Success, so close, yet so far away!  I have dropped a few pounds and inches, but I must say that since Thanksgiving it has been an uphill battle.  The fault is entirely mine.  I love to cook good food.  And I LOVE to eat it.

The holidays are perfect opportunities for these indulgences, especially when the whole family is together.  But that’s no excuse for excess, I know.  And now that the holidays are over (even though Wal-Mart insisted on skipping to Valentine’s Day BEFORE Christmas), I am busily trying to get back to clean eating.

My husband read an article a few weeks ago about New Year’s Resolutions.  It was quite different than the average resolutions that many people make every year.  This article suggested that we not set goals that are either met or not met, but rather that we develop systems, ways of doing things.  For example, if the goal is to lose 10 lbs., then once that is met where do you go next?  Back up the scale only to slide down yet again?  Instead, if we develop a system of clean eating then it becomes a lifestyle change that can continue.

I thought this was a very good idea.  Too many times our goals are unrealistic and unmet. (Mine anyway!) So rather than setting a goal this year, I simply want to eat healthy.  Less would be a plus too.  So out with the pies, pastries and excess sugar and in with the veggies!


Follow Your Heart



Follow your heart is a familiar phrase, but exactly what does it mean or imply? On the surface it seems mundane or just a familiar way to express the pursuit of one’s dreams. We hear such statements at college graduations or when advice is sought from loving and concerned family members to children or grand-children. We hear it when advice is sought in dating or marriage, and what college to attend or career to pursue. But the question is just what does this organ, our heart, have to do with our thoughts or decisions anyway? After all, we all know that simple phrases such as “follow your heart” are simply ways to acknowledge that our decisions that we deem as good are good. We also imply that all choices are completely our own and no one has a right to impede on them. There is also the philosophy that one person’s choices are equal to everyone else’s and are to be respected as much. But let’s slow down a bit. This last sentence changes the implication of the statement ‘follow your heart”.

Let’s look first at what it means to follow your heart.
First let me state the obvious. It is not speaking about the organ but about the core or spirit of man; the inner man is to be trusted. We teach our children. We love our children. We embrace our children, thus how can someone whom we love with such affection be anything but pure at heart. No parent ever dreams that their son or daughter would be a murderer. Nor would anyone we’ve loved steal from us or embezzle thousands, even millions, from innocent hard working families. The idea is that even politicians, at their heart, truly mean good. No school teacher would genuinely determine to do harm or be vindictive toward a student. They all at their heart want the best for others. Hospitals and doctors would never recommend unnecessary procedures or surgeries for their own gain, after all, we like, we trust our doctors because at their heart, they all want the best for us.

Now let’s look at man’s heart itself.
Many would say that with such a sarcastic, untrusting view I must live a horribly miserable life or that I don’t trust anyone. And I would say quite the opposite. When I hear the phrase trust or follow your heart, I don’t consider others first; I look at my own heart and say it is deceived. I have come to believe that there is no good in me, and I am untrustworthy for I am a man that came from men who have proven from generation to generation that the scripture is true.
Jeremiah17:9 states, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Then in Jeremiah 17:5 it reads, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.’”

Finally we need to ask, “What or who is to be trusted?”
If words matter and truth is a reality, then we must be forced to change the statement “Follow Your Heart” to something that will not lead us astray. Romans 3:10-12 shows us that man is not trustworthy. “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.’” So man’s only hope is not to follow his own heart, but to follow the heart of the One who proved He is trustworthy. Let’s conclude this thought with Proverbs 3:5-8, and may we consider how we inspire others.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8

Pastor John R. Smith

Youth Groups Driving Teens to Abandon Faith



A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today’s 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.

Read more…

The Socially Acceptable Sin



Most Christians today like to say that all sins are “equal” in the eyes of God, that there is no scale of less or worse sins, that a white lie or a homicide alike would have been enough to require Christ to die on the cross. We say this in theory, but in practice, we know that a white lie won’t get you kicked off the church leadership team. And a homicide likely will.

Read more…

Hold the Sugar, Please!


Over the past 2 weeks I have been very aware of what goes in my mouth!  I have cut back drastically on sugar and simply the amount of food that I inhale.  I have noticed a difference in my waist, but my actual weight is as stubborn as ever.  There are so many thoughts on weight loss out there, that a person can get terribly confused.  My goal was to place my focus on God and rely on Him to fulfill my needs instead of on food, however, as I read different books, I find that my attention gets drawn back once again to food!

For example, Jorge Cruise’s method teaches a person how to count sugar and carbohydrates.  A person is expected to take notes on everything that is eaten.  He also has meal plans in his book.  I noticed that the first thing I wanted to do was try out all of his recipes and eat as much as he suggested each meal including snacks.  The problem with this is that I am paying way too much attention to food, AND eating more than I actually need.  Just because he says I can have 3 meals and 2 snacks doesn’t mean that I am actually hungry!

Other methods focus on eating whole foods.  This contradicts the method above because whole foods have carbs and natural sugar that Jorge says to limit.  Confusion.  Do I eat the watermelon or not?  Well, I ate it.  And I probably ate too much of it, but it sure tasted good 🙂

I was pleased with myself yesterday.  The family went out to eat and I picked up my salad and started to choose my dessert when suddenly I went, “no, no, no!” and walked away.  I was very full after my brisket, green beans and mashed potatoes anyway.  I didn’t need the dessert.  I have also baked several batches of cookies and refrained from eating all but 2 or 3 of them (cookies, not batches).  So, that in itself is progress.  Hopefully the weight will eventually dissolve like sugar in my mouth, but until then, I am just going to keep plugging and see what happens.





I love reading articles on how to enhance my playing/leading for worship. Here is a quick reference for those transitioning from classical style playing to playing with a band.

  1. Set up where you can always see the face of your worship or band leader. Signals and communication will be much more intuitive
  2. Don’t just stick to piano sounds. Pads, Rhodes, Whirly, Hammond, strings. Variety is the spice girls of music.
  3. You are playing in the same sonic spectrum as the lead guitarist so try to hear what each other is playing and work together, combine rhythms, you play low, they play high, you play chords, they play lead, take turns etc. If you can’t hear them at least watch their fingers for the rhythms they play.

Cont. reading…

My Eyes Are Dry



Sometimes an honest look inside is needed to get us back where we should be.  For quite a while I have felt dry, barren, empty.  Very much like parched earth in desperate need of water.  Good deeds will not soften a heart in this condition nor will church attendance nor bible reading.

Jeremiah 2:13 says, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

The remedy for a dry soul can only be found in Jesus Christ.  We cannot fix ourselves or rehydrate our spirits.  Every attempt will only leave us in worse condition than before.  Keith Green was one of the most annointed song writers I have heard in my life.  His words penetrate into the depths of my soul to bring rejoicing and repentance.  The song “My Eyes Are Dry” is the cry of my heart today.

My eyes are dry, my faith is old
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me

Oh what can be done for an old heart like mine
Soften it up with oil and wine
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love
Please wash me anew in the wine of Your Blood