A Quality I Want My Sons To Look For In A Future Wife-Hospitality! (A MOB Society Post)

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Boys, Hospitality Is More Than Tea and Scones!

I used to think that showing hospitality meant inviting people over and feeding them BBQ pork sandwiches with all the fixings or hosting an elaborate tea with homemade scones in honor of my friend’s new baby, but sitting under the teaching of my pastor Francis Chan for nine years did something to me.

For the first few years of my marriage, we lived in a tiny apartment with no yard. I was feeling pretty good when I decided to swallow my pride and host my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary in our home where we squeezed in nearly 30 of their lifelong friends for dessert, reminiscing about the days when my parents drove too fast and ran with the wild crowd.

As a new mother, still searching for what it meant for me to be a woman by Biblical standards, I knew that hospitality was part of what God commanded me to display towards others. Except that the idea of showing hospitality didn’t really cost me anything. I love to cook, bake, and plan events. My husband and I are both social butterflies, so having people over energized us. We delighted in opening up our home. And that was all good. But eventually, my definition of hospitality began to get a bit more uncomfortable.

I listened as my pastor talked about the fact that they had up to seven or more house guests in their home at any given time, plus their family of six…in a house that they had purposely downsized into in order to give more money away for those in need. A woman from Guatemala with four kids had recently moved in. Francis had met her at the local homeless shelter and brought her home for six months until she got on her feet. It was radical. And Biblical. And convicting.

Today, I’m sharing this post over at The MOB Society! To read the rest of this post, and how our sons can learn about what makes a woman hospitable, click here.

 

YOUR TURN! What comes to your mind when you picture hospitality? Is this view a challenge for you?

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger

Drink Soda? Wondering About Gluten? Consider Food As Medicine! (The Daniel Plan)

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Drink Soda Wondering About Gluten Consider Food As Medicine! (The Daniel Plan).jpg

 

It happens all day long for most of us, and at the very least 3 times a day. Social events revolve around it, and TV shows are made to show us how to do it better, faster, or cheaper. Mealtimes are rarely about fuel in our culture anymore. Preparing food, the grandiose presentations of meals, and the pleasurable journey of the experience of dining floods our world from sun up till sun down. No wonder we are sick and/or overweight.

And yet, God talks about eating in this way: “So whether you eat of drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31. Since our bodies are the foundation of our stewardship from God, we would be wise to understand how what we put in our bodies is an act of worship.

This week, I am continuing the series about Rick Warren’s book, The Daniel Plan, 40 Days to a Healthier Life, by highlighting some of the key elements of chapter 4, “Food”.

Warren writes:

“When you provide the conditions for a thriving human being and you remove the impediments to health, disease often simply goes away as a side effect. When you focus on health, healing and weight loss happen automatically. That is exactly what happens in The Daniel Plan.”

The focus of this book is to eat “real” food. Warren explains:

“So what do we mean by ‘real’ food? Anything that is whole, fresh, and unprocessed. Stuff that your great-grandmother would recognize as food. A chicken, a vegetable, a bean, a nut, a grain, a fruit, and egg. Everything else is fake food that depletes energy and health. Real food heals. Real food nourishes.

I wrote a couple weeks ago about my health changes in this post. But my husband experienced healing from eating real food too. For years, he has suffered from irritable bowels and within the first two weeks, it was gone. Both he and another member of our Daniel Plan group, had skin that was deeply calloused and cracked on their feet. They both had tried every trick in the book to fix it. After a month on The Daniel Plan, they realized that the rough skin that seemed beyond hopeless, was smooth like a baby’s bottom! It was a crazy unexpected benefit to eating right. We all began to see how the food we were eating, was truly medicine. I will share in an upcoming post about how this has affected my children too, but suffice it to say that my boys now know the benefits of eating nutritious food!

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from Chapter 4, “Food” to give you an idea about why this change in our lives is critical for all of us:

“Low-glycemic vegetables are your new best friends. Go ahead and fill up on these life-giving plants. They should make up 50 percent of your plate. Keep a list of these as you walk through your grocery store, which is your new FARMacy, where you will find the best medicine for body and soul. Have two or three veggie dishes at dinner. Make a salad with arugula, artichokes, and avocados, and have a side or sauteed zucchini with garlic and olive oil and roasted mushrooms.” Pg. 85

“The one type of vegetable you can never get enough of is the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, collards, broccolini, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and bok choy. They contain powerful detoxifying chemicals called glucosinonlates that prevent cancer and support your health. We recommend a cup or two every day.” Pg. 85

“For anti-inflammatory foods, think dark berries and cherries. Eat dark green leafy vegetables and orange and sweet potatoes to cut down on inflammation.” Pg. 87

“The key is to eat only whole grains, not processed in any way. That means you buy them in their original form, such as oats, what berries, and even popcorn. Many packaged foods say ‘whole grains,’ but it is often a little whole grain flour mixed into white flour, sugary cereals, or other products. The ingredient list will tell you what’s really in there.” Pg. 89

“Downsize your meat. Choose quality of quantity. Small amounts or lean organic, grass-fed, and hormone- and antibiotic-free lamb or beef can be a part of a healthy diet.” Pg. 93

“In one dietary study in Spain, researchers split the study population into three groups. They were all told to eat a basic Mediterranean diet, but one group was given a liter of extra-virgin olive oil a week, another was given 30 grams (about an ounce) of nuts a day, and the last group had only the diet. The groups who had the olive oil and the nuts had over a 30 percent reduction in heart attacks and death. This is a better result than statin drugs-without any of the side effects. More fat was better.” Pg.95-96

“We are going to have to tell you that your taste buds have been hijacked. Soda, sports drinks, flavored syrup-filled coffees, sweetened teas, juices, diet drinks, and energy drinks are super highways to obesity, cravings, and brain chemistry problems. The single best and easiest thing you can do for your health is to recalibrate your taste buds and lean to enjoy pure clean water.” Pg. 98

“In fact, sugar is more addictive than cocaine. No wonder we have cravings!” Pg. 102

“We have to start looking for delayed or hidden food reactions that cause inflammation. These reactions might be hard to detect. If you eat bread on Monday, you might get a migraine on Wednesday, or just generally feel bloated, or have brain fog, or gain weight and become pre-diabetic. The symptoms can be vague: fatigue, bloating, brain fog, food cravings, sinus congestion or post nasal drip, acne, eczema, psoriasis, irritable bowels, acid reflux, headaches, joint pains, trouble sleeping, asthma, and more.” Pg. 119

“Bottom line: If you have any chronic illness, are overweight, or just want to see how good you can feel, try a gluten-free diet for ten to forty days. It is a powerful way to identify the cause of chronic health problems. Combined with dairy elimination, it can cure many diseases, accelerate weight loss, and renew your body and mind.” Pg. 123

“Most Americans spend less than about 6 percent of their income on food, while Europeans spend 9 to 13 percent. Rethinking your budget to include higher quality food is something that will pay off much greater dividends in energy, long-term health, and lower health care and prescriptions costs when you get older. You can pay a little more now or pay a lot more later. What is the real long-term cost of that French fry or soda for your health, your family, your neighborhood, and even the environment?” Pg. 139

“Mothers are exactly the allies we need to lead this food and cooking revolution.” Pg. 144

There you have it. Just a small sampling of how pivotal food is to our health, and the health of our families.To be honest, I didn’t want to make these changes at first, but as a mother, I knew that I needed to get healthy for the sake of my kids.  If you can relate to any of these issues, feel like you are addicted to cravings, sugar, or if you have been battling health issues by treating symptoms with prescriptions, then consider making a better and lasting change by picking up a copy of The Daniel Plan.

This post is not sponsored in any way, I simply feel passionate about how much it has helped me when I felt helpless. There are affiliate links in this post, and if you purchase the book through those links, then I get a few cents from your order and that helps the ministry on this blog-thank you!

YOUR TURN! What are some changes you know you need to make in your diet? Which quote from the book hit home for you?

 

You can read the post about the first essential in The Daniel Plan, on “Faith” by clicking here.

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

My 6 Year Old’s Reaction To The Cross

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My 6 Year Old's Reaction To The Cross

It was midmorning and time for the Bible lesson. My class of 6th graders opened their workbooks and I prepared to read the portion of Scripture for the day. It was the week before Easter vacation during my first year of teaching.

We had been reading the passages leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion-an account of the Bible I had heard read every Sunday for my entire life. I was keenly aware of Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins. That’s why my reaction this time, caught me off guard.

I read:

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27:27-30

Almost from the start, I felt a solemn mood in my classroom. I stood there, reading these words, and I couldn’t help it. I cried through the entire reading. Each year I read this passage to my students, the same thing happened. I cried because I read these words not only for myself, but because I knew that these 12 year olds were on Jesus’ heart when He stood there stripped and mocked and beaten. Jesus suffered for me and for them, and I felt so totally overwhelmed with love for my students, that my tears were an outward pleading for their salvation.

Later, when I taught high school students, I read this description from a medical doctor. Read it and you will never view Jesus death in the same way again.

It never gets old-this realization that Christ suffered and that I don’t have to. You, don’t have to.

I read Matthew 27 to my oldest boy, Oliver, this morning. He gave his heart to Jesus several years ago, but until now, I have spared him the gruesome details of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. His eyes widened, and then he silently walked away. A few moments later, he returned with this:

I Love God

“I love God” he said to me sincerely. “This is Jesus in the clouds with light, and a trumpet in His hand for when He calls us home to Heaven!” he explained with a smile. We have been reading from Revelation, so he adds, “His hands are ready to fight the dragon!”

And that is the hope we have. One day soon, He is coming back for us and to restore all that has been contaminated by sin in the world. Let’s not become conditioned to hearing the Truth of Jesus’ crucifixion. Look at the cross through the eyes of a child, or someone hearing about it for the first time. Ask God to return to you the joy of your salvation, and praise Him for the work He has done in your life as we approach Easter.

YOUR TURN! Have you shared the details of the cross with your kids? How old were they? What part of the crucifixion is most dear to your heart?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

A Week At The Lia Household!

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A Week At The Lias!

Ever wonder how other families are spending their days? I do! So I thought I would share a little glimpse into our home life! Here’s a sample of our past week, and a look inside our comings and goings in sunny Southern California!

I like to think of Sundays as the start to my week, not the end. We went to Saturday night church this week (we are experimenting with switching up the services we attend), so on Sunday morning, my husband unearthed an old Geotrax set we had in the garage. Our 2-year-old literally did not leave the family room for hours!

And he wails in frustration every.time.that.train.falls.off.the.track.

One of my best girlfriends who has known me from my young single and footloose days has been dating a wonderful guy that she waited a looonnngggg time to find, so she had my husband Guy and I over for lunch to meet him! He’s a keeper. At the end of our time, I got all emotional and cried when I thought back to the early days when Guy and I were newlyweds. I’m sure I made a great first impression. Oh well.

My oldest son, Oliver is having a Skylander’s themed birthday party next month! I sat up late putting together his birthday invitations-he feels strongly that we should invite both Kindergarten classes, so that’s what we will do! As a Christmas baby, my birthdays got swallowed up by the holidays, so I go ALL OUT when it comes to my boys’ parties! What kinds of parties do your kids request?

 

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On Monday, we had perfect weather-ridiculously sunny and glorious. I posted this blog post about my husband and how I don’t put him first in my life. He still loves me, though. We have AWANA on Monday nights so I prepped my lesson for my Cubbies too. Ollie went to school and the little boys and I chased lizards in the yard, played on the swing set, and did routine straighten-up-the-house work, like laundry! I tried to set aside one or two days a week to do laundry and it was NOT working for me. So I’m back to a load or two every day. It just works better for me and I like the consistency. I’m wondering what works for other moms!

Tuesday was a run-of-the-mill day, (except for lots of extra wrestling with Quinn, my 4-year-old) and I was thinking about this:

The difference between a run-of-the-mill day and a GREAT day is the discipline to count your blessings.

Amen?

On Wednesday, I took way too many online quizzes. It turns out that I am a swan, an apple, and an expert at all things Disney. On the way home from picking up Oliver from school, he had this wisdom for me: “Mom, pandas look really soft and cuddly. But MOM. They are BEARS! You have to be careful around them”. I love this kid. He followed that one up by warning me that things are not always what they seem to be. For instance, “A piece of candy could be disguised as a bomb, so if it is ticking-watch out!” And THEN during dinner, which we ate out on the shady backyard patio, he came over to me and said, “Mom, I’m ready to go and be with Jesus. I’m just ready for Heaven.”

Me too, little buddy. Me too.

Thursday was downright HOT. I pulled the water table out for the little boys to play with. Do you have one of these things? Amazing! I sat in the shade and listened to a concert of birds. Earlier this week, Oliver prayed that he would be chosen to bring home the class pets for Easter break. He told God that it’s better to give than to receive, so he would be happy for whoever was chosen. But I have to say, I prayed hard that God would honor his sweet prayers. When he got home from school, he was beaming! Sure enough, God said “Yes!” to Oliver. We are the proud babysitters of Lego and Leah, two sweet parakeets!

 

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Friday was Spring cleaning day! I reorganized closets, pulled out clothes that were too small for my boys, and spruced up all the nooks and crannies I don’t always get to during a routine cleaning. My husband took the little boys to a trampoline park in the morning to give me some time to get things squared away. Have you been to one of these places? They are amazingly fun, as long as you don’t mind getting pegged with dodge-balls or flying into foam pits! A little boy’s idea of heaven on earth.

Today we had some friends from Oliver’s school over for brunch! I made coffee-cake muffins, a yummy egg dish with bacon, and pineapple! The weather was perfect for sitting on the back patio and enjoying the mountain views from our yard. :)

 

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Throughout the week, I was working on a number of items for TV and Movie projects. My husband and I run Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly production company, so I spent bits an pieces of time writing up character sketches for some shows we are working on and setting meetings to meet with different studios and networks in the coming weeks. It’s a busy time for us, but all good-and we appreciate your prayers as we seek to make entertainment that honors God and inspires others.

That pretty much sums it up! I have a LOT to be thankful for and I bet you do too!

YOUR TURN! So tell me, what does your week typically look like? What’s your go to method for tackling laundry? And what things have your kids said recently that make you smile?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

Faith Helps Me To Put. The Cupcake. Down. (The Daniel Plan)

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Faith Helps Me Put. The Cupcake. Down. (The Daniel Plan)

I have 3 little kids and a sweet tooth. Both of those factors work against me when it comes to getting healthy, but last week I shared about why I was finally fed up with my poor health and decided to make some drastic changes.

My husband and I picked up Rick Warren’s new book, The Daniel Plan and I know that some of you are looking to make similar changes to ones I have made. There are many great ways to get healthy, and this plan is just one of them, but my hope is that by reading this series and hearing just a snippet from each of the main essentials in this book, you will begin to make some healthier changes too.

The first element in the book is the “Faith Essential”-it’s what sets this change in lifestyle apart from using sheer willpower, which often fails us. My willpower is no match for a chocolate cupcake.

For Christ-followers, we can approach changes in our eating habits and lifestyle with confidence because of our trust in God to help us get healthy. Willpower alone will not sustain us. The “Faith” chapter is full of encouraging Bible verses like the one in Zechariah 4:6 which says, “Don’t depend on your own power or strength but on my Spirit”. This chapter on Faith is really setting a foundation of understanding that God cares deeply for us and that we can make lasting changes for good because God also desires and equips us to do so.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the “Faith Essential” chapter:

“If you find yourself tired all the time, one reason may be that you are trying to solve all your problems, fulfill your responsibilities, and make all your changes on your own. One clue that this may be happening is when you worry more than you pray.” Pg. 52

“In your life, you will go through many experiences that leave you feeling sad, discouraged, or alone. But you’re not alone. There will never be a moment in your life when God is not paying attention to you.” Pg. 55

“God loves to turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones and crucifixions into resurrections.” Pg. 61

“What I think determines the way I feel. What I feel determines the way I act.” Pg. 64

“When you begin to renew your mind with God’s Word, and you replace old lies, false ideas, and misconceptions with the truth, it will set you free from habits and hang-ups that limit your life. Your actions will naturally begin to align with your new attitudes. This process only happens when we follow God’s instructions.” Pg. 64

“If you prayed as much as you worry, you would have a whole lot less to worry about.” Pg. 68

“God is not waiting for you to get physically healthy or spiritually mature before he starts loving you or enjoying you. He loves you right now, and he will be cheering you on at every stage of your growth and development. He is not waiting for you to cross the finish line first. He is smiling at you as you run the race.” Pg 70-71

Isn’t that a great way to be encouraged before taking on a new way of eating, or exercising? The Daniel Plan, 40 Days to a Healthier Life, offers a ton of practical tips and Scriptures to keep your mind on what matters most-having a trust in God to aid you in your journey to wellness. Personally, it was good for me to remember that God is cheering me on, and He doesn’t kick me when I am down, or frown when I fail. He wants me to get back up, and keep running my race.

Next week, I’ll be sharing about the “Food Essential” and how detoxing revealed some interesting results in our family-including how this has affected our kids! By far, the food element has been the most radical change for us-I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

This post contains affiliate links and when you purchase items through the link, it does not cost you anything extra, but I will earn a few pennies which helps the ministry of Mother Of Knights-thank you!!!

YOUR TURN! Which of the quotes from the Faith Essential chapter resonated with you the most?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

I Don’t Put My Husband First, And He Knows It!

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I Don't Put My Husband First, And He Knows It!.jpg

It sounds totally Biblical. I never even questioned it. Logical too-I love when things are logical! After all, God does give a specific order within the family-whether we like the sound of it or not, the husband is the head of the home, and ideally, he is a loving servant-leader who provides for his family, values his wife above his own needs and loves her to the point of death on the cross, just as was Jesus’ example. The wife, in turn, should also love her husband and respect him, putting his well-being before her own. Kids-they are commanded to obey their parents. Everyone thrives.

So far, so good.

Then I started contemplating this idea that gets talked about a lot. “Put your marriage FIRST”, people are saying. “Your kids should know that you love your husband more than you love them”, they quip. “We have to take care of Mommy and Daddy in order to have anything left to raise our kids well” they affirm.

That sounds soooooo good. I think people who say these things have their hearts in the right place. They don’t want busy moms and dads to neglect their marriages. Totally. They want kids to realize that they are not the absolute center of the universe. Absolutely.

But, wait a minute. The philosophy behind it is slightly flawed, and if I allow it to take deep root, it will change the way I lead my family. And I’m not sure if I like the direction it’s going.

You see, it’s most important to examine what the BIBLE actually says. And the only verse that really laid it out for me, that absolutely dictates an order of affection and priority is this:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Love God. Love your neighbor. That’s it.

Who’s your neighbor? It’s your husband. It’s your child. It’s the elderly lady next door and the little family across the street. It’s the man behind you in the grocery line, and the coworker at the desk next to yours. It’s the parent of your son’s best friend, and the child you support through Children’s Hunger Fund.

And honestly, I don’t need a vacation in the mountains with my husband to have something left to give my kids. There are millions of people on this planet who love the Lord who cannot afford to do those kinds of things, and that’s okay. Because our strength comes from God alone. Our ability to love well comes from the Holy Spirit. Anything else is a luxury.

Listen, I love my husband and he is one of my priorities. My children too. But when I spend my time contemplating how much I need to put everyone in my family first, I lose sight of my other neighbors real quick. Maybe you don’t. But I do. I am already naturally inclined to do the best for my family, and I know God takes our responsibilities to the spouses and children He blessed us with seriously. By all means, love them well and fulfill the roles God gave to you. But let’s get rid of the “order of importance” mentality that subliminally leaves our neighbors outside on the doorstep.

I don’t want to over think  or FOCUS in the day-to-day whether or not I am putting my husband first in my life on this earth, because the moment I do that, I start forgetting that God alone is first in my life. Everyone else, everyone-is second, and there is no third.

Biblically, I’m supposed to put everyone before myself:

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-36

To be honest, I’m willing to sacrifice Oprah’s version of the “best life” for my children to meet the needs of others. It may not be the most convenient and comfortable life for my kids to share a bedroom so we can take in another family who needs temporary housing. My husband and I may forgo that couples only retreat to help financially support a missionary family. And no, I’m not saying that those other things are wrong-I hope we will do some of that too, Lord willing. But this world is in such desperate need of people who love them like Jesus does that I just can’t be comfortable with giving my family top billing over others.

But somehow, I don’t feel like our marriage or our kids will suffer for it at all. I’m pretty sure that spending this life on others-period-is always worth it.

I know plenty of missionaries in other countries whose families are often in danger or whose basic comforts are stretched pretty thin in order to reach the lost, and we never question it. We applaud them and we are glad they are there, reaching the world. But what about me? Am I not a missionary right here in CA? Am I willing to put my neighbor first even if they live in a brick house instead of a grass hut? It’s so much more natural to think of Christ-followers giving up everything-even weekly date nights at the movies-to share the gospel when we can picture them in India. It makes us super uncomfortable when we consider doing that ourselves in the suburbs.

If you want to talk about whose on first and who’s on second, I’ll tell ya what. We are all meant to take first place in the race, running to win just as Paul urges believers to do. I can’t run as well as I want to if I’m thinking about how I can make my kids understand that they are lower than so-and-so on the family totem pole. God never makes me feel like that. He gave His all, for each one of us, equally. May our neighbors know us for one thing only-that we love God with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds, and with all our strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.

YOUR TURN: Honestly, are you putting God first in your life? What can you do today to rearrange your priorities?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

 

 

My Embarrassing Condition And How Rick Warren Fixed It

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My Embarrassing Condition And How Rick Warren Fixed It!.jpg

 

I took the quiz at the back of the book. It was supposed to help me determine the toxicity in my body by examining a variety of possible symptoms ranging from itchy ears, to poor concentration, to asthma, to acne, to hay fever, to craving certain foods. The further I went through the list and marked the boxes that applied to me, the more convinced I was that I was a very sick woman.

The results of my questionnaire were stunning. My toxicity level far surpassed the highest score you could receive on the quiz. I was so used to feeling crummy that I didn’t even realize that it was not normal.

I first began to realize that I needed an intervention when my scalp began to morph into snake-skin two years ago. I began losing my hearing and my hair. The skin on my ears and scalp was literally plaguing me and I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was mortifying for me to see how my hair was scraggly, missing in patches, and lifeless.

But then I swallowed my pride and went to see my dear friend who is also my hair stylist. She took a look at was happening to my scalp, and she said, “Amber, your body is screaming at you”. I just couldn’t interpret what it was saying. I was embarrassed, frustrated, and in physical pain. I cried a lot and asked God to heal me.

After suffering with it for quite some time, I finally did my research. I had psoriasis of the scalp. My doctor agreed-I had severe psoriasis and my hair was falling out at a rabid pace. It could grow back if I got it under control. He prescribed a shampoo full of steroids. I was overjoyed to find some relief, except when I went to the pharmacy, I discovered that the medicated shampoo would cost me 600 dollars, out of pocket. Gulp.

I cried some more-and considered shaving my head-one of the extreme measures that some doctors recommend to allow sunlight to help heal the scalp. And then I cried some more.

Meanwhile, I was getting debilitating migraines again. During one particularly horrid headache in November, my husband came home to find me lying in my own vomit and urine, delirious. Every month I was in the emergency room or urgent care trying to recover from the violence of my headaches.

And then I had two biopsies for cancer which turned out to be benign. I was a wreck.

It had to stop. My body was in absolute rebellion and although I wasn’t sure what it was rebelling from, I felt a prompting from God that the first step in getting healthy was changing my eating habits and getting exercise.

So I picked up a copy of Rick Warren’s new book The Daniel Plan, 40 Days to a Healthier Life that he co-wrote with NY Times best-selling authors Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman. It was the beginning of December, right in the middle of the holiday food madness. My husband was sick and tired of being sick and tired too, and so we committed to detox during the Christmas holiday which also included both his birthday and my birthday-we would have to find other ways to celebrate, instead of with food.

While everyone else was drinking eggnog, sipping wine, and gorging on prime rib with potatoes, cheesecake and chocolate soufflé with rum pudding, we were going through an intense 10 day detox where we cut out all gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.

It was hard, I won’t lie. But it felt invigorating, and for the first time, I was hopeful. In order to stick with it, we decided to go through the channels to become Life Group Leaders at our church, and we formed a 10 week study group in our home with a group of ten wonderful people from our church to go through the plan together and support each other.

The Daniel Plan focuses on 5 elements to help you be successful: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. The meal plan includes practical tips, encouragement, and menus to help you on your path to wellness by eating whole foods that God intended us to eat.

We read the book cover to cover, changed our lifestyles, radically altered the way we eat, and made hard choices.

It’s been three moths. So what has resulted for me?

Within the first few weeks, my psoriasis was completely gone! My hair has grown back, and my skin has never looked better. I have had only one migraine and it was the most manageable one to date with a quick recovery. And, I am down 15 pounds!

The Daniel Plan emphasizes that “Food is medicine.” It’s my new life motto. Most of the people in our group did not need to lose weight, but when you understand how processed foods make your body sick, how quickly you can turn around chronic illnesses with proper food intake by adding healthy seeds, nuts, low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and by drinking water, you literally can get your life back. I was so sick that I didn’t even realize it. Eating healthy foods healed me in ways that medication could not.

How about you? Do you live on caffeine? Have trouble sleeping? Carrying around an extra 10 pounds or more? Is your energy low? Do you lose focus easily or forget what you were saying? How is your skin? Your allergies? Suffer from inflammatory diseases?

If you want to stop feeling crummy, you can take control and change. I am going to be writing a series for the next several weeks about each of the 5 Essentials of The Daniel Plan, and I’m hoping you will agree to join me!

You won’t have to read the book or dive in to a major change with your own eating just yet, unless you want to. My hope is that when you see how well-rounded the book is and how helpful it is for us as believers to understand God’s plan for our lives-to honor God as an act of worship with our bodies, that you will be richly blessed by reading, regardless of whether you join me in this lifestyle or not. I’ll also be sharing the impact this book has had on the lives our children too!

This post is not sponsored in any way, I simply feel passionate about how much it has helped me when I felt helpless. There are affiliate links in this post, and if you purchase the book through those links, then I get a few cents from your order and that helps the ministry on this blog-thank you!

YOUR TURN! Do you feel unhealthy? What aspect of your life is just not working for you? Are you considering The Daniel Plan?

 

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