Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Who's Your Daddy, Now?

I might ask, "Who's Your Daddy God, now?"

The words of a popular song and the gist of a local commercial reminds me to double check my life. Who do I worship today? What comes first in my life, now? How do my thoughts reveal my priorities?

Elijah challenged the prophets of Ba`al and won. God's fire burned the sacrifice on the altar and the water around it. Elijah advised the people of Israel with these words, "If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Ba'al, then follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)

Is the Lord allowed to be God in your life? Addictions, habits, or scars of the past can lead you to put other things in the place of God. In Bible times, they were warned against idolatry. In America, we think that doesn't apply to us, but I know better.

When I dwell on donuts all morning, when I plan my next meal before one is finished, when I devise schemes to hide my secret stash of candy, I bow before the idol of food.

Stop and think. What's on your mind? When you wake in the night, what stirs in your thoughts? An idol is anything that replaces God in our desires, our thoughts, and our heart. It might be a person or place. It could be presecription drugs that you overuse, or alcoholic beverages that you crave.

Our bodies require nourishment. You may require medicine. God cautions us to use moderation even in good things.

Lord, today, keep my mind on You. Let food take its proper place. As the saying goes, help me eat to live, not live to eat. God says "Have no other gods before me."

Who's your daddy God, now?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Out of Ashes

On the way to Cloudcroft, New Mexico, we spotted miniature forests. Fire devastated the area a few years ago. Now trees, no taller than me at five feet, four inches, grow thick and beautiful. It was a reminder of God's provision for new life.

About ten years ago, my husband and I endured a difficult time. Both family and financial problems stressed us. Then, our church fell apart. We searched for hope on a bleak landscape. We vacationed in Eureka Spring, Arkansas, toured an art gallery, and discovered an artist named Jesse Barnes.
For the first time in our lives, we spent a lot of money on an original painting. In this picture, fire shoots around green trees. A full moon glints light over the rippling pond. Tiny trees reach for the sky on an island out from the bank's fire-induced destruction. The title of the painting is "Out of Ashes."

That painting ministers to me daily, but never more than when troubles tests my faith.

When we drove the winding road from Ruidosa up two thousand more feet to Cloudcroft, those tiny trees brought my mind to that painting. Though small, the trees were thick with foliage and dressed in their autumn finery.

Out of the ashes of turmoil, God gives hope.

I love writing about hope. New beginnings excite me. New life, whether it's in trees or people, warms my heart.

What ministers to you about God's hope?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walking is Good Stuff

Have you considered the good old-fashioned walk? With the fall temperatures, a walk in the neighborhood, a park, or even a school track sounds inviting. If you're trying to lose weight, it becomes downright imperative.

An old Weight Watcher friend (or maybe I should say long-term, not old) sent me an e-mail with the benefits of walking. Wow, the length of the list blew me away. I had never thought about how beneficial it was. Many think they must jog or go to a gym and use the exercise equipment to receive real-time help.

Look at this list and rethink walking.

1. Increases aerobic capacity
2. Easy on the joints
3. Burns almost as many calories as jogging.
4. Eases back pains
5. Reduces bad cholesterol
6. Reduces risk of heart attack
7. Slims your waist
8. Lowers blood pressure
9. Increases stamina
10. Bolsters energy level
11. Lessens anxiety and tension
12. Reduces appetite
13. Gets your mind off eating
14. Can be combined with interval exercises or jogging
15. Slows down bone loss
16. Can be done anywhere (traveling, on lunch hour)
17. Improves muscle tone
18. Can be done in short bouts with little time

Praise God for small changes. It can make a lot of difference in our health and our weight. Walking is a good, small change to consider.

Good book Walk in Dry Placesby by Mel B. is a good devotion book for ones struggling with the emotional problem of food addiction. Hazelden Publications published this book.

The weather is gorgeous in Wichita Falls, Texas today. Time to go for a walk.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

No Water in White Sands

How do animals, insects, and snakes survive in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA with no water? I never thought about it until our recent visit there.

We intruded in the home of the foxes and rodents. We trudged through deep granules more like salt than sand. We read the signs provided by our rangers and nature guides that offered insights into God's White Sands world.

When tourists enter the park, the first sign tells them there's no water past that point. After I read that, my throat felt dry. My husband and I climbed the first available path over a tall dune. A fox picture on a sign thrust us into his world. One of the guide signs informed us that since there was no lakes or rivers or water of any kind, the animals lived on the blood of other animals. That thought is gross, but imagine how God provided for his smallest creatures even there.

Our feet sunk. Signs warned us not to venture off the marked path or attempt to tunnel through the sand. The fluent texture sifted through our hands like table salt, and crumpled with the slightest pressure.

About a mile into our hike, we spotted Cottonwood trees. Their branches lay on the flowing gypsum dunes without the tall trunk that reaches to the sky in Texas. We found another sign that told us that in truth, water did lay three feet below us. In that waterless world, where animals and insects lived without water, the cottonwood had stretched its roots underground until they found the hidden supply. With their roots in water, they grew toward the sun until their top branches draped across our white path. By reaching for water, they grew like a mighty bush for all to see.

In that forlorn land, God spoke to me. How many times have I walked through depression or grief. I could see no water, no life, no sun. I endeavored to tough it out in a dark, empty land through the only way I saw available. Yet, God is there, only three feet away all the time. If I stretch my spirit to touch His Spirit, I, like the cottonwoods in White Sands, could reach for the sunshine and more quickly thrive through God's taste of water.

Here's a map I found online to show where in New Mexico, the White Sands National Monument is. It's near Alamagordo in central New Mexico between three major mountain peaks.

By the way, when we left the park, the fist thing I did was to stop at the gift shop and buy a bottle of water. I never enjoyed water more than then.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Barn Door Book Loft: Welcome Christian Author, Janet K. Brown

The Barn Door Book Loft: Welcome Christian Author, Janet K. Brown: Janet K. Brown is here to talk about her paranormal Young Adult book. Please read on to learn more about her and what inspired the book. ... Leave it to me. I completely missed this post. Thank you,Sharon Lavy. Sorry, I didn't find it earlier.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

11 Ways to Increase Exercise on Vacation

When I travel, weight gain plagues me. New and different foods are a huge factor in the pleasure of my trips. Eating enhances my enjoyment. I look forward to certain ethnic or geographical treats.

Another element of gaining weight comes from too little activity. We sit in a car. We sit on a plane or in the airport. We recline in easy chairs and visit friends or family. We sit and read or watch shows.

Activity must be increased purposely. While on my fall vacation with our travel trailer, I dreamed up new ways to move my body. It was either that or not try favorite local restaurants. That isn't going to happen.

Here's ways I've thought of to move more:

1. Every time I stop for gas, walk around the station, or step up on the curb and down again twenty repetitions.

2. Carry 1 to 3 lb weights and do bicep curls while riding.

3. Take nightly walks in the neighborhood or recreational vehicle parks.

4. When rain shuts you in your cabin or trailer, do twenty kicks and squats twice daily.

5. When making hotel reservations, check on the exercise room. Take advantage of it each night or each morning.

6. In the summer, watch for stops with swimming pools even though you no longer have kids at home that beg for that. Swim laps or do water aerobics before retiring.

7. While waiting at the airport, pretend you're about to miss your flight. Run from one end of the terminal to the other, case in hand.

8. Take equipment for activity such as a tennis racket and ball, volleyball, or basketball. Is there a horseshoe-throwing game to the side of your cabin?

9. Walk the golf course instead of spending money on a cart.

10. Love shopping? Walk the strip of gift shops. In a city, find a mall and loop twice to see what stores are available. If something in a window catches your eye, walk back to that store.

11. Challenge each other to climb a mountain or make a trudge through the White Sands National Monument or on through the sands on the Florida beach.

That's my suggestions. Send me yours. Please. I'm desperate. I want to eat.