Can I Pray for You?

Pain. It’s my constant companion. Sometimes, it’s containable. Sometimes it runs roughshod and I get beaten up in the process. I am thankful for doctors who have guided me along the way with therapy and medications that allow me to function as normally as I possibly can. God sends blessings to me from every direction.

In this pain, I found that I must go on with what lies in front of me because I cannot curl up in a ball and wait for it to go away. I used to look at this chronic pain as a curse. I was angry with God for many years. Then He opened my eyes and showed me all the things that I’ve been blessed with because of this condition. It took me a while, but I began to see how God has moved in my life because of this pain — how it’s made me a more compassionate person who feels the pain of others deeply. Being able to show my empathy is a great blessing. I’ve been called to reach out to others, as we all have, but God has taken this pain of mine and made it a source of LOVE instead of LOATHING.

Image Source:  www.fbresearch.org

There are other kinds of pain that have come along with my physical pain. I have also recognized that this is a blessing because it has made me more aware of the hearts of those who are hurting in ways that cannot be seen. I have learned to be kind to everyone I meet because there are those who are bearing their own burdens. If a word or smile or touch from me can make a difference, then I ask God to put me in the path of those who need it most.

Image Source:  www.juxtapost.com

Throughout the past twenty-two years in this journey tinged with pain, Jesus has been my anchor EVERY SINGLE DAY — even on those days when I couldn’t speak the words out loud. Jesus knew my heart and He could hear the prayers of my heart.

My dear friends, He knows your heart as well. He sees your hurt and fears. He longs to comfort you. Your name is on His lips.

Image Source:  www.endtimeprophecy1012-2013.blogspot,com

Each Friday, some wonderful prayer warrior friends and I hold a prayer service.  (FRIDAY AT THE ALTAR (11am EST/8am PST).)  Can we pray for you?

If you just want to be added to the prayer list just leave your name here or go to “Loved by the King” (my companion Facebook page) and click LIKE. If you have a specific prayer request, leave a comment with a the request. If it’s an intensely personal request, you can email me or message me on Facebook. Most of all, I ask that you join with me in corporate prayer for everyone who’s asked for prayer.  The list is long and I never remove a name unless an answer has been sent or unless I’m asked to remove it.  And you don’[t have to know who is on the prayer list because God does and He knows their needs. 

Will you join us?

shr

I Will Rise” (Chris Tomlin)

Recipes without Regret: Thanksgiving Leftover with a Twist (Low Carb/Low Sugar)

I know.  I know.  We haven’t even served the Thanksgiving feast and here I am offering you advice on using your leftovers.  But this is something that’s so yummy and so good for you.  It has a great carbohydrate to protein ratio, so it’s just right for a low carb day.  Not only is it carb-friendly, it’s diabetic friendly as well.  No added sugars — the only sugar is in the tomatoes and onions in the Pico de Gallo.*

I highly recommend this soup, served with a salad of mixed greens, vegetables, and light dressing.  Plus, it’s different from your regular Thanksgiving fare, and certainly different from a leftover turkey sandwich.

Image Source: http://www.eatlowsodium.com

Southwest Turkey Broth with the Trimmings

Ingredients:

8 cups of reduced sodium turkey or chicken broth

12 ounces cooked, diced turkey

8 Tablespoons fresh avocado, mashed (about two small)

1 cup Pico de Gallo* (you can make your own or pick it up in your grocer’s deli pre-made)

2 Tablespoons Light Sour Cream

2 medium scallions (greens only), finely chopped

1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Juice of 1 lime

Pepper/Chili Powder to taste

Image Source: http://www.budgetpaleo.blogspot.com

Directions:

1.  In medium saucepan, add broth and diced turkey.  Bring this to a boil and season with pepper and chili powder to taste.  (If you feel you need extra salt, add it sparingly.)

2.  Mash avocados and add the juice of 1 lime (this helps keep its bright green color)

3.  Prepare 4 bowls for presentation.

4.  Divide the broth/turkey mixture evenly between the 4 bowls.

5.  In the middle of each bowl:

a.  Add 2 Tablespoons of mashed avocado.

b.  Top with 1/4 cup Pico de Gallo.

c.  Add a small dollop of light sour cream on top of the Pico de Gallo.

6.  Sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

7.  Add scallion greens on top of the cheese.

Image Source: http://www.saintnicholasparish.org

Nutritional Information:  301 calories, 15.6 g fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 2404 mg sodium, 11.4 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 5.8 g sugar, 26.7 g protein

You could very well add more complex carbohydrates such as whole kernel corn or black beans for a high carb day. Complex carbs keep you full longer and keep your body fueled for longer periods of time so that you don’t have cravings.  (I have also used cooked, diced chicken in place of the turkey — still wonderful!)

I apologize that this did not make it on the blog last Friday, as promised.  I had internet issues all through the weekend.  I hope you will try this terrific soup and leave a comment!  You opinion matters.  If you have a suggestion that would make it better, leave a comment about that as well.

shr

How I Survived Thanksgiving 2012 (And STILL Lost Weight)

Come into His city with songs of thanksgiving and into His courtyards with songs of praise.  Thank Him and praise His name.  (Psalm 100:4, NCV)

Tomorrow will be two weeks until Thanksgiving Day.  Last year at this time, I’d already made a commitment to God and myself that I was going to get healthy by losing some weight and becoming more active.  I’d lost 7 pounds and I didn’t want to lose my momentum.  I worried about the big noon Thanksgiving meal at my mother’s house and the dinner feast at the Rosser family reunion later that night.  I love Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite holiday with all my favorite foods.  But last year, I had to come up with a different mindset.  I could not go into either meal unprepared and go at it willy-nilly until I could barely move.

So, I am going to share some of the strategies I applied during the entire holiday season last year.  I hope this gets you into a grateful (not a “plate full”) attitude.  You have two weeks to gear up for it!

Image Source:  www.2013calendarbox.org

1.  Eat something healthy before your big Thanksgiving meal.  I made sure I ate breakfast that morning AND I ate some raw vegetables with light ranch dip before my noon meal.

2.  If your meal is a pot luck meal, make a scrumptious low-fat/low-calorie/low carbohydrate version of a Thanksgiving food you really love.  You can do a recipe search and find all sorts of alternative recipes to replace the high fat/high calorie/high carbohydrate versions of your favorites.  You have two weeks — there’s time to plan it all out, so start now!

Image Source: http://www.runstreet.com

3.  Drink a full glass of water before your meal.  Remember that sometimes we think we’re hungry, but we really need hydration.  It will allow you to eat slowly and recognize that you’re full before you go for seconds (or thirds).

4.  Eat from a small plate.  Okay, for those of you who just rolled your eyes, conquering our cravings involves what we SEE as well as what we EAT.  Make sure you have a rainbow of colors on your plate.  If all your see is white or brown, you are setting yourself up for disaster.  Not only use a smaller plate, eat slowly, sipping water between bites.  Cleanse your palate often so that you can TASTE all that great food.

5.  Sample a couple of bites of all your favorites.  That means if Aunt Suzie Q’s Cranberry Salad isn’t your favorite, don’t put it on your plate.  The sense of deprivation will derail you faster than you may realize.  Say no to anything that you just don’t absolutely love and say yes to a little of the things you that truly make Thanksgiving special to you.

Image Source: http://www.tabledecorationideas.org

6.  If you’re eating from a pot luck or buffet table, peruse every food that’s being offered before making your choices.  If you start at the beginning of the buffet and just take a little of everything, that can set you up for failure.  Some smart choices are raw vegetables with a small portion of dip and lean proteins.  Avoid anything with a crust or puffed pastry.

7.  Don’t skip dessert.  Yes, I just said have dessert.  But choose one dessert and have a small portion of it.  You can employ the “palate cleansing technique” of having several sips of water between bites.  When you’ve had 3-4 bites, drink another full glass of water. (THIS REALLY WORKS!  It’s how I survive pot luck meals at church.)

Image Source: http://www.liveituphealth.com

8.  Avoid stress.  Stress can lead to stress eating — another source of eating plan derailment.  Plan NOW what you’ll be cooking and if there are any dishes that can be made ahead and frozen, do a little each day.  Thaw them in the refrigerator the day before Thanksgiving and cook them on Thanksgiving morning.  You will avoid a mound of unwashed dishes and the stress of cooking ON THE DAY of your Thanksgiving celebration.  You can do a recipe search of great dishes that freeze well.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com

9.  Avoid/limit alcohol intake.  This is easy for me, as neither of the people who host my Thanksgiving meals serve alcohol.  But I had already made a choice that I’d rather not drink my calories.  When I started my new eating plan on October 23, 2012, I looked at the things I ate and drank that I could give up without suffering too much.  One of those things was the occasional cocktail.  In fact, I’ve only had one cocktail in the last year (when we visited Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville on vacation this summer — you know I couldn’t pass up just one little margarita). Do I miss it?  Not at all.  But I know that some of you will attend parties and feasts where alcohol IS served.  So make a choice ahead of time to only have one cocktail or to have none.  It will save you liquid calories that do not fill up you up.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps (recipe coming Friday, November 15, 2013)

10.  Be bold and introduce some new, healthy foods that just may end up being holiday favorites.  Turkey and dressing is traditional, but it’s not exciting.  Researching foods that are delicious but nutritious is the way to be a “food-inista.”  Be on the cutting edge as a food connoisseur by bringing a dish that’s great, but untried at your Thanksgiving gathering.  You could be the hit of the feast!

Image Source:  www.encouragement100.com

With these techniques, not only did I NOT gain weight during Thanksgiving 2012, I lost an additional 3 pounds by the end of November last year.  On Friday, I plan to bring you some recipes that just may be worth introducing to your family and friends in this holiday season.  Until then, start planning ahead — and be thankful!

shr

Reblog: How I Balance Faith and Medicine and Exams

Originally posted on At least we made it this far...:

Check out this fantastic post by  Nathan called Lessons from Psychiatry Part 1: How I Balance Faith and Medicine and Exams.

Seriously.  Read it now.

I read this and I thought… Wow… Here is a lesson I have learned over and over again.  And a lesson I forget more often than I should given the number of times that I should have learned it.

Over the last few weeks with my exams and presentations and relationships all seeming to want to demand my attention, my relationship with God has been a struggle for me.  It came up at small group, it came up in my own (very rare) Bible reading.   It came up everywhere.

And really, my relationship with God should not be a struggle.  It should be something I work at.  Something that I want to have.  But, really, I think it shouldn’t be a struggle.

And…

View original 458 more words

Fighting Fear with Faith and Hope

Bone.  Marrow.  Biopsy.

Three words I hoped I’d never hear again.  But that’s where we were on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the UNC Cancer Hospital when Kelly’s blood work numbers came back askew.   Not all the numbers were bad.  In fact, all the numbers were in the normal range — except for the one number that really counts, his absolute neutrophils.  Neutrophils are white blood cells that fight off infection.  Kelly’s neutrophil number was 1, meaning he had about 1,000 of those cells to fight off infection in his body.  That’s a problem because normal absolute neutrophils will range from 1.8 to 7.7.  In July, his absolute neutrophil number was 4.2 — the best it’s been since he went into remission.  When he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, his neutrophil number was 0.

Neutrophils.jpgNeutrophils (The most abundant white blood cells in most mammals.)

Image Source:  www.wikipedia.com

When we were discussing options, Dr. Foster looked at Kelly and said, “Another bone marrow biopsy is an option.  I know a biopsy is uncomfortable.”

Uncomfortable,” Kelly replied wryly.  “Is when your underwear rides up.  Bone marrow biopsies are excruciating.  But it’s the only way we’ll know for sure what’s going on, so let’s do it.”

So, this past Monday, two years, ten months, and 27 days from the first time he had a bone marrow biopsy, he lay on a gurney at the UNC Cancer Hospital having his sixth one.  He was face down, waiting patiently while Dr. Van (his other cancer doctor) was preparing the site where the needle would be inserted.  I was holding his hand and it just didn’t seem like it was enough, so I got on my knees by the gurney and laid my head next to his so that we could be face to face.

Image Source:  www.riversideonline.com

We prayed.  We cried.  He gasped in pain as they numbed his hip.  Silent tears rolled down his cheeks as Dr. Van used three separate vials to aspirate marrow samples.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

It’s hard to watch the man who is your earthy rock go through so much pain.  It makes you feel so small.  And I remembered several scriptures and began to pray them:

 All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.  (Psalm 31:24, NCV)

Always respect the Lord.  Then you will have hope for the future, and your wishes will come true. (Proverbs 23:17b-18, NCV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  (Roman 12:12, NCV)

When I had no more words, I sang.

I sang “How Great is Our God*” by Chris Tomlin.

I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness*.”

I sang “He is with Us*,” by Love and the Outcome.

I sang “Amazing Grace*,” which led into “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone*,” by Chris Tomlin.

We were holding each other’s hands so tightly that our fingers were white.  So I poured out my tears, a language that only God truly understands.  And in near silence, Dr. Van continued to work.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

And Kelly broke the silence, not with a gasp of pain, but with these prayerful words, sung so softly that I might have missed it if I hadn’t been so close to him:

In seasons of despair and grief, my soul has often found relief… I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.*”

Almost immediately, Dr. Van said, “There is power in the Blood.  And I know that you both know that God has this — either way.”

I usually write something about weight loss on Wednesday — physical weight loss.  Today’s post is about losing the weight of a spiritual burden.  I took a great deal of fear with me into that procedure room, but I came out feeling light and full of hope.

What will the biopsy show?  We don’t know.  But we know God’s got this — either way.

*To listen to each song, just click on the title.  “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is sung by George Beverly Shea, who for years was the voice of the music at all the Billy Graham Crusades.  Kelly loves Billy Graham and loved to hear GBS sing.

shr

Carb Cycling at Your Fingertips: Chris Powell’s “FREE” App

Carb cycling is how I’ve lost 34 pounds since January 2013.  I’ve tried to describe what it is and how to do it here on LBTK. Some of the comments I’ve gotten are encouraging, but a few have said, “Sounds too complicated!” or “The book is $20 — I’m on a budget!”

Well, what may have seemed complicated is now easy-as-pie.  And what may have been an expense you couldn’t afford is now FREE! The Vemma Nutrition company has teamed up with Chris Powell, transformation specialist on “Extreme Weight Loss” and author of Choose More, Lose More for Life, to make carb cycling simple.  Chris and his wife, Heidi (who is also a trainer and a working mom) have created a resource that is so complete, it’s impossible to get it wrong!  Vemma and the Powells have created an app for smartphones, Vemma Bod-e.  It’s free!  And it will “hold your hand” (so to speak) as you go through your week of eating. (Please ignore the fact that I misspelled my own last name, LOL!)

Settings on the Vemma App

Settings on the Vemma App

Even though I’ve been carb cycling for almost ten months, I decided to try this app — and it’s amazing.  Every day, you can see what your eating plan is.  You can set your wake-up time and it makes an eating schedule for you based on that information. My wake-up time is 7:00 am.  The app sends me a message to remind me to eat breakfast.  At 10:00 am, I get a reminder to have a mid-morning snack and gives me great suggestions about what to eat.  At 1:00 pm, I get a message reminding me to eat lunch, with suggestions based on whether it’s a low carb day or a high carb day.  At 4:00 pm, I get another message reminder with suggestions for my afternoon snack.  Then at 7:00 pm, I receive my last reminder with food suggestions.

My Day 2 Schedule (Low Carb)

My Day 2 Schedule (Low Carb)

Every day, I can go to the “Tip of the Day” and watch a short video from Chris and Heidi (usually about 2 minutes long) and get a great eating tip and a word of encouragement.

My Message Board

When I downloaded the app, I looked over the eating plan and if I didn’t like a suggestion on the app, I “clicked” on the arrow to the right of each food choice and could choose from 8-10 more suggestions.  If I don’t like any of those, I simply choose a meal or snack based on whether it’s a low carb or high carb day.  After I chose my menu for the week, I clicked on “Grocery List” in the settings and the app put together a list of all the foods I needed to buy for my week of carb cycling.

My Grocery List - Week 1

My Grocery List – Week 1

The meal and snack suggestions come with RECIPES! (Also found in settings)

My Lunch for Today

My Lunch for Today

A Mid-Morning Snack Option -- Ham & Cheese Roll-ups (Low Carb Day)

A Mid-Morning Snack Option — Ham & Cheese Roll-ups (Low Carb Day)

When you download the app, your meal plan will start the next day, giving you 24 hours to get ready.  There is a place for you to list your current weight, your current measurements, and your weight loss goals.  My goals were to keep losing on the carb cycling plan and be more active.

My Current Stats

My Current Stats

One of my favorite perks with this app was the ability to sign up to receive updates from a REAL, LIVE PERSON.  My coach is Jim Klunk and he lives in Kentucky.  He’s not just a coach — he’s carb cycling with me.  Jim has coronary artery disease and was diagnosed in 2006 with MS.  Because of his inability to work out like everyone else, he consistently gained weight over the last decade.  He found out about carb cycling and presented the information to his heart doctor, who immediately approved of the eating plan.  Without going to the gym, and by just being active a few minutes a day, Jim lost 25 pounds on the carb cycling eating plan.  He’s still working at it every day.  He does a lot of research and when he finds a great eating or work-out tip, he drops me an email and a word of encouragement.  This week, his suggestion was to add turmeric to my shakes and meals — it’s been shown in studies to help women burn up to 6 extra pounds a week!

Vemma Nutrition sells an assortment of supplements for weight loss.  Chris Powell has partnered with them to bring a special formula of proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and fats to the Bod-e shake mix.  I’d never tried this before and Jim sent me a sample of the Chris Powell Bod-e Shake and a free DVD with Chris and Heidi’s best tips for weight loss — BOTH FREE!

My Free Sample of Bod-e Shake

My Free DVD

My Free DVD

The shake mix is delicious!  And it’s cheaper than the protein shake mix I normally buy at Wal-Mart.  So, I ordered a bag of the vanilla shake mix (it’s extremely versatile — add fruit or any flavoring you want to the vanilla and you can have a different flavor every day for breakfast).  You can mix it with either water or milk (I use almond milk).  At first, I didn’t sign up for auto-delivery, but after using the mix for two weeks, I knew I wasn’t going back to the other protein shake mix.  If you are interested in receiving a free sample of the shake mix and a free DVD, please send your name and address to my friend, Jim, at jimklunk1@aol.com and he will send them to you in the mail for FREE — NO DELIVERY CHARGES, NO POSTAGE & HANDLING, AND NO STRINGS ATTACHED! 

Those of you who are regular readers know that I don’t promote anything without an excellent reason.  In fact, I rarely promote anything on this blog.  If I find a new product that’s worthy of your time and money, I share it.  I’m also not one for spending lots of money to lose weight (sorry Nutri-System, I can cook my own food) or on gimmicky items for weight loss and fitness (you will never see me recommend an electric belt that “works” your abs for you).  What I write about and recommend to you, I always have checked out and tried myself — including books to read, recipes to make, fitness equipment, and weight loss information.  I don’t get paid to recommend anything.  If you’re interested in the Chris Powell Shake Mix (in either vanilla or chocolate), you can click here to order.  Chris Powell has developed other products for Vemma as well and they all carry his name.  THE ONLY PRODUCT THAT I HAVE TRIED IS THE SHAKE MIX.  I cannot comment on any other products because I’ve not tried them, but you can check all of the products out when you click here.

So, when I tell you that this app is FREE, EASY, and WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE, I hope you know I’m speaking from personal experience that has brought me true success.

Best of all, if you get off track on the carb cycling plan, there is a RE-SET BUTTON on the app!  Nothing is set in stone.  You can always have another chance — as many chances as you need.  Isn’t that what a healthy lifestyle is all about — getting back on the horse when it bucks you off? Not giving up because you had a bad day (or week or month)?

If you download and check out the app, will you leave a comment and tell me what you think?

shr

Faith It Forward: Tricia Edwards Smith

O death, where is your victory?  Where is your power to hurt? (1 Corinthians 15:55 ERV)

Thursday, October 17, 2013, the angels came to collect my friend, Tricia, and escort her home to Jesus.  Her long and arduous fight with cancer was done.  After years of praying for it, she was finally healed.

Todd & Tricia

Image Source:  www.facebook.com/tricia.smith

But her fight has not been in vain.  In her fight to live, I saw an extreme display of faith that has forever changed me. I watched as her family, her church, and her community rallied around her to offer her strength through prayer and an outpouring of love through deeds of kindness.  The irony of it all is that while we were offering Tricia our strength, she was giving us hers.

Her husband Todd, and sons Carter, Aaron, and Nathan brought her such joy and she was the light of their world.  Her parents, Nancy and Landon Edwards, raised Tricia in a Christian home, full of love and laughter.  Todd and Tricia established the same kind of home for their family.  She had a close, loving relationship with her brother and sisters, Mike Edwards, Pamela Edwards Pritchard, and Teresa Edwards Pritchard.  Her nieces and nephews adored her.

Her friends were another source of joy to Tricia.  A Facebook page, “Friends of Tricia,” was established so we could share with her our thoughts and prayers.  Hundreds of messages were added each day.  She was never far from my thoughts and when I had even the smallest bit of time, I would read each and every message (many of them prayers) and lift them up to God as well.

Never one to think of her own needs first, she was constantly looking out for the needs of others and it led her into healthcare.  As a critical care nurse, she loved caring for others and she was good at her job.  She worked well into her battle with cancer, refusing to let it keep her from the profession she was so obviously made for.  It was not only her medical knowledge that she imparted to her patients — she shared the love of God and joy of serving the Great Physician. Even if you didn’t personally know Tricia, you could take one look at her and know that she was warm, giving, and selfless. She had a million-watt smile that could light up a room and she always had a kind word and a hug to share with everyone she met.

Photo

Image Source: http://www.klove.com/encouraging

Tricia’s greatest source of strength and joy was her relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why, even in the last days when Hospice was called in, she wasn’t afraid.  As others tried to comfort her, she sought to comfort them — to let them know that no matter the physical outcome, she was spiritually ready.  She took satisfaction in the knowledge that this world was a temporary residence for her.  She trusted completely that she was just biding time on earth, simply in transit to her true home — Heaven.

I love what her niece, Erica, shared:  “I’m praising God for the life of my Aunt Tricia. So jealous of the angels today. Thank you for your many prayers. Our family appreciates each one. Please pray for continued strength as we go through this arm in arm and only through the grace of The Lord Jesus.

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”  (Revelation 21:3-4 ERV)

We will grieve mightily because we will miss her happy, humble presence — a woman with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as all outdoors!  Her family will especially miss her.  On special days to come — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and the days her grandchildren are born — there will be a yearning for her physical presence. There will be an ache that cannot be soothed because those will be days when there would have been memories to be made with her — that she would have loved to make.  But she leaves such a rich legacy behind that it will almost seem that she is here — and she will here, living in the hearts and accomplishments of those who loved her.

Today, Tricia is rejoicing because she is in Heaven, completely healed, and in the presence of our Lord.  Tricia can finally say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ERV)

I have seen glimpses of faith in my life, but life-altering portraits of faith have been few and far between.  Faith has a new face for me now.  Faith looks like Tricia Edwards Smith.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Tricia Smith Charitable Fund, send your donation to:

Fayetteville Community Church

2010 Middle Road Loop

Fayetteville, North Carolina  28312

shr

Celebrate Me Home” (The Perrys)

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