A Night of Wellness: Quick Facts

Aside

Last Friday night, my dear friend Hannah and I spontaneously went out to Brentwood to hear a wellness presentation.  Wellness is something I definitely am passionate about.  There are several reasons why America is plagued with obesity and disease.  And awful eating habits are a huge factor.  Food plays such a pivotal role in health.  Sadly, people tend to look to medication rather than change what they eat to try to improve health.  Sometimes relying on medication pushes disease further into your tissues.  Of course, I’m not against all medicine.  But I have learned that there are wonderful ways to prevent sickness and disease rather than just fight them when they come.

We listened to Dr. Carol Watson, R.N. and N.D., share some really great facts about wellness.  Many of the things she shared I had heard before, but this time I was able to take notes in order to be able to share them.  She worked as an R.N. in critical care for many years and said, “I was saving lives, but I didn’t know how to prevent the pain, suffering, and disease.”  There is a reason why other countries don’t have the diseases and sicknesses that we have here in America.  And here are a few notes worth sharing:

-We don’t have drug deficiencies; we have whole food deficiencies.

-When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.  When diet is right, medicine is not needed.

-Over 9.6 million older adults suffer from drug-induced side effects and death every year. (Dr. Sydney Wolfe)

-Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

-We are living creatures and so our bodies need living food.  The only thing that qualifies as living is raw food.  (If you cut a carrot and put it in a glass of water, it will grow roots.  If you cook a carrot and then put it in water, no roots will grow.)

-There is no such thing as junk food.  It is either junk or food.

-Trans-fats cause inflammation and calcification. Trans-fats are banned in Europe.  They didn’t exist until after 1903.  Their purpose is to allow something to sit on a shelf for lengthy amounts of time.

-Our bodies are self healing.

-We need 40 grams of fiber a day.  80% of your immune system is located in your digestive system.

-Most people think they can just take vitamins to make up for what they need and aren’t getting.  But, for the most part, no one regulates vitamins.

-3 Basic Rules:  (1) If you can’t read it, don’t eat it.  (2)  If man changed it, exchange it.  (3)  If it doesn’t rot or sprout, throw it out.

-A fresh, whole, clean apple has over 12,000 vitamins and minerals.

-Fruits and vegetables can reduce DNA damage.

-Juice Plus (fruits and veggies in pill form) bridges that gap between what we need and what we eat. Research it.  And then ask me about it.  I’d love to talk to you about it.  Seriously.  https://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/content/Welcome.soa?gpkw=juice%20plus%20(e)&ch=gppc&ca=JP.com%20-%20Brand&v=Brand%20-%20General&gclid=CIfWyJP6k7UCFQcHnQodUA0AZw

 

Some resources to look at that Dr. Carol Watson shared with us:

-Time “Why DNA is Not Your Destiny” 2010

-The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

-Best Pills, Worst Pills by Dr. Sydney Wolfe

-Reader’s Digest, “The Vitamin Scam” April 2010

-Medscape, “Dark Side of Vitamins” The Year of Medicine in 2011

-Consumer Reports, “10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements” September 2012

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The power of mercy and music: Do yourself a favor and go see Les Mis.

This post might be a bit scattered.  But it all comes together in my mind.  I think it makes sense. So just stick with me for a bit.

 

Music is powerful.  Music is a tool that, if used properly, can change the hardest of hearts, provide hope to the forlorn, expose people to God, and direct people to His throne.  Good lyrics hold immense power.  Weighty lyrics and true emotion speak deeply.

Music can help give hope and strength to a junior in high school whose Dad was diagnosed with cancer and lost his job because of awful lies and allegations within 2 weeks of each other.

Music can help provide healing to a group of high schoolers who lost a friend in a car accident.

Music can connect races, build intense bonds, and crush the evil hatred of racist comments thrown at a high school choir.

Music can take an eclectic group of high schoolers from Winter Garden, FL and triumph in a world choir competition in Verona, Italy.

Music can help heal broken hearts.

Music can point wayward people towards redemption, the sorrowful towards joy, and the anxious towards peace.

Music can foster Scripture memorization, which years later can be recalled in the toughest of times.

Music can crash through language barriers and allow believers to worship the Father with one voice and share the love of Christ with each other.

 

Mix the power of good music with a story bursting with themes of mercy, grace, forgiveness, passions, and adoption and you have one incredible piece of art.

Les Miserables barged into theaters on Christmas Day.  I know of many people who haven’t seen the play, read the book, or seen the new film yet, so I will not spoil it.  But I will say it is a must see.  Hands down one of the best movies ever.  The acting was superb and the music was remarkable.  The story itself was incredibly moving.

Someone being shown mercy can be forever changed, and in turn show mercy to others.  That theme of mercy in the movie is beautiful.  Also, I had to take note of how adoption is woven into this story.  Some might not catch on to that one, but my heart leapt at a man taking in a young girl as his own.  Throughout the movie you see different characters passionately standing up for what they believe in.  It is exhilarating, epic, and emotional.  There is definitely a dichotomy between someone being freed by mercy and grace and someone being bound captive by law and government.  The church does play an important role in this story, and that will not go unnoticed by the millions of people that see this movie around the world.

This movie was filled with echoes from Scripture.  My Biblical studies trained mind was continually racing.

It was truly a masterpiece.

We saw it twice.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to the theaters twice to see the same movie before.  The first time, we both sat there fixated on the screen and so wrapped up in the story.  I will admit that I shed a tear or two.  The second time, we analyzed it more, and I jotted down tons of meaty lines.  Seeing it twice allowed us to further appreciate the film and all the work that was put into it.

Should everyone see it?  Absolutely not.  Prostitution, slavery, suicide, and deadly battles cover the screen at times.

But if you enjoy history, theology, music, or just a good story, you must see this film.  If you don’t enjoy any of those things, well maybe this might be just the thing to catapult you into such classic literature and epic art.

Let me know what you think of the movie!

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Sitting in the Dentist’s Chair

Usually being able to leave early from work brightens one’s day.  But if you have to leave work because of a migraine and a dentist appointment, the brightness dims. I convinced myself to push through the pain and go to the appointment.  This dentist was recommended to us, and they really were wonderful!  I’ve never been one who was scared of the dentist.  But after the crazy times following my wisdom teeth removal a few years ago, a bit of nervousness sneaks up in me.

Anyway, as I sat there on the chair listening to the hygienist and mumbling my few responses, I was reminded of my looming job situation.  I wrote awhile back about this:  https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/still-trying-to-figure-out-what-i-want-to-be-when-i-grow-up/

Somehow she started talking about someone who is going back to school.  And she brought up how sad and hard that must be to graduate with a degree, and then decide you need to go back to study something else.  How tough it must be to realize all the time and money you put into your studies should have gone towards something different.

I didn’t say anything.

Maybe because there hands in my mouth flossing my teeth.  Or maybe because I didn’t want her to know that’s exactly where I am now.

At first I wanted to be sad along with her.  Wonder how ahead of the game I would be if I already studied nursing.  And then I remembered what a joy, blessing, and privilege it was to study what I studied, where I studied it, under the professors I had.  I know without a doubt I had the right major.  I might not know for several years why, but I know it was right.  And now I anticipate going back to school.  It doesn’t have to be a sad or gloomy thing.

I will take this life, this journey, this mountain one day at a time and know my Lord walks beside me, before me, and behind me.  I am completely covered in His atoning grace and mercy, and my life testifies to the goodness and faithfulness of my Father.  No matter how confusing and crazy, hard and trying this life may get, I do not walk alone.  There is a reason behind it all.  Therefore, I will rejoice and be thankful always.

Epiphany

Epiphany.

This is such an exciting and glorious time in the church calendar.

So why is it that so few seem to know we are in this season?

My family moved around a bunch while I was growing up.  And with each move, we traveled into another church.  Denomination didn’t matter.  Therefore, I wasn’t “trapped” in a single denomination’s ways.  Being exposed to different buildings, worship services, and styles of preaching allowed me to see the beautifully diverse ways believers fellowship and worship.

But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I was introduced to the church calendar and what liturgy means.  Looking back, I can see that at least one of the churches we attended was liturgical.  I just didn’t know what that meant at the time.  No one explained it.  I just referred to it as “traditional” back then.

After being exposed to the pure beauty of liturgy, my heart seems more alive to Scripture.

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated the baptism of our Lord found in Luke 3.

We spend months preparing for Christmas.  Believers and nonbelievers alike know when this season approaches.  And yet, it wasn’t at Jesus’ birth that He was made manifest to the people, but at epiphany, at His baptism.

Why doesn’t the majority of the evangelical church in America celebrate this season?

I can’t answer that.

But I can answer for what I am responsible for.  My family.  Spencer and I can choose to expose our future children to these seasons the church celebrates from early on.  We can choose to tell our children why it is important to pray the Psalms, take eucharist, and share the peace of Christ in fellowship with believers.  We can walk through Scripture with our children and expose them to the gospel, pray for their salvation, and walk daily in the Spirit as we teach, discipline, train, and nurture them.  We can journey through the church calendar with them, and foster their spiritual growth however we can.  And by the grace of God, we will.

Passing along a few good articles…

I have stumbled upon some heavy articles recently that I wanted to pass along.  These are definitely worth the few minutes it takes to read them.  Enjoy.

About the Russian anti-American adoption ban:

Dr. Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote this after a Russian saw his posts and responded with a bit of national pride:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/01/08/the-answer-to-russias-orphan-crisis/

Just yesterday I saw this http://m.voanews.com/1582953.html and it made my heart so glad.  That picture of thousands of Russians standing up, not for Americans, but for orphans brought such a smile to my face.  I am thrilled to see people being the voice to those who can’t speak up for themselves.

And then sign this petition to help the 46 families that were so near to bringing their Russian children home.  And then pass it along.  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/help-46-families-wchildren-caught-politics-bring-their-court-approved-adopted-child-home-russia/SgvPTKR2?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

On the recent Louie Giglio and inauguration scenario:

This is an article from Ed Stetzer posing the question, are evangelicals no longer welcome in the public square?   http://www.edstetzer.com/2013/01/evangelicals-and-44-of-america.html

Here is one from Russell Moore concerning this situation and the new state church. http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-and-the-new-state-church/

This blog shows resemblance between what is going on now and what George Orwell wrote about.  http://greatriversofhope.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/an-inauguration-to-make-george-orwell-proud/

This article I found most interesting. To sum it up, the author argues the point that if you have this much power are you really the ones being oppressed?  It is very insightful. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2013/01/11/help-were-gay-and-were-being-oppressed/

Along the same lines:

This is a letter from the CEO of Hobby Lobby about his business potentially being fined millions of dollars everyday they do not comply with certain health legislations concerning abortive contraceptions. http://thebrennerbrief.com/2013/01/03/tragic-letter-from-the-hobby-lobby-ceo-results-of-personal-freedoms-slipping-away/

While Louie Giglio is in the news recently for a sermon he preached 15 years ago calling sin what it is, he is usually known for his stance against human trafficking and slavery.  The Passion Conference took place in Atlanta at the beginning of this year to shed light on this horrific situation.  These provide information about that:

This is from Compassion providing some awful statistics about human trafficking.  http://blog.compassion.com/human-trafficking-awareness-day-what-is-a-childs-life-worth/

President Obama declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/12/31/presidential-proclamation-national-slavery-and-human-trafficking-prevent

And then you can go to this site  http://enditmovement.com to learn more about what you can do to stop modern day slavery.

This article has a different spin to it, but was written to those who attended Passion 2013.  In it the author quotes Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  It is a subject I wrestled with in college.  Why would I spend so much time and money getting an education when I can be starting a ministry or just be out in the world with hurting people?  This article has a wonderful answer to that.  It reminds me so much of C. S. Lewis’ “Learning in Wartime” essay, in which Lewis writes about the importance of staying in school even during such a time as war.  If you are in school and have passions that you are ready to make a difference with, read this and know your education is not in vain:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2013/01/did-you-go-to-passion-2013-heres-what-fyodor-dostoyevsky-would-say-to-you/

And then we come to health:

I was so glad to see an article about the dangers of fast food from TIME this morning.  Often Americans talk about different fad diets or the increase of disease in our culture, but for some reason people, including doctors, do not talk about whole body wellness.  There is a definite link between what we eat and disease.  http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/15/fast-food-linked-to-asthma-and-allergies-in-kids/  What we give our bodies affects them, and in America it seems to be more negative than positive.  We would do well to bring more things like this to light.  I talk about what wellness looks like for us a bit here: https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/living-well-together/

On a lighter note:

This blog was written about the show Duck Dynasty.  The author provides evangelical insight into why this popular new show is good for this country.  They are simple points, yet they are true.   http://truthmattersblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/5-reasons-america-needs-duck-dynasty/

That’s all for now folks.

Three Years Ago…

Three years ago when my life forever changed.

Three years ago I was in Israel.

Sunrise in Israel

Three years ago I was standing on rooftops in old Jerusalem watching the sunrise.  I was surrounded by a few fellow believers who traveled from Union with me to share the gospel in a place that desperately needs to hear about Jesus.

It was one of the best weeks of my life.  Yet it was one of the hardest places to deliver the gospel.

I will have to save sharing about that trip for another time.  I could talk about it for days.

While on that trip, three years ago, we watched the news coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

 

Three years ago today the earthquake happened.

Three years ago God grew in me a heart for the Jewish people and Israel; three years ago God grew in me a heart for Haiti.

 

As I watched the news and learned more about the earthquake after returning home, I knew I had to go.

I longed to be amongst the rubble and ruins, dust and ash.

I so desired to hold children in my arms, bandage wounds, pass out food and water, and rebuild houses.

I yearned to offer hope amongst the despair, peace amongst the chaos, joy amongst the grief.

I needed to be with the poor and helpless.

So I spent hour upon hour figuring out how I could go.  I knew spring break would arrive in just two months, allowing me a week off from school.  It took some time to figure it all out.  But just three short weeks before spring break I had found a ministry to go with (Adventures in Missions http://www.adventures.org), booked my flight, and even convinced my mom and two friends at Union to join me.  Unfortunately, my grandmother became very sick, and so my mom stayed behind to be able to spend time with her in California before the Lord called her home.  We trusted the Lord and knew he had a purpose and plan behind the timing of everything.  He was in charge of our family and He was in charge of Haiti.

There is no way to accurately put into words what we saw and experienced.  It was one of the best weeks of my life, yet it was one of the hardest.  (That seems to be a recurring theme.)

Sleep was a luxury amongst the heat and noise.

tent life

My heart was constantly grieving, yet constantly giving…a strange paradox to persevere through.

These people had nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  They used whatever they could find to concoct some sort of shelter.

housing

So much devastation.  So much grief.  So much death.

What could we possibly do?  How could we help?  What words would be adequate?

I quickly learned that we didn’t have to heal the nation.  All I had to do was share Jesus.  My Strength, my Rock, my Refuge, my Healer, my Joy, my Help, my Provider, my Provision.  Share Him.  My mission in Haiti was not to rebuild the whole nation, but simply help the few that I could.

What did that simple help look like?

Some days it was teaching English to a small community since they were still out of school.

school

 

 

Some afternoons we helped rebuild a church.

church

And some in the community quickly joined in to help.

church

 

We packed bags of rice and beans for pastors to hand out to their communities.

rice and bean bags

 

We spent time visiting churches and hearing their stories.  The testimony that “my life was spared from the earthquake, so I know that there must be a God and so I will follow Him” was heard often and struck me hard.  What peace and hope we encouraged them with was tiny in comparison to the way their just months old and yet solid and seasoned faith impacted us.

There were times when letting them love us, in their own unique way, was the best thing we could do for them.

braids

the girls

 

Most importantly, the name of Jesus was on our lips.  The gospel was shared.  Men, women, and children were prayed for.

 

Each face we looked into told a powerful story.  They will never be forgotten.

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Three years ago, those faces changed my life.

 

Three years ago, a part of me was left in Haiti.

Daril

Three years ago, God literally shook the Haitian grounds out of spiritual darkness and into revival.  He is moving in mighty ways in Haiti.  His church is growing there like never before.  Light now shines in a place that was covered in darkness.

Praise be to God who can use any chaos, catastrophe, tempest, and trial for His name’s sake!

Still Saturday Morning

Calm.

Warmth.

Hot tea.

The Psalms.

Stillness in the air.

Quiet.

Pen in hand.

Journal, book, Bible lay open.

Saturday mornings won’t always be like this.  Of this I am sure.

So for now, I treasure this.

This rest is refreshment for my soul.  This calm defeats the chaos that filled my mind at work.  This time with my Holy Lord delights my heart.  This reading of the Scriptures gives me sustenance.

This I treasure.