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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

overcome with desire

Ex 16:35 - And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

The children of Israel were made daily provision, by the Father. 40 years this manna gave sustenance, strength and proper nutrition. They were being groomed into the best shape they had ever been in. Being made ready for the fight that was ahead of them as they go forth and carpe diem - seize the day. Seize their destiny. But their thoughts of what they had experienced as 'better' began to overcome them. They began to lust after a better time. A time of fish and cucumbers, so much more delicious than manna...wasn't it?

Nu 11:6 - But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

The longing they had for those 'delicacies' was as if they were sitting poolside with cabana boy's bringing them umbrella drinks while fanning them with palms. O what a better time, they are willing to give up their entire inheritance for it. The land flowing with milk and honey - that's where they wanted to go back to. Oh, my bad. I had it backwards huh? They wanted to go back into bondage, complete slavery and be at the whim of the pharoah d'jour because the lustful memories of fish and cucumbers had begun to block out the opression, the pain, the weights that had been placed on them.

We look at our choices now and so little has been taken from us, but we put it in a whole different perspective. NO CHEESE - I'm gonna die! No BREAD - oh, I'm gonna die. No cake - I'd rather die. I'd rather go back into the bondage of submission - SLAVERY to those things than to endure (yes endure) the blessings that God has placed in us so that we can have the fullness of his promises - LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY. I'm ready to give up the prize - that which lies ahead for a moment of gratification forgetting all that's associated with it - bondage, opression, even physical pain.

I'm not writing this in the personal pronoun "I" to make it 'seem' like I'm including myself. Let me tell you the truth I AM talking MYSELF DOWN OFF OF A WALL before I FALL RIGHT NOW. I just hope that God will use the thoughts that I'm a using with all my strength to cast down as a vehicle for all of us to overcome. Its so easy to feel like 'woe is me' because life is not exactly the way I imagined it would be at this time. To feel justified in just doing whatever I want because I need a 'pick me up'. Would you give me that advice if my weakness were sexual in nature? It has been and probably could easily become that again. I mean if I give in in this area what would stop me for succumbing to my flesh in EVERY area?!? Could I just go out and have a 'little affair' it won't hurt? Could I just have a 'small fling' and pick up and keep going and expect my marriage to be nurtured back to health? Will it? Can it? Does it work that way?

Cane Creek update:

We have most of the deposits in. If you have not sent in your deposit and received back a response from me that I got it - then I didn't get it yet. But its not too late. I have made arrangements with Cane Creek for those who are able to pay on Wednesday so if anyone hasn't sent their monies and can get it to me by Wednesday - we'll work it out. I'm excited!!

$20 deposit - past due (extension til Wednesday)
$35 balance due 10/5/10

Full itinerary will be provided 10/5/10 along with a list of things to bring (and to leave home).

No Cook Recipe - Eating out!
I had the MOST delicious salad on Saturday at none other than Wendy's. They have a 1/2 salad w/2oz. protein (grilled chicken) and you can add a side - baked potatoe for only $4.25 and it was delicious!!
I had Apple Pecan Chicken salad and a baked potatoe (left off the pecans) with raspberry vinagrette dressing and it was STUPENDOUS!! $4.25 - Wendy's whoohooo...yum! You can be like me and Patti Labelle and keep your 'butter buds' in your pocketbook and you'll have them for your potatoe:) - ok, she keeps hotsauce, I keep butter buds...same thang!

It was so good I made it at church the next day for my midday meal.

Prayer: Lord, help me today to cast down vain imaginations. Those thoughts were so real that I could feel myself slipping off into the fullness of the fall. I'm glad you snatched me back. Thank you for providing me a way of escape. I didn't feel like I could make it. But you showed me that your authority is the last authority. You reminded me of my worth and the value of staying true to my commitment. You empowered me to pull out of it. Thank you to the one is able to keep me from falling. Lord I know that which you have done for me today, you will also do for my sisters and brothers. Help us to be transparent with you. It was embarrasing to talk to you this morning about what and how and who and why I was thinking. But YOU were the one I NEEDED to be talking to. Thank you for being there for me Lord. Being there for us. In Jesus name, amen.

Special prayer: Lord, we ask you to show us how to accept your will. You have received Kareem back to yourself. We know you made him whole. We know you healed him. We know you showed yourself awesome by giving him to us for 15 more days than 'they' gave him to live. But we wanted it differently Lord. We wanted him on this side Lord. Selfish - maybe. But I'm just being honest Lord. Help us to deal with our grief as we put our trust and faith in you. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sitting on the dock of the bay...

John 5:12 Rise up, take your bed, walk! The story of a certain man with an infirmaty of some 38 years. Sitting by the pool of Bethesda...waiting....

Its a story I know far too well. Its about me. I sat on the edge of the bed for years 'waiting' for someone or something to 'move me' so that I could reach my weight loss goals. My prayers were always full of 'I don't know why's' and 'if only some how's' but oddly at the end of the day, I'd be right where I started. Halt, Lame, Blind, stricken by the same infirmaty of some 30-some odd years. FAT. Well, fat isn't a primary infirmaty its actually a direct result of my sedentary lifestyle and eating choices. Actually, that's not even the 'root' of my fat. The truth is, if I am honest, I permitted myself those choices often out of a 'woe is me' attitude. "My life is so hard...I been through too much - I don't want to add to it" or "I've had it so rough, why should I further punish myself". Then to blame, "its not my fault I'm fat, my ____________ made me be fat." Then to anger, "God has forgotten me in EVERYthing and in this too!" Even finally getting to the 'first' acceptance...there's nothing wrong with my 'fat'. Which was really a cover up.

But I'm glad that when I finally surrendered to the truth, that all these were cop-outs, excuses, plain ole lies...Jesus was right there. He told me to rise up, take my bed...and walk. I could have been just like my brother at the pool of Bethesda and said, but, but, but...but I guess I used all my 'buts' up at the front end. Thankfully Jesus strengthened, educated, encouraged, uplifted and empowered me to finally do what He had placed in me all along...overcome. Don't wait. Make the choice today.

Cane Creek update:
We have 3 spots left in cabin 6 due to unforseen scheduling from some of our sisters. So if you wanted to come and couldn't its not too late!

Deposits of $20 are due by 9/24/10 - This friday.

Recipe: Ratatouille (there's no rats in this version)
1 summer squash (cut in small cubes)
1 zucchini (cut in small cubes)
1 eggplant (cut in small cubes)
1 large vidalia onion (diced)
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (low or no sodium) drained
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Lite salt/Pepper to taste
1tbsp olive oil

In a heated heavy bottom pan heat the oil and add the onions. Cook until clear, add garlic cook until slightly browned. Add veggies and seasonings(not tomatoes yet). Cover and simmer for about 5 mins they will render some water of their own. Stir in the tomatoes and heat through.

Can be eaten as a delicious 'free' side or toss some protein in and make it your main course.

Exchanges: Veggie A

Congratulations to Judy D. You've kept it stable and now you are taking it up a notch. Like Emeril says, 'bam, bam, bam'. Do the dern thang:)

Prayer: God, come in and remove all our excuses. Show us the truth in us. Faith with out works is dead. We know it in our minds, help us to move it in our lives. Keep us growing and growing daily. Let us die to our flesh daily and help us to put in into subjection. Lord, I ask you to strengthen me to find ways to stay encouraged in my frustrations. Remind us that we have a saviour who has gone before us and paid the cost for us to have life and life more abundantly. I'm thankful applies to 'this' life and the next. Come in Lord to my day. You are invited. You are welcome. In Jesus name.

Special Prayer: Lord, you've given Him over 10 days longer than the doctors ever said. He's moving his hands Lord, he's looking around Lord. Full restoration Lord. We believe you for complete and total restoration in the Cunningham's son Lord. He's got miles to go before he sleeps. We know you are able. You are the great I AM. Amen.

Meanwhile...Keep walking on water!

Monday, September 20, 2010


1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

We've heard 'Keep on doing what you always done and you'll keep on getting what you've always got' usually related to negative results. Making the same mistake over and over again. Even to the point that we almost become addicted to those choices, for example, a 'type' of guy (married, possessive, abusive, lazy, 'bad boy') but somehow we keep choosing those kinds of guys. Often because there is something in us that is broken. We choose amiss because we don't see our own value. So odd that we could keep making this type of choice over and over and over again. Some of us even make a lifestyle out of it.

But the opposite is also true, if you do something that nets positive results and you see yourself getting positive results and you keep doing it, you will keep getting positive results! GREAT right? So why do we stop? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Right? Oh, yeah...its 'hard'. It doesn't 'feel good' (right away). We are a people so driven by 'feelings' its a wonder we can get anything done at all. If I have to 'feel' a certain way before I can take action, I might not EVER do anything.

I don't often 'feel' like exercising or cooking or cleaning or even working. But I find myself prioritizing my life into things that if they don't 'feel' good they get lower and lower on the totem pole. I work because I 'like' getting a paycheck. There are times when I don't 'like' work, but since that 'feeling' is outweighed by the 'paycheck' feeling I keep working. I exercise because I 'like' getting fit. There are times that my 'feelings' about exercise (which I don't like) can start to get bigger than the 'fit' that I do like and I fall off. But when I stop letting how I 'feel' about it drive I just DO IT. Set the alarm, reminder, whatever...get up and DO IT. I don't ruminate over whether or not I 'feel' like it today. Its my responsibility to the temple that God has given me to be a good steward over it. What's really great about that is no matter HOW I feel about it going in, I always have the same feeling at the end....accomplished. Good, bad or indifferent - its DONE!

Cane Creek Update:
We have all 6 CABINS ON THE CREEK!! Ladies there are 3 spots left!! The itinerary is almost complete and I'm EXCITED about this Back to Eden Retreat! (I even have to stop calling it a 'charlotte' retreat because we have folks coming from ALL over now - GA, DE, IL represent!)

Location: Cane Creek - Union County, NC
Date: October 15-17th, 2010
Cost: $55/per person (for the weekend - includes room and board)

Deposit: $20/per person - due 9/24/10 (paypal or call me 704-493-2035 to pick it up or drop it in the mail)

Balance Due: 10/5/10 - To give me time to purchase food and essentials

Note: Space is Limited. Cabin 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, are at capacity ALL READY. Cabin 6 has 3 spots left...Look at God!!

Some info from the tentative itinerary:
Lakeside sunrise/sunset, hiking, miniture golf, paddle boats, prayer/praise/worship, fellowship, movie and of course - food.

Recipe for the day:
Shrimp Gumbo
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green chili pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups clam juice
3 bay leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
Morton Lite Salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
cooked white rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the flour on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flour is a dark nut brown. In a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, pepper, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crushing them through your fingers into the pot with their juices and cook for another 5 minutes. Gradually sift the browned flour in the pot until the vegetables are coated, cook for 2 minutes more. Slowly pour in the stock and clam juice, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaves, lemon juice, lite salt, cayenne, thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the shrimp, green onions and parsley; cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Season the gumbo, to taste. Serve with rice.

This recipe calls for a little tiny bit of 'off plan' ingredients (oil/flour) but its not something you have everyday so enjoy! (hint, hint...this might be one of the dishes on our fellowship)

Prayer: Lord, help me to be steadfast and unmovable. Remind me that I am more than a conqueror. Help me to walk after your precepts and order my steps. God I can't do it with out you. Everytime I try I fail. Help me to stop leaving you out of my struggles when that is exactly where you want to be. Continue to bless each household and cover our day with your grace. In Jesus Name, amen!

Special prayer: Lord, continue to restore Kareem to wholeness. We know that you are the master designer the great I AM the true and the living God. We thank you for already showing yourself MIGHTY! We thank you for considering him and waking him up to see yet another day. OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walking with God in the cool of the day

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

As the season begins to change I'm looking for creative ways to get my jogging in without running in the dark and still leaving time for all the other things I have to do. I get up with my son at 5:30am, eat breakfast, read/pray, and watch for the sun to creep over the horizon. As soon as its on the horizon, I head out the door so I can be back before time to start work. I enjoy the first couple minutes the BEST. Its still dark but the light is just creeping over the horizon. As I jog talking to God the sounds are only of nature - His creation. I'm thankful in all that He created, He also created us. Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image are we. A masterpiece. A work of the master craftsman. How can I honor my creator today? Am I full of lipservice or do I honor Him with my whole heart? Do I need to 'hide' myself for disobedience or may I walk openly and naked before my Lord and receive all of His good counsel? Examining those thoughts...

Congratulations time we've been waiting for!
Tasha M. - Down 9lbs and 11.5 inches this year so far! U didn't have much to lose but toning up and shrinking down those inches is what it do!! Go girl! So proud of you!

Porshe D. - Down 6lbs...u go girl. I know you stepping it up and shrinking it down. Rock it out!

MaryAnn H. - Down 6lbs in the first week (unofficial weigh in - probably down a bit more:) Keep up all the great work and commitment. Sexy tennis arms - whoooohooo!! U go girl!

Dr.MJ - Down 7lbs and 9 big old inches - WATCH OUT THERE NOW!! Do it do it do it!!

And to save the Valedictorian of the Day for last......(drum roll)
Vangie H. - Down a total of 40lbs and 18 inches in just 5 months and SHE IS STILL DOING THE DERN DAGGONE GOOD GODAMIGHTY THANG!!! VANGIE u are what's up. I'm so proud of you. Now
walk it out!

Recipe of the Day:
Chicken Fajitas (fake fajitas - my Cookie says)
1lb chicken breast
1/2 packet fajita seasonings
1tbsp garlic paste (if you don't have garlic paste you can use regular garlic)
10oz package onion/pepper stir fry veggies (or you can use a chopped onion, green and red pepper)
1 can Black Beans (low sodium)
2 cups white rice (cooked)

In a bowl, combine chicken breast (cut in strips) with the seasonings. In a hot non-stick skillet, brown the pre-seasoned chicken on both sides. Add the veggies and the garlic and cook until veggies are defrosted and chicken is cooked through.

In a separate saucepan, heat the black beans. (You may want to add seasonings -garlic, onion powder, black pepper and/or some chopped onions to the black beans).

Spoon the black beans over the rice and add the chicken/veggie mixture on the side. I promise you won't miss the tortilla:) Enjoy.

Portion: Chicken and veggies 1/2 cup. - Protein B; Beans and Rice 1/2 cup combined - Carb B
Feel free to add more veggies to your plate...they are 'free'.

Prayer: Show me how to be transparent in front of you Lord. You are never failing, never faltering and the embarrassments that I have about my shortcomings are because I continue to rely on my own strength. Help me to tap into the anointing and allow the anointing to expose my flaws not to embarrass but to restore me to right relationship with you so that we may walk again together in the cool of the day. I love you Lord. Thank you for seeing the best in me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Eden Fall Retreat

So family, the Charlotte Back to Eden Fall Retreat is here!

Location: Cane Creek - Union County, NC
Date: October 15-17th, 2010
Cost: $55/per person (for the weekend - includes room and board)

Deposit: $20/per person - due 9/24/10 (paypal or call me 704-493-2035 to pick it up or drop it in the mail)

Balance Due: 10/5/10 - To give me time to purchase food and essentials.

Cane Creek cabin is the lighter side of camping. Heated/Cooled cabins sleep 6 (with bunk beds) and electricity is available along with a mini fridge and full bathroom facilities. We have campfire cooking facilities and a private picnic table.

I'll provide more details to those who sign up but here's a little something to whet your whistle:
Lakeside sunrise/sunset, hiking, miniture golf, paddle boats, prayer/praise/worship, fellowship, movie and of course - food.

We had such an anointed time together on saturday morning. The pray in/weigh in turned into a show 'nuff Deliverance Service. I thank God for the fellowship and the anointing. Afterward, we had some delicious smoothies - Banana Pinapple Oatmeal is now my all time favorite:) And some successful weigh ins. I will send out the congratulations on this week.

Meanwhile...keep walking on water!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pray in Weigh in: Prayers of Unity and of Strength

Tomorrow we will meet at RCM 301 W. 24th Street Charlotte, NC 28216 for prayer at 9:30 am and weigh in immediately following. When I scheduled this pray in/weigh in I didn't realize the date was 9/11/2010. 9 years ago, our country was tremendously impacted by the events of that day. We probably remember exactly where we were and still have sad memories of all the losses that were experienced as a result of such a horrific event.

But, in the midst of it all, a great 'unity' was experienced by many. Helping one and other, praying for one another...strangers united by a common experience. I hope that as we unite tomorrow to pray for our own goals and strength and commitment that we also pray for our country, our leaders, our world.

If you haven't already, please text me if you are going to be able to meet up for prayer - 704-493-2035 so that I can have smoothies for us to take with us after. Also, please plan to do take at least a moment tomorrow to serve someone else in honor of the men and women of service who lost their lives in the original 9/11/01 disaster. It is but a small tribute that will speak volumes and God will receive the glory in all.

Baltimore Family, I know you are doing a weigh in tomorrow too. Please follow suit and send up the special prayers.

Back to Eden Family - I have a special prayer request for the same family from earlier in the week. The Cunningham family is dealing with a tragedy of their own. Their 14 year old son has had several strokes, brain surgery, an anurism, and is in ICU here in charlotte. The weight of a child being sick is often more than a parent can bear. PLEASE take time to petition the Lord for expedience. I know that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways but I also know that He is well able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or even think. Please pray for the family and the child.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Picking up the pieces!!

I had a seriously difficult Monday. I mean everything was seemingly coming down on me faster than I could handle. Work, home, food, exercise, family, EVERYTHING was just a shambles and believe it or not, as much as I nag everyone about being prepared, going to God, purging all the crap out of your homes...well....I fell to pieces!!! We had some brownie bites left and all that chaos was a welcome invitation to fall head first into the bag. The funny part (funny/sad - I don't know which) but the funny part was I ate one brownie bite and 5 spoonfuls of broccoli as if that was going to 'cancel' it out. Everytime I went back to the brownie bite bag, I would eat 5 big spoonfuls of broccoli almost WITH the brownies AND STILL managed to go back for a 3rd BROWNIE-broccoli bite!!!!

Now, if that's not a prime example of God providing 'a way of escape' 1 Corin 10:13 (the broccoli or any number of things could have been the escape) and me figuring out a way NOT to take it. I compromised myself, my goals for the love of chocolate. 3 brownie bites...Not a big deal some of you might say, but it actually became a big deal. The sugar in the brownies awakened the 'yum-yum' monster in me and no amount of broccoli could 'un' ring that bell. It was like going through withdrawl trying to 'rinse' all that chocolate out of my system (yeah rinse - my eyeballs are floating from how much water I'm trying to drink) but I let my guards down (left off prayer) and didn't put my guards up (Christ/Holy Spirit) and now I have consequences to face. ARGH!!! Well, hopefully, someone will learn from my mistake AND prayerfully YA'LL WILL PRAY FOR ME as I do oft for you.

Sign me - Back on track and picking up the slack.

I'm working on a labor day holiday recipe and I'll send it out on Thurs/Friday.

Yay! Me for picking up the pieces and starting back over IMMEDIATELY!!

Walking on water!!