Saturday, July 23, 2011

Healthy Sheltering

The longer you read the Bible, the more you will like it; it will grow sweeter and sweeter; and the more you get into the spirit of it, the more you will get into the spirit of Christ. ~Romaine

I was at Shawn's office this week when Melanie called to invite me to lunch.  I never miss a chance to see my "four favorites."  The kids were excited, "Mawmaw, we're having smoothies." "Drink it Mawmaw, and I'll show you the magic ingredient."  Ice cold blueberry and banana smoothies -- what a treat.

I certainly couldn't figure out the magic ingredient.  Yogurt? Melanie knows I'm not too fond of it.  No, that wasn't it.  Ice cream?  I am fond of that!  No, that wasn't it either.

Finally, after they were sure I thought it was yummy, Ethan held up a plastic bag.  Spinach? There wasn't any green in my smoothie, but spinach it was.  And what made me laugh was that Melanie's children thought it was great -- knowing spinach was in it!

Spinach is high in vitamins, a great source of daily fiber and an antioxidant.  It is heart-healthy, gastrointestinal-healthy and has anti-inflammatory properties.  Spinach keeps your brain young, protects against eye diseases and is an excellent source of iron.  I guess that all means spinach is good for us. Blueberries and bananas have their own healthy facts, and we'd rather settle for their sweet goodness in the fruit category and skip the spinach.

Just like in our spiritual nutrition, we'd rather eat the sweet goodness of a devotional or Christian living book.  Max Lucado has a new encouraging book out -- "Max on Life," Beth Moore's "So Long, Insecurity" speaks directly to me, and Ravi Zacharias always makes me think. I recognize the helpful contributions on each inspiring page!  But no matter how encouraging, convicting, challenging these books are, we must not forget the spinach of God's Word. Patrick Henry said, "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."

Read the encouraging words of the Psalms:

I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness...I could write a book full of the details of your greatness...God is all mercy and grace—not quick to anger, is rich in love. God is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace...
God always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does...God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit...God's there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it...My mouth is filled with God's praise. Let everything living bless him, bless his holy name from now to eternity. 

Allow Scriptures about the lack of faith and ingratitude to convict:

"Do all things without grumbling and complaining" and "Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?"

Be challenged to be content, be a blessing to others, and develop a vibrant prayer life:

"But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content," "As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" and “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God.”

And then when your spinach has helped you "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,"  open the books of others.  Read widely and study the disciplines; they will add brilliance to the application of the Scriptures in your daily life.

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 Healthy Smoothies

Melanie's blueberry smoothie is pictured.  Today she made peach smoothies for the kids.  Peaches, bananas and carrots.  I'd like to take the credit for this healthy child of mine.  However, I think the credit goes to Grandma Kuhn.  She would have loved to see how committed Melanie is to feeding her children fun, but healthy, foods.  

I do think I deserve a teeny tiny bit bit of the credit when I remember the gallons of carrot juice I made for RB's mother -- and then drank it to make her happy.

When there's leftover smoothie, Melanie fills up the Popsicle molds.  Smoothie Popsicles!  How cool is that?

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shelter through Growth Encouragement

Every blade of grass has an angel bending over it saying, "Grow, Grow." ~Talmud

I love the mental picture of an angel, pristine robe gathered up to keep it from dragging in the dirt, feathery wings waving gently in the breeze and iridescent halo catching the sun rays to create a rainbow.  The vivid green of the grass contrasting with the eye-blinding whiteness of the angel.  Only the grass can see this angel.  Humanity sees only the grass stretching upward as it hears, "Grow, grass, grow."

In our own lives, we have angels urging us to grow.  Many times God sends these angels in the form of friends, pastors and yes, even school principals.

I attended first through twelfth grades in a private Christian school. Sending my sister, brother and me to a Christian school  was a conviction, not a convenience, for my parents. My mother said she would take us piggy back if she had to in order for us to have a Christian education.  I am thankful for the Christian world view I was taught but didn't appreciate until later in life.  I am also thankful we were able to bless our children with the same education.  And what joy I feel seeing my daughter continuing the tradition with her children, into a third generation of Christian education.

I can't remember exactly when Mr. Larry Muir came to be our principal.  I was probably still in grade school.  He was young -- fresh out of grad school, and I don't remember much of those first few years. But as I moved into junior high, he became an integral part of school life.

This man was crazy over math.  He would get so excited over right angles, postulates and theorems that he would rock back and forth on his feet.  Science, too, would thrill him.  He was the only person I remember commenting on my writing in my teen years.  We had written a paper about an imaginary trip to the moon.  I missed earning a 100% because I forgot to mention the rings around Saturn.  On my paper he wrote, "very creative."  (Of course I had Mr. Muir on the moon to greet us, so I guess it was creative.)  I kept that paper until our fire -- it was that important to me.  I certainly didn't keep any others.

One formidable memory comes to mind when I think about the day Mr. Muir called RB and me into his office.  Someone had told him we kissed on a school function.    I was quite confident in denying the charge since RB had yet to kiss me.  I was just 15 and we had been "going together" for only a few months.  There were a few unintentional minor modesty issues, too -- of course I thought he was constantly bugging me about it.  However, in retrospect they probably didn't happen as often as my 15-year-old mind calculated.  And my mother judiciously reminded me if I would sit like a lady then it wouldn't be an issue at all!

The one thing that always puzzled me about Mr. Muir was his concern over my soul.  It didn't make sense to me; I thought he was too intentional about it.  Now that I've had a few students of my own, I understand the burden you carry for them. But as a young person I thought he should just worry about my academic work.

One day, while leaving our weekly chapel service, Mr. Muir spoke to me about where I was spiritually.  I remember thinking, "What do you care?"  But he did, and not only his care speak to my heart, but the life he lived impacted me, too.  I can still hear his, "I'm so glad I'm a Christian" when he gave his testimony. He urged me to meet God daily in my quiet time, to use my talents, to obey and love God.  He spoke of God as if He was best friends with him.

It's as though Mr. Muir stood over me whispering, "Grow, Pam, grow." He was dressed as humanity, yet exhibited the character and qualities that made him so much more.   Mr. Muir is still the principal of Indiana Wesleyan School in the small town of Dixonville, Pennsylvania.  He's still touching lives, still caring, and still whispering to students, "Grow, young person, grow."
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