Monday, February 20, 2017

Get Out of the Funk!

Okay, so I haven’t posted an article in a while.  I have been busy, though, combining my seven years of blog writing into a year-long devotional for married couples.  I am in the process of publishing it as an Ebook so please stay tuned for further details!

I also plan to take a different direction with my blog.  Since I’ve written almost everything I know about marriage, I want to start doing webinars/video blogs.  I will have a live webinar once a week (on marriage and women) which will be open to questions from you that we will discuss.  I will record those sessions and use them as a video blog.  Please keep your eyes open for those details coming soon!

I do have one more article that has been on my heart.  (There may be more down the road.)  I know I promised to not get too preachy about nutrition and what you eat, but I have to share this new revelation with you. (A not so wonderful revelation at that.)

I have discussed, numerous times, the effect that sugar has on my mind.  It depresses me, so much that I struggle with functioning in life.  I stopped eating sugar a few years ago but would occasionally let it slip into my diet.  One or two mistakes was no big deal, but that once or twice often turned into more – and then depression.  Truly an addiction, sugar is a poison to our system and more difficult to overcome than a dependence on cocaine. 

And then I discovered maple syrup - the ever glorious, gold from a tree that quickly became my favorite flavor in the world.  Maple syrup offers numerous nutritional benefits without all the bad effects of sugar.  Yes, it has calories and can increase blood sugar, but it seemed like the ultimate sugar replacement.  Besides, I didn’t have blood sugar issues.  I used it for everything that needed sugar – and then some.

I rarely touched refined sugar this past year, but found I still struggled with depression.  In fact, it seemed to worsen.   I had a list of possible causes, never dreaming it could be maple syrup.  I thought it must have been the challenges we faced with Rick’s health or even more obvious, the loss of another grandbaby we hadn’t gotten to meet.  I thought I was in grief that I hadn’t been dealing with very well. 

I would wake in the morning with a weight on my heart.  I didn’t label it depression but a “funk”.  I couldn’t hold a positive thought.  I only dwelt on the negative.  I couldn’t find my joy.  I wanted to retreat to my room and talk to no one. 

When in this funk I did nothing but whine and complain to God and my husband.  I bombarded God with questions of “Why?” and constantly told him “I don’t understand!” When in this funk, I begged God to free me from this pit of despair. I

I didn’t want to go anywhere much less be around people.  I dwelt on the things God hasn’t done for me instead of what He may be preparing for me.  I dwelt on the things other people have that I don’t.  I had great difficulty working on my ministry, feeling it may be a waste of time.  I didn’t know if God was listening anyway.  I couldn’t hear His voice.

I struggled with this funk for a good part of my adult life.  I blamed it on PMS.  How many amazing opportunities did I miss out on because of my pity party I wallowed in? 

As I read back on this pathetic state of mind, I don’t understand how I could get that far into a pit and not be able to get out, even when I know the answers to help me.  Nothing seemed to work.  I could read my Bible and pray, but my heart was not in it.  I became wrapped in this vicious cycle of self-pity that only wanted to remind me why I felt so badly.  The only thing I could look forward to was waking up the next day with, hopefully, no funk over me.  I would get through the day as painlessly as possible until the fog lifted.

Now I don’t know about you, but I refuse to live my life like that anymore.  I sought out the help of a natural doctor, thinking it may be my crazy hormones.  Sure enough, it was, BUT she also told me I eat too much sugar.

WHAT!  I EAT TOO MUCH SUGAR??  What in the world was she talking about??  My self-righteous attitude about eating had refused to look at the problem of over-indulging in something as sanctimonious as maple syrup.  Along with the maple syrup, I ate too many bananas and berries, too.

How did I miss that?  I suppose I added more and more to my daily eating, as time passed, to the point that I was gluttonous with it.  Gluttony is eating or drinking in excess of what you need.  I certainly had begun to push the limits with my all-so-glorious maple syrup.

My heart ached when I realized that I may have been missing some of God’s blessings during my “funk” times.  How could He talk to me, or answer my prayers, or further my ministry when I chose to focus on my fleshly desires of sweetness instead of the sweetness and mercy of Him? 

How often do we run to the altar in tears begging God to heal us of this illness or that disease when we secretly indulge in fleshly desires that are nothing more than sin to Him?  Yes, we need to eat, but we also need to treat our bodies as temples and not coddle our cravings and desires to the point of excess.  We block our chances of God working in our lives when we do so.  Sin is sin.  God will not work with it.

Needless to say, I have stopped the maple syrup and have cut back on the fruits.  I feel amazing!  For two weeks I have been completely FUNK FREE!  In the prior six months, I normally had four or five days in the week that I remained in a funk.  It turns out that my hormones don’t affect my mood so much.

If you relate to any part of this article, I urge you to look at your sugar intake and make some changes!  Don’t request a drug from your doctor when you can possibly fix it on your own without the chemicals and added side effects of medication.  Not to mention how healthier you would be!

I feel like God is finally opening the doors for us to step forward into our ministry in just these past two weeks.  How long did I delay this because I didn’t want to give up maple syrup?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Thoughts

‘Tis the season to be jolly’.   Hmmm.  The older I get, the less jolly I feel at Christmas time.  It seems the real reason for the season, the birth of Jesus, is slowly being pushed aside to make room for all the commercialism that now dominates this holiday.  I don’t like it.

There has also been a lot of skepticism over the past few years about the roots of the celebration of Christmas, and so I decided to investigate it myself.  It seems that Christmas, initially called the Saturnalia Festival, started as a pagan holiday.  Romans adopted it with hopes of turning people to Christianity.

From “Christmas, the Real Story”

          In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.
          The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

     For the complete article, go to:

I know there are numerous Christians who have chosen to forego Christmas because of these origins.  I have thought long and hard about this scandalous past and have decided that I don’t want to give up the celebration of the birth of our Savior because of its shady beginnings almost 2000 years ago.  If we give up on Christmas, we will lose the most valuable opportunity of the year to reach out to others to share the gospel story.  As rapidly as Christian rights are being removed, we must keep Jesus’ birthday alive for as long as we can.  It doesn’t matter when it happened; the story needs to be told.

Besides, I don’t think Jesus would have overlooked an opportunity to tell the good news, especially to a group of worldly people who didn’t follow Him.  He would have been the first to invite the pagan celebrators of Saturnalia to His house for a birthday party.

There are many, now, in our society, who live these holidays far from the truth, as the pagans did, but we can’t allow that to blemish what we know to be the reason for the season.

Sure, we can become overwhelmed at the worldly celebration, but we have the right to decide how we spend our time during this season.  We can choose to not get caught up in the excessive spending and busyness that easily engulfs us and distracts us from the birth of Jesus. 

What a wonderful time to reach out to the needy or to share the good news with those who have discounted it.  We are all in a giving and receiving mood this time of year, so let’s not discard these golden opportunities to share the story of Jesus.  Besides, it’s much easier to spot the naysayers, during the holidays, who want to take away our rights to display a nativity scene or sing Christmas carols.   Those are the people we need to reach out to the most.

What’s important is that we continue to observe this momentous occasion.  The world will always add their own spin to what we do as Christians.  We can’t allow that to interfere with the truth of why we celebrate Christmas.  If we do, then the enemy has won.  He doesn’t want the story of Jesus known.  He will always try to make us doubt what we know to be the truth.  He will keep us busy following the customs of the world and miss the importance of this day.  Choosing to give up Christmas because of its origins is succumbing to the legalism of religion that Jesus detested.

I visited my mother’s church this week, and they showed a video of a flash-mob at a crowded mall breaking out in Christmas carols.  It was awesome!  People stopped everything they were doing and joined in.  Two actors dressed as Mary and Joseph walked out carrying an infant during Silent Night, and everyone in that mall got down on their knees.  It still brings tears to my eyes as I write about it.  The traditions and music we have passed down for generations are a powerful force behind the importance of this holiday.  We can’t ever forget that. 

Christmas is not about celebrating on the exact date that Jesus was born; it’s about telling the miraculous story about the birth of our Savior who was sent to save the world..  

 Matthew 1:23, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us’.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why Women Don't Say What They Mean

Below is a brief interaction between two married men concerning communication with their wives, taken from the book "Twelve Lies Women Tell Their Husbands" by Tim and Sheila Riter.


"Hey man, you're late.  Anything wrong?" Sweat dripped off Alex after fifteen minutes on the treadmill.

"Dude, you wouldn't believe it. But then, you're married, so maybe you will." Don stepped onto the adjoining treadmill and started running.

"I got home from work today and grabbed my gym clothes like I do every Tuesday. Shontell seemed distant, like she'd had another bad day at work. Her boss has been putting a lot of pressure on her to finish that condominium project, and I'm kinda concerned. The baby's due date is still four months away, but I just don't want her to feel any unnecessary stress.

"So I go up to her, give her a hug, and ask if anything's wrong.' No, I'm fine, just fine.' So I told her she could talk to me; I'm her husband. Know what I heard? 'Go. Just go. You're late for your workout with Alex.'

"So I went! But I know I'm going to hear it when I get back. I don't have a clue if it's something wrong at work, or if I did something, but I know it's not over yet."

"Man, why can't women just come out and say what they mean? Danielle does the same thing. We had our tenth anniversary a few weeks back, remember? So a few weeks ahead, I asked her what she'd like to make it special. I'd saved up some extra money just to do it right. She said, 'Just surprise me! The greatest gift is our marriage.'

"I remember I'd heard her talking to a friend about this bed and breakfast inn down the coast. A little pricey, but nice. So I made the reservations, let her know the kind of clothes to bring, and surprised her. She said all the right things, how nice it was, how I surprised her, but her heart didn't seem to be in it.

"I asked her what was wrong, and she kept saying, 'Nothing.' Finally, the last day there, she told me she really had her heart set on a new wedding ring. How was I supposed to know that? She's never said anything about a new ring. Man, I can't figure out women. They just don't say what  they mean. They hint, and they want you to read their mind. Then you try to, and you get crucified. Why can't they just tell us straight?"

Oh, I feel the frustration of these two gentlemen, and I can sheepishly recall too many similar incidents in the past between my husband and me.  How in the world does this happen?

I think a major problem for me, as probably most other women, is that sometimes I really don’t KNOW what I want or KNOW what is bothering me, ESPECIALLY when I’m emotionally out of sorts.  It could be a myriad of issues that, on their own, don’t cause discomfort.  But compound them with other factors that silently creep up, and I suddenly feel overwhelmed. 

Rick may say  to me, “Honey, is there something wrong?” and I might blurt out one thing that’s bothering me.  As I walk away, I realize that may  not be the core issue that I’m struggling with; it’s something else - a second issue.  Rick, then, is focusing on that first issue to try to help.  No wonder he gets confused when he comes to me with a solution, and I give him that “You’re such an idiot” look because I’ve moved on to thinking about the third issue that’s affecting me.

It’s as though we women carry a bag of garbage around with us.  When things are going well, we don’t need to open the bag.  But when our emotions are running  high and someone offends us with their words, or our husbands neglect to notice something that’s important to us, or (fill in the blank with hundreds of other reasons), we open up the whole bag and air it out.  Not only do we dwell on the here and now issue, but also on everything from the past that we haven’t resolved and still carry with us.  We don’t always know what’s at the core of our hurt because our emotions are so intertwined with all our problems.

As husband and wife, we often share in an unhealthy communication “dance.”  It is important to recognize what doesn’t work and join together to figure out what does work.