`When "Christian Culture" and True Christianity Say Different Things

Lots of interesting yet sad discussions taking place online these days. A well-known family of professing Christians had a real life sorrow made public: the online world is buzzing with judgements from many different viewpoints. But what, or should I say Who, should be the One listened to? Notice the capital letters on the words Who and One? That was intended to be an obvious, blatant hint, by the way. Only One viewpoint knows truth. Only One knows the beginning from the end. Only One will ultimately pass judgement. Only God, and He is full of mercy, grace, and forgiveness for all who come to Him.

Healing, forgiveness, grace, these are what is needed for both the abuser and the abused. Arguments, discussions, supportive comments, hateful judgements, none of these contain the power to mend, heal, and forgive. No amount of words will make this evil go away. A choice was made: an action was taken. Now is not the time for the who, what, when, and why. Now is the time for loving prayers, support, and justice to be given. Jesus in us provides all of the grace, love, and mercy needed so that we can extend Him to all we come in contact with, both online and in real life. This is not the time for hate, judgement, and viscious verbal attacks. There is enough hate being slung across the internet and media. It's time for some real, honest to goodness Christ to be spread lavishly about.

Another blog, To Love, Honour, and Vacuum, featured two articles relating to the current sex scandal. Both articles are insightful while fully stirring up the thought pot. Please avail yourself of a loving difference of popular opinion and consider another train of thinking at:  http://tolovehonorandvacuum.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=7dab5e96bfaeb6aaa1503b481&id=4e34ab5665&e=cde0320519

 I can't begin to tell you how glad I am to have also read yesterday's post: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ToLoveHonorAndVacuum/~3/dKOs2yMX6VI/

I truly mean it, please read these articles. A different take on the entire issue was so refreshing, and participating in the discussion in the comments, even as a viewer only, drew me up to a higher level of not only thinking but listening as well. Sometimes all I need to break free from Christian culture thinking into Christ-like thoughts and words is to observe someone else who has already done so. So refreshing! Even though I know these articles have infuriated some believers, I am glad, glad, GLAD they were written!!! Thank you for allowing me to say it again: I am glad, glad GLAD these articles have been written!!!!!!!!!!! Oh how we need them and more like them! We need to be made to get off of the merry-go-round of mainstream Christianity and think, think, think!!! about what being a Christian means. We do. We really, really do.

Do we sound like God, Who is love? Do we sound like the One He sent to save us, Jesus? Do we act like Him? Do we live like Him? Do we reach out and extend grace and mercy like Him? Do we stand up for what is right and love the haters like Him? Are we on a mission and great quest to "above all love"? (I Corinthians 14:1 amp) What does His love look like? These questions and more have been on my heart lately. I have enjoyed "chewing" on some of what the Bible says concerning these things. God has been showing me His opinion and perspective on a few things, and I have enjoyed getting to know Him better each day.

No matter what those around say and do, please keep us true to You, dear Jesus
May we always and only be true to You
May the words we speak, the actions we take reflect You
Whoever we are with, may they hear and see You
Let You, Who are Love, be all that comes from me
Let it not be my thoughts I speak
Let it not be my ways I share
Just Yours, all and only Yours


Eating the Word

Sometimes. Sometimes all we need is to lay aside our timeline for the moment and start partaking of Him who is the Word, the Bread of Life, and drinking from the water that causes us to never thirst again. Today is one of those sometimes. We're going to munch away on just one verse this morning, one verse from a number of translations and versions of the Bible. Want to linger a bit longer at the table? What if we print or write them out. Then we can highlight specific words, sections, or phrases throughout our day, maybe even our week.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. -- Amp
Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don't quit. I'll say it again: Stay with GOD. -- Message
Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted... -- NAB
Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage... -- ASV
Wait thou for Yahweh. Be strong and let thy heart be bold... -- Rhm
Wait patiently for the Lord, to help thee; be brave, and let thy heart take comfort... -- Knox


Double Crust Pizza Ooey-Gooey Goodness!

Remember that double crust pizza I told you about? The comfort food goodness in a pan? It's really, really easy. If you have made any version of homemade pizza before this will be a cinch.

Oil up an oven safe skillet or large round baking dish. Place stretched out pizza crust in the bottom. Add sauce and toppings of choice (We used browned and drained hamburger.)EXCEPT the cheese. DO NOT add the cheese yet!!! Layer another spread out pizza crust over the sauce and toppings. Seal the edges of the bottom and top crust together by pinching. Spread another layer of sauce on top of top crust. Sprinkle cheese on top of sauce. Bake at 450-550 oven until desired doneness. WARNING: This is not a recipe to lose weight on. If consumed in large quantities, it will make you fat; it will also put a dreamy smile on your face when eaten hot with melted cheese stringing between your fork and mouth. A slice or two every once in a rare while is a delicious meal of sheer comfort and will not add excess weight at all. So, every so often slap some downhome goodness together, throw it in the oven, rip up a salad to go on the side, and enjoy every bite!

Tip on stretching out pizza crust. Instead of dusting the counter with flour and rolling out with a rolling pin consider oiling a section of the counter and spreading the dough out with your hands. The dough stretches out beautifully in the oil and is beautiful to see when moving easily from counter to pan without rips or holes. Clean up is easier too as no dough sticks to the oiled counter. Most of the oil will absorb into the crust as it stretches leaving only a lightly oiled surface easily wiped up and cleaned. It is so much fun swirling olive oil on the counter too!

Don't have a recipe for homemade pizza crust? The one we use is the easiest I've found. 2 C. flour of choice, 1 C. warm water, 1 pkg yeast or equivalent, 1/2 - 1 t. salt mixed together in stand mixer with dough hook and allowed to knead for 2-3 min. Could easily do by hand if prefer. The recipe used to have 2 T. oil and 2 T. sugar. Over time, I have eliminated the oil and sugar with no major difference. There is a difference but not enough to convince me to put them back in.

Extra motherly type note: Plain, inexpensive ingredients can be used to put this together. Because this dish is extremely filling, uses common ingredients, and can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until baking time, it could be a nice addition to one's go to list of meals to serve company while on a budget. Creating a list of such dishes would also be a great time and money-saving idea.


Make Your Own...Thousand Island Dressing

Hey There! Ready for a new recipe? This one is a true original. I tried one of the version's I found on a Pinterest search, but it ended up tasting like sweet pickle relish in some kind of tasteless sauce. The sweet pickle relish was so strong all the other flavors were overpowered. Naturally I couldn't throw it out, even if it was close to awful. Sliding into mad scientist in the kitchen mode I grabbed some salad dressing (Miracle Whip), ketchup (Heinz), and honey. Yes, honey; I didn't want to use sugar. The results were fabulous! At least I thought so. Of course I could have been influenced by the fact that the first version was so, please pardon my rudeness, BLEECCCKKKK!

Anywho...here's what we ended up with:

Please note that all amounts are approximate.

Approx. 2 C. mayo/salad dressing
1/4 - 1/2 C. ketchup
2 T. sweet pickle relish (less would be fine)
2 t. finely diced onion (I used onion powder)
1/4 t. garlic powder ( I used garlic powder)
1 t. vinegar
1/8 t. kosher salt - more to taste
2-3 dashes Tabsco sauce (optional - I did not use)
1-2 t. honey

Now, I must confess that while I used the healthiest honey I could afford(it was raw and unfiltered), I totally get the silliness of being concerned with not using sugar in a recipe whose main ingredients, ketchup and mayo, were products full of corn syrup and other possible unhealthy ingredients. No defense for such silliness other than learning through the years that adopting healthier eating is a step-by-step process. It is better to exchange pantry staples one item at a time rather than everything all at once.

Okay, okay, maybe there is also the fact that there are a few items I just cannot seem to switch out; ketchup and miracle whip are among those few items. In our house, ketchup must be Heinz and mayo must be Miracle Whip. That's just the way it is for the majority of people in our house. Not everyone in our home is a total food snob, but some...laughing because it isn't me that is:)

Also, even though it is closer to being a plastic than food, Velveeta is simply the only cheese that works in certain dishes. Mac 'n cheese and beefy nacho dip being two such dishes. Because of it's high price Velveeta makes rare appearances on our pantry shelves, but when the hunger for mac'n cheese gets too strong just know Velveeta is what we use. There is one store brand that we have used in place of Velveeta that comes very close. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the store chain that carries this item is two hours away. Sometimes comforting home food just needs something that really isn't all that healthy, and that's okay. If one's diet is mostly healthy an occasional unhealthy dish won't cause harm. And I do realize that calling Velveeta cheese is a major stretch; it is not a cheese but a cheese product. We SO do NOT want to talk about the difference between the two. It gets ugly.

Speaking of comforting home foods. Tomorrow we need to talk about that double crust pizza we made earlier this week. Oh my. It was comfort food personified. Can you tell the weather is stormy. I always want to cook when it's rainy. Honestly, I could go for an ooey-gooey slice of that double crust pizza right about now, and we just had one a few days ago. MMMMMmmmmm. Can't wait until tomorrow.


Thyroid Health

Good Morning! The following article was featured on Integrative Health Care's newsletter. I pray that you enjoy the information provided in the article, and if you share the article, please make sure the information at the bottom is included. Thank you. Abundance House 

Three Tips To A Healthy Thyroid

Is your thyroid sending you a cry for help? An underactive thyroid gland can manifest as fatigue, weight gain, thinning of hair and nails, sleep disruption, sluggish digestion, anxiety and depression to name a few.

If you struggle with any of these symptoms, simple blood work can help you determine if your thyroid is functioning optimally. Medications and specific supplements may be necessary, though I often empower patients with additional tools they can use to give their thyroid a boost.

In getting back to the basics, these are my top three tips to help empower YOU to enhance your healthy thyroid protocol:

1. Make those calories count.

Consuming nutrient dense foods will help your thyroid produce and activate thyroid hormones more efficiently.

 A. Adequate amounts of mineral-rich foods, such as legumes or root vegetables, allow the liver to be healthy and make enzymes that activate thyroid hormones.
*FUN FACT: The entire activation process of thyroid hormone is selenium dependent. Consuming seven Brazil nuts a day will “keep the doctor away.” Other great sources of selenium include shellfish, butter, fish, wheat germ, whole grains, brewer’s yeast and sunflower seeds.

B. Vitamin B12 helps in the conversion of different forms of thyroid hormones and is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products. 

C. Amp up your antioxidants. Our antioxidant defense system is important to protect us against free radical damage (oxidative stress). Often patients with hypothyroidism have metabolic insufficiency and a higher production of free radicals. Consuming antioxidant rich foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts will help prevent generalized inflammation that often accompanies thyroid disease.

2. Take the reins on stress.
A. High cortisol, one of our main stress hormones, can block enzymes that help to activate thyroid hormones. Therefore, excess stress can lead to or aggravate a low-functioning thyroid state.
*Herbs to the Rescue: The use of certain herbs can help you stimulate the production of the active thyroid hormone, T3, as well as support a healthy stress response.  

B. Herbs such as Ashwaganda, Rhodiola, Bacopa and Eleutherococcus all provide benefit to help you adapt to your environment and respond to stressors more appropriately.

3. Get up and MOVE.

A. Incorporate light to moderate activity that brings joy into your daily routine. No need to overexert yourself - just get out and move to increase circulation.
B. Increased activity has been found to stimulate thyroid production.

*FUN FACT: Sweating benefits thyroid function. Exercise, saunas or steam rooms will eliminate toxins that can be interfering with thyroid function. Try to break a sweat at least three times weekly to release stored up toxins.

Next time you’re feeling down, ask not what your thyroid can do for you — ask what you can do for your thyroid. Use the above tools to give your thyroid a helping hand. It will surely thank you.

Dr. Lauren Beardsley is a licensed Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping individuals replenish, restore and renew balance. She received her Medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM).  She received post graduate training in athletic performance optimization, pain management using physical manipulation and injection therapy, women’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  In 2012, she was named one of Phoenix Magazines's "Top Docs.
(c) 2015- Integrative Health Care, PC  

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A Grown Up

Hey There! Bet you knew our visit yesterday about positive words didn't just magically appear out of nowhere. Didn't you? You are right. While at lunch with friends the other day, something a friend shared reached out, grabbed me, and won't let me go. I am so thankful for what my friend shared.

We were visiting along when my friend shared about a woman who had been a mentor to her through the years. An older woman in the church held a weekly Bible study for years. During the many years she led the women of the church this dear woman never once spoke a discouraging word to the women under her influence. My friend shared how, as a younger woman, she had once shared a lesson that contained examples from her personal life. The examples contained perhaps a bit too much information. Others told my friend her examples fell in the TMI category but not her mentor. Her beloved mentor said "Hot off the griddle!" and finished off the encouragement with something along the lines of hot off the griddle being the best way.

As my friend shared more examples of the way her dearly beloved Bible study leader had allowed her to discover truth for herself instead of confronting her with it, I couldn't help but wish that I knew how to live love like this myself. A burning desire was ignited in my heart. I want to love like that! I don't want to only teach. There's more! I want to lead, to guide, to be strong enough to allow others to discover truth for themselves. I want to grow up and be the adult. Only a true grown up is mature enough to allow others to be wrong while they are learning to live true. Only an adult in heart and mind understands that just as a tiny child weaves, wobbles, and falls down while learning to walk, people don't live life perfectly from the start either. We are always growing, always learning, always in the process of discovering truth. That's what I want to be. I want to be mature in mind and heart.

Gratefulness for the real life example of Godly maturity being lived out loud has been saturating my being since that luncheon several days ago. You see, I have been studying to become a certified Thomas Jefferson style educator. This particular method of education relies on mentoring. The more I read the books on mentoring the less qualified I have felt. They puzzled me. Oh, not because the books weren't clearly written, they were. The puzzlement came about because I am a visual learner. I learn best by a combination of observation and reading. I have the books but lacked an example to observe. My friend provided such an example when she so vividly described her Bible study leader of many years. Aha! That is what the certification course has been describing! And now I know for certain that is what I long to become, an in the flesh example of mature love. Thank you, God for loving leaders grown up enough to let us discover truth for ourselves.

It is time for lunch now. Would you like to stay? Oh, you can't. I understand. Before you go, I want to thank you for stopping by. Thank you for being like my friend's Bible study leader and allowing me the opportunity to make mistakes as I learn the art of communicating with each of you online. Thank you. See you later!


A Change of Words

Sometimes I just sit and wonder. I wonder why so many people have to be unthinking reactionaries like me! Have you ever read the comment section under internet articles? Yikes! Talk about haters. Whoa. Has noone learned the lesson of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all?" Seriously people. Tone it down. What are the generations to come going to think about us as a society of people when they read what all of us have written online? Can I get another "Yikes!" ?

We know that anger, hostility, unkindness, and other negative emotions cause our bodies to send out chemicals that attack our own immune systems. After reading one too many comment sections online I now know why the life expectancy for the newest generation is lower than that of their parents. Did you know that? Were you aware that the life expectancy for our children is less than ours? Yes, it is. Another "Yikes!" perhaps?

This isn't a place for moaning and complaining. It is a positive outlook and action we are craving here, but what? Well, funny you should ask. Just this morning I was lying in bed pondering on the amount of unkind words spoken in my house, too many being thrown out to my way of thinking. I want a loving healthy home, a place of safety and refuge.

The vision of home in my mind is one of perfectly imperfect real people living real life together. A place where the negative is accidental rather than intentional and always followed by "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" A place where "Will you forgive me?" is answered with "I forgive you." Better still, a place where "I love you. I forgive you." sometimes comes before "Will you forgive me?" Because all of us have us "a day" when the apologies come slow once in a while.

How does such a lovely home vision come into being? Well, I don't know the exactness of every detail, but the first thing I know is that Jesus must be Lord. God is love. Without love our words won't be able to become less yuck and more kind. More of the One who is love is essential. Another must do that came to me during my early morning pondering is for mama, that's me, to change the way she speaks. Yep, this is where the rubber meets the road folks. Mama's got to become the sort of mother who lives in the sort of home I crave. I can't continue to tell my children to "Be nice. Speak kindly." then grouch and growl myself, no matter what time of the month it is.

Don't despise small beginnings may become the mantra for my positive words campaign. I may only be one mama, but I have seven children. Those seven children will interact with hundreds upon hundreds of people in their lifetimes. Those hundreds of people will in turn interact with hundreds more. It only takes one determined mama to make a difference in the lives of a few people, but a few people contain the potential to alter the course of an entire generation, maybe even mankind as a whole. So, one word at a time I am determined to change the contribution my words make to the atmosphere within our home starting right now.

Isn't that funny how God provides immediate opportunity? You should hear the ruckus going on in this house. Grace. There's the next key. We're going to need grace from God to change our words.
Talk to you later dear friend.

Learning to speak kind grace,
Abundantly Blessed