BOOK REVIEW-The Catch

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I recently had the pleasure of reading THE CATCH by LISA HARRIS. It’s book 3 in her US Marshals series. I’m not sure if book 3 was a continuation of books 1 and 2 or a whole new story line, but it seemed as if it was a continuation. Even with not knowing the stories of the other two books, this was an enjoyable read.

Her writing style was plain and simple, nothing fancy and nothing too melodramatic. I wish more writers wrote like that. I hate when writers try to show off their vocabulary to the detriment of the story.

It had lots of action (which I like) but also had well-rounded characters, especially the main characters. If I had any complaints, it might be that there were too many characters and at times I would get confused who was who. This was probably due to not reading books 1 and 2.

All in all, it was a good book that I would recommend to others.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Me & Intermittent Fasting

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WHAT’S A 36 PLUS HOUR FAST LIKE?

A FB friend mentioned that she was thinking of trying IF (intermittent fasting) but was worried that she might get too hungry. But she said all the people she knew said they never got hungry while they were fasting.

She must have stronger friends than me or the people I know who fast because we all get hungry at some point. Some days, I’m hungrier than others. Some days I don’t feel hungry at all.

But in all honesty, getting hungry is a part of IF but being hungry won’t kill you! Of course, if you actually feel unwell that’s a different story. At that point you should break you fast and eat.

Today, I’m doing another long fast (36 hours plus depending on when I wake up on Tuesday morning. So I thought some of you might be interested in what goes on body and mind during a longer fast.

At 15 hours: I woke up at around 5: 30. A little bit hungry but not too bad. Mentally, I’m thinking…ooh, I have all day long without eating since I’m already a little hungry, but I really want to lose some weight so I’m going to do my best.

At 16 hours: I do my workout as usual. Walked on the treadmill for 40 minutes. Will do another workout later since I like to workout while I’m fasting. (Ended up working 23 more minutes on the teadmill and then a 30 minute walk with a friend.)

At 18 hours: My tummy’s feeling uncomfortable and my mind is telling me that there’s no way I’m going to get through the day without eating. So I have a little pink Himalayan salt and my black coffee. My stomach feels better so my mind feels better as well.

At 20 hours: Feeling good. No issues at the moment. But I’m reminded of the Bible verse that says don’t act like you’re fasting and miserable. So I took a bath, brushed my teeth, and combed my hair.

At 22 hours: I’m hungry! Drank some water. Didn’t help. I’m still hungry! It feels like it will never go away but my mind tells me that it will. Going to drink a little more water and some salt and hope that it goes away. Either way, I’m not quitting at this point. May have to make it a modified fast and eat a salad but I’m hoping not to have to do that. I really want to make it a true fast. We shall see.

NOTE: I went down drank some more water with a little bit of the salt. The hunger went away after about 15 minutes.

At 26 hours:  I’m comfortable at this point. Not really hungry and not focused on food or eating at the moment. I sat with my husband while he ate his supper, and it didn’t bother me at all. I had no problem with wanting to eat. So all is good for now!

At 30 hours: I was comfortable during the evening. If I felt a little hunger, I would drink a few sips of water and then I was good again. Going to bed a little early. When I wake up in the morning I can eat—YEAH!

Looking back on the day, I can see that I was at my hungriest point during my normal eating hours, which makes sense to me.

THOUGHTS: I can’t say that I’m “enjoying” my 36 plus fast. It’s tolerable. If I lose some weight, then it will be worth it. If not, I probably will go back to my old schedule and throw in some 24 hour fasts rather than 36 plus fasts or maybe I’ll try a modified fast (a 500-calorie meal is eaten at some point).

No matter whether I lose weight or not, a long fast reminds me that I’m in control of my life—not food. And that’s a good thing to remember.

 At 38.5 hours: I woke up at 5, which is my normal time to wake up. I slept fairly well—no dreams about food! I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t really hungry. Last week after I finished my 37 hour fast, I was famished. I definitely feel more in control this week.

I started my UP day with a cup of creamy coffee (no sugar—only Splenda) but no food. I ate about 2 ½ hours later when I started feeling hungry.

So the big question did I lose any weight? Yes, I did, but I was a little disappointed with the results. I lost 1 ½ pounds. Now during my WW days, I would be thrilled with a 1 ½ pound loss in one week, but I was hoping for at least 3 pounds. Still 1 ½ pounds in a week is very good for me.

What’s next? I’ll probably do a modified long fast next week. If I can lose a little weight that way, I’ll think it’s a more comfortable approach for me.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Me and Intermittent Fasting!

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I know this is a longer post than usual, but I hope you’ll find it interesting enough to read to the end.

Before I get into my story about intermittent fasting (IF), let me explain very briefly what IF is. It is a period of time when you do NOT eat or drink anything. You can drink water, black coffee or plain tea. No diet drinks. No flavored coffees. Nothing with calories can be consumed during your fast. Period.

Eating or drinking calories is the opposite of fasting.

If you want to learn more about IF, I highly recommend Gin Stephens’ books. Fast, Feast, Repeat and/or Delay, Don’t Deny. Both books will tell you the science behind IF and why it’s such a healthy way to live.

I started Intermittent Fasting (IF) on April 7, 2021. And as with life things didn’t go exactly the way I’d planned, but I’ll get to that later.

I had several goals. One and what seemed most important at the time was to lose ten pounds. My second goal was to normalize my relationship with food. And my third goal was to boost my metabolism.

Let’s start with the last goal first. After ten years of being on a fairly strict diet most of those ten years, it seemed to me that my metabolism was way low. I don’t have any scientific proof of that but any time I would eat more than salad, a piece of chicken, and some fruit for dessert I’d gain weight.

I was so, so, so tired of not being able to eat like everybody else. So, I’d restrict my food intake and then have my cheat days where I would binge, which brings me to my second goal of normalizing my relationship with food.

I wanted to not be obsessed with food. I wanted to stop worrying about every bite of food I put in my mouth. I wanted to make healthy choices but still enjoy eating.

When I started IF I wanted to lose 10 pounds. I was a lifetime member of a certain weight loss organization and was about 10 (9 actually) pounds over my goal weight.

So those were my 3 goals. Gin Stephens recommends starting with a 28 day plan where you don’t weight yourself and all you worry about is making sure you clean fast every day.

No calories to count. No points to calculate. Just using your own good sense when eating. I must say I threw out my good sense and ate—a lot! After the end of the 28 days, I hadn’t lost any weight, but I hadn’t gained either—and I really did eat a lot! I was happy!

And that’s what I did for the next few months. I ate what I wanted but would fast anywhere from 18 to 21 hours every day. And I still didn’t gain any weight—amazing!

But then I decided it was time to start making healthier food choices so I could lose that ten pounds. I decided to go back to that weight loss organization. And in the first month, I lost 5 pounds.

HAPPY DANCE!

And then life happened. I’ve had bilateral brain tumors for the past ten years but they’d been stable since 2016 without any need for treatment. But that all changed in August when we discovered one of the tumors was growing again and that I would need treatment.

My plan was to stay with my weight loss meetings, IF, and do my treatments. I really wanted to lose that last 5 pounds. But the day after my first treatment, I realized my plan wasn’t going to work. I

So I gave up on the weight loss meetings, but I’ve been doing IF consistently (except when I’m not feeling so good.)

So let’s take a look at my three goals.

I quickly gained back the five pounds I’d lost. Thanks to the treatments and the holidays. As of today, I’ve lost 3.6 pounds and only need to lose 5.6 to get back to my goal weight. But here’s the amazing things, I’ve lost 22.5 inches off my body–5 off my waist and 6 off my hips. If you want to know how and why that happened, you’ll need to read Gin’s books. I’m not scientific enough to explain it.

I have eaten A LOT this past year. Healthy foods. And pizza. And lots of my favorite things—namely pastries of all sorts. I pretty much eat what I want during my eating window. I haven’t lost all of the 10 pounds, but I know that’s because of my food choices, not because IF doesn’t work.

It obviously does work. If I’d eaten the way I have the past year and not fasted, I would have probably gained at least 25 or 30 pounds.

So what’s next for me amd IF?

I plan to start making healthier choices when eating so that I can get back to my goal weight. For me that means lowering my carb intake and especially cutting back on the “sweets.”

I’ve also added the spiritual component of fasting into my life, which has brought a new level of understanding and commitment to the act of IF.

I’ll keep you posted when I get back to my goal weight which hopefully won’t take a full year. I know this has been a long post.

Thanks for listening!

God Bless and Good Reading!

Give Thanks in all Circumstances?

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1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

On April 1, 2012, I developed Bell’s palsy which is an inflammation of the facial nerve. My doctor insisted I have an MRI to make sure nothing else was happening. Of course there was something happening, and from there I was diagnosed with bilateral acoustic neuromas and a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Early on, I made a commitment to God that I would remain faithful during the journey, which is actually a lifetime journey. And I do my best with that commitment, even though I’m not perfect.

The above verse however sort of stuck in my craw, as they say. I understand that the verse says give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. Still my stubborn little self refused to believe that I would ever rejoice or be thankful for my brain tumors but…

Ten years later, I’m a different person than I was on April 1, 2012. My health will never be as good as it was on that day. I struggle in many different ways but… even though I’m not thankful FOR the tumors, I am thankful for the new relationship with God that was forged from them.

During these past ten years, I’ve learned just how faithful God is. I’ve learned that I can depend on him to give me the strength to endure the battles I face. I’ve learned that God keeps his promises. I’m so thankful for the peace and joy He gives me each day to not just face another day, but to enjoy that day. I’m so thankful that I’m still able to write books that will glorify God while entertaining others.

Now when I read this verse:

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I understand it’s actually a to do list to help get me through the difficult challenges.

Rejoice always.

Pray continually.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

God never promises life will be easy. God never promises that you won’t have challenges or even tragedies. But he promises never to leave us. He promises to turn ashes into beauty.

The advice to do these three things (rejoice, pray, give thanks) in the midst of your circumstances will help you survive and even thrive, no matter what the circumstances are!

God is good.

Word of the Year

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Writers like words! So many writers–especially Christian writers–choose a word to focus on for the year. And I’m sure lots of non-writers do the same.

I didn’t have a word for next year–and had no plans to choose a word. But as I was exercising this morning THE WORD popped into my brain. God’s like that. He’ll give you things you aren’t even looking for!

The word…. drumroll…. is HEALING. It will be my prayer word for the year (or as long as I feel the need for it).

HEALING for this country that I love.

HEALING for those who are sick.

HEALING for those who are lost and hurting.

HEALING for those with Neurofibromatosis. (Don’t know what it is? Look it up. I have Type 2).

HEALING for myself as I go through treatment once again for my brain tumors.

May God bless you in the coming year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

God Bless and Good Reading!

Today’s Poem

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So I issued a poetry challenge for myself–and anyone else that wants to play a few days ago. I admit I’ve missed a day or so. I couldn’t come up with any ideas so I turned to my favorite book–The Bible. Today’s poem is inspired by Psalm 16: 8

Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN

Oh, Lord.

I will not be shaken.

I will not be shaken.

I will not be shaken.

Oh, Lord.

I will not be shaken because you are with me, with me, with me.

You are with me in the dark, Oh, Lord.

You are with me in the pain, Oh, Lord.

You are with me in the storms, Oh, Lord.

I will not be shaken.

I will not be shaken.

I will not be shaken.

Because you are with me, Oh, Lord.

YOUR TURN: I’d love for some of you to share a poem with us.

God Bless & Good Reading!

Poetry Challenge?

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Are you up for a poetry challenge? Writing poetry is a good way to stretch those creative muscles–no matter what genre you write in. So, I’ve decided to write a poem every day for the next thirty days. I’m probably not going to share every poem with you, but here’s day one’s poem.

LOOK AROUND, MY CHILD.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, Lord.

Thank you, my child.

What would you have me do, Lord?

Look around, my child.

Yes, Lord. I see the beauty of your creation.

Look around once more, my child.

Don’t you see?

Don’t you see the hungry child?

Don’t you see the angry teen?

Don’t you see the lonely, the sick, and the hurting?

Don’t you see your neighbor in need?

Yes, Lord. But what can I do?

Love them as I love you.

Yes, Lord.

There’s my first attempt. I’d love for some of you to share your poetry with me. It doesn’t have to be serious or spiritual. It can be fun or downright silly. So…what have you got for me?

The Paris Betrayal–Book Review

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The Paris Betrayal

THE PARIS BETRAYAL by James R. Hannibal is one of the best books I’ve read in years! I loved it. But then again, I love spy novels. This is not a sweet and gentle read. If that’s what you enjoy, this isn’t the book for you. But if you like mystery and lots of action, you’ll love this book. There’s twists and turns that will keep you guessing right up to the end.

My one complaint is that it doesn’t have a strong spiritual component to the story. But being able to read a good spy novel without having to skip every other word because they’re objectionable is a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned.

It’s that time again!!

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It’s that time again. I have a new book releasing today! Suffer The Little Children is the third and final (probably) installment in the Puzzle House Series.

AMAZON LINK

Just as a refresher, Puzzle House is the book I lovingly refer to as the book I never wanted to write. It features a character with the same brain tumors as a result of Neurofibromatosis Type 2 that I have. If I hadn’t developed the brain tumors, then I never would have written Puzzle House. Therefore; it’s the book I never wanted to write.

But God is good. Romans 8: 28 tells us that God can work all things out for the good of those who love him. Puzzle House is one of the good things that came out of my brain tumors. It was a finalist in The Carol Awards, a national book award for excellence in Christian Fiction.

That was a lot of fun and very exciting–even if I didn’t win.

Right now, Puzzle House and the second (The David Years) in the series is on sale for 99 cents!

AMAZON LINK FOR PUZZLE HOUSE

AMAZON LINK FOR THE DAVID YEARS

Of course, you can read Suffer The Little Children without having read the other books and still understand the story. Either way works. Suffer The Little Children comes full circle and brings the reader back to Puzzle House where some surprises wait along with a few miracles.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

There comes a moment in every Christian’s life when he must decide if his faith is real—or not.

For Nia Johnson-Simpson that time is now.

Nia has prepared for this moment for years. It’s time for her to step into her role as the next spiritual leader at Puzzle House. The plan is for her to work side-by-side with her new husband, but things don’t go as planned.

As Nia struggles with these unforeseen changes, she must decide what she truly believes…and what she’s willing to give up to continue God’s work.

Oooh, that sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? And I know what happens. It’s an interesting story with spiritual lessons we can all use.

God Bless & Good Reading!

BIRTHDAY REFLECTIONS

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Another year has come and gone.

So what have I learned in this bizarre year of the pandemic?

I’ve learned that everything can change in a heartbeat except for God. God doesn’t change. He still loves me, in spite of all my flaws and imperfections. He’s still in control no matter what the politicians and news people believe. He still provides me with all I need in this year of the great toilet paper shortage.

I’ve seen so much doom and gloom; worries and woes; and anger and angst. God have given me strength to endure as well as peace and joy to enjoy the day the Lord has made.

My life isn’t perfect, but then again nobody’s is which is something that so many of us forget as we scroll through our “friends'” lives. Their lives seem perfect. We think–if we only had more money–if we only had a better job–if I only had a nicer house or car or whatever–if we only had more opportunities, then I’d be happy.

There’s a reason God added in the do not covet commandment. When we compare our lives to others, we lose our joy. When we compare our lives to others, we lose our peace. When we compare our lives to others, we forget all the blessings and miracles God gives us on a daily basis.

So my birthday resolution for the coming year will be to keep my focus on God, to count my many blessings, and to be grateful for all that God does for me.

Now it’s time for me to go enjoy some birthday cake!

God Bless & Good Reading!