Thursday, March 24, 2011

Physical health and appearance as a gift of love.

"We should try to maximize our physical attractiveness, not as an egotistical discipline intended to bring attention to ourselves, but as a selfless act of giving for the benefit of our current mate -- or future mate if we are still single. Our bodies are a stewardship. We should plan to show up on our marriage night with the most pleasant body possible for the sake of our spouse. We should continue to observe self-restraint after marriage, also for the sake of our spouse. We want to give our spouse the most pleasing gift possible when we take him or her into our arms. Although we don't want to fall into the modern trap of lavishing extraordinary attention on looking good and maintaining a movie star physique, it is right to do what we can to maintain our health and appearance and to stay as attractive as we can. Being a Christian is not an excuse for presenting our spouse with a neglected body.

"However, beyond this obvious point, have we also considered that something is even more important than enhancing our bodies? if we understand God's point of view, we realize that we need to protect our minds and our spirits in the sexual area."

From The Myth of Romance by Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little Helps from Target

Here are some little fashion helps for modesty and comfort that you can find at many lingerie stores and departments or through the Internet. I was delighted to find that you can also snap them up at Target.

I love the Strap Tamers. They are basically plastic coated safety pins that are the right size and shape for pinning
your bra straps to the inside top of a garment's shoulder.
They keep your bra straps from falling or showing and are very comfortable to wear. The directions say that you can
leave them in place and launder the garment as is, but I haven't tried that.

The heart shaped clasps are another option for keeping bra straps from showing. You thread both straps through the clasp, which sits in the middle of your back above your bra strap.

The double-sided tape allows you to tape the top of your blouse to your chest so that your top does not fall open when you bend over.

So far, I have purchased only the strap tamers, but intend to stock up on the other items, as well.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Being unselfish with food...

Most authentically beautiful and healthful things involve decisions to be unselfish rather than selfish. The same can be true with eating.

How do we choose to be unselfish in our eating?

1) Let others go first, especially when standing in a buffet line. Serve others first before yourself. Don't go for seconds until you are sure that others have eaten well first. Let others have the choicest portions or the largest servings.
2) Cook with love; think of what will be nourishing and comforting to others.
3) Use manners when eating. You don't have to follow formal etiquette. Do, however, follow the basics our mothers taught us: Chew with your mouth closed. Spoon soup by dipping the spoon into the soup and moving it away from you and up. Don't slurp. Don't chew ice. Don't talk with your mouth full. Do this even when you are eating alone. After all, manners are built by what we habitually do at home or when alone. Also, you will feel better about yourself if you maintain manners for yourself.
4) Listen attentively to mealtime conversations. Don't be distracted by looking at your cell phone, receiving or sending texts, looking at a TV or newspaper, etc. Don't interrupt when others talk. Ask thoughtful questions. Enjoy the conversation and the companionship as much as you enjoy the food.
5) Set a pretty table.

As a side benefit of being unselfish, you will slow down your own eating and avoid over-consumption.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eating Well, Eating for Health

Last night, I prepared dinner in a hurry. I had not planned my day well. I received a phone call from a friend who is undergoing a very serious life issue at the moment, and, rather than praying and surrendering my friend's situation to the Lord, I became distracted in mind. Fortunately, I had planned my meal ahead of time, so it didn't require much for me to prepare it.

My husband came home from work, and we prepared to eat. We needed to eat by a certain time so that we could arrive at a meeting on time. Wouldn't you know that I received a phone call from a second friend, this time about a serious issue concerning her darling child? This situation caused me to mourn for what the family is going through, although I have good hope that that God will work in the situation for the best. Again, I didn't take the time to pray and fully surrender my concern to the Lord. Instead, I unloaded these problems on my husband.

So, as I sat down to eat, I was ravenous, distracted, and conscious of our time limit. I ate too quickly. As we all know, if you eat quickly 1) you don't digest your food as well and 2) you will tend to overeat, as your brain does not have time to register satisfaction.

I don't know that you can always avoid interruptions of a serious nature at dinner time. We read in the gospels of a time when Jesus and the twelve were so busy healing people that they did not have time to eat. Likewise, when Jesus was tired and hungry, he took time out to speak to the Samaritan woman who came to draw water at the well. Serving the Lord and caring deeply about other people means that sometimes we will need to put the needs of the hurting ahead of our comfortable daily schedule. That includes our allotted meal times, as well.

However, I can look back at yesterday's situation and learn some lessons:

1) Even when you are on a tight schedule, always take at least a little time to pray about any burdens on your heart. Let the Lord comfort you if you are mourning. Hand over any worries to Him, as well.
2) It may not always be wise to eat in the grip of strong emotion. The body sometimes sends signals that it doesn't want the extra burden of digesting food in such moments. If you live in the U.S. or other developed countries, likely you have plenty of food. Missing one meal or eating only a small quantity of one meal is not going to harm you. If you are going somewhere, you can even take along a little snack in case you do become hungry later.
3) Always eat slowly. Again, just because you may be on shorter on time than usual, that doesn't mean you have to rush your food. Better to eat a little bit slowly than to gobble whole portions down.
4) I could have timed telling my husband about these problems after he finished his meal, so that he could eat in peace. These weren't situations that could be fixed in five minutes.
5) Maintaining a peaceful spirit makes for better digestion, for eating only what you need to keep your body going, and for health in general.

Thanks for reading.

Health to you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Food, Diet, and Moderation...

I'm so grateful that God has given us sorts of delightful foods to enjoy. I Timothy 4:4 tells us, "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,"

Yet, at the same time, God urges us to moderation. In Proverbs 23:20-21, He warns us not to join with those who gorge themselves on too much food, "
for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."

Isn't that the truth? I've found that when I overeat, especially if the meal is heavy in carbohydrates, I do lose energy.

For me, three roots over eating too frequently or eating too much at one meal are
1) I am actually trying to increase my energy. Sometimes, a snack or meal, especially one containing a little protein, does reduce physical fatigue. However, trying to find energy in food when you are already well-fed backfires. I have an auto-immune thyroid condition which causes deep fatigue, along with some other energy-draining health issues. Thus, I sometimes snack for comfort and in an attempt to feel better. I particularly give in to my made-up assumption that chocolate must be medicinal!
2) I am simply being greedy.

3) I eat on the run and eat too quickly.

Many eating/diet plans, such as the popular, French Women Don't Get Fat, actually work because they encourage moderate consumption. Rather than depriving you of all the things you enjoy or laying out a strict eating regimen, they help you balance what you do eat so that your diet is healthy for you.

Even so, I find that with my autoimmune thyroid problem, I will have to make sacrifices in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Thus, I need some strong intrinsic (inner) motivation to eat correctly.

One lesson that God is writing on my heart right now is from John 6:1-71. Among the truths presented there is the fact that Jesus is our spiritual bread -- in other words, He is our spiritual nourishment.

"Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will gives to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."

"Truly, truly I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." vs. 32-33

"This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." vs. 58

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." vs. 68

God does give us physical food for our nourishment and for our enjoyment. Those of us who have an abundance are to share with those in need. Since, the hungry comprise a good deal of the world, giving to others should be dear to our hearts.

Likewise, God gives us spiritual food for our nourishment and our joy, and this food is more important even than physical food. This temporal body will perish, and we will one day be clothed in new bodies. The nourishment for our soul and spirit lasts forever.

The people who followed Jesus because He miraculously fed the 5,000 were on to the fact that He was the awaited Messiah. In fact, they wanted to come and make him king, right then. They were thinking in terms of renewing earthly Israel, rather than in ushering in a spiritual, eternal kingdom. They did not quite understand the concept that the Messiah was also to be the suffering servant of Isaiah, who would lay down His life for us. They had in mind the dreams of men and not God's dreams.

In the same way, we can busy ourselves with our little physical kingdoms and neglect the more vital spiritual kingdom. We can also focus more on caring for our physical nature than we crave God's kingdom and His righteousness. When we suffer, even so lightly as can hardly be called suffering, we turn to physical things rather than to Jesus for comfort.

Or, we try to establish our own righteousness, which ends in frustration. As Paul said in Romans 6 and 7, the good he wanted to do he didn't and the bad that he did not want to do, he did. That pretty much sums up our lives when we are depending on ourselves.

Where is the answer? "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!". Romans 7:25.

..."The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink....But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." From Matthew 6:16-34.

Thanks for reading!