New Year’s Resolution: Anybody Want to Lose Weight with Me?

Did you know they say the average American gains 5 pounds over the holidays? I was right on track with that estimate until I turned the corner on the morning of Christmas Eve. Anybody want to join me in a super-simple, free, no measure,  low-carb/low-sugar diet this year? I test-drove this easy plan for the past week and found that it worked for me. I lost a tad and never felt hungry. Interested?

Want to know what would be considered a “healthy normal” weight for you?  The easiest chart I found for estimating healthy weight is from Rush University Medical Center, and I’ve included the link and their chart below, just in case you’re wondering. I was happily relieved to find that they are very generous in their parameters, but even so, I’m still overweight! 😦

Here’s my proposal. Anybody who wants to join me in an on-line weight loss encouragement program can check in here each week on Wednesday. We don’t have to say how much we weigh, we can just say how much we want to lose, how much we’ve lost that week, and how much we’ve lost since we began…and that doesn’t have to mean we’re promising to lose all we need to lose. It’s just our personal goal for this year. I would like to lose 23 pounds, and so I’m committing to keeping my diet plan for an entire year (until next Christmas Eve) or until that goal is reached, although I’d really like to weigh even less and may keep going for the entire year unless I ever have the happy problem of being too thin (which wouldn’t probably happen in 100 years unless I become ill). So, when I check in next week, it might look like: 23/.05/22.5…that’s if I lose 1/2 a pound a week, which I’m hoping to do.

Want to join? I’ll try to write some encouraging tip or recipe each week, but I’m also hoping that anybody who joins, knows (or learns) something helpful, and has the time might add info for the rest of us. Just your “23/.05/22.5” or whatever each week is fine, but if you find a great recipe, want to discuss a problem, solution, or strategy, or whatever, any comment would be helpful for the rest of us, and we can encourage each other as we go.

What do you think? It’s simple: We can have all the fruits, veggies, dairy (minus ice cream) and protein sources we want, but we just give up sweets and starchy foods. You might want to tailor your plan to suit who you are, and over time, I suspect we might need to become a bit harder on ourselves to lose the last few pounds. For example, I imagine that the day may come when I have to make a conscious effort to reduce portion size, although this past week I lost fine without even worrying about it. Also, I’m not saying “NO sugar,” because I’m allowing myself honey for coffee or tea, and I’m not saying “NO starch,” because if I’m somewhere and they serve me a pasta dish with meat as the main entreé, I don’t want to be without food or make my hostess uncomfortable. Also, you may only want to commit to a trial of 1-2-3 weeks or months before saying you’ll commit to working at it until you reach whatever weight goal you set for yourself.

But I, for one, am tired of being overweight, and so I’m asking the Lord to help me do what I know is good for me: be disciplined in my eating so that I fall within the range of “healthy normal.” What do you think?

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).


Height Weight
Normal Overweight Obese
4′ 10″ 91 to 115 lbs. 119 to 138 lbs. 143 to 186 lbs.
4′ 11″ 94 to 119 lbs. 124 to 143 lbs. 148 to 193 lbs.
5′ 97 to 123 lbs. 128 to 148 lbs. 153 to 199 lbs.
5′ 1″ 100 to 127 lbs. 132 to 153 lbs. 158 to 206 lbs.
5′ 2″ 104 to 131 lbs. 136 to 158 lbs. 164 to 213 lbs.
5′ 3″ 107 to 135 lbs. 141 to 163 lbs. 169 to 220 lbs.
5′ 4″ 110 to 140 lbs. 145 to 169 lbs. 174 to 227 lbs.
5′ 5″ 114 to 144 lbs. 150 to 174 lbs. 180 to 234 lbs.
5′ 6″ 118 to 148 lbs. 155 to 179 lbs. 186 to 241 lbs.
5′ 7″ 121 to 153 lbs. 159 to 185 lbs. 191 to 249 lbs.
5′ 8″ 125 to 158 lbs. 164 to 190 lbs. 197 to 256 lbs.
5′ 9″ 128 to 162 lbs. 169 to 196 lbs. 203 to 263 lbs.
5′ 10″ 132 to 167 lbs. 174 to 202 lbs. 209 to 271 lbs.
5′ 11″ 136 to 172 lbs. 179 to 208 lbs. 215 to 279 lbs.
6′ 140 to 177 lbs. 184 to 213 lbs. 221 to 287 lbs.
6′ 1″ 144 to 182 lbs. 189 to 219 lbs. 227 to 295 lbs.
6′ 2″ 148 to 186 lbs. 194 to 225 lbs. 233 to 303 lbs.
6′ 3″ 152 to 192 lbs. 200 to 232 lbs. 240 to 311 lbs.
6′ 4″ 156 to 197 lbs. 205 to 238 lbs. 246 to 320 lbs.
BMI 19 to 24 25 to 29 30 to 39

Come a Little Bit Closer

Bavarian Alps copyAre you timid? I doubt many people would characterize me as timid, and I used to consider myself a bit of a Fearless Fosdick, but in truth I’m very timid around mechanical things. My sister’s husband used to tease that Annie couldn’t even be trusted to use a can opener; I’m in that league…always afraid of hurting something or breaking something, so if things don’t work with a very gentle touch, I stop and feel unsure about what to do next. It’s basically a lack of trust in the sturdiness of the object and a lack of confidence in my ability to interact successfully.

Case in point: My car was fine…just had a defective sensor, as Alan suspected. My car was repaired; I returned their lovely loaner and thanked them, but when I pulled up to the garage door in my own car to leave, expecting it to open as they’d told me it would, nothing happened. I looked for any type of switch on the wall that might open the door, but there was none. I waited, thinking someone might have to press a button for me to open it remotely. Still nothing. After a minute or two, I got out and asked a mechanic what I needed to do in order to open the door. “Oh, just drive just a little bit closer. You have to be within a foot or two of the door before it’ll open.”

Ah! I got in, drove gingerly forward, and voilà, the door opened as if by magic!

How about you? Is it possible you’ve got an ingenious mechanical brain and never fear to experiment with something until you can make it work…but feel timid about spiritual things? If so, come a little bit closer! If you think there might be a God, but he seems remote, and you’re not sure how to “get the door open”…to access him, “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).  You may lack trust in the character of God (blaming him for the evil in our world, which he allowed out of respect for our freedom to choose), or you may lack confidence in your ability to interact successfully with him (not understanding the infinite depth of his love for us), but he invites us to seek him with all our hearts, and he promises that—if we will—we will find him: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

The Red Triangle

mirrorWith seven kids, mothers don’t usually have a car of their own and are happy to have access to a family car “whenever,” so it was an over-the-top gift when Alan pretty much forced me to get a beautiful, new (late model used, but new to us) car last summer. It rides like a dream, and so I was surprised and alarmed to see the “engine” light burning reddish-orange on my dash last week. Alan assured me it was probably just a sensor failure, and thankfully, the car is still under warranty, so I was able to take it to the dealer and have them fix it. They gave me a “loaner” car to use until it’s fixed…something I’ve never experienced before! Exterior-rear-view-mirror The car they lent me was a brand new 2015 version of my car, but as I drove back home on the freeway, I kept seeing a very unsettling reddish light glowing off and on at the bottom corner of my rear-view mirror. At first it was frightening to me, and I wasn’t sure what it meant or if I was doing something wrong with this brand new car that didn’t even belong to me, but then I realized  it was a warning light to indicate something was in my blind spot. Flat out ingenious!!

I don’t know about you, but I love being warned when there’s something coming up behind me that I can’t see but could prove deadly if I fail to notice and respond correctly. For me, this is one of the (many) wondrous things about the Bible. If you’re not used to it, you might find the Bible distracting, annoying, or frightening, but it’s full of wisdom and warnings. Meditating on the Word of God is like driving with a great rear-view mirror. If we keep checking and responding accordingly, we’ll avoid some tragic accidents as we travel through life.

“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
(James 1:25, NKJV)

Rise Up, My Love (117): What’s Under Your Tongue?

Palm_honey_jarSong of Solomon 4:11 “Honey and milk are under thy tongue.” The Hebrew word used here for honey is debas, and I’ve read that this term is commonly used for “palm honey” or “domesticated honey,” which was actually a syrup made from boiled-down grapes. The honey which was under her tongue was that which had been painstakingly produced by a process of boiling down and condensing many of the fruitful thoughts obtained by “abiding in the vine” until only the rich, well-preserved “palm honey” of wisdom remained.

“Honey and milk…” The land of Canaan is referred to dozens of times in Scripture as a land “flowing with milk and honey.” It was a land flowing with milk—fertile livestock producing abundant young; a land flowing with honey—lush plant life overflowing with God’s blessing of fruitfulness. This is the picture of the king’s wife! She is flourishing like a well watered land, fruitful and luscious.

“Honey and milk are under thy tongue“… not really gushing and manifest to all, but resident stores of goodness, considered, kept, and hidden away to be dispensed to those in need. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Flowing out from the bride’s heart are honey and milk—honey to delight and milk to nourish. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). What a contrast to Romans 3:13-14, where Paul gives this devastating appraisal or all men without God: “Their throat is an open sepulcher: with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

Wow! What is under our tongues??? Honey and milk, or cursing and bitterness?

There is a story told of an ancient gathering of orators who took turns speaking. Gradually all the people who were listening left, and by the time the last orator came to the platform, the only person remaining in the auditorium was Plato. Still, the last speaker delivered his oration with all the grandeur he possessed. Someone who heard about his speech asked him why he hadn’t just quit, but he replied, “Who would need more of an audience than Plato?”

Who needs more of an audience than God Himself? What if, for all our labors and careful preparations, we have no one to pour out our hearts to besides the Lord? Isn’t He enough? What if there is no one who wants to hear our thoughts? If we speak to God alone, it is enough! If we worship God alone, we worship aright! If we can offer only the inaudible groans of the Holy Spirit, it is a sacrifice acceptable and well pleasing to our Beloved! He is ever longing to hear us…ever listening…ever loving! To Him, our praises and prayers are honey and milk. I cannot drink this all in. It is too wonderful!



Samuel at 32 Weeks: This Grandma is Sleeping in Heavenly Peace

Preemie sleepingChristmas Eve morning I woke up feeling almost euphoric for no particular reason other than I had the most heavenly sense that Baby Samuel is going to make it. Of course, I’ve never considered myself a prophet, and so I’m speaking from my personal experience, not from 100% unshakable, irrefutable foreknowledge. But, I’m just sayin’…I feel a peace that everything will be okay.Preemie trying to get some sleep! My daughter’s family was visiting, and she asked if the doctor has an estimated time for when Samuel might be stable and strong enough to leave the hospital. Preemie with new yellow hat Brianna says the neonatologist won’t hazard a guess yet, since she’ll have to feel sure that Samuel will survive before she’ll try to make any predictions about such pleasant possibilities. Samuel at 32 weeks So, there’s nothing official, just peace in my heart. But, WOW does peace feel good! (This picture is the most recent…just taken last night after a sponge bath.)Mother and tiny babyWhen Samuel comes home, then I’ll know, but then it won’t be a matter of faith anymore. It will be fact. It occurs to me that this is generally true of faith. God asks us to trust Him, not because in this life we have 100% irrefutable proof that He exists or that there really is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. I have a perfect sense of peace that the Bible is true and does show us the way to heaven through faith in Christ,  but not because I can prove it…rather, because I experience his peace. Mother kissing her baby The calm assurance of resting in Christ—of feeling his love and believing in his provision for my salvation—is a heavenly thing. Am I wrong about believing in Jesus? I don’t think so, but it won’t be until I close my eyes for the last time on this earth that I’ll be able to say I KNOW it’s all true…and then, it won’t be faith anymore, it will be sight!

Daniel sleeping“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

PS—Thanks again for all the outpouring of love and the many of you who are praying daily (and some more) for Samuel. God hears and answers!! The last picture is of Samuel’s father, Daniel, when he first came home from the hospital. You can see that Sammy has a way to go yet before he becomes a nice, plump, full-grown newborn!)

Merry Christmas, Dear Ones!

White water rafting on McKenzie RiverThis has been another wonderful year… full of ups and downs, but that’s just life, isn’t it? The bottom line for our family (at this moment) is that we’re doing well Samuel on Thanksgiving…at least as well as can be expected, given that our 13th grand child is a preemie living in a NICU. But, let me give you a little update on all of us: alan-and-me-with-grace-and-kids Alan and Kathi: We’ve enjoyed good health this year—which we now humbly appreciate as a great privilege rather than something to be taken for granted. Munising FallsAlan continues working very long hours and comes home with his “mind exploded” many days but finds his job fulfilling and fascinating. Cape Cod Naitonal Seashore I’ve had a truly happy year of blogging and keeping up with family and friends.Aaron's Family Aaron is still working for Facebook, and Carlie continues to home school their tribe of 4 busy boys. Carleen They take the kids on all sorts of far-flung adventures, Aaron's family. Father's Day but they’re really good about keeping connected with family too (lucky for us!). Aaron reading to kidsIt is so fun to watch our kids being parents!  Mike's Family Mike was promoted to major last summer. He’ll be finished paying back the army for his dental training next summer, but they don’t know the next step yet.Mother holding baby In September, their 4th was born, Paladin, so they have 2 girls & 2 boys. The Savior's Quest Grace and Michael are using their love of the arts and Grace’s theatrical training to enhance home schooling their busy bevy. They live abroad, and we miss them!Jon and Linda with kids Jon and Linda continue to teach at Moody’s western campus, and they are also super busy. Jon is always up to his gills teaching, working on innovative teaching techniques via the web, writing books and working on his Aqueduct Project. A+S into mischief! Linda does the lion’s share of caring for their 2 delightful little girls, which keeps her on her toesGerlinde and Sophie In fact, I am deeply grateful for all 5 of the dedicated moms in our family who sacrifice their own interests to love their kids and let their husbands “fly.”
Kathy and Carl with kids Carl is still working full time heading the video and motion graphics department at NorthRidge and has also started his own company, Motion Parade, doing free-lance projects for (among others) the Food Network out of NYC.  Baby in Balls Kathy has her hands full with Iris and Oliver and writes in the nooks and crannies of life. IMG_0951 Alan and I feel very blessed to have their family in state so we can see them relatively often. Dan and Brianna 8.14 Daniel continues as a dentist at H.I.S.(Health Intervention Services, a Christian charity helping the uninsured), and Brianna is working as a nurse at DeVos Children’s Hospital in the NICU. Holland, MI They had two high school exchange students living with them last year but decided not to take in more students in the light of Brianna’s becoming pregnant. preemie-sleeping The baby was due on Alan and my anniversary (February 18), but Brianna developed pre-eclampia and Baby Samuel Azariah arrived via C-section at only 27.5 weeks…a tiny 12.5″ 1-pound, 9 oz. wonder. He’s had a bout with pneumonia and is still very fragile, so we’ve been praying night and day for him.Stephen and Joel Stephen and Joel both graduated with M.A. degrees (Stephen with 2) this spring. Sugar Loaf Mt., MIThis year Stephen is working as the music director at his church, taking classes in 3 languages, presenting and publishing musicology papers, and applying for PhD programs for next fall.  Joel in Cape Cod Joel is now working on his PhD in literature at Northeastern University and has 2 articles in print for 2015! He’s living in an “intentional Christian community” in Boston with 6 other graduate students, where he’s again the youngest of 7. 🙂 DSCN6165  Joel and Stephen have continued to be super good friends, and they’ve been collaborating on writing a memoir about growing up at…somewhere… 🙂Mom poster In all, it’s been one of my happiest years in a long time, and I am so grateful to God for all these blessings! But, most of all, I’m thankful for Jesus, who came down from heaven’s glory to be born as a babe in a manger, live, die, and rise again for us, so that we can celebrate the joy of forgiveness for sins and fellowship with God. It is the birth of this perfect Savior that we celebrate at Christmas—Emmanuel—God is with us!

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us”
(Matthew 1:23).

Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Christmas

The GrinchIt’s Christmas Eve. It’s also a drizzly 39° outside with not a fleck of snow in sight or foresight. No chance of a white Christmas for us this year! Kathy’s family just left; Stephen and Joel are about to leave. As the music director of a church with 2 Christmas Eve services, Stephen will be gone from 4:30-11:30 tonight. Dan and Brianna are going to her folks for Christmas Eve, and they’re spending Christmas Day in the NICU with Samuel, their very preemie baby (our grand baby). And, that’s not even the worst of it! At least Alan and I still have each other…one of our dear friends lost his mate to cancer just a few days ago. Our kids may not be with us, but at least they’re all healthy and well. Tragically, one of our cousins lost her daughter this past week…she went to the hospital ill and just died.   😦 The Grinch in his Santa SuitSo, it’s beginning to look a lot like the Grinch is trying to steal our Christmas, and I was wondering if he might be trying to steal yours too. In the children’s book, it’s love that unites the villagers and brings Christmas, but what if you are without the warmth and comfort of loved ones this holiday? Many are without family and friends right now, you know, and if you’re one of them, I’d like to offer these insights that came to me as my puzzler was getting sore:
1.  You aren’t alone in your aloneness. My West Coast kids who live too far away to come home have invited 5 students (who are also unable to go home) over for Christmas dinner. Reaching out to others is a great way to extinguish sorrow and multiple joy. Have you thought of reaching out to someone who’s also alone?
2. You aren’t unloved! Christ—whose birth we celebrate this Christmas season— loves you (and all of us) so much that He came to earth to die in our place so that we can experience forgiveness for all the sins and sorrows in our past and receive a special Christmas present from him: A totally new life—an eternal life that can start today and will last forever. Will you believe He loves you & accept his gift?

Gift under Christmas Tree“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Rise Up, My Love (116): Dripping with Honey

baringo.org4:11 “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue.” Some commentators feel that Solomon is describing the pleasure of passionate kissing in this verse, but the word picture of lips dripping honey is hard to reconcile with kissing per se (unless you like really sloppy kisses), so perhaps it could be more easily be understood as a flow of sweet words which Solomon meant figuratively as a description of her speech rather than primarily as a metaphor for kissing. www.businessweek.comThe Hebrew word for “dripping” is natap, and means “to drop of its own accord.” The word for honey is nopet and means the literal honey found wild in the comb. The picture is of the honeycomb dripping as in I Samuel 14:6,29 when Jonathan dipped the end of his rod into the honey and his eyes were enlightened. Let’s consider how honey is made, its nature and value, and its impact on those who find it. Honey bee WikiFirst, making honey is a slow process. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, bees gather nectar by sucking the sweetness out of the flowers and brushing their bodies against the pollen on the blossoms. The bees fill up their “honey bag” (or honey stomach) with nectar, and then return to the hive. While the nectar is in the bees’ stomach, certain enzymes are added to it, which break down the nectar into simple sugars, and after the bee has returned from his flight, he sucks the honey back up from his stomach and deposits it into a tiny wax cell in the comb. In the comb, the honey distills as the water evaporates out, and eventually the bees put a wax seal on the cell to keep the honey fresh for future use. By the end of a prosperous season, hives are overflowing with succulent honey oozing from the combs. www.ncagr.govThe honey of the soul is gathered like thoughts drawn from the flowers of this life…all the ideas we sip and all the experiences we brush up against as we work. Just as there are many types of honey, so there are many types and qualities of thoughts, and as faithful “worker bees,” we should take great care in finding the best orchards in which to work. The sweetest, purest thoughts come from the sure word of truth. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:9-11).bees on honeycellsAfter our thoughts are gathered, they are digested (meditation) and stored in the hive of the mind, where they are left to distill into ideas which are sealed up to keep fresh until needed. Good ideas, like good honey, are not made quickly. They are carefully and slowly processed over a long period and stored up for the proper time. Good ideas, like good honey, are pure, sweet, and edifying. And, like a full honeycomb at the end of a prosperous season, a mind saturated with good ideas will eventually “drip honey”—dispense lovely, encouraging words.

What is the nature of honey? Honey is that which sweetens and strengthens. “What is sweeter than honey?” (Judges 1:18). Encouraging speech is similar: “Pleasant words are as the honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). trutrainerapp.comWhat is the value of honey? It was greatly valued. Jacob sent it with his gifts to the pharaoh (Genesis 43:11), and throughout Scripture it was used as a symbol of the rich prosperity of a land (Numbers 14:8—Israel; Numbers16:13—Egypt, etc.). The honey of wisdom is similarly valued in the Scripture: “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off” (Proverbs 24:13-14). Wisdom is the honey of the soul, and just as Jonathan’s eyes were enlightened by tasting honey, so our eyes are enlightened by tasting the sweetness of true wisdom.

What is the impact of honey on those who find it? “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). It is only after we feast on the true butter and honey of Truth that we can discern good from evil and know to choose good. Those who have only eaten the rancid lard and moldy cake of this world do not know there is anything better.

How true this is of love! The world portrays love as synonymous with starry-eyed infatuation—the outpouring of devotion that is as watery as nectar and no more satisfying. Worse, the world’s counterfeit to love is lust, which would be poisoned honey—not to build up, but to destroy. The world does not understand true, sacrificial love, and it is only when they experience being truly loved by  the magnificence of God’s love (or others who have been transformed by it) that they learn to discern good from evil and choose the good.

How true this is of speech! The bride’s speech did not babble on and on like thin drivel, it dropped with the distilled richness of golden honey: rich thoughts, rich ideas, rich words of praise and prayer. As Spurgeon said, “He is a wise man that knows how to speak well, but he is a great deal wiser man who knows how to hold his tongue.”

“Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb.”
Oh, that our lips might dispense such sweetness!