Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Being a Light on the Darkest Night

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
As a young girl being raised in a Christian home, my parents were on the fence about letting us participate in Halloween related activities. I can still remember my first and last worldly trick or treating experience when I was in Kindergarten. My mother made sure that our porch lights were on and that we had the "good stuff" which consisted of our favorite chocolates.
I was dressed up as a ladybug, a somewhat innocent costume. The night went pretty well or so I thought. But for some reason the next year and the years to follow, our porch lights were turned off which helped to keep the approaching crowds away. My mother became very passionate about us not allowing to participate in related Halloween activities. We couldn't even attend school functions that celebrated the holiday. I thought it was extreme at the time but my mom had a good heart and only wanted to protect us.
After a few years of completely banning us from Halloween related events, I believe that my mother received a much needed word from God. He reminded her that it was her job to be the Light on such a dark night. So finally we were able to turn our porch lights back on which drew in neighbors every Halloween night. Once they approached our door we would hand them Bible tracks attached to candy and inform them of the love that God had for them. I also got to dress up as an angel. My mom turned what could have been a worldly experience into a much needed ministry opportunity. I now continue this same tradition with my children.
The Lord asks us to let our Lights shine before the world. It doesn't matter the day nor the circumstances. He desires for people to see the good in us which will in the end glorify Him. So I challenge you to get creative this Halloween by turning on your porch lights and your internal lights and take advantage of the amazing ministry opportunity.
Here's a quick example of what my kids put together. Take post it notes or small Bible tracks and tape them to the back of your choice candy. We attached messages with Bible verses on the back. Also, we provided them with an invitation to fellowship with us at church. 

Let's have some Godly fun in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. Be blessed and don't for get to LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sugar, How Sweet It Is......Or Is It?


Do you ever have a hunkering for something sweet?  Do you think about it all day until you satisfy it?  After you have something sweet do you feel a rush from the sugar, almost euphoric?  Then within an hour of eating the sugar you start to crash and you feel tired, fatigued, and lethargic and grab for another piece of candy or something.  Research shows that a high intake of carbohydrates, including sugar, releases a feel good chemical in the brain called serotonin.

Maybe you're sitting there thinking "who cares, what harm can a little sugar really do to me?"  Cravings, binge eating, weight gain, and heart disease are just a few problems that sugar can cause when eaten in excess.  It also causes an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, elevated triglycerides, and low HDL (good) cholesterol levels.  It has also been linked to depression, migraines, poor eyesight, autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis, gout, and osteoporosis.

Twenty years ago the average person consumed about 26 pounds of sugar per year.  According to the USDA, today the average American consumes over 135 pounds of sugar a year.  That's about 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, the equivalent of 350 calories which means over 8,000 teaspoons a year.  That's double the recommended amount!  The American Heart Association recommends that we limit our daily sugar consumption to 7% or less of our daily calorie intake.  That's about 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men. 

So keep in mind when you are thirsty or hungry, one 12 ounce can of regular soda contains 8-10 teaspoons of sugar, and a glazed donut contains 6 teaspoons.  At least half of the sugar we consume comes from high-fructose corn syrup found in fat-free foods like salad dressings, soft drinks, fruit drinks, and sports drinks.  The rest is in our diet from foods like ketchup, teriyaki sauce, chocolate milk, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and cereals.  And even when you think you're eating "healthy", foods like yogurt and instant oatmeal can pack as much as 20-30 grams (5-7 teaspoons) of sugar. 

With Halloween being the "kick off" to the "candy season" and the holidays following, there will be gatherings and parties with all kinds of food and drinks full of sugars and carbohydrates.  No need to have anxiety about this.  Plan ahead by bringing a healthy recipe to the party and embrace the time with friends and family and enjoy yourself at the gatherings.  Then the rest of the day and days to come, be aware of what you are eating.  Start reading food labels, plan ahead what you are going to eat, and make sure to put exercise in your schedule.  For some healthy recipes visit and click on the Healthy Eating tab. Enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Heart to Love

The day we moved into our home with our large family, we had no idea that the houses on both sides of us would be such a silent blessing to our lives.

You see, on one side of us there is a very kind lady with a beautiful dog. She always speaks to us and entertains conversation with our children who love to yell out any door or window  they can find, "I like your dog"! On the other side is an elderly couple. Now, I don't know much about them but just from my observation I can see that they are about in their 70's or 80's and have been together for some time. They both have medical issues I'm sure but the wife seems to be impacted physically a little more than the husband's. The husband seems to move about pretty well and despite my husband's offers to assist him with certain tasks,on any given day you will catch the husband taking the trash out or wiping snow off his car.

Each time I see my neighbors I feel blessed. Not just because one of them is a nice lady with a dog and the other is an elderly couple,but because I get to watch a women sacrifice consistently to help take care of her parents. I am so grateful that God allowed me to observe this family interaction. On my right sits a house with an amazing women who I watch tend to her elderly parents every single day. And she does it with JOY!  

One day as I pulled up into my house I saw the father helping the mother out the car. I wanted to offer to help, but something stopped me. In all but a few seconds, I had the chance to experience something that just about brought tears to my eyes. The daughter walks up and says "Hi Mom", in a joyful yet peaceful tone,and begins to help her mother out the car. For the first time since I moved into my home, I heard her mother speak. When she spoke, she said her daughter's name and you could hear the joy and excitement in her weak feeble voice. It was as if she had just seen her best friend. What a beautiful moment to watch.

From one week to the next I get to watch beautiful moments like this and although I don't know much about my neighbor, I admire her in so many ways. I am always encouraged and reminded of Gods love for the elderly when I see how she cares for her parents. I am truly thankful to be a witness to someone with such a Heart to Love.

Ladies, if you are or someone you know is taking care of an elderly family member, don't lose heart. Your work isn't in vein. Your reward may not be in this lifetime. Your reward may not be for you but for the people who are blessed at how gracefully you do what God has called you to do. You just might be that daily light to someone that you don't even know is watching.

Have a Blessed weekend Ladies and Don't forget to get your tickets to TMS Luncheon.