Saturday, May 24, 2014

Recovering Tattletale ~ Truth be told


I was a tattletale as a child.  My sisters learned early on to keep things from me so that I wouldn’t run to mom.  Today, I am tattling on myself, the truth comforts me.

Trust is something crucial to any relationship. I am much better at boundaries and understanding that is it not my job to share someone else’s truth.  Most times it is best when they share their own truth.

My years of practice as a tattletale found a positive outlet.  As a leader, people expect me to represent their case to the levels of leaders above.  As a mom, I smooth the way for my kids when they find themselves in precarious situations. I take what I know to God and let his truth shed light on my life.  

Today I read both Psalm 25 and Proverbs 25.  In Psalm 25 David asks:  Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. God’s word shows me the way and teaches me.

The first step is to ask God to show us His ways and be open to learning the path he want to teach us.    That can be the struggle for me.  I want to know, yet there are times I struggle to walk the path set for me.  My current path is writing my book Refinished & Refined, 10 Steps to a Miraculous Makeover about my wellness journey.   I am halfway and now in procrastination mode for too long.  There are so many other things to do besides write.  Even writing this blog is part of my procrastination.   Ugh, truth.

Looking back at my journal, there are multiple entries where my action step is to write.  I ask people to pray for me to find time to write.  I even plan my day to write.  Yet, I let the distractions of the world pull me off track.  Not surprising, my quiet time this morning revealed more truth: Write.

The real kicker today was from Proverbs 25, written by David’s son Solomon.  Verse 28: Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.  Self-control shows up in the bible 12 times, twice in the Old Testament and ten times in the New Testament.  Each time I read the word self-control, it jumps off the page.   I figured out today, in this situation, the self-control is the protection.   The broken down walls are more like my firewall on my computer. We just renewed our Anti-virus to keep our computers safe.  Funny how firewalls are something we rarely take down. My book is more valuable than the information on my computer. I need to keep the firewall up on my book. I need to be self-controlled and write every day.  Truth!

Just in case I missed the message, this week’s Bible Study from Living for Christ focuses on a life of truth.  God’s word shows me the way and teaches me.  We have to ask God to show us the truth and acknowledge he is our hope and salvation.  Protecting ourselves requires self-control.   God’s part: salvation and revelation; our part: self-control, spending time with Him and walking on the path he sets out for us.

Almighty God, King of Kings.  I want to live in a life of truth. Help me to know your path and the courage to walk down the path you set before me.  I need the fruits of your spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Lord, I need an extra dose of self-control. Amen.

Thank you for your constant prayers and encouragement about my book.  God is using you to help me.  THANK YOU!

Your turn:

  • What truth are you hiding from?  
  • What fire wall do you need to put up to protect yourself?  
  • Ask the Lord to reveal the truth?  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shh... I'm trying to listen

I retreated to Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, MD last week with 32 people, all of us desiring to draw closer to God during Wellness Week.  We left Sandy Cove lighter physical, mentally, emotionally and filled with the knowledge that God’s spirit is working in each of us.

I strive to retreat every quarter for a 24-hour spiritual retreat. In Pittsburgh, we have many small retreat centers, most attached to convents or homes for retired priests. The cost is usually $30-45 for the night. The accommodations provide Spartan comfort without the distractions of TV or radio.

My goal on a spiritual retreat is to enter into silence.  Silence is a spiritual discipline I have practiced since 2009.  I have the gift of gab.  Quiet is not the first word anyone would use to describe me.  I fight to stay quiet during my retreats.

Richard Foster writes, “Spiritual disciplines are the main way we offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice.  We are doing what we can do with our bodies, our minds, and our hearts.  God then takes this simple offering of ourselves and does with it what we cannot do, producing within us deeply ingrained habits of peace, love and joy in the Holy Spirit”

The week before my retreat, I ask the Lord to reveal what I might work on while I am alone with Him.  I humbly anticipate and hope I will hear from him.  Recently I used Ruth Haley Barton’s book Invitation to Solitude and Silence during a 24-hour retreat.

I begin my retreat in the evening.  When I first arrive, I am often exhausted physically. Sleep is my first step.  My night’s sleep is restless since this is not my bed.  Each time I awake, I remember I am here to seek the Lord.   I fall back to sleep.   In the morning, I rise and take advantage of any Morning Prayer service or Mass. The difference in their worship helps me focus on the differences and commonalities of Christian worship.

If the weather is nice, I head out for a walk or run taking advantage of God’s beautiful world.  The silence of my voice makes me acutely aware of the sights and sounds of the world.  I hear the bird in the tree, the swishing of the squirrel digging for nuts and the work of the lawnmower in the distance.  The wind swooshes by as it pushes against my face.  Now back in room, I am ready for a holy nap.  Finally, I am rested and still, gaining comfort with the silence.  As I finish my regular scripture reading and bible study, I am ready to listen.
Psalm 46:10   He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Ultimately my goal is to quiet my mind.   Become still in all of me.  Give God a chance to get through to me.  As I wait on God, I sit with anticipation and hope. In my mind, I am sitting on a beach in the early morning waiting patiently for the dawn.  When I finally sense His presence, his voice inside of me, the Holy Spirit whispers.  As I listen, I experience the beautiful sunrise for my soul.  I revel in the beauty of our Lord.

The sunshine washes over me and restoration begins. I hear the waves of his love washing over the beach of my life.  Carrying away the old deadwood and leaving behind the smooth sand glistening in His light. I do my best to journal everything.  I do not want to forget.  I am grateful for the presence of the Lord within me. I crave the silence, there is too little of it in my life.  Thank you, Lord, for touching me today. Thank you for the Silence.

When is the last time you enjoyed a sunrise in your soul?    Retreat is a crucial part of every battle.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Help there is too much to do

I have always related to Martha’s quandary when I read about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:40.  Recently, I was unsettled in two new ways. Let's look at the verse in The Message:  
Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”  Luke 10:40
Martha was distracted by the work to be done.  Activities in life pull us away from our time with our Lord, competing for our time. Years ago, when I started a quiet time, I did it in my car in the parking lot at work. It was a place I could be free of distractions. Gradually, as I built up a discipline, I moved to my dining room table each morning before work. Now my kids are grown, I converted a room to my study and hide away behind closed doors each morning.  The dirty dishes, laundry, dust on the shelf, trash, and emails each call out as I walk to my study.  I fight to keep distractions from pulling me off course. 
Martha stepped in and interrupted the Lord. Yikes, I can hear myself saying, “Hey Lord, over here, could you send some help with all these things on my to-do list. Tell someone to come lend me a hand.” No wonder I relate to Martha. We both have the audacity to interrupt the Lord and tell him what to do. The Lord gently handles Martha’s interruption (v 41-42) by intimately calling her name out, summarizing the situation: “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and had gotten worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential...” Jesus brought clarity to the situation. He changed Martha’s perspective.
So what about us? If Jesus dropped by your house, what might he say? 
• Stop worrying about tomorrow
• Slow down you are always rushing
• Show me your list, I will help you with your priorities
• Sit down, let’s spend more time together
Did Martha get it or did she go back to the distractions and finish up? Did she immediately fall to the feet of Jesus? My hope is that she chose what was better, spending the rest of the time with Jesus.
Let's flee the distractions and choose the “one thing” that is essential.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

No More Speeding Tickets



Recently, the person with the most speeding tickets took the notes for a breakout group.  To clarify, I raised my hand and asked, "Over what period?"  The laugh from everyone was larger than I expected.    It seems every time you set a limit for me, I want to exceed it.  

 We are placing ourselves in harm’s way when we exceed limits set to protect.  My battle to maintain my weight comes with a daily review of Calories In vs Calories Out.  I have tracked my food and exercise almost daily for seven years.    I focus on living within my energy limit.

Several studies show people keeping food diaries are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off. One study says that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about two times as much weight as those who keep food journals one day a week or less.  Any time I take a break from tracking, thinking I must know my limits by now, I gain weight.   The scale shows me when I am exceeding my healthy limit.

I lost most of my weight using the paper First Place 4 Health Live It Tracker.  I switched to an electronic tracker when I was closing in on my goal.  I currently use, MyFitnessPal configured as a Live It Tracker.  See my blog post Change your MyfitnessPal to look like a Live It Tracker for more information.

Paul writes in Ephesians 2:4-5  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved“  A transgression is violating a law, command, or moral code, to offend, sin, and go beyond the limits.  I don’t like the word transgressions.   It reminds me that I am not the rule follower I claim.  Each time we go over the limit, any limit we are offending, sinning.

All of us exceed the limits, offend, and at times become spiritually dead when we are not following God's plan for our life.   Thankfully, grace saves us.  Christ makes us alive. It is a gift from God.  We can do nothing.  We cannot boast about anything.  Ultimately, to be saved we must accept this gift.  

Each day I start and end with a CHAT with the Lord.  C = Confess; Lord forgive me for what I have done today… sometimes the list is way too long.   H = Honor; Heavenly Father, you are my Lord and Savior.   A = Ask; Help me Lord to know you, to know the limits, to sense your will, and courage to obey.  T = Thank you for the blessings and gift of grace.  You astound me by your patience and love.   Amen.  

Your turn:
Where are you struggling with limits in your life?

What accountability can you put in place to help you live within the limits?

Practice:
CHAT  
C = Confess
H = Honor
A = Ask
T = Thank





Thursday, February 27, 2014

Change your Myfitness Pal to look like a Live It Tracker



     From  Food page, Click on Settings


   Click on Diary Settings



    Change your  Meal Names, Scroll to the middle of the Diary Setting Page


The following are suggestions for different Calorie ranges based on the First Place 4 Health Food Plan.

Cups/ Ounces
Per Serving
Calories
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
2
60
120
Grains
5
80
400
Meat
4
60
240
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
4
45
180



1400
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
2.5
60
150
Grains
6
80
480
Meat
5
60
300
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
5
45
225



1615
Fruit
2
80
160
Veg
3
60
180
Grains
7
80
560
Meat
6
60
360
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
5
45
225



1785
Fruit
2.5
80
200
Veg
4
60
240
Grains
7
80
560
Meat
7
60
420
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
6
45
270



1990
Fruit
3
80
240
Veg
4
60
240
Grains
8
80
640
Meat
7
60
420
Milk
3
100
300
Healthy oils
6
45
270



2110

Why do I doubt?

Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

Imagine the doubt and turmoil the disciples were experiencing after Jesus’ death.   In Matthew 28:10, the first order of business was to have the women remind the disciples to go to Galilee.  When Jesus was last with his disciples, he told them to meet him in Galilee (Matthew 26:32).  On the mountain, Jesus stands before them, the risen Lord.  Matthew 28:17 says, "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted”. Everything came true. Jesus has risen. He is in Galilee exactly where he said he would be.  In amazement, they worship the risen Lord.  Yet there are still some that doubted.  

Too often, I experience doubt in my life.  Each time, I pray for the doubt to disappear.   I beg, “Lord, please reveal yourself to me”.  Without fail, I sense him: as I read my bible, He provides the exact verse; in a word, I read in devotion; or in a message, I hear from a friend, the radio, during the weekend worship.   Each time he reveals himself, the doubt retreats.

I am not alone.  Some disciples doubted as they stood before the risen Lord. Doubt comes from the enemy.  I combat the doubt by calling on the power of the Lord.   I am the father in the bible exclaiming to Jesus, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24)

The doubt reminds me of my weakness.  I am weak and He is strong.  The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My prayer today:  Forgive me for the times I drag my feet, doubt your purpose, or delay the inevitable.  You are the risen Lord, creator of heaven and earth, beginning and end.  You are the savior of the world.  Help me Lord in my doubt. Help me embrace my weaknesses. Help me to walk in your light always.  Thank you, Lord, for your love.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who is in charge of your mind?

When my body is telling my mind to have it my way,  I feel tortured.  Recently, I have struggled with tracking my food.  The tracking happens at the end of the day or even the next day.  No surprise here, I am regularly exceeding my healthy food limits.  I bought into the lie that my hectic schedule is a reason not to track my food and physical activity.  The scale on the other hand reveals the truth. 

Today in my quiet time, Paul’s writing to the Romans 8:7 helped me. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

I am encouraged by the good news.  When we allow the Spirit to control our mind, we enjoy life and peace.  Tracking my food and exercise helps my mind to know when enough is enough.  I am focusing on the care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.   In the same way I ask the Lord to bless my food, I need to ask him to bless my tracking.  Tracking my activity allows the Holy Spirit to govern my mind.  Peace comes when I have tracked at the time of my meals.  From this point forward, every time I fill out my tracker, I will thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit who is in me.  (1 Corinthians 6:19)


My prayer today: Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I have resisted tracking and allow my flesh to govern my mind.  Lord, you are my strength; your Spirit gives life because of your righteousness.  Help me to allow your Holy Spirit to govern my mind.  Thank you for the resulting peace and healthy life.  Amen