifty years ago. “Nice girls” don’t get pregnant. If they did, they were sent away to one of these homes.

She said that she had read a book called The Other Mother that described many of the things I went through. I had shoved so much of that down as it was a painful time to be pregnant, feel life growing within you and talking to your child knowing you would never hold her or even see her.

She sent me the book the next week. It took me a week to read it because it was so painful. One by one as it brought up stuffed hurts and pains. I took them to the Father. I understand better why I reacted the way I did on numerous occasions in the past half century.

I recalled all of the regimen of the home. Through the book I recognized how I been programmed to think. It was as if this baby I was carrying was a commodity to be carried and delivered. There was no help with the emotions nor the hole that would be ripped in my heart as I gave up custody.

That hole did not close as I exited the home and returned to “normal” life. My life was shrouded with guilt and shame which drove me into performance and drivenness to prove that I was okay.

When my child was taken from me, I made up my mind that I would never let anyone take any thing from me again. However, when I had other children, I can see now that I often held them at arm’s distance in fear that I would lose them as well. I can see how that fear spilled into other relationships as well.

Even when the daughter I gave up for adoption found me and we were reunited 20 years ago, I was so afraid that I would lose her again. It has made for a very tenuous relationship which is not my heart.

Fear is such a bully.

He needed to be taken out with the trash.

Perfect love casts out fear. I knew I had to receive more of the Father’s love. I saw how I held Him at arm’s distance as well. I used false comforters instead of Him.

We are body, soul and spirit. The book, The Other Mother,  dealt with the soulish realm. It offered some suggestions that I would never endorse, but it, also, exposed those secret places where the enemy had taken up residence. I know how to serve fear an eviction notice. So I did one by one as each fear was exposed.

It was now my responsibility to deal with the other two realms- spirit and physical.

The physical side is being addressed with physical therapy and walking.

For the spiritual side I chose the Daniel Fast, a partial fast. I had destroyed my body by running to the false comforter found in sugar and carbs.

I chose the course taught by Susan Gregory. I have done the Daniel Fast before with little results for two reasons. On the Daniel Fast, the only drink you can have is water. You can splurge and add lemon, but that’s it. However, I would reason that since I drank my coffee and tea without sugar or anything, I could make an exception. The Lord showed me that those exceptions that I  always made were nothing but rebellion. I had choose to fully submit. No exceptions.

I still make mistakes but I am choosing to pick myself up, brush myself off and begin again.

The second reason was I had almost limitless choices of vegetables and fruit, but I did not eat moderately.

I love that Susan asks you to take a week to prepare. You begin to wean yourself off of sugar, caffeine and meat. Because of this, I didn’t experience any of the headaches I generally experience those first three days.

There is a companion workbook. I committed to getting up an hour earlier than Ray to spend time in the Word.  To give myself adequate time with the Word, study, prayer and praise, I gave up television for this 21 day Daniel Fast.

My spirit man is being changed through His love and the power of His Word. I have worked at a ministry for over a decade and have never felt so empowered by His love than I am now. Questions in my spirit are being answered. I have  a ways to go, but I am hearing His direction.

Last Thursday I ran across a study on the Whole Heart   for God had revealed that I was not loving Him with my WHOLE heart. I had a divided heart.

This is a continuing journey. I have made numerous trips to take out the trash in my heart  as this fast continues. I walk it out. I am sure there will be more trips. I do it without guilt or shame because that went to the trash as well.

I just want to encourage you to search heart and if you have any trash to take out, do it speedily. You can never be blackmailed for what you share in the light. You would be amazed at how many people have walked your path. Don’t let fear bully you. God’s love is so much bigger than any of your fears.








Is Your Past Determining Your Future?

It was the early 80s. I had been the director of a downtown business association and let go. It was a $20,000 year job which is equivalent to about $60,000 in today’s economy. I should not have been surprised. I was their fourth director in just a few years. The job loss took a toll on me emotionally and physically. I was newly remarried and had two additional young children.
I began to get sick. Most of it was a consequence of having a gastric bypass surgery several years previously and then more recently going on the Cambridge Diet. It was a near lethal combination.

Late one night Ray drove over an hour to take me to the hospital that had done the original surgery. I was immediately admitted and sent to Critical Care.
My electrolytes were so low that my muscles in my hands and feet were drawn in caricature-like shape. To get nutrients into me quickly they put an IV into my vena cava, a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood into the heart.
With dawn came the hospital’s realization that I no longer had the excellent insurance I had with the original surgery. Ray was given three days to raise $5,000 or they were going to discharge me.
All I heard in my head was $5,000. My life is only worth $5,000. Would anyone care?
Ray called on a benefactor who was a friend of a friend. He agreed to help if the surgery was necessary. However, when his secretary called the doctor’s office, she was told it wasn’t necessary. The gastric bypass was optional. That is true, but my life depended on this reversal. We were denied help.
That afternoon a young intern came into my room. Very curtly she announced that because my husband had not been able to raise the money, they were releasing me. She took a surgical instrument and removed the IV from the vena cava and stitched me up.
Then she said I would not be receiving meals in my room any longer. She gave me a meal pass and told me to go to the hospital cafeteria. This was a large teaching hospital and the cafeteria was quite a distance. I did not know that they had to prove I was ambulatory before they could release me.
Ray was about 90 miles away with five children. I was very frightened. He came the following day to take me home. Arrangements were made for me to be seen at another hospital but they had a backlog and it would be a month before I could be seen.
Before the month was up, I was admitted through the ER and surgery was done. Because of my weakened state, I did not quickly recover. It seemed there was an infection and fever but they couldn’t get to the root of it. After about a week, I was just too weak to keep trying.
God met me in a powerful way. (That’s another story for another day.) I did not die through His intervention.
The post-hospital time was shaky at best. I tried to operate a craft consignment shop, but I simply did not have the capital to get it up and going. In less than two years, we lost everything.
We went from a 4,000 square foot turn of the century Victorian home to a 900 square foot home in the middle of a cow pasture.
I had a lot of self-bitterness. I knew if I had not had that original surgery, this domino fall I called my life would not have happened.
Now I was stranded with no phone or car. Ray worked on the dairy farm for $200 a week less than five years after he had had a good trucking job with a stable income.
I was embarrassed by my lot in life. I wanted those nice things I used to have the nice car, nice house, all the symbols of the descent up the ladder to success.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He restoreth my soul.
God showed me that was what He was trying to do, but I would not. I wanted the things I lost.
I could not see the miracles of how he provided for us. I could tell you incredible stories of provision.
But I wanted what others had.
After a couple of years we did move to a larger farm house. Nevertheless, it was patched with license plates. We even took in two teenagers whose parents could not care for them. The mom was just not emotionally stable and the dad was newly married and the new wife had no interest in having the children in their lives.
All this time I am striving. God is providing, but I had no peace.
Finally Ray decided he need to go back on the road to get me those shiny things. Things were never going to change on $200 a week.
He called the dad and told him that it was time to man up. He was going back on the road and when school ended, he needed to come get his children, ages 13 and 14.
Less 72 hours before he was to arrive, the father drove to the beach and committed suicide.
While I am not responsible for his death, when I look back decades later, I can see now God often supernaturally provided for us, but it wasn’t good enough. I always needed more.
I took my plan and moved to another town where I had it all. However within one year, Ray had blown the transmission and the engine in his big rig and once again we lost everything.
Self-bitterness, bitterness towards God, towards our circumstances, towards the doctors and so many others had brought irrefutable curses in my life.

I began to seek the Lord for Him, not for the things I thought I needed. I began increasing my time in the Word and my prayer life grew in leaps and bounds, but I was still driven by emotions and torn what I thought others were saying or thinking.

Progress was not made until I began to fully believe I was created in His image and the Holy Spirit will enable me to fully take on His characteristics.  It is now my daily walk.

Before that walk could begin, I had to totally forgive myself and others. There is so much freedom in forgiveness. I have been forgiven of so much. How dare I not do the same?

We can stay in our self-righteousness or we can forgive, let go and walk after Him. Unforgiveness is a prison. Following after Him, forgiving and loving unconditionally is freedom.

Live 2018 to the Fullest

One of the wive’s tales I grew up with was  that how you start a year is very important to you and that it determines how you might spend the remainder of the year. While I don’t take stock in it, I do purpose to do some of the things I love and avoid all conflict. Last year I was in the midst of a sickness that lasted until April. At least, I didn’t have it all year and I am in even better health today.

I went to Trip Savvy to learn of the other superstitions that I was raised with growing up. On January 1st, you had to have black-eyed peas, rice and hog jowl. Yep! You read that right. If you didn’t, you would not be healthy and prosperous.

Trip Savvy relates:

Most Southerners will tell you that it dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered animal food (like purple hull peas).

The peas were not worthy of General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas became symbolic of luck.

Black-eyed peas were also given to slaves, as were most other traditional New Year’s foods. Let’s face it: a lot of the stuff we eat on New Year’s is soul food. One explanation of the superstition says that black-eyed peas were all the southern slaves had to celebrate with on the first day of January, 1863. What were they celebrating? That was the day when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. From then on, peas were always eaten on the first day of January.

Others say that since the south has generally always been the place for farming, black-eyed peas are just a good thing to celebrate with in the winter.

I probably need to explain what a hog jowl is—many people have never heard of this cut of pork. It’s the “cheek” of the hog. It tastes and cooks similar to thick cut bacon. It’s a tough cut that is typically smoked and cured. Hog jowl is used to season beans and peas, or fried and eaten like bacon.”

Now we do not use hog jowl. We generally have a ham for Christmas. So I use the ham bone with all its leftover meat and cook it with my black-eyed peas. It is said that if you eat hog jowl on New Year’s Day ,it will ensure health, prosperity and progress.

I love this factoid from Trip Savvy though: Pigs have also long symbolized progress. A pig can’t turn his head to look back without turning completely around, so it’s believed that pigs are always looking to the future.

They continue on with these southern superstitions by asking: Want to get rich? Here in the South, collard greens and corn bread bring the money on on New Year’s Day.

Collard greens (or any greens) sub for cabbage in the south because that’s what we grow here in the late fall. The southern tradition: each bite of greens you eat is worth $1,000 in the upcoming year.

Corn bread represents pocket money or spending money. It’s another soul food we eat on New Year’s. The tradition stems from the color of the bread. It’s color represented “gold” or “coin” money. Plus, it goes well with collard greens, peas and pork.

Well, that is how I was raised. Do I put my faith in these bits of folk lore? Absolutely not, but I think it is important to remember where you came from. I have never been alone in my journey even when there were times that I was sure that I was. Growing up, there were parents, grandparents, friends, family members, coworkers, teachers–who helped me journey through life. This past 17 years at Be in Health helped me build a solid foundation and added stepping stones. Some I chose to take and some I am just now taking.

Recently I realized another level of rebellion that has help my blessings at bay. I am cheerfully dealing with them. A recent visit with a friend helped me deal with things I had stuffed and not dealt with. I have a personal saying, maybe I picked up in my journey. I don’t remember. But it is that people with extra pounds are stuffing things that are too painful to deal with.

I am ready to walk through the fiery trials in 2018 believing I will come through not smelling of smoke. I am leaving this excess baggage behind spirit, soul and body and embracing life as never before. Hope you will join me.

Humble and Kind

This Is Now

I was in Cracker Barrel in South Carolina a couple of weeks ago and saw a small sign that read, “Perhaps this the moment for which you have been created. Esther 4:14”

I bought the wee sign because it reminded that every moment is the moment we were created for. The older I get, the less moments I have. I cannot afford to waste them.

If we wrote a diary of our moments today, would there be any waste? I am not talking about relaxing or even playing. Some of that is good for our health. Nevertheless, did we squander precious moments meant for communication, fellowship and love? Did we zone out on social media, television or other mindless activity?

As we come to the close of 2017, let us boldly storm 2018 purposing in our hearts to maximize the moments for which  we have been created.

This Is Now