Posts Tagged ‘personal story’

Gluten-Free Diets May Lead to Elevated Arsenic and Mercury Levels

June 23, 2017

Just when I thought that my dietary choices were much better since I decided to avoid wheat gluten in foods, along comes a new study that reveals that eating large amounts of rice flour can lead to heightened arsenic and mercury levels in my body!

I was very dismayed to read about this yesterday.  It all started with an article that I read in First magazine which asked, and then answered the following question:

“Should I be worried about arsenic in gluten-free foods?”

Q:  Following a gluten-free diet has done wonders for my GI issues and brain fog.  But lately I’ve been seeing news reports saying gluten-free foods increase exposure to arsenic and other toxic chemicals.  Now I’m worried my favorite gluten-free breads and treats could be bad for me.  Are they unsafe?

Suffice it to say that this article immediately drew my attention because for the past several years, I have been trying to eliminate breads and foods that contain gluten from my diet.  I have not been tested or diagnosed with Celiac disease (where gluten can have devastating effects upon those who have it).  I found that I felt much better when I eliminated wheat gluten, so I perceived myself as having a  non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  [Note: Dr. Amy Burkhardt strongly recommends being tested for Celiac disease before starting a gluten-free diet.]

Please see:

The Celiac MD: Six Reasons to Test for Celiac Disease
Before Starting a Gluten Free Diet

It became a lifestyle choice for me, personally,  because cutting way down on gluten in my diet did help ease the digestive issues that I was experiencing.  Occasionally, I still consume breads and foods with gluten in them (particularly at restaurants),  but I have tried to eliminate it as much as possible. I did not know (until reading all of these important articles) about the hidden health risks and dangers of increased arsenic and mercury in my diet due to the increased intake of rice flour!

A:  There is reason to be cautious.  In a study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers found that people who followed a gluten-free diet for five or more years had nearly twice as much arsenic and 70 percent more mercury in their systems as those who consumed a standard diet.  And chronic exposure to low levels of these toxic metals has been linked to nausea, arrhythmia, blue moods, fatigue, weight gain and neurological issues.

The problem with gluten-free diets:  Most processed foods like bread, pasta and cookies use a form of rice flour as a substitute for wheat.  This gluten-free grain is great for creating a tender crumb and light texture in baked goods, but it is particularly vulnerable to heavy-metal contamination.  That’s because rice is grown in fields that are flooded with irrigation water.  This water tends to be polluted with arsenic and mercury, which rice plants then absorb as they grow.

That said, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of a gluten-free diet without the associated health risks.  The key is favoring whole foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, nuts and legumes, and limiting intake of processed gluten-free products made with rice flour. 

Instead, opt for breads and pastas made from nuts, ancient grains and beans.  A few products that get our stamp of approval:  Food for Life Sprouted for Life Almond Bread, which is made with quinoa, millet and almond meal and has a hearty, nutty taste ($10, health-food stores); Ancient Harvest Supergrain Pasta, a corn and quinoa-based noodle with a toothsome chew ($3, supermarkets); and Lucy’s Gluten-Free Cookies, which are made from a blend of oat, chickpea, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours ($4, supermarkets).

I have been feeling very fatigued, but just thought that was a natural thing happening to me due to getting older!  (I’m 62)  Perhaps another positive change in my eating habits will help ease that fatigue!

After reading this article, I did a search online and found many other helpful articles about this topic.  One of the best was this one:

The Celiac MD.com: ARSENIC IN RICE & THE GLUTEN FREE DIET : FACTS AND TIPS

One tip that I can share is that instead of using regular bread products (sandwich slices, rolls, English muffins, etc.), I often substitute corn tortillas. Several brands say “gluten-free” on the package, so I look for that designation when selecting them at the store. They are inexpensive and great to use for egg “Mctortillas,” sandwiches, as a substitute for rolls; because you can put practically anything inside and enjoy a gluten-free, yet more tasty meal.  [Additionally, the non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) kind is better, but they are more expensive].

Personally, I have found most of the gluten-free breads on the market tasteless! They often fall apart too! Note the cost of the “Food for Life” bread in the article…$10! I know that I wouldn’t finish the loaf by myself before it would need to be discarded. Some people may like to freeze the slices before use to make it last longer, but I find myself being too lazy to do that. Usually, I just forget.

I hope that this information helps someone out there who thinks that they are eating healthier by eating gluten-free, but were uninformed (as I was!) about the danger of the health risks due to ingestion of increased levels of toxic heavy metals in rice flour!

Hat tips to all links and graphics sites.

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Church, Family, Lucy and Pasta! Happy Times!

April 18, 2017

There was so much to love about this past weekend, so I thought I would share part of it in a personal story here at my blog.

On Easter Sunday, my husband and I attended a fairly new church (almost 3 years old) up in Studio City, LA [Legacy City Church] with our daughter, her husband and their 17 month old daughter, Lucy.

Since our son and daughter-in-law were out-of-town, we decided to spend Resurrection Sunday up in LA this year.  Our son had attended this church last year with his sister’s family because I was laid up for 2 weeks with a slow healing pulled muscle in my back, unable to attend church last Easter.  Our son said that the message was very good and biblically based, so we thought we would attend for this year’s Easter message.

Well, we weren’t disappointed! Pastor Josh Thompson delivered an awesome message [See them here: Legacy Church Sermons], the worship music was contemporary and beautiful (two of my favorites):

1. Forever by Kari Jobe

2. What a Beautiful Name it is – The Name of Jesus.

We all sat in the last row so that one of us could take Lucy outside in case she got fussy and wanted to walk around.

When the song “Forever” came on, she was given to me.

As I worshipped Jesus through that song with my sweet granddaughter in my arms, the tears just flowed from my eyes! It was a “first” for me – the first opportunity to sing that worship song with her! She was so good! It was like she loved the song and enjoyed hearing me sing along to it while I was standing, rocking back and forth with her in my arms!

My son-in-law Tyler asked if she was getting heavy and if he should hold her for a while. I said no…I’m fine!  Actually, she didn’t even feel heavy.   That special moment of time will remain with me forever!

Near the end of the service, Tyler took Lucy out again to walk around. After the service was over, I asked my daughter Jenna what time our reservations were at a certain restaurant nearby. She said, “half an hour ago.” Uh oh…we were already a half hour late! Well, we found out that Tyler had taken Lucy to the car and he called the restaurant to tell them that we would be late. They had already given our reservation away! Personally, I was glad. That particular restaurant had a salmonella problem (which Tyler and Jenna didn’t know about)  in recent months and I really didn’t want to go there! Fortunately, an Italian restaurant in the same area had tables open! A prayer answered! I REALLY didn’t want to go to the other place!   I’ve experienced food poisoning before and it took days to recover! We went to the Italian restaurant and we all were so glad we did! The limited menu was reasonably priced and everything was so delicious!

Lucy was getting restless.  When that happens, it’s time to put “Elmie” (what she calls Elmo from Sesame Street!) on the cell phone.  She absolutely loves her Elmie!  Of course, my daughter limits the TV time with her, but it is a life saver while in an elegant restaurant!

As we enjoyed our meals, Tyler took some pasta and cut it up on the table for Lucy. The look on Jenna’s face was one of disbelief as she tried to quietly tell him, “Tyler!!! You are cutting up the food on a cloth tablecloth!” There was red pasta sauce all over Lucy’s spot at the table! When Tyler realized that the usual disposable plastic mat wasn’t put down, he grabbed a plate and put the food on it! We all laughed so hard! It was so funny! Afterwards, he tried to cover the spot with his beige cloth napkin.

When the waitress came over to check on us, she just shrugged it off.  She was so sweet.

We had such a great time all weekend! Spending special holidays with family is the best! And, as our granddaughter grows up, learns more words (“No” is a big one! LOL!) and as she becomes more aware of things, laughs with us, cuddles with us, and interacts with us in new ways, it is just such an absolute joy!

An Interesting Encounter

March 3, 2017

As I was pushing my grocery cart while leaving a grocery store today, a young man who works there just returned a group of carts to the stack of carts inside the store.  He turned so fast that he stepped right in front of my cart and I almost hit him!  Fortunately, I wasn’t moving as fast as him so he was able to get out of the way.  I apologized for almost hitting him with the cart.  He accompanied me out the door and proceeded to tell me about all of the times that he had been “attacked” by grocery carts; in the parking lots of two stores he previously worked at, by rude customers in the stores, and on and on he went.

It never occurred to me that a job like his would be so dangerous! /sarc off.

He then said that people were often rude to him.  I mentioned that it seems like rudeness has become a lifestyle ever since the election!  He said, yeah!  I told him that I avoid discussing politics and the election because people are so agitated over it that it’s sometimes scary!  He proceeded to say, “yeah, I can’t believe that Trump won.  Who would ever vote for him?  He’s horrible and disgusting towards women!  He’s an idiot!  He doesn’t know how to run the country!  He was a bad businessman!  He claimed bankruptcy 5 times!  He only has money because his father gave it to him”

I started to tune him out as I thought in my mind that it was only twice where Trump claimed bankruptcies;  and they were corporate bankruptcies which are very different from personal ones… but I didn’t want to get into that so I kept such thoughts to myself.

I asked him, “did you see the State of the Union Address?” [Correction:  It was an address to the Joint Session of Congress.  My thanks to GMpilot for this correction.]

He said, “No, I was working.”

I said that many are saying that it was the best speech ever.  Continuing on, I mentioned that many Democrats left before President Trump exited.  It happens to be a polite and customary rule in the House to show respect for the position of the presidency…no matter who is president at the time.  I also said, “there were many people who disliked Obama when he was president, but they didn’t show such disrespect by exiting before he left his State of the Union addresses.”

He said, “but he was a good president, not like this joker Trump.”

I said, “Well, no matter who is president, God is ultimately in control and I continue to hope and pray that His Hand of healing and leading will be on us and upon our nation.”

He replied, “Maybe God put Trump in there to punish us.”  I couldn’t help but think in my own mind…that’s what I thought about Obama!

I encouraged him to watch the State of the Union address so that he would be more informed regarding what was said.  Many people in the media said that it was Trump’s best speech ever.

He said, “maybe Trump will be impeached!”  I wanted to remind him of one famous Democratic president who was impeached back in the ’90’s.  However, I guessed that he was probably only 8 years old at the time and most likely didn’t know about the embarrassing sexcapades with the intern Monica Lewinsky, the accusations of women being groped and raped, the Whitewater scandal, or all of the other controversies that surrounded Bill Clinton.

I wished him well and thanked him for his help putting the groceries into the trunk of my SUV.

It’s funny how just mentioning that I don’t like to talk politics or about the nastiness of the election ended up leading to just that…an encounter with someone who has Trump derangement syndrome!

 

Including these just because they are funny!

Ultimately, what the choice was in the Election of 2016:

My Journey to Christ

February 28, 2017

During a discussion on faith between my friend L and a non-believer named GMPilot in the comment section of a post entitled Leaders Can Be Either a Blessing or a Punishment, Mr. Pilot asked me a question.

He seemed irritated that I had given him a link to a list of prophecies that have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, with some that are to be fulfilled at His Second Coming.

According to the Scriptures: 353 Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Christine wrote:  GM, I wrote that comment and the link to the prophecies fulfilled page for L. I gave you the same link months ago, but did not read any comment from you regarding what was revealed.

GM wrote:  Then follow this conversation with L, and learn from her. She gave me several specific claims, rather than try to sweep me away in a flood of data. If all of the claims are valid, than any one of them could have been chosen to make your point. At least she kept it to a workable handful. I asked you if you wanted me to go through all of them, saying, “So, do you expect me to examine each prophecy point by point? That could take years, and the world moves on. Or are there one or two unassailable prophecies that you’d like to dare me to dispute?
More importantly, is this what convinced YOU?” And you never answered.

In order to answer GM’s question, I thought that it was time that I shared My Journey to Christ post which was written in 2005 at my former Talk Wisdom blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My Journey to Christ

My fellow Christian blog friend Jojo asked me to share my testimony. I told her it would be long! She wanted the complete, detailed story but that would indeed be VERY long. Here is a somewhat detailed overview. I do plan to recount certain incidences in future posts where I now can see that the hand of God had been working within my entire life; even when at the time I didn’t recognize or even realize it. I will also post about the proofs that have occurred to me, personally, over the last 15 years of Bible study and prayer that have led me to steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and the absolute truth and authority of God’s Word, the Bible.

I originally started this post late last evening and then realized that I had left out some important segments. I also realized that I had posted an incorrect date! As certain facts, recollections and instances are called to mind, I will add them either here or in my future posts. Here’s the start of my journey to Christ!

My family is originally from the east coast. I grew up in a little suburb town called Roselle Park near Elizabeth, NJ. Our town was primarily of Italian descent and of the Roman Catholic faith. My mom is Polish and her parents came over on the boat. My dad was Scottish, a bit of Welsh and English and the majority of his family were Methodist. My mom took my brother, sister and I to the Catholic church and my dad stayed home. Back when I was only 7, my mom remembers how concerned I was about my dad not going to church. I remember praying that one day he would come with us to church, and he did (very rarely) so I was always concerned about his relationship “with the Man upstairs” (as he used to call him).

Most people whom I hung out with were Catholic, too. After graduating college, I took a job as a physical education/health/safety teacher at an elementary school in my home town. I met and became good friends with Linda Green who was the school’s music teacher. We often combined our classes and did several activities and programs together. One day in September, 1979, Linda invited me to her church. It was an Evangelical/Pentecostal denomination and boy was it different from the solemnity of the Roman Catholic church I was used to! The music was uplifting, contemporary and fun. I noticed a lot of people placing their hands in the air and closing their eyes. When the altar call to come up to the front and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was offered, I froze. I didn’t understand what they were doing or what it meant so I just stayed at my seat. My friend was singing in the chorus so I was standing there in the pew surrounded by people I did not know. When the final call to come forward was made, we were told to bow our heads for prayer. The sinners prayer was being recited and many thoughts were racing through my head. My heart was beating so fast! The words being spoken were all new to me; this was not done in the Catholic church. I remember thinking that what was being said didn’t sound like it was against the Catholic church teachings and I was regretting that I didn’t have the courage to walk forward.

Hearing that sinners prayer made me kneel down right there at my seat (like a good Catholic!) and I joined in and recited the prayer right along with all the people who had already come forward near the altar. There was a second prayer for church members to re-dedicate their lives to Christ. I didn’t quite understand what that was all about, but later in my life I learned very well what it meant!

My friend Linda didn’t know that I had recited the prayer because I hadn’t come forward. I kept it to myself! I think I feared that it might mean that I would have to become a member of her church. Six months later, I resigned from my teaching job because my part time job (Mary Kay Cosmetics) was taking off and I was earning much more money at that than teaching. Linda and I, unfortunately, lost touch soon after that. I became a director with Mary Kay and was successful at recruiting and selling the product. Over the years, I was a superficial Christian. In hindsight, I can now see how God sent Christian women into my life to remind me of that decision I made back in 1979.

Skip forward to 1982. After years of failed relationships and loser boyfriends, I met my husband while doing temporary work at Wakefern Food Corp. in Elizabeth, N.J. We were the typical office romance that is not supposed to work out…but did! We were engaged in April of 1983 and married in October, 1983! My husband was raised Episcopalian, but he agreed to get married in the Catholic church. During the ceremony we took pledges to raise our future children (if so blessed) in the church. Almost nine months to the day of our wedding night (people WERE counting, too!) my son was born. Two months later, my husband accepted an offer to work at Foodmaker, Inc. (parent company of Jack-in-the-Box at the time) in Hayward CA. To the total dismay of my mom and dad, I moved out to CA, sight unseen, with my husband and our 2 month old son. Once there, it was very difficult to hold onto my Mary Kay career and several months later, my unit was dissolved and I was no longer a director.

We were so caught up with our lives that we didn’t even attend church anymore.

Two years later, a series of tragedies, disagreements and problems arose in our marriage. First, my mother-in-law had lost her second husband and moved out to CA into an apartment near us. Everything was fine until she started acting strangely. She would forget things and would often repeat herself. We then noticed that she wasn’t bathing herself and her hair appeared to be not washed for weeks! The hairspray buildup was like glue! I convinced her to get into the shower and told her that I would wash her hair for her. She loved the idea and the attention. I noticed that she was drinking some of the water coming from the shower. I asked her if she was thirsty and she said yes. I planned to get her a drink after her shower, but when I was rinsing her hair I noticed that she was looking groggy and sleepy. Suddenly, she fainted! I screamed for my husband, he ran upstairs and we got her out of the tub shower stall. We got water for her to drink and she was gulping it down. She was severely dehydrated! We took her to the doctor the next day. He told us she was malnourished and dehydrated. When we told him about her forgetfulness and constant repeating the same words, he said he needed to do a series of tests. In those days, they did many tests to eliminate several possibilities of what could be wrong.

We just thought that maybe she was depressed and wasn’t eating properly, so we had her come over more often for meals. One night, she didn’t show up. We called her apartment, no answer. We called until 10:00 p.m. which is the time she would certainly be home if she went to the mall. Still no answer. We called the police. They said she isn’t a missing person until 24 hours passed. It was late Saturday night and we were absolutely panicked! My husband drove all over town and to the mall looking for her car in the parking lots. Early Sunday morning, we get a call from a woman who lived halfway between Livermore, CA (our residence) and Los Angeles! She found Charlie’s mom in her Nissan Sentra car off the side of the freeway in a ditch! She was dazed and couldn’t remember anything so the woman searched her purse and found our phone number. We drove out there to get her and when we saw where she went off the road it was a miracle. On either side of the place she landed where huge steep drops into deep gullies! She wouldn’t have survived if she went off the road 30 seconds sooner or later! After this incident, we knew her condition was serious.

We were devastated to find out that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This part could get very long, but to sum it up I will say that she took turns living at each child’s home until she could get into a nursing home in N.J. Those 2 months were two of the longest of my life! I would get in the shower for 5 min. and she’d be gone out the door! We had latches at the top of the door but she would unlock them and leave. She had a pattern of walking to town and sitting on a bench in front of K-Mart. I would get my son in the car and drive over there to get her. She would always say, “I was waiting for Buddy (my husband’s nickname growing up) to come pick me up.”

Soon after all the stress of this terrible experience with my mother-in-law, I noticed that I missed a period and suspected that I was pregnant again. I went to my gynecologist, he examined me and this is EXACTLY what he said, “Mrs. W., I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are pregnant. The bad news is that you are going to lose it.” Have you ever heard anything so coldly stated such as this? I couldn’t believe it! He then went on to describe how many hours from now I would probably have a “spontaneous abortion” and suggested I sit and expel it into the toilet (sorry folks for the graphic description). I couldn’t believe he was so unemotional, cold and technical about it. He said I might require a D & C afterward….I just shut his voice out after that point. I remember crying for days after it all happened. I hated reading those words “spontaneous abortion” in my medical records. I was devastated. I remember thinking, why God?

We were told to wait at least 6 months before trying to get pregnant again. In November, 1986, I found out I was pregnant again! We were so filled with joy! My son was almost 2 1/2 and the timing was really good for a second child.

One morning in March, 1987 when I was 4 months along, another tragedy occurred. We lived in a small house at the time with a narrow kitchen. I had just heated up water in the microwave for my morning instant coffee. I turned to get the coffee from the cupboard and I heard the shuffle of footy pajamas coming into the kitchen. My son was coming toward me with wide open arms to hug his mommy. He hit the hot water in the mug and it spilled onto his upper chest and ran down the front of his pajamas. He screamed in pain, I screamed in horror he clung to me like an orangutan and wouldn’t let go! I saturated a towel in cold water and placed it between us while running the bath and trying to get him into the tub. He wouldn’t let go of me! I found out later that I should have taken the clothes off but in a panic all I could think of was to cool down his chest. I called 911, hysterical. The ambulance came and we headed to the hospital. My son suffered 3rd degree burns on his upper chest and 2nd degree burns on his face (splashing) and lower abdomen. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital. There I was, pregnant, sleeping on a futon in his hospital room. Each morning, they had to give him special baths to clean the wounds. I couldn’t stand his screams! I would drive home (30 mins. away) and cry and sob the entire way. When I reached home, I closed the door behind me and collapsed, sprawled out flat on my face on the cold stone entryway floor.

There I was, guilt stricken, sobbing with my head on the floor. In fact, there was a song out on the radio with those very same lyrics in it. I would lay there, cry and wail, “Why God? Why did this have to happen to my little boy? Why couldn’t the boiling water have fallen on me? Why did I turn my back at that instant? Why did this accident happen?”

I have to admit, I started to question my faith. First time in my life. I was mad at God.

In those days, the surgeon would take skin grafts from another part of the body (buttocks) and apply it to the 3rd degree burn area. My little boy had to endure this operation and then wear tight, spandex garments for 6 mos. afterwards to prevent bumps in the graft as it healed.

Around this time, the news was filled with the horrific incident where a disgruntled divorced father purposely tried to burn his son to death. It had happened years ago, but it was in the news again. The boy (can’t recall his name) was burned over 85% (I think) of his body. I remember thinking how could a father do such an awful, horrendous thing? Here I was feeling so guilty about an accident that happened to a small part of my son’s body and this boy had to endure so much more pain and anguish. It was a miracle that this other boy even survived. He was so disfigured he had to have many operations.

Those three weeks that my son was in the hospital felt like three months!

The day my son came home was so joyful! We had balloons and cake at the hospital and the staff was just in love with him…but he wanted to get out of there fast! We had balloons, cake and a few close friends came over a few hours later to welcome him home. As he healed over the next several months, I felt so bad for him. He had to endure wearing those spandex garments even in the heat of the summer.

All the stress of this tragedy didn’t help my pregnancy. I developed gestational diabetes and had to cut out all sugar from my diet. I ended up losing 8 lbs. in my last 2 months of pregnancy, but gave birth to a healthy baby girl!

My husband was transferred to the Corp. headquarters in San Diego and we moved into an apartment waiting for our first new house to be built. Four months later, on December 29, 1988, we were in our new home. I met another mother who was holding Bible studies in her home in the neighborhood and she invited me to attend. Our family started attending the Catholic church again, for the sake of the children, and were considering placing them into catechism classes. My mother’s group and I were studying the book of John at the neighborhood study.

When we got to chapter 3 and Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus everything clicked.

I realized what had happened that day years ago in that Evangelical/Pentecostal church! The Holy Spirit was nudging me back to a relationship with Jesus Christ!

I was so excited and shared my story with the group. There was a problem though. My husband was not receptive to my newfound excitement in my faith. He said that we promised to raise the kids in the Catholic church at our wedding and he intended to keep that promise. I asked him, “did we make such a promise to a building (church) or to the Head of the church, Jesus Christ?”

We had three tumultuous years in our marriage after that. I was studying every book I could find, including the Bible on a regular basis and my husband was worried that I had become a religious nut! His view was that “religion was a private matter”.

In January of 1989, my husband discovered a lump in his neck. His dad had died of Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 60. I never had the opportunity to meet him because he had died long before Charlie and I had met. I was hoping that the lump my husband found was nothing to worry about. It turned out that he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When he came home and shared the news with me we held each other on the couch and just cried. The kids were still sleeping in their rooms upstairs and we dreaded sharing the bad news. My husband underwent surgery to remove his thyroid (although it wasn’t infected yet; done as precaution) and the infected lymph nodes surrounding the area. The good news is that he has been cancer free ever since then. Praise God! I think that this health scare woke up my husband to consider his stance with God. He seemed less hostile to what I would often briefly share from my Bible study. This gave me new hope! Meanwhile, I was secretly hoping and praying to find a Bible-based Christian church to attend. One Sunday, there was an article in our local newspaper about a new church opening in the next town over. It sounded perfect! Just like what I was looking and praying for! Of course, my husband wasn’t very receptive to this. I told him that I just wanted to check it out. That Sunday, I drove to the church by myself and when the service was over, I had raised my hand to rededicate my life to Jesus Christ! There was a popular Christian music artist there (Dennis Agajanian) and his music was terrific. The band and chorus sang contemporary Christian songs and it was so uplifting! I was filled with joy and excitement just singing and clapping and worshiping Jesus! After the service, I met with a prayer partner at the side of the church. We prayed about the salvation of my husband and children.

When I got home, I found out that my daughter had wanted to go with me. In fact, she had been running down the street after my car screaming my name so I would stop and take her with me!

When I shared all that had transpired at this new church, my kids were so excited to attend! When my husband finally decided to give the church a try, he really liked it too. Over the next several months we alternated between the Catholic church and the Christian fellowship! In the Christian church, the pastor would ask the congregation to hold up their Bibles. We went out and bought Bibles. In fact, my husband bought me two of them for Christmas that year!

One week, we got confused and brought our Bibles to the Catholic church. We didn’t use them there and that was when our kids said, “we like the other church SO MUCH BETTER!” From that point on, we attended the Christian Fellowship. Our daughter went to the children’s group and our son came into the big sanctuary with us. He loved listening to Pastor Shawn. My daughter joined AWANA and I became a leader for 2 years and the “Chums and Guards” (3rd – 5th grade girls) Director for one year.

 

My daughter accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in the Chums club and my son accepted Christ as Lord and Savior during a home Bible study in our own living room!

My husband was the one hold out. I kept praying. We kept studying and going to this new church. On Easter of 1990, my husband stood to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We aren’t supposed to peak when the invitation is given, but a guy sitting on the other side of my husband spoke with me after the service and said to tell my husband congratulations! I was in tears! Tears of joy!! Hid those tears behind my sunglasses during the ride home and just waited for him to tell me about his decision. It was the greatest Easter Sunday of my life! Our journey as a strong, COMPLETE Christian family had begun and the prayers I had been praying for my husband all those years were answered! Praise God for his goodness!!

There was one more thing I needed to do. I needed to release my past anger at God for any and all tragedies that had occurred in my life. When I did that, it was like the heaviest of burdens was lifted right off of me! It was then that I saw God working throughout my life through everything…the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I knew that no matter what, He would never leave nor forsake me.

I may not understand why certain things happen until the other side of heaven, but what leaped in front of me were so many incidences that I had not previously recognized as protection, blessing, and grace in my life.

Perhaps I can share some of those in my next post? This one is quite long! I know that I covered more than just my individual journey to Christ, but it was at this point where my faith grew by leaps and bounds unlike anything I had ever experienced before. This is when the “I’ll see it when I believe it” incidences occurred in my life that cemented my certainty about Jesus Christ and what he did for us at the cross. I was now into the heart of worship when I realized more than ever before that it’s all about Him!

Dear readers,

If you have read this far, then perhaps you might like to read some of the wonderful comments to this post that were shared at my former blog.

The final comment there was written by a Christian man with the screen name, Jabez. Sadly, he died just a year or two later. However, the promises of Jesus Christ tell me that he is with the Lord and though we miss him on this temporary earth, one day all believers in Jesus Christ will be united together in heaven. I thought that his comment there would be appropriate to share here.

Jabez said:

Thomas:

If it were not for the pain, hurt and loneliness in your responses to this group, your jousting with them would almost be amusing. I say almost because even with all the enlarged vocabulary you have your responses are neither new nor creative. You are just like any one of us, who got caught up in a lie, living in a destructive lifestyle and are not willing to take an honest look at what other people are saying. When someone is caught up in a destructive lifestyle addiction, there are very few ways to respond to someone with the answer on how to get out, other than shouting so loud they cannot be heard, name-calling, character assassination or running.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. While I did hear a lot of the stories from the Bible, it was not something one read or studied. Bible thumpers did not belong to our church; we stayed away from them.

While I was living in Bermuda, a man made a statement I acknowledged but did not understand. Over the years, it would pop up and I would put it aside. One day, it popped up and I was in the position to understand it. Understanding brought about some questions. I obtained a 365-day Bible and read through it. I was somewhat surprised at what was and what was not in the Bible. Over the years, I had acted as if I knew what the Bible had in it, but was only spouting things I had heard others say. Most of which I had heard, I now understand was wrong. The funny part about reading the Bible was that I found the crutch was the lifestyle I was living not the values of those Bible thumpers. After a thoughtful, diligent consideration of God’s Word, I became a believer in my early forties.

Stephen had a moment of sanity where he was receptive to the question and willing to hear out someone who had a different viewpoint. True freedom. You say that you are free and object to anyone implying otherwise. OK, yes you are free to make choices in your life. The freedom Stephen, others on this blog and I have goes so much further. When we entered into a relationship with Christ, we became able to deal with events in our lives in a much better way. That’s not to say difficulties in our lives were magically solved. We still had problems and situations. As we made choices in line with the Word of God, things which would have sent us on a destructive path instead made us stronger.

After almost nineteen years, this walk is still an exciting adventure. I would not trade my walk with Jesus Christ for anything. Why would I ever want to exchange the pearl of great price for a cheap imitation?

Thomas, I believe it was Anna who asked you the question – What are you looking for?

July 15, 2005 at 5:54:00 PM PDT

The Wonder of Your Mercy…

September 26, 2016

I have often found that people who are not (yet!) born again in Jesus Christ do not “get” the whole concept of forgiveness, mercy and grace via the Cross. I see that there are people who think Christians are “arrogant;” and thus surmise that “we think we are better” than everyone else. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Repentance for sin is a MUST  before we can take part in the forgiveness, mercy and grace given to us through the shed blood at the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah reminds us of our true condition before the Cross of Christ cleanses us:

Isa 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

We know that being born again does not mean we are perfect. We will still have to live with a sinful nature (here on earth), but because of what Christ did for us, we DESIRE to live for Him more fully and avoid the occasion of sin.

In a later verse, Isaiah shares hope for us:

Isa 64:8

But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

This past weekend, a non-believer told my son that he thinks that, “the Christian faith is a beautiful religion.” This is the adult young man who encouraged me to read Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now.” They had a great conversation, and although I didn’t hear all of it I was so proud of my son for witnessing to him! Near the end of the conversation, my son also shared that there are religious off-shoots of Christianity (i.e. Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses) that do not adhere to the general revelation of God nor the Scriptures that have “once been delivered to the saints.” He didn’t use those exact words, but that was the gist of it. At that point, the young man objected to “bashing” someone else’s beliefs. I’m sure that this was because Tolle’s book (and teachings) combine some Christianity, Buddhism, and Gnosticism; therefore, we must be “tolerant” of other religions. When they briefly touched on the “religion” of Islam, the young man stuck to the liberal leftist stance that the religion has been “hijacked” by a radical few. My son didn’t try to change his mind on that issue (would take too long anyway), but the next time I see this young man I will mention the “tenet” of “taqiyya” within Islam which allows any Muslim to lie in order to advance their global jihad political Caliphate plans via claims of being a “religion of peace.”

All in all, it was a great conversation to observe! I was so encouraged that my son is not worried about political correctness [PC] when sharing the Truth with others.

PC is what is constantly used against Christians in order to shut them up.

One of the tools being used by the PC and “tolerance” crowd is the “coexist” movement.  What is ironic is the fact that the PC crowd (usually the liberal leftist side of the political spectrum)  ignores the reality of the danger presented by Islam and many who live in the PC universe spew claims that Christians are not tolerant.  Well, many Christians would whole-heartedly disagree!  Here is why:

The following graphic describes what is REALLY behind the “Coexist” bumper sticker and movement, quite well!

H/T for graphic: Watchman’s Bagpipes blog

Hat tips to all links.

Mercy Lyrics

from Your Grace Finds Me
I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.
Where the wrath I deserve,
It is gone, it has passed.
Your blood has hidden me.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

We will lift up the cup
And the bread we will break,
Remembering Your love.
We were fallen from grace,
But You took on our shame
And nailed it to a cross.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

Mercy, mercy,
As endless as the sea.
I’ll sing Your hallelujah
For all eternity.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

May I never lose the wonder,
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy.
May I sing Your hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Amen.

I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross,
Where mercy paid for me.

Read more: Matt Redman – Mercy Lyrics | MetroLyrics

An Encounter With Earl

February 28, 2016

Yesterday was the day that I was able to get back on track with my fitness training.  Since beginning this type of training over a year ago, my strength has improved tremendously, I have been able to keep my weight down and I have noticed a significant improvement from the aches and pains associated with aging.

My son owns a Fitness Together studio about 20 minutes away from my home and he usually schedules my training time at the end of the morning session of clients so that we can have lunch together.

Fitness Together - San Diego, CA, United States

Well, this particular day I would have arrived too early so I decided to do some errands before getting to the studio.  My second errand was a quick run down the aisles of the local Vons grocery store.  Just as I was heading to the checkout, my son texted that his previous client had completed her training session.

There appeared to be only one checkout stand open with about 3 people in line.  They didn’t have many items so I thought that it would still be a quick checkout.

Then, out from the back of the third checkout stand popped a gentleman who motioned to me (in quite an amusing and flamboyant manner) to come over to that particular checkout stand.

When I complied, he began talking to me as I hurriedly placed my items on the conveyor belt.

He then said something like,  ‘Am I being too annoying by chatting with you this way?  Don’t you hate when grocery checkers do that?’

I glanced up at him and said, “Well, you certainly put a smile on my face!”

He then said, “be sure to swipe your Vons card!”  I told him that I had already punched in my phone number.  I looked up at the register total and noticed a series of about 10 sales tax listings of $1.79.  I quipped, “I didn’t know that Bernie Sanders already became president! ”

Earl said, “Want more?” And he kept adding the $1.79 sales tax on the list.

I laughed and told him, “Bernie said he would tax people at 90% of their income.”

Earl said, “No – that’s for Trump to build the wall!”

He then added, “That’s only for the rich…are you rich?”

The lady behind me in line said, “She won’t be if Sanders gets into office!”  Had quite the laugh about that!

I told Earl that my husband is retired and I’m a homemaker.

I noticed that he had placed about 10 game pieces upon the Monopoly game sheet that Vons is running these days.  I said, “did I earn all of those pieces with this one order?  He said, “Yeah, killed a few more trees.”

Earl was friendly and funny and made the checkout experience quite entertaining.

As I was leaving I said, “Bye Earl!”

He said, “Y’all come back now! Ya hear?”

Urban Dictionary Top Definition

Ya’ll come back now! Ya hear?

A redneck woman tells you to come back to where you are when you are leaving, and then asking if you heard her.

Bye, Ya’ll come back now! Ya hear?

Earl just happened to be black and too young-looking to recall the Beverly Hillbillies series! Perhaps he has seen the re-runs?

I chuckled to myself as I pushed my cart to my car. Wondered if he said that because he thought I was a redneck, a millionaire, or did I just resemble Miss Hathaway or Granny Clampett? I will have to ask him next time I’m there!

🙂

Little Miracles

December 22, 2015

 

Have you ever seen, heard of, or experienced a spiritual message from God?  I have!   They are not easily forgotten and when I share them with other believers, they often share a little miracle with me that had happened to them.

Today, a blogger in my Reader feed shared how prayer healed a young girl of a tumor. Now THAT’S a huge miracle! Praise God and His Son, Jesus Christ, for that answer to prayer!

I have experienced both little miracles and spiritual messages in my life. When I shared my journey to Christ years ago at my former blog, I left out an early miracle that had happened when I was a teenager.

I lived in N.J. back then. Shortly after getting my license to drive, I asked my parents if I could take the old station wagon down the shore with one of my female friends from high school. They said no. My parents went away that weekend and so I decided to disobey them and drive down the shore anyway.

As I recall, the houses that we visited were filled with drunk teenagers and it wasn’t much fun. My friend was hoping to find this guy that she was crazy about, and I don’t recall whether or not he was at any of the parties we attended. I knew that I would be driving to the house where we would stay the night so I didn’t drink alcohol. By the time my friend was ready to leave, it was 1:00 a.m. and it was raining.

I was driving through a green lighted intersection on a divided highway.   The road had two lanes in each direction. I was chatting with my friend, looking straight ahead when all of a sudden she turned to look at me and grabbed my arm, pulling me hard over towards her seat. Suddenly, we were hit broadside on my driver’s side with a loud crashing sound!   We  began spinning around on the slick highway. I was screaming! It felt like an eternity before the car banged up against the right side curb and came to a stop. I continued to scream and cry.  My friend was hurt. She had hit the windshield with her forehead and a little blood trickled down her face. Glass was strewn about inside the car.  Her knee banged up under the passenger side dash board. We sat there for the longest time waiting for someone to come along and get us out of the car. The station wagon was totaled in the crash! I can still remember sitting on the curb weeping and saying, “my parents are going to kill me!” I worried more and more about what they would say and do once they found out that I had disobeyed them and had taken the station wagon down the shore when they had forbid me not to.

When the police and paramedics arrived, I recall hearing several of them saying, “It’s a miracle that the driver wasn’t killed.” This made me shudder in the rain and cold night air even more! My friend Debbie was taken to the hospital as a precaution for observation. Hours later, my parents showed up to take me home. Of course, they were very glad that I wasn’t seriously hurt. My neck bothered me a bit and my back ached days later, but there was not a scratch on me.

The next day, the man at the repair shop where the station wagon was towed gave my dad his evaluation. It was totaled. Then, he said something else. “It’s a miracle that the driver of this car wasn’t killed.”

I had heard this several times and now it was irking me! I wasn’t a born again Christian yet at this point in my life.  Within my teenage arrogant thoughts at the time I said to myself, “why is everyone saying that?!”

Years later, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I started to look at this incident in a completely different way. I realized that if Debbie had not been looking my way, she would have never seen the car running the red light and heading towards the station wagon. I also thought about the fact that seat belts were not mandatory yet back in the 1970’s. This was another reason why I wasn’t killed. Debbie was able to grab me and pull me across the bench seat towards her so that the mangled side of the wagon didn’t impale me. Being an old vehicle, the steel frame that separated the front from the back seats took the brunt of the impact. However, if I had been in the driver seat instead of pulled away by my friend, that v-shaped steel frame would have gone right into my flesh.

I know. Some people may not consider this a “miracle,” but I do. I think that one of God’s angels was in the car that night, protecting me from deadly harm! Of course I can’t prove this, but recalling all of the events of that horrible night causes me to pause and thank the Lord for His mercy and protection!

Another incident and one of the most riveting moments of my life happened when my dad was dying of mesothelioma – an inoperable lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. You can read about that in my Remembering Dad post.

I often thought, why did God spare me and not others? Was it because He knew that my journey to Christ was down the road of my life and for this reason He protected me during that dreadful accident? Was it because my destiny was laid out for me and I was meant to marry, have two children, and (so-far) one grandchild?

These are questions that we can only answer with faith on this side of heaven! If you read my journey to Christ, you would have seen that my life included some tragic circumstances.

Jesus told us:

Jhn 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you willfn have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Galatians 5 informs us that the fruit of the Spirit does contain one negative – that of longsuffering.

Gal 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Gal 5:23

gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Gal 5:24

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Gal 5:25

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

The ultimate end of the suffering portions of my life was that God saw me through them and they all actually ended up strengthening my faith in Christ!

There is a quote from Dr. David Jeremiah that seems appropriate to share here. He said:

“God’s man or woman in the center of God’s will is immortal until God is finished with him or her.”

I think that Jeremiah’s quote is in line with Roman’s 8.

Our lives on this earth are but a brief moment in time compared to eternity! As Isaiah 64:6 tells us, “we all fade as a leaf” in our earthly existence.   Yet, Romans 8:37-39 tells us the rest of the story because Christ is our ultimate hope!

Rom 8:37

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Rom 8:38

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come

Rom 8:39

nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and visitors to this blog a Merry and Blessed Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

In Christ’s service,

~Christine

Hat tips to all links.


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Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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