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Archive for August, 2007

Tomorrow, August 31, is a big day for me and other members of LegacyInspirations.com. Christine, Bunny, David, and I (along with many other people) will be walking the last eight miles with our friend Pilgrim George (http://raeshomepage.bravehost.com/pilgrim.html), after he has been walking since April and before he begins his seven months of prayer.

I’m not quite sure what to expect, but Pilgrim George has told us about the amazing people he has met on his travels – and, in particular, the compassion he has experienced through the kindness of complete strangers.

What I AM expecting is a day filled with prayer (both internal and external) and wonderful fellowship with dear friends! What I AM expecting is total focus on Jesus Christ, the way God intended. What I AM expecting is time to reflect, listen to God, and soak in nature.

What I AM expecting is to be totally exhausted and sore by the time I’m done (but for such a wonderful cause!). What’s a little pain and tired feet when you are deepening your relationship with your Lord and Savior?

Please pray for us, and please, especially, pray for Pilgrim George, who has devoted his life to call attention to God, to bring out the best in people, to just spend time in prayer with his Lord. As Pilgrim George himself told us when he met with our group, every single one of us has a purpose! We are each a part of the Body of Christ! My purpose may not be the same as another person’s, and I may not be the “foot” (as Pilgrim George is in his walks for Christ). But I have a purpose! We all do. But, no matter what our purpose, we all need to spend time with God.

Tomorrow, not only are we supporting our friend in his purpose, but we are also spending time with God. Time that can help us reflect on our own purpose. Time to focus. Time to meditate rather than constantly “doing.” Time to grow closer to God.

Lord willing, by Saturday I’ll be feeling well enough to post about our experiences on my “mini-pilgrimage.”

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I still can’t believe it myself! I’m going to be on TV! (Well, a Comcast On-Demand show, but it’s still television!) Our fellowship group (http://www.legacyinspirations.com) is being interviewed today by Lutherans Alive, a Comcast On-Demand Christian TV show. We will be discussing our group and two books written by members (my book, Simply Balanced, and Michelle Kunkle’s book, The Walk). The show is interested in our group because of the way we are applying God’s Word to our lives. We have joined together to fellowship and to work on projects for God’s glory. God brought us together to help each other, to help other people, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to glorify Him! A few of the members attend a Lutheran church, which led our “founding” member, Christine Weller, to learn about Lutherans Alive. God really works things out to His glory, bringing people together, opening doors, etc. He knows that we can accomplish so much together, working on His goals! Please pray for our experience today as we tape two half-hour TV shows. Most of all, please pray that God guides us regarding what to say and that He is glorified today! Thank you, and God bless you. (More later on when/where the shows will air…)

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Last week, I went to the American Idol concert with my daughter, my Mom, and my Dad (it was my parents’ birthday gift to my daughter). As I was getting ready to leave, part of me wondered – for just a moment – if I had time to take hours out of my day to attend a concert.

I needed to work (at paying jobs), write (the Simply Balanced workbook needs to be finished), blog (and any number of marketing-related and other tasks, some more “fun” than others, some more “work”). Not to mention the new book I’m supposed be starting with some friends. (We recently interviewed two other friends in our fellowship group about the joys, struggles, and God’s purpose through raising their handicapped daughter. This story needs to be told!) I was sure I had forgotten something critical, too. I had so much to do, it made my head spin!

What was I thinking, traipsing off to a concert???

When I saw the excited look on my daughter’s face as she asked when Grandma and PapPap would be picking us up, I suddenly realized I had to do this!

What was I thinking, considering it “too much” to be doing something fun with my daughter???

My kids see me working on the computer far too often! My three-year-old has actually told me to get off the “puter.” It’s so easy just to have the laptop, well, on my lap, as I do other things. Watching a movie with the kids, playing a card game… Too often, the “puter” is there with us.

Sure, I might have a lot to do (who doesn’t – each person’s “stuff” is just a little bit different), and it might be important (some of it to pay the bills, some of it even God’s work). But don’t my children deserve some of my time, too? My undivided attention?

Since I’ve been working from home over the past year, I seem to have drifted away from something I advise myself in chapter 4 of Simply Balanced (about taking action, yet resting and waiting on God’s timing). And that “something” I’ve drifted away from is taking time to rest.

Rest includes much more than merely sleeping.

Rest involves prayer time, fellowship time with other believers, Bible study time, time and patience to deepen my relationship with God.

Rest also involves family time – deepening my relationship with my husband and children.

Family comes before work on my priority list but, unfortunately, not always on my to-do list.

Last Monday, I was feeling down, so I made a decision. I would do no more work of any kind the rest of the day (and would only check email in the evening). Instead, I would spend time with my husband and children.

Once I made that simple decision, it was as through a weight had lifted from my shoulders.

First, we played a game of Clue (our youngest “helped” by rolling the dice and moving game pieces). Then, my mother-in-law came over, and we played Scrabble (my son didn’t care that he couldn’t form words; he was just thrilled Grandma was visiting and he was allowed to play with a few letters). Finally, I watched cartoons and read books with my daughter and son.

I couldn’t tell you how many hours passed (or how much work I didn’t get done), but you know what? I don’t care!

That time with my family was more precious than words. More precious than any amount of money I might have earned instead during that same time period.

Even further, I felt rejuvenated, which is also something I mention in my book. We need rest; we need fellowship time; we need time to rejuvenate. We can’t keep going non-stop! It’s not fair to us, it’s not fair to our friends and families, and it’s not fair to God. No matter how much we think we are following His plan, His primary purpose is for us to grow closer to Him. Other plans need to wait, and He will make them wait in order to teach us that key lesson.

Recalling, and trying to learn from, last week’s lesson, tonight I sat outside on the swing with my children, as my daughter told us about her first day back at school. The late afternoon sun was beautiful, the company was even better, and it made me feel wonderful.

Now I’m going to go to bed early, but, before sleeping, I’m going to read the Bible and pray… The time will be well spent — it will help me grow closer to God, relax, and get a good night’s sleep, so I can start the morning off right…

After all, I have a busy day tomorrow!

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I don’t want my children following some of the same food patterns as me. With this in mind, my husband and I know we need to make some difficult long-term lifestyle changes. Yet, the odds are against us in today’s fast-food society.

I’ve tried a variety of “diets,” and Weight Watchers worked pretty well. Still, I drifted away from it (I got too “busy” to track food and points, and the monthly expense became difficult with our struggling finances). I started walking less this past winter, and I’ve been struggling to get myself moving again this spring and summer. In the past, I tried following “The Maker’s Diet,” and recently I heard about a faith-based plan called “The Weigh Down Workshop” (http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/74157/what-would-jesus-weigh). No matter what “plan” I try, though, I know it’s about more than that. It’s about commitment on my part.

Even though I do like the taste of food, I think my main problem with food has always been the emotional comfort it provides. That’s probably an issue for many women and even some men. But abusing food in this way creates imbalance in my life, in my body, and in my soul.

God is supposed to be our comfort in all situations. When we use food as comfort, it’s like putting an idol before God. It’s not treating our body as God’s temple. It’s like saying we don’t trust God enough to handle our problems. The Bible tells us to give our cares to the Lord, yet we still worry in life.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. – Psalm 55:22

“…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:10-13

Why do we worry? Why is it so hard to give our cares to the Lord?

Specifically in terms of overeating, using food for comfort, why is it so hard to control? Often, trying “fix” it, makes things even worse. As Annie B. Kay, author of the book “Every Bite is Divine,” comments on her blog, “while the great tide of disapproval helped stem other unhealthy behaviors like smoking or drinking, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way with our most ubiquitous coping mechanisms: comfort food and inactivity.” (Check out the rest of her post at http://anniebkay.com/annieblog/2006/12/05/peace-please-new-reports-blame-obese-individuals-for-all-that-ails-us-and-what-that-says-about-us/.)

We can give up smoking or drinking without dying — even though, to some people, it may feel like it. Give up eating and, well, we need food to live. Unfortunately, some foods are good for us while others are bad. Even foods that are typically healthy can have negative effects if taken to extremes. All things in moderation, as the saying goes…

Fortunately for my children, they are already learning about healthy eating habits and exercise. My daughter helped me count points when I did Weight Watchers, and she asks about the fat content of foods. She enjoys riding bikes and participates in sports. She sometimes eats a little too much, but we’ve been working on that this summer, discussing portion sizes and telling her about our bad choices throughout our lives. Her little brother doesn’t eat much yet, but he has a bit of a sweet tooth already. We don’t want to make them overly self-conscious at a young age (that could also lead to negative habits), but we do want them to be aware — particularly of our bad habits so they can try to avoid them in their lives (and maybe they can even help us get past our own habits).

It’s not going to be easy, but we need to commit to getting healthy — for ourselves and for our children. God will help us. He will provide strength, and He will provide comfort. God provides the comfort, so we can turn away from food with joy and strength and confidence and learn to use food primarily for sustenance.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

We all can. No matter how difficult it seems. No matter how insurmountable the odds. God does not give us more than we can handle, and He is there for us, seeing us through.

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My daughter pulled the winning slip of paper last night (Monday), and we are pleased to announce….

The winner is….

Cindy Klimchock!

I’ll be calling you to set up a time to bring you the basket.

Thank you, Cindy, and everyone else, for stopping by the store and my blog this weekend. Also, thank you to Carl (the owner of Majesty) and his family for giving me the opportunity to have the book signing in his store! Everyone at Majesty was so kind and helpful, and I met some wonderful people.

I hope to see some of you at future events… (I will be with Legacy Inspirations in a booth at the Latrobe Arts and Crafts Fair on September 8, 2007.)

Thank you, and God bless! May God bless you and help you live a simply balanced life…

– Chris

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Wow, Sunday was much busier than Saturday! Must have been the rain… Thank you to all those who stopped — whether I knew you, just met you yesterday, or hadn’t seen you in years — thank you for talking with me and supporting me as I walk this path, learning day-by-day. It was great to see so many smiling faces!

Also, thank you to the couple of people who recently posted here. I appreciate you taking the time to stop and say “hello” virtually! There’s still a little time (before I draw the winner of the gift basket) for others to post.

Finally, a big thank you to my friends and family — some of whom stopped Saturday and/or Sunday for moral support, and all of whom have been a tremendous support through the entire process of writing and publishing my first book. What a blessing to have such wonderful family and friends.

Thank you, Lord, for my family and friends, for the people who I talked with the past few days, and for leading me on this journey of furthering your message. I am not worthy to be given such a path, but I gladly and humbly accept it and vow to do my best to glorify You, God, above all! Please show me what You want me to do, and I will try my best to do what You ask (with YOUR guidance!). I can do all things with your help, Lord!

I pray that everyone who has bought this book has gotten what they needed from it (or will as they read it). Whether it be encouragement or inspiration, guidance to balance life, closeness to God… The simply balanced path of balance from contradiction has been helping me (God knew exactly the message I needed!), and I pray it helps others as well. May God bless us and help us live simply balanced lives…

– Chris

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Today at the physical portion of my book signing, it was nice to see a few people I knew and to meet some new people! In particular, it was nice to see children (and others) look through and pick out the colors of prayer bead bracelets they liked best. 🙂 Now I understand what Diane (who has spoken at our Legacy Inspirations meetings) means about touching people with prayer beads. It’s wonderful to see the smiles on people’s faces, and it’s a blessing to know they are going to go home and use those beads to pray and deepen their relationship with God. (That’s what I love about making the prayer beads and praying with them myself, how it makes you feel closer to God…) It is also special to me that my daughter and I made some of the bracelets together (sort of with my younger son’s help).

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the signing, especially Cindy, whose joy for life is an inspiration to us all.

I hope to meet even more people tomorrow! God bless!

Love, Chris
 

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