Meant to Be

On Friday, April 29, everyone was glued to their TVs watching the royal wedding and commenting on everything from Kate’s dress to the kiss on the balcony.  It was truly an event that people will talk about years to come.  What struck me was the massive crowd that seemed to fill every inch outside of Westminster Abbey as eager visiters and locals eagerly watched for the bride and the royals and their guests to arrive.  I have never seen so many people in my life–except of course, at St. Peter’s Square.

I was impressed by the decorations of the Abbey.  A lot of work and preparation went into that.  And the red carpet which winded itself from the door all the way to the altar seemed endless and it seemed to take Kate and her father forever to get to where a nervous Prince William and a smiling Prince Harry stood. 

Kate looked stunning in her dress which was reminscent of the one worn by Princess Grace.  Kate looked regal in her tiara and William handsome in his outfit.  They looked like the perfect.  William even told Kate that she looked beautiful.  No doubt, Kate was nervous.  Who wouldn’t be?  All those eyes watching her not just in the Abbey but from around the world as she exchanged vows with the man she was meant to be with.

One of my co-workers could relate to the fact that William and Kate once split up but got back together again.  Barbara mentioned that she and her husband broke up but then they got back together and now they are married with two children.  Sometimes, it takes a breakup for two people to realize that they belong together.  

Despite her nervousness, Kate held it together and she looked elegant.  However, I could almost sense the sigh of relief from her as she and William left the Abbey.  They looked relaxed as they rode in the open carriage and waved to the delighted crowd.  Kate laughed after she and William kissed and the crowd roared.  The hard part was behind her.  Now she can enjoy her new role as William’s wife and get used to the titles of  Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus.

Overall, it was wonderful wedding.  My only regret is that Princess Diana was not there to see her son marry the girl of his dreams.  For William, though, she was there in spirit.  He explained to the press at St. Jame’s Palace why he gave Kate his late mother’s engagement ring.  “It is very special to me.  It was my way to make sure my mother did not miss out on today and the excitement that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together” (http://celebrifi.com/gossip/Prince-William-Why-I-Proposed-With-Princess-Dis-Engagement-Ring-4008676.html).

William and Kate’s wedding was a fairytale come through and the message is that when two people are meant to be together they will be.  Their love story has inspired many of us.

Notes to Women wish the royal couple a future filled with happiness, good health and God’s blessings.

If you love somebody, set them free. If they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.

Spontaneous Love

Love suffers long and is kind . . . —1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not premeditated—it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 5:5).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.

My Utmost  For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

What Do You Want?

Do you seek great things for yourself? —Jeremiah 45:5

Are you seeking great things for yourself, instead of seeking to be a great person? God wants you to be in a much closer relationship with Himself than simply receiving His gifts— He wants you to get to know Him. Even some large thing we want is only incidental; it comes and it goes. But God never gives us anything incidental. There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.

If you have only come as far as asking God for things, you have never come to the point of understanding the least bit of what surrender really means. You have become a Christian based on your own terms. You protest, saying, “I asked God for the Holy Spirit, but He didn’t give me the rest and the peace I expected.” And instantly God puts His finger on the reason-you are not seeking the Lord at all; you are seeking something for yourself. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7). Ask God for what you want and do not be concerned about asking for the wrong thing, because as you draw ever closer to Him, you will cease asking for things altogether. “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should you ask? So that you may get to know Him.

Are you seeking great things for yourself? Have you said, “Oh, Lord, completely fill me with your Holy Spirit”? If God does not, it is because you are not totally surrendered to Him; there is something you still refuse to do. Are you prepared to ask yourself what it is you want from God and why you want it? God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you— “. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . .” (John 17:22).

 

My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

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Apples and Women’s Cholesterol

Recently I learned that dry apples reduce cholesterol in women.  According to a study conducted, an apple a day keeps bad cholesterol at bay. 

An apple a day may do more than keep the doctor away — it can lower levels of bad cholesterol and improve levels of good cholesterol without causing weight gain in women, according to a new study.

Women who ate 75 grams of dried apples every day for six months had a 23 percent decrease in bad LDL cholesterol, said study researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, professor and chair of the department of nutrition at the Florida State University.

Their levels of good HDL cholesterol, also increased by about 4 percent, according to the study.  To see the effects apples had on women’s health, Arjmandi and his colleagues randomly assigned 160 women ages 45 to 65 to one of two groups. One group ate 75 grams (roughly 2.64 ounces, or about a one-third of a cup) of dried apples every day for a year, and the other group ate another dried fruit for a year. Their blood samples were taken after three months, six months and then at the end of the study period.

At the end of the year-long period, the women who ate the apples had lower levels of bad cholesterol, lipid hydroperoxide (the product of toxic free radicals, which cause cell damage and death in the body) and C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation in the body, than when they started the study, researchers said.

Researchers also found that the extra 240 calories per day consumed from the dried apple did not lead to weight gain in the women — in fact, they lost an average of 3.3 pounds over the year, the study said (http://chiropracticstpaul.com/?p=170).

I eat apples because of that old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and because I love them.  The fact that they have nutritious benefits doesn’t hurt either.  Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to use, rather than store, the waxy stuff. Apple peels are also packed with polyphenols — antioxidants that prevent cellular damage from free radicals.

Though the study used dried apples for convenience, Arjmandi says fresh are likely to be even better. And it doesn’t matter if they’re green, red, or golden. “Any varieties of apples are good,” he says.  Another key, [University of California, Davis, nutritionist Dianne] Hyson says, is eating the whole fruit, rather than looking for individual components in supplements. “Most of the time, in many studies, the whole is better than the sum of its parts,” she says
(http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/14/an-apple-a-day-keeps-cholesterol-at-bay/#ixzz1KkgI86PP).

I think I will start eating apples everyday.  Don’t know if I will try dipping slices of apple in peanut butter even though I read this combo keeps you feeling full for a long time.

So start eating them apples and keep your cholesterol down.

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A Child’s Potential

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. —Proverbs 22:6

Louis Armstrong was well known for his smiling face, raspy voice, white handkerchief, and virtuoso trumpet playing. Yet his childhood was one of want and pain. He was abandoned by his father as an infant and sent to reform school when he was only 12. Surprisingly, this became a positive turning point.

Music professor Peter Davis regularly visited the school and provided musical training for the boys. Soon Louis excelled on the cornet and became the leader of the boys’ band. His life trajectory seemed to have been reset to become a world-famous trumpet player and entertainer.

Louis’ story can be an example for Christian parents. The proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6) can apply to more than the spiritual and moral aspects of our children’s lives. We should also realize that a child’s giftedness will often determine his or her area of interest. In the case of Louis, a little training in music resulted in a virtuoso trumpet player.

As we lovingly provide to our children godly instruction from God’s Word, we should encourage them in their interests and giftedness so that they might become all that God has planned for them to be.

Our children are a gift from God
On loan from heaven above,
To train and nourish in the Lord,
And guide them with His love. —Sper

Save a child, save a life.

 

Our Daily Bread

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Prostate Cancer Among Black Men

Just recently my husband and I watched a news program on prostate cancer.  Black men are more likely to get this disease and women are urged to encourage their boyfriends, husbands, friends, brothers, fathers, uncles to get tested for prostate cancer.

Sway Magazine decided that it was “time to come out of the cold and spring into a new level of awareness surrounding the sensitive issue of prostate cancer and the Black community. Canadian Black men are 65% more likely to get prostate cancer than white men and almost three times more likely to die from the disease.”  The magazine raised awareness by throwing a Santé Soirée on April 13.  Artists like Divine Brown, Juno award winner and star comedian Trixx were part of the star studded lineup. 

“I am honoured to grace the cover of the spring issue of Sway magazine,” says Divine Brown.  ”Sway is a world-class publication representing our community.  I am proud to be associated with them in their effort to bring awareness about prostate cancer in our community.”

Prostate Cancer Canada’s Vice Presiden Rebecca Von Goetz is also proud to be associated with Sway and for a very good reason. “Together we are making great progress in educating the Black community on the issue of prostate cancer–the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men. Black men are at a much greater risk of getting the disease and we encourage them to speak to their doctors about early detection.”

Today I came across an article which explains why black men are 50% more likely to develop prostate cancer than their white counterparts and why they suffer from this particular type of cancer earlier in life and die more often from it.  Scientists investigated the statistics and it all comes down to some differences in the human genome. 

Consequently, analyzing the DNA, scientists at Dana Farber Cancer Institute found that dark – skinned men present a flawed segment in their DNA which relates to a group of genes arrayed along chromosome 8. The specific region of the chromosome 8 considered to be the problem which makes black people more likely to develop prostate cancer is the region called 8q24.

“It appears that we found a genetic risk that predisposes to prostate cancer in the general population, but particularly in African-American men. This is the first time that a genetic risk factor for prostate cancer has been found and confirmed in the general population.”

“We see the smoke, but don’t yet see the fire. I am very excited about this because, among the well-accepted risk factors for prostate cancer, we know that age, family history and ethnicity are strong indicators. Now we appear to have added a fourth,” lead researcher of the study Dr. Matthew Freedman stated (http://news.softpedia.com/news/Why-Black-Men-Are-More-Likely-to-Develop-Prostate-Cancer-and-Black-Women-to-Experience-Miscarriage-33734.shtml).

Kudos to Sway, Prostate Cancer Canada and artists like Divine Brown for uniting to break barriers surrounding prostate cancer in black communities.  We need to create awareness which could save our men.  Women, encourage the men in your lives to get the PSA test which is a simple blood test that can help men and their doctors assess the risk of developing prostate cancer through early detection.

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Tina Turner

After almost fifty years in the music business, Tina Turner has become one of the most commercially-successful international female rock stars to date. Her sultry, powerful voice, her incredible legs, her time-tested beauty and her unforgettable story all contribute to her legendary status (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0877913/bio).

I had the opportunity to see Tina Turner perform live in a studio here at my workplace.  She looked great.  She was still keeping up with the young backup singers as they moved and grooved to the music.  She was larger than life and full of energy.

She strutted and sang her way into our hearts with hits like “What’s Love Got to Do With it” and “Private Dancer.”  She made us want to get on our feet and shake our heads and bodies to “Rollin'”  I envied her when she was in Mad Max with Mel Gibson because at the time I had a crush on him. 

Over the years Tina would accuse Ike of physically beating her, emotionally abusing her, raping her, and even stubbing cigarettes out on her body. In 1968, Turner attempted suicide while on tour in Los Angeles, swallowing a reported 90 sleeping pills. She was rushed to the hospital and revived. Later, after still enduring Ike’s abuse, a close friend introduced Turner to Buddhism in 1971. Three years later, Turner converted to the Buddhist faith.

Finally, in July 1976, Tina left Ike after a violent altercation while en route to a hotel in Dallas, in which she was beaten by Ike. Turner sought refuge in a friend’s apartment while Ike was searching for her. After several months, Ike decided to stop searching. Turner filed for divorce and offered to leave Ike all the couple’s monetary assets, but told the courts she wanted to keep the stage name Ike had given her in 1960, as she had worked very hard to make the name Tina Turner famous. The divorce was finalized in March 1978, and the courts allowed her to keep her stage name (Wikipedia). 

Tina is an inspiration because she has come a long way from an abusive relationship and attempted suicide.  Tina had to have reconstructive surgery on her nose because of the frequent beatings she endured from Ike.  

She was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and was elected to join an elite group of entertainers. President George W. Bush commented on her “natural skill, the energy and sensuality”, and referred to her legs as “the most famous in show business”.   Several artists paid tribute to her that night including Oprah Winfrey whodeclared, “We don’t need another hero. We need more heroines like you, Tina. You make me proud to spell my name w-o-m-a-n,” and “Tina Turner didn’t just survive, she triumphed.”

Tina was listed on Rolling Stone’s list “The Immortals — The Greatest Artists of All Time”.  She is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and two of her recordings, “River Deep – Mountain High” (1999) and “Proud Mary” (2003), are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Tina has won 8 Grammy Awards.

Bryan Adams, who toured with her on the Private Dancer Tour, praised Tina’s live performances, saying, “I never saw Tina walk through a performance, she always put on a great show, and was gracious and grateful to her audience” (Wikipedia).  I agree–she is a great performer. 

Tina is a phenomenal woman and is in a class all by herself.   She’s simply the best!

I will never give in to old age until I become old. And I’m not old yet!

Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.

This is what I want in heaven… words to become notes and conversations to be symphonies.

There comes a point where it is just undignified to be a rock ‘n’ roll star.

Physical strength in a woman — that’s what I am.

Tina Turner

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