Beautiful Savior

By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service
SWARTZ CREEK MI (ANS)--Over in these parts it's been a month of pressure, joy, challenges, stress, brokenness, prayer, deadlines, surprises, anticipation, worship, assessment, re-assessment... in other words, not very different than most months; and probably not much different for you. That is, if we want to see things that way -- which is a constant temptation.
Looking back on yesterday, do you remember the bad or the good? Thinking of last week, do you remember the frustrations or the joy? Go back a month: do you remember disappointments or promises?
Do we remember Jesus? He, too, was always there. We try to remember Jesus. In any one day, He's the Jesus of the pressure; He's the Jesus of the joy; He's the Jesus of the challenges; He's the Jesus of the stress; He's the Jesus of the brokenness; He's the Jesus of the prayer; He's the Jesus of the deadlines; He's the Jesus of the surprises; He's the Jesus of the anticipation; He's the Jesus of the worship; He's the Jesus of the assessments; He's the Jesus of the re-assessments. And more: of needs, and of healing, and of relationships.
I invite you -- especially so that we all don't start a typical week the typical way -- to remember also that He is Fairest Lord Jesus.
Simple: just the loveliest, lovingest, lover of our souls. He's everything to us... but how often do we just luxuriate in his love? Fall back -- trust Him to catch you -- and commune for a moment with the Fairest Lord Jesus.
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Enlarge the screen, turn the lights out if you can, watch this music video, and realize that the most beautiful scenes in God's creation cannot compare to the actual beauty of our loving Savior.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Marschall is the author of 65 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture (Bostonia Magazine called him "perhaps America's foremost authority on popular culture") to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children's books. He is a former political cartoonist, editor of Marvel Comics, and writer for Disney comics. For 10 years he has been active in the Christian field, writing devotionals; co-author of The Secret Revealed with Dr Jim Garlow.

Gee, You’re Fat! Part 2

By Mary Jedlicka Humston © 2012

Not long after the “shorts in the locker room” incident, I lost most obsessive anorexic-like behaviors. I even gained weight back. However, the desire to be thin remained, and I still lamented the number on the scale. Several months later, I wrote this entry in my January 1969 diary:

“…I’m getting way too fat. I’ve gained everything and even more. I’m going on a diet and I mean every word. 1) Try not to eat desserts. 2) No second helpings. 3) No sandwiches at school lunch. 4) No nibbling. Keep gum handy. 5) Do 10 sit ups and try to run in place each day. 6) Wash face often. 7) No chocolate. 8) Watch out for cakes and cookies, each are 100-250 calories or more!! So I’ll try and I mean try. Last summer I got down to 104 lbs. Can you believe it? And right now I’m back to about 118 again. Isn’t that horrid?”

Four years of high school cheerleading kept me in shape. Four years of dancing in a college modern dance troupe helped despite gaining the “freshman ten.” The four years after that I was so busy teaching high school, planning a wedding and getting married that I didn’t have much time to worry about weight. It actually remained fairly stable.

After our daughter was born, I resigned from teaching to become a stay-at-home mom while my husband taught at the local elementary school. Then, while I was pregnant with our second daughter, my husband became a professional firefighter, and we moved. When our son was born, I’d had three children in four years. Adapting to our new, busy life was a challenge, especially since my husband’s work schedule required 24-hour shifts.

The cycle of yo-yo dieting became problematic at this point. While pregnant, I gained 37, 32 and 44 pounds respectively. Sometimes, I lost the post-pregnancy weight. Sometimes, I didn’t. Finding time to exercise was difficult, not only due to infant and toddler demands, but also because we were a one-income family. It was hard to justify paying a sitter just to exercise.

In those early years of parenting, it seemed the only task I could reliably finish without interruption was eating. I could stuff down a cookie or two or three (or more) before a child needed me. I easily slipped into the role of an emotional eater.

As the kids grew, I explored a variety of exercises depending on what worked for me at that particular time. I used Jane Fonda videos at home, took aerobics classes, water aerobics classes or worked out with weights and machines at a fitness center. I started a walking program. I joined a weight loss support group and slowly whittled down to my goal weight. That was a great feeling, albeit temporary. Once again, the weight crept back on. I just couldn’t break away from the lose it, gain it, lose it, gain back more cycle.

Then, chronic illness struck with a mind-numbing exhaustion like I’d never known. Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome changed my life in numerous ways, but especially in exercise and weight. The debilitating fatigue and other symptoms eventually leveled off to a restrictive but more manageable level, but my weight rose. A few years later I joined a different weight loss support group and am still a member.

Several years after that, a new doctor guided me to an improved quality of life with the new diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome, medication and different daily routines. I started to feel better. I was “normally” tired, not fatigued. I exercised more easily. Life improved, but the yo-yo cycle remained. Willpower, determination and prayer helped me lose, but my track record for maintenance was dismal. How long this would have continued I have no idea, but life changed on November 29, 2007. Without any prior symptoms, an atypical node in my neck progressed from being a highly suspicious papillary carcinoma to stage 3 metastasized thyroid cancer.

I need not go into my life as a cancer victim. That’s another story. But being a cancer survivor for almost four years has become important to my healthy-weight journey. It forces me to make maintenance a priority, keep my weight consistent and my life balanced. I now live well without a thyroid and take thyroid replacement medication.

Working out is crucial. To prevent boredom or injury from repetitive exercise, I alternate bicycling, walking and yoga. I don’t count calories. Instead, I balance extra-food days (holidays, parties, traveling, etc.) with less-food days. Accountability is key, so I continue attending the weight loss group for support, and I faithfully keep my regular medical checkup appointments.

What my 57 years has taught me is the importance of balance in exercise as well as watching what I eat and the number on the scale. Prayer has also been essential. It helps me muster the strength to resist temptation. It gives me the push to exercise, especially on days when I’d rather not. Prayer also provides comfort, peace-of-heart and guidance. My weight trials might never be completely over, but the goal is and always will be good health.

Gee, I’M DETERMINED to be healthy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Jedlicka Humston has over 100 publications in newspapers, magazines, books and websites that include Liguorian, Coping with Cancer, Today’s Caregiver Magazine, Cappers, Julien’s Journal, TEA: A Magazine, Farm and Ranch Living, Our Iowa and a cover story for TOPS News. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women, Besides writing, she loves reading, yoga, drinking tea, walking, and being with friends and family. To contact Mary, email

Healing Your Emotional Relationship with Food

By Lori Radun 

The other night I lay in bed watching Oprah's 20th Anniversary DVD collection - a gift given to me by my best friend. Story after story of incredible people that have touched and changed the life of Oprah caused my tears of inspiration to flow. One particular person I really identified with - the story of Rudine. Rudine suffered severely from anorexia nervosa. She wanted so badly to battle and win this condition, but her emotional relationship with food and herself was so damaged.

You see, I can identify with this woman because at the age of 13, I came face to face with anorexia nervosa. It followed two very painful events in my life. Looking back, I now understand I was unable to cope with all the emotions I encountered. The anger and hatred I felt - because I could not outwardly express it - was turned inward. I began to hate my body and food became the enemy. I exercised like crazy and eventually ate only 1 small meal per day. After finally breaking that cycle, I swung to the other extreme and began to binge eat late at night. Other things replaced food until, at the age of 21, I got serious about facing and healing my emotions.

I share this with you because I think it is important to understand the devastating effects our relationship with food can have on our health. Maybe you've never suffered from anorexia nervosa, bulimia or obesity, but your emotional relationship with food is still worth examining. In an ideal relationship with food, you eat when you're hungry, and you eat the healthy foods your body needs. Your body weight is healthy and you aren't experimenting with the latest diet. Healthy eating is your way of life, and your physical wellbeing reflects that - not just your body, but your energy level, mood and internal health as well. So come on this journey with me and let's explore some of the common emotions or situations that can trigger unhealthy eating. Pay attention to whether any of these strike home for you. If so, try substituting some of the alternatives I suggest so you can begin healing your emotional relationship with food.

Angry Eater: When you are very angry with yourself or someone else, do you turn to food? Maybe you're mad because you made a mistake and so you beat yourself up with food. Try confronting and expressing your anger in a healthy way, and then forgive and let it go.

Stress Eater: According to Dr. Phil, "when you are under stress, your body releases hormones that automatically stimulate your appetite and set off cravings, prompting you to eat huge quantities of fattening food." Take 15 minutes of quiet alone time or a 15 minute brisk walk instead.

Convenience Eater: You don't have time or don't feel like making something healthy to eat, so you grab whatever is convenient - fast food or take home, chips, donuts, etc. Keep healthy and convenient foods around the house and at the office - fruit, granola bars, Lean Cuisines, string cheese, and yogurt.

Tired Eater: Morning comes around or the afternoon energy runs out and you need a kick of sugar to keep you going. You load up on cookies, cake or other sugar snack foods and you're off and running until you crash. Try getting 8 hours of sleep at night, exercising regularly, taking vitamins or taking a short cat nap.

No Waste Eater: Were you taught to never waste food? Were you reminded of all the poor children that had nothing to eat? Now you cannot bring yourself to leave anything on your plate or throw away any food.  Put smaller portions on your plate. Give yourself permission to stop eating when you're full. Work in a homeless shelter serving food or give food to the poor so you don't feel guilty.

Self-Disgust Eater: You look at yourself and hate what you see; you eat or deprive yourself of food to mask the feelings you have, and so starts the cycle of abuse. Work on loving yourself in every way you can - pamper yourself, repeat positive affirmations, stick up for yourself. Invest in gaining confidence and self-esteem.

Boredom Eater: This is me. I don't feel like doing laundry or cleaning the house. I'm tired of working, playing cars or watching TV. It's cold outside and so I open the food cabinet. Hmmm.  I wonder what I can eat. Get creative and find something fun and different to do. Switch projects and start something new.  Make a phone call to a friend.

Fear of Intimacy Eater: Do you eat to hide yourself and avoid getting too close to someone? Sometimes reaching out to people can be a very scary and hard thing to do. Maybe you've been hurt too many times by loved ones.  Seek help to heal your pain. Search for supportive and loving people that you can depend on. Take baby steps to reach out and trust someone.

Hopeless Eater: Have you just completely given up? Maybe you've tried too long to lose weight or given too much to your marriage, and nothing seems to change. You feel hopeless and so you just say, "Who cares?  I'm just going to eat whatever I want." Or maybe you've lost your appetite all together. Change your thoughts. Focus on the positive and keep a gratitude journal. Look for the bright side of everything. Search for the sunshine and you will find it.

"See Food" Eater: You know the saying, "I'm on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it." Are you the type of eater that constantly grazes? If the food is in front of you, you eat it without really thinking about it. You may or may not be hungry - it's just a habit. Graze on low-fat and healthy foods. Keep the fattening foods at the grocery store. Work on being more conscious of how much food you are taking in.

Social Eater: You love to be around people and what better way to spend time with friends than going out to lunch or dinner. Socializing is great! Eating out is expensive and not always very healthy - not to mention the additional calorie intake. Add a couple glasses of wine and you've consumed in one meal what you should have for the day. Limit your social gatherings at restaurants to once or twice a month. Start a walking group with friends. Participate in a movie or book club. Have a board game night and serve soup and salad.

Comfort Eater: Sadness or loneliness threatens to swallow you up. Depression seems to be your best friend. Food is your source of comfort. Somehow you feel better after indulging in your favorite meal and dessert. Until the feelings strike again. It's time to face your sadness or loneliness. Maybe you need to grieve the loss of someone or something. Perhaps you need to reach out more to a community of people. Developing a relationship with God may supply the consolation and companionship you need.

Whatever your relationship with food, ask yourself if it's a healthy one. Facing your emotions head on is the only way to heal them. Denial only causes your feelings to go away temporarily. When I watched the story of Rudine on Oprah, a recovering anorexic pleaded with her to feed her brain and give herself the nourishment that it needed. With sad-filled and hopeless eyes, Rudine simply said, "But how?" Isn't that the essential question we are all faced with when making change? How? Change starts with awareness. It's fueled by desire and commitment. And it ends with taking action. Take the steps you need now to develop a healthy relationship with food.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lori Radun, CEC - certified life coach for moms. To receive her FREE newsletter for moms and the special report, "155 Things Moms Can Do to Raise Great Children", go to
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Gee, You’re Fat

By Mary Jedlicka Humston © 2012

Gee, you’re fat.

Sitting in junior high music class, I had nowhere to run from those shocking, denigrating words. The accompanying sneer made them more potent. More real. True.

Gee, you’re fat.

As an insecure, young teenager, I sheltered that comment deep within my heart. Too humiliated to admit that anyone would ever say such a thing to me, I never told another soul, convinced I was disgustingly fat. Why else would a classmatewho rarely, if ever, talked to me—have said so?

Step One...Admit That I Am Powerless Over...

By Pamela Sonnenmoser © 2011
Hello, my name is Pamela and I am addicted to food.

No, seriously, after months of watching for triggers that knock me off track and charting my habits with total honesty, I can honestly say I am addicted to foods that are destructive to my body. It always sounded like insanity when people talked about food addiction. It’s not like being addicted to drugs, tobacco, or alcohol, right? Everyone has to eat, right?

Set Free From Guilt

By Teresa Tierney © 2012

Recently a friend suffered a major depressive episode that required hospitalization. In the midst of several life altering events, she lost her job and her husband began to hound her to find a new one. He admitted he had been pretty hard on her and was convinced it was his fault she had to be hospitalized. I found myself agreeing with him.

One of the hardest times for me to forgive is when people I care about have been hurt. My desire to defend them or protect them from further hurt keeps me from recognizing the need to forgive. Perhaps I think by taking “their side” they will feel less hurt. Not true. Even with “wonderful me” in their corner, they are still hurting. And if I am in their corner, supporting their anger instead of encouraging forgiveness, I am doing more harm than good.

The Bible is clear: If I want to be forgiven, I must also forgive (see Mark 11:25), but I couldn’t imagine how I would forgive this man.

Eating right puts fun back into living

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- In recent days, we have been reading and hearing a lot about children being obese and running toward the eventual goal of becoming diabetic.

While living at Wevaco up Cabin Creek, 30 miles east of Charleston, WV., in a coal mining community, I thought I enjoyed the very best life had to offer – and just maybe I did.

Each morning we had a delicious and nutritious breakfast. We usually had eggs, oatmeal, a piece or two of bacon, fruit or fruit juice, homemade biscuits and milk to drink.

My first four years in school, primer through the third grade, I could walk home in five minutes so it was a hot lunch for Marie and me. Our breakfast and lunch was similar to what Dad had for his lunch at the coalmines.


By Kristi Bothur © 2012

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deut. 8:3

I think about food a lot. When I wake up in the morning, I know I need to get breakfast on the table for my family. When noontime rolls around, I see if there is anything beside peanut butter and jelly in the pantry to feed my daughter for lunch. I think about our schedule for the week in terms of what nights we will be home for dinner and plan grocery store runs to match.  And when have we gotten together with friends or family without food coming into the picture? Food encourages fellowship, conversation, and togetherness.

Food dominated the thinking of the ancient cultures, too.