Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meatless Monday Meals

Reducing meat consumption by 15%, (the equivalent of 1 day per week), lessens the risk of chronic preventable diseases and has a strong impact on the environment.

Millions of individuals and a growing number of businesses, organizations, city governments and entire school districts are choosing to go meatless one day per week.   Give it a go!

I've gone meatless on Monday for the past few months and have been asked to share what I eat on those days.

Here are my Meatless Meals for Monday, August 18th

Breakfast:  Cheerios Protein with unsweetened almond milk.  This product is quite tasty. A bit more sugar than I prefer but this is a whole family cereal.

Lunch:  Baked potato with Himalayan salt, pepper, and Sun-dried Tomato Basil Gouda.

Snack: Cliff Crunch Granola Bar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Dinner:  Fruit and kale salad with blue cheese and pecans.  Had a double portion of this here.

Want to learn more?  If you are in the Gtr Baton Rouge area, join us at a free Meatless Meals Lunch N Learn Session - Sept 11 at Noon at New Hope Baptist Church.  Click here for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meatless Monday Meals

Eating less meat can help you live longer. Mayoclinic.com reports:
"A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate 4 ounces (113 grams) of red meat or more daily were 30 percent more likely to have died of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who consumed less."
No desire to go vegetarian? You don't have to.  Going meatless as little as one day per week has documented health benefits. (More at www.meatlessmonday.com.) I've gone meatless on Monday for the past few months and have been asked to share my meal log.

Here are my Meatless Meals for Monday, August 11th 

Breakfast: Smoothie made with a banana, unsweetened almond milk, chocolate vegan Shakeology, 1 heaping tsp of PB2 and ice. Que the angelic music - Ahhhh ahhhh Ahhhhhhhhh!

Lunch: Convenience food meal
Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup with Food Should Taste Good Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers. Picked up both products at Wal-mart. They have healthy ingredient lists with robust flavors. (Amy's whole product line is the bomb!)

Snacks for the day
Tamari roasted almonds, apple slices, fresh pear, (thanks Sis Hulbert), and those brown rice crackers were so good - they made a repeat.

Dinner - Easy make at home meal
Roasted broccoli, garlic, red onion and portobello mushrooms, tossed with jarred pesto and whole wheat pasta. This was so easy and so good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lasting physical change starts with your thoughts

Last night while clearing out some files in the attic, I came across these photos and got to reminiscing about pregnancy days.

Then I looked at the date, calculated my age and realized the me in those pictures wasn't from a baby, it was from fried chicken and pie. 

Those pictures were almost a decade before my babies. I was in my late twenties. A time when I took my youth and health for granted. I was sedentary and my relationship with food had me on the path to high blood pressure and diabetes. 

18 years later, I thank God for change. I've seen change in my weight, clothing size, cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels - but I'm most thankful for the change in thought, focus and behavior. 

Pastor Rick Warren in The Daniel Plan states it well.  
"Lasting change requires new ways of thinking. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.  If you want to change how you act, you must begin by changing the way you think. Your thoughts are the autopilot of your life."
Aligning my thoughts with God's truth was key to my physical change. This body:
  • Is not mine to do with as I please.  
  • God created it. 
  • Jesus bought it.
  • The Holy Spirit lives in it.
  • God calls and equips me to take care of it and doing so honors Him.

Framing thoughts re food and activity on these truths brought mindful moderation to my lifestyle. Fried chicken lost it's irresistible allure and moved from a regular to a rarity in my eating. While I still heartily enjoy pie - I don't want it often (and when I do have a piece, I enjoy a piece - not the whole ding dang pie - smile). 

Change is possible.
Thank God for change.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Meatless Monday Meals

Some of the key benefits of going meatless once a week, include a 19% reduced risk of heart disease; a 21% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes; and an average family savings of $600 a year. Meatless Monday is a non-profit, international health initiative, that encourages people to go meatless one day a week for their health and the health of the planet.  I've been on board for a few months and have been asked to share what I eat on those days.

Meatless Meals for Monday, August 4th

Breakfast: Smoothie made with a banana, reduced fat milk, vanilla Shakeology and ice. Note: We recently got a Vitamix. The texture of this drink from that machine...

Lunch: Fast-foodish option
Grilled vege naked salad from Qdoba. Made with no rice or salad dressing. Doubled dipped on the beans (pinto and black) and salsa (verde and roja). This dish is amazingly flavorful, filling and ridiculous in size.  Half was more than enough.

Snack 1: Small side of tortilla chips and salsa.  (Also from Qdoba)

Snicky snack 2.  Made some Mini-Monster cookies for the kids (... that's it for the kids).  Natural peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate chips.  Two of those bad boys were a nice treat.

Supper - not up to a full dinner (lunch was that filling), I had a small grilled cheese on ciabatta and strawberries.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention Youth Empowerment Retreat

This week the Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention (GLBC) convened on the campus of Grambling State University for the dual purpose of their 4th Annual Session and 2nd Annual Youth Empowerment Retreat.  
Opening Worship
image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD
With a group of ~50 from my church, I was scheduled to teach Baptist Doctrine to adults in the Congress, while my children participated in the youth activities.  
Part of the New Hope Baptist Church delegation
My class was canceled so I spent the week with the children and I've never experienced anything like this.  Hundreds of children worshiping, learning, serving, sharing and having good fun – it was beautiful to see.

There were 2 groups: Camp MVP, (for children up to age 11), and Youth Empowerment for age 12 and up. Following the theme “Fanning the Flames", this was a week of full, fruitful and fun days. The youth started at 6 am with prayer, after breakfast they worshiped at 8 am. Then began a moving schedule of classes, community service, clinics, panel discussions, recreation, 7  pm worship and late night practice for the older youth until 11 pm in preparation for the closing service.

It was such a spiritually guided, well rounded experience for the children. 

First and foremost, the youth studied the Word and explored how it applies in their lives.  They tackled a wide variety of topics including knowing your worth, assurance in your salvation, living on purpose, witnessing, temptation, decision making, consequences, the pros cons and permanence of social media, bullying, suicide, curiosity, homosexuality etc.  On Tuesday, I along with Sister Renita Sherrard from our church, led a class entitled "Single, Saved…Sexually Active?" to girls ages 15-17. 

The youth pulled no punches.  They shared their views and candid questions on issues that impact their lives.  All the preachers and instructors were transparent, real and relatable in sharing God’s Word, and their experiences. The Holy Spirit had His way.

The youth served the community.  Every day the children broke off into small groups and left Grambling’s campus to make an impact in the community.  Activities ranged from Habitat for Humanity service, cleaning up neighborhoods, sharing with seniors at a local nursing home and ministering to troubled youth at a children’s shelter.  They experienced that love is an action word, the beauty and blessing of serving others and that faith without works is dead.

The youth worshiped.  My oh my did they worship! It was awesome to see children not observing or just sitting thru worship – but all wrapped up in praise and worship.  I don't have words to explain.

image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD
The youth got a taste of the college experience. Dorm living, the cafeteria, walking campus from class to class and social time on the quad.  

They had a ball and via tours and interactions with staff learned a bit about historic Grambling State University. 

Everyone was so kind. Two standouts were Ms Marilyn in the cafeteria and Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Brittanie Taylor-James. They were both so open and took time to pour into our little girls.  Coach Taylor-James even came to worship with us and see the young people minister in the closing program. 

The youth explored their talents/gifts.  Every child had the opportunity to choose a clinic – choir, drama, liturgical dance or mime.  The children spent a few hours Monday – Wednesday practicing songs/routines in preparation to minister in the closing program on Thursday.  It was amazing to see what they were able to learn in that short period of time.
Camp MVP Choir 
Youth Empowerment Choir
image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD

Angels of Hope Dance Ministry

Ministering via liturgical dance
Image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD

Mime ministry
Image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD

Camp MVP Drama ministering the Fruit of the Spirit
image source:facebook.com/GLBCYPD
Drama minstry
Image source: facebook.com/GLBCYPD

The youth bonded, sharing extended time with members of their home church.

They also met and socialized with brothers and sisters from other churches across the state. The kids has some good fun…and the adults did too. (I learned 3 new line dances –broke a sandal in the process).

I thank God for this opportunity.

I thank God for the vision, direction and gifts of Pastor Sam Lofton, GLBC’s youth director and pastor of education and youth at Good Hope Baptist Church in Lafayette, LA.  This man of God can preach, teach and reach young people!  His gifts extend into leadership and administration as he attracts and engages others who are equipped to work with youth.
Rev Sam Lofton
I thank God for Dr Doretha Johnson, co-director, who just gets things done (smile) and was instrumental in getting us there. 

I thank God for Sister Brenda Smith – who led the MVP activities with the younger children. She too is anointed for work with children and it is clear she loves those littles ones and the team more than "hot apple pie with Homemade Blue Bell” – her words (smile). 

Sister Brenda Smith
All the preachers, teachers, chaperons, security… everyone was on point and worked together so well. It was a beautiful example of the body of Christ coming together and using their individual gifts for a single work.

I know my children enjoyed and more importantly were helped by this encampment.  It was an exhausting week...

On the road home.
...yet I left so refreshed and encouraged.  

Many years ago, I taught 11-13 year olds and stopped because I was overwhelmed, discouraged, and disappointed by the apathy and downright cutting up of the children and sadly too many parents.  We live in evil days and while there is nothing new under the sun, the variety and intensity of temptations and challenges young people face today is daunting and different than just a few decades ago. The lines of right and wrong have been muddied. There is a loss of respect (of elders and themselves) and so many youth don’t know who to trust and therefore end up putting their trust and hope in the wrong people/things. 

God reminded me this week that is always hope and help.  Thank God for the remnant.  There are young people who seek His face and are trying to let His light shine to direct their path and guide others.  There are adults who know the Word and care enough to step beyond the boundaries of tradition and the trap of ‘how things were when we were young’ – to see things as our youth see them.  They devote the time and energy to meet the children where they are and show them God’s way.

Challenges are great, but there’s an army rising up.  A change is coming!