The God of All Things

I love a good bargain, especially children’s items because children grow fast and outgrow things just as quickly. I am not opposed to purchasing gently-used items for my granddaughter, Joshlyn. I am a member of several online groups where other members offer used items for sale in a variety of conditions. I don’t buy just anything. If one item is purchased by someone else, another item that is similar will come along in a day or two. I have learned to watch and wait for a bargain. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to bargain-hunting.

The night before we left on vacation, I saw a nearly-new bicycle on my Fayetteville Online Yard Sale group that would be perfect for Joshlyn, but it was midnight and I was leaving at 5:30 a.m. the next day, so there was no time to make the purchase before we left. Sales online go swiftly and I would never ask a seller to hold something for me for two reasons: one, most do not know me personally and don’t realize that when I say I’ll come get the item, I mean it; and two, if something were to happen that would prevent me from picking up the item, I would cause the seller to miss a chance to make a sale, and that’s just not fair.

I commented that I liked the bicycle and if it were still available when I got back from vacation, I’d contact her and make arrangements to pick it up. She said she understood completely. On our second day of vacation, the seller posted that the bicycle was no longer available. I was disappointed but, as I said before, bargains come and bargains go.

Let me share with you one of the scriptures that accompanied my daily devotion on that Tuesday morning:

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Now, let me insert a little information about my dear friend and neighbor, Jerry Ann. She has two precious fur babies that I walk three times a day while her husband, Richard, works and she visits her daughters and grandbabies in Georgia. Since I keep my granddaughter while my son and daughter-in-love work, Joshlyn always goes with me to walk the dogs and has become quite the helper in this endeavor. We have just decided that Sasha and Pixie are part of our extended family because they’re the sweetest little dogs in the world.

Wednesday morning, I got a message from Jerry Ann, “When will you be home from vacation?”

“We’ll be back on Friday,” I texted.

“Well, I purchased that bicycle for your granddaughter,” she replied.

WHAT?

“The bicycle I was following on Facebook?” I asked incredulously. “Thank you! I will pay you for it when we get back.”

“I saw your note, called Richard, and had him pick it up.” she offered. “You owe me nothing. You and Joshlyn love our girls and we just wanted to do something nice for the two of you.”

Just like that, God took care of the desire of my heart. I didn’t know that He was going to do it and I certainly didn’t expect Him to do it in this way. In fact, I was willing to accept that this bicycle was just not in God’s plan for us.

Some of you reading this will say, “But it was a BICYCLE…do you really think God cares whether your granddaughter has a bicycle when there’s so much going on in the world.”

To that, I answer, “Yes! I do think He cares.”

I have a little poem that explains how God cares for us:

God is the God of big things and small things;

God is the God of all things.

God has answered so many prayers in my life that I cannot count them all. Some have been huge answers – such as the adoption of our three children or bringing my husband, Kelly, through leukemia into remission (and keeping him there for five plus years). Some have been very small answers – like finding a parking space upfront when I’m having a terrible back pain day or when someone buys a bicycle for my granddaughter completely out of the blue, just to be nice.

God spoke this to Jeremiah:

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)

If you are in the midst of waiting on unanswered prayer, God may bring that answer to you through something or someone unexpected. And never, ever assume that because it’s something little or seemingly insignificant, that it’s not God’s concern. If it’s happening to one of His children, it’s His concern. To believe anything else, is to put God in a box and take away His great power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands of God

My husband and I are on the Board of Directors of the Scotland County Highland Games that take place annually.  As soon as the games are over for one year, we gather ourselves together with the other 25 or so committee members and start over from scratch for the next year’s games. If you’ve never attended any Highland Games, you will find no better than those that happen in Scotland County, North Carolina on the first weekend of October each year. (See links below to check out our website.)

By this time in the execution of the games, we meet every two weeks until we have all bases covered.  This works well and the games always go smoothly. Each year our attendance grows. But it’s no light matter to devote yourself to be on the committee.

In the Hands of God

A year ago today, August 26, 2014, my husband was making his way to the SCHG Committee Meeting by himself. I was having a severe chronic pain episode and my husband left early to go by and grab a burger on the way to the meeting. He eased onto I-95 and began to eat his sandwich as he drove. He began to choke and tried to pull over. Before he could get all the way off the interstate, he blacked out.

It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, because he came to and eased back onto the interstate.  It didn’t take him long to figure out that he was now going the wrong way on the north-bound lane. He pulled over again, turned around, and made it across a flat area in the grassy median to return to the south-bound lance. He took the next exit, shaking all over, and called me.

Here’s what happened: Kelly got choked on a piece of burger. It was lodged in his trachea. In just a short amount of time, he blacked out due to lack of oxygen. The car veered to the left and into the grassy median just past Exit 44. His car bounced over the grassy, but rough, terrain, probably causing the piece of sandwich to dislodge and oxygen rushed back into his lungs, bringing him into consciousness.  We thank God that neither the Kelly, nor the car, nor anyone traveling along that stretch of the interstate was harmed in any way.

God has put His angels in charge of you, to watch you wherever you go. Psalm 91:11 (NCV)

The next day, we drove along that section of the interstate, pulled well off the road, and surveyed what we saw. Here are the miracles that God showed us in harsh light of day:

  • That uneven, grassy median is the only spot along that whole length of interstate that is flat and grassy. At any time before, he would have crashed into trees. If he had been further along, he would have plowed into the bridge supports at the next exit.
  • Even though it looks like a smooth, grassy place to turn around or cross to the other side of the interstate, in the middle is a dip that slopes into a small V-shaped ravine. The car could have hit this and possibly flipped end over end, but the car missed it by at least two feet.
  • It was 5:00pm. Usually, traffic on both sides of I-95 is a nightmare at this time of day. And folks move along at the pace of a NASCAR race. When Kelly gained conciousness, the only cars he saw were at least a half-mile away.
  • We found the bite of burger that caused the choking — on the driver’s passenger side, under the seat. The last thing Kelly remembers was that he was trying to cough it up, with no success. I don’t know if it was the bumpy median that dislodged it, but I believe that it was the hand of God or one of His angels.

Every time we pass that little place in the road, we say a prayer of thanksgiving to God. The fact that Kelly’s life was spared and that no harm was done, is just another miracle God has given us.

angels-watch

Have you had any miracles happen in your life lately? Will you share your experience in the comments so that others may be encouraged?

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A DAY OF FAMILY FUN!

The Scotland County Highland Games is a great day of family fun, Scottish traditions, Scottish-British foods, pipe and drum competitions, and Highland dance competition. Come see world-famous Scottish athletes perform. There are games for the children as well.

Interested in the Scotland County Highland Games? Click here. Join us Saturday night for a blending of two successful Scottish Rock Bands, Seven Nations and Rathkeltair as they join forces for the “Clan Na Gael Reunion Concert!.” It’s the best $5 you’ll spend all year!  More information here.

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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?

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I Will Rise” (Chris Tomlin)

Reblog: How I Balance Faith and Medicine and Exams

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 post 458 more words

Six Foods to Help You Lose

Image Source:  http://goliathflores.blogspot.com

Daniel did not want to eat the king’s rich food and wine because it would make him unclean. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way.  God caused Ashpenaz, the man in charge of the officials, to be kind and loyal to Daniel. But Ashpenaz told Daniel, “I am afraid of my master, the king. He ordered me to give you this food and drink. If you don’t eat this food, you will begin to look weak and sick. You will look worse than other young men your age. The king will see this, and he will become angry with me. He might cut off my head. And it would be your fault.”

Then Daniel talked to the guard who had been put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by Ashpenaz. He said, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier, and then decide how you want to treat us, your servants.”

So the guard agreed to test Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah for ten days. After ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s food. So the guard continued to take away the king’s special food and wine and to give only vegetables to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (Daniel 1:8-16, ERV)

I am really enjoying my online nutrition class.  I’m learning so much about the foods I eat and how my body processes them. I am always looking for good foods that make me feel full and give me every advantage on the diet playing field. Here is a list of foods that I consider to be the “best of the best” foods to help you lose weight.

Image Source:  www.romafoods.com

  1. Fruit/Vegetables:  The USDA’s MyPlate plan suggests that we eat fruits and vegetables at every meal.  Fruits do contain sugars and they have carbohydrates.  However, these carbs are complex and take longer to digest.  They leave you feeling full longer, which is always a plus.  The key to successful integration of fruits in your diet is portion control.  Vegetables should be high in fiber and water content.  The fiber helps in digestion and the water helps move the food through your digestive tract.  (Specific food suggestions:  1 cup of berries = 83 calories, 1 small Gala apple = 55 calories, 1 cup sliced bell pepper = 46 calories, 1 cup broccoli florets = 30 calories)
  2. Nuts:  Although high in fat, raw nuts are one of the most nutritious, satisfying foods you can eat.  The fat in nuts is monounsaturated and actually has been shown to aid in weight loss.  They taste good and satisfy our need for something crunchy.  Low-sugar nut butters (almond or peanut) are also good choices as long as you enforce portion control.  (Specific food suggestions:  1/2 cup raw almonds = 265 calories, 2 Tablespoons almond or peanut butter = 190 calories)
  3. Low-fat Dairy and Non-Dairy Foods:  Yogurt is one of the most nutritious dairy products that can help you lose weight.  Non-dairy foods like tofu offer lots of protein and are low in fat.  Almond milk is my favorite non-dairy food. (Specific food suggestions:  1/2 cup of firm tofu = 88 calories, 5 ounces plain fat-free Greek yogurt [with a dash of vanilla extract and sweetened with stevia] = 80 calories, 1 cup almond milk = 30 calories)
  4. Potatoes:  Any kind of potato except a FRIED potato is good for you.  It’s high in fiber and filling.  I must stress portion control, again, because a single potato (boiled, baked, or broiled with salt and pepper) cannot derail your weight loss efforts.  (Specific food suggestion:  1 medium baked potato = 161 calories)
  5. Whole Grains:  Whole grains in pastas, rice, and breads are not refined and have more nutrients.  Whole grains are complex carbs and we know what they do for us — leave us feeling full longer.  I have to give a plug for my favorite bread, Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread.  You can find this in the freezer section of health food stores or in your local Harris Teeter.  It makes a delicious sandwich and is great with my Basic Egg Scramble in the mornings.  You can find different varieties, such as the Ezekiel 4:9 English muffins, Sesame, and Cinnamon Raisin breads.  (Two slices of Ezekiel 4:9 bread have 160 calories and 0 sugars!)
  6. Water:  Water hydrates the body, helps with digestion, and has nutrients and minerals that our bodies need.  Best of all it’s calorie free and cheap!  (Duh!)

Image Source:  www.drsharma.ca

If you read the rest of the first chapter of Daniel, you will find that Daniel and the others who ate his diet of fresh foods and water were healthier than the rest of the men  who ate the king’s rich, calorie-laden foods and wine.  The king considered Daniel so wise that he made Daniel his personal servant, which put Daniel in a position to do God’s work later on.

Like Daniel, we need to eat the whole, fresh foods that God provides for us.  Ridding our diets of processed foods is one of the healthiest, most productive decisions we can make.

Remember, our desire is to eat to live, NOT live to eat.  If you have a favorite food from any of these categories, please share them in the comments.

shr

Weight Loss Wisdom 3

I recently read an article entitled “10 Weight Loss Tips from the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.”  It was informative and since Duke University is right in my own back yard (give or take 70 miles), I decided to share this information with you.  You can visit the Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DDFC) website here to see what it offers.

1.  Eat more!

Choose a full plate of healthy foods.  Often, DDFC clients will say that they are scared they’ll be hungry when they first start the program.  But they change their minds when they see the meals they’re served.  Most clients say it’s more food than they normally eat at a meal.  Your body has to have fuel.  The DDFC uses the USDA‘s MyPlate instead the food pyramid.  If you look at a round plate, half that plate should be filled with healthy fruits and vegetables.  One-quarter of the plate should be filled with healthy proteins, to include fish once or twice a week.  The last quarter of the plate should be filled with carefully chosen, fiber-rich starches like beans, legumes, brown rice, or quinoa.

Image Source:  www.choosemyplate.gov

2.  Plan your meals.

Not only should you plan WHAT you’re going to eat, but WHEN you’re going to eat.  Eating small meals every three to four hours will keep you from becoming ravenous.  Being ravenous leads you to eat any-and-everything you can get your hands on.  Starting with breakfast within an hour of rising, don’t skip meals.  Don’t let your hunger reach the point of no return.

3.  Keep a food journal.

Write down what you eat on paper or use an internet helper such as MyFitnessPal.com or CalorieCounter.com.  The dieticians at Duke have found that you get off your eating plan if you don’t keep track of what you eat.

4.  Curb the emotional eating.

Before devouring a dozen chocolate chip cookies or half a box of Krispy Creme doughnuts, you should stop and ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I really hungry?
  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What do I really need?
  • What can I do instead?
  • If I eat this, how many calories am I going to have to burn?
  • How long with I have to exercise to burn these calories?

One DDFC client has put a note on her refrigerator that reads: WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR IS NOT IN HERE!  

5.  Have a daily indulgence.

Allow yourself one treat that is no more than 10% of your daily calorie count.  (For example, most days I eat 1200 calories. My indulgence would be something with 120 calories or less.)  In doing this, don’t choose your trigger food.  Choose something that tastes good but will not cause you to lose control.

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

6.  Don’t beat yourself up.

Okay, so you ate the dozen chocolate cookies or the entire box of doughnuts — you can’t ruin your diet in one day, says Christine B. Tenekjian, a dietician at DDFC.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  If you need to rid yourself of the guilt, journal about what you were feeling before you over-indulged and try to figure out why you did it.

7.  Walk it off!

People that come to the DDFC often have not been active in quite a while.  Fitness experts there start their clients on a walking regimen — short distances at first, then working up to 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.  A pedometer is an inexpensive investment that will give you great feedback.  (Personally, I use the free Runtastic app on my iPhone.  It has a pedometer, a distance monitor, and a timer.  There are also other apps that do the very same thing.  Just do an app search for “pedometers.”)

8.  Make your work out simple.

Working out in a gym is nice but not always affordable or feasible.  It’s just as easy to set up a workout routine in your own home:  doing squats, wall push ups, tricep dips from a chair, ab crunches,  leg lifts, and using resistance bands are all effective exercises as long as you do them two or three times a week, one or two sets of 8-12 repetions each.

9.  Rise and shine!

DDFC has found that people who do their daily workouts first thing in the morning have a better chance of sticking with it. With the busy lives we lead, there’s just too much of a chance that something will come up and take priority over our workout time if it’s later in the day.  Decide to become a morning person (it’s hard — but I personally learned to do it after more than half my life of being a “night person”) and set a routine that’s hard to get interrupted.

Image Source:  www.cardio-greentea-stretching-tumblr.com

10.  Be creative in your motivation.

There’s more to motivation than just setting a weight loss goal.  What happens when you run into a plateau and become discouraged?  DDFC advocates finding a partner for accountability and motivation or changing up your routine to get out of a rut.  Any routine that become “routine” is boring.  When you get bored, you run the chance of abandoning your goals.  I found a great article on one of my favorite websites, Everyday Health, that offers some great tips.  You can read the article here.

Image Source:  http://raymcdonald.wordpress.com

I am praying for you all.  Whatever challenge you’re facing, God is listening.  It’s one of the ways I curb the emotional eating — I pray.  If I get caught up in talking to my Heavenly Father, I find that my emotional needs are met in a much bigger way than any half-gallon of ice cream ever could.

shr

Music Monday: Awakening

Worship.  Most people think this means going to church when there’s a service being held.  I used to think this.  I believed I was worshiping my God by being present in His house.  My pastor and friend, Charlie Herring, delivered such a great sermon yesterday about worship that I had to share the highlights.

His text was Psalm 96.  Here are these thirteen verses in the Easy-to-Read Version:

Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole world sing to the Lord!
2 Sing to the Lord and praise his name!
Tell the good news every day about how he saves us!
Tell all the nations how wonderful he is!
Tell people everywhere about the amazing things he does.
4 The Lord is great and worthy of praise.
He is more awesome than any of the “gods.”
5 All the “gods” in other nations are nothing but statues,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 He lives in the presence of glory and honor.
His Temple is a place of power and beauty.
Praise the Lord, all people of every nation;
praise the Lord’s glory and power.
8 Give the Lord praise worthy of his glory!
Come, bring your offerings into his courtyard.
9     Worship the Lord in all his holy beauty.
Everyone on earth should tremble before him.
10     Tell the nations that the Lord is King!
The world stands firm and cannot be moved.
He will judge all people fairly.
11 Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be happy!
Let the sea and everything in it shout for joy!
12 Let the fields and everything in them be happy!
Let the trees in the forest sing for joy
13 when they see the Lord coming!
He is coming to rule the world.
He will rule all the nations of the world
with justice and fairness.

The four “Es” of worship:

  • EXALT His Name (verses 1-2a)
  • EXTEND His Kingdom (verses 2b-3)
  • EXPRESS His Greatness (verses 4-9)
  • EXPECT His Coming (verse 10-13)

Here are some of his quotes:

  • “We are called to wait and worship”
  • “Why do we have trouble with waiting?  Because in our society the need for instant gratification causes a ‘fail’ in our sense of waiting.”
  • “Are we afraid to wait?  Are we afraid of what God will say to us?  Does the silence scare us?”
  • “Who are we to worship?  The Lord God.  What are we to do when we worship?  Fall down on our faces and bow down.  How are we to worship?  Through music, proclamation, glory, offering, coming into His courts, and living holy lives.  Why do we worship?  Because we are saved.  Where do we worship?  In His sanctuary — and that means in His whole creation.”
  • “When our lives are full of His presence, we can’t help but declare His glory.”
  • “We should be proclaiming salvation every day to everyone.”
  • Bored Believer should be an oxymoron.  If you are bored in worship, you are not worshiping.  You are simply passing time.”

As bowed at the altar during our closing hymn, “Awakening” by Chris Tomlin was my prayer.  Here are the lyrics that became my prayer:

In Your presence, in Your power
Awakening
For this moment, for this hour
Awakening

For You and You alone
Awake my soul
Awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done
Let Your will be done in me

For You and You alone
Awake my soul
Awake my soul and sing
For the world You love
Your will be done
Let Your will be done in me

Like the rising sun that shines
From the darkness, comes a light
I hear Your voice
And this is my awakening

I have two pictures to share with you today.  They were taken at a baptismal service.  The man on the far right is my friend, Jimmy Crayton, the youth pastor at Greater Heights United Methodist Church.  If this had been posted by someone I did not know personally, I would have cried, “Photo-shopped!”  But I know Jimmy.  He would never let anything other than the truth be posted.  If it would hinder God’s Kingdom, he wouldn’t be a part of it.  So these pictures depict something real happening at this baptism.

Photo Source:  Jimmy Crayton

Do you believe?  Will you worship the one, true God?  Will this be your awakening?

shr

Awakening” (Chris Tomlin)