Monday, February 11, 2008
Today I was able to get a couple of tasks done & another well under way. This was partly because I woke up an hour before my alarm was due to go off, something I thanked God for because the extra time was very useful. Time pressures have been a major part of the burdens I've been carrying (see previous post).
Now, of course, I'm extra tired, so I expect to get to bed in a few minutes.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
This morning, during the "sharing time" near the end of our church service, a man I really like--though I know him only from afar--got up. He is a new Christ-follower, & every time he talks about his new experiences of faith I get teary-eyed.
Today he just talked briefly about how much he is loving the Gospel of Matthew, & he read to us one pair of verses that have been speaking to him lately--words of Jesus: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Old, much-loved words for me . . . & they touched me again, & I wept because I have been feeling VERY burdened in recent days. Really for several years, but especially right now. I need the rest Jesus promises. And hearing the promise right now gives me hope that my burden will actually be lightened, soon.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
A new study supplies motivation:
New York Times – February 5, 2008
Symptoms: Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.
The scientists gathered dietary information on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years.
Over all, a Western dietary pattern — high intakes of refined grains, fried foods and red meat — was associated with an 18 percent increased risk for metabolic syndrome, while a “prudent” diet dominated by fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry correlated with neither an increased nor a decreased risk.
But the one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.
“This is interesting,” said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the paper, which was posted online in the journal Circulation on Jan. 22. “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?”
Friday, February 08, 2008
I usually don't tell others what I am giving up for Lent, since Jesus tells us not to practice our piety before others. But I don't mind sharing that I'm still thinking about a POSITIVE practice that I want to take up this Lent: working on art every week.
I have neglected it sadly for quite a few months, & I feel part of myself has been abandoned. I really need my art.
Giving up a particular thing for Lent has given me a bit more time each day, so I want to make it fruitful. Sunday evening is the target time for art; if something else gets scheduled then, I will seek to open up another space that particular week so that painting isn't neglected.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
MORE snow today--they say it is the snowiest winter in Chicago in ten years, but I've lived here longer than that & I don't remember ever having this much snow! It's only my second winter commuting to work by train, though, so I'm definitely experiencing the weather more directly than I used to. I wear my urban hiking boots every single day, & slacks or good jeans; skirts are only on days when the snow is melted & the cold wind isn't blasting. It's exhausting to be picking one's way through snow & slush every day.
This morning I did get my beans in the oven, but I didn't make it to an Ash Wednesday service. That worked out OK, though, because later our guests for tonight e-mailed to say they were swamped with work & needed to postpone. With the snow coming down fast & furious all afternoon, I decided to leave the office an hour early. Had a delicious supper with my husband & stepdaughter, & then my husband & I went to Ash Wed. service at our church. It was good to tromp through the snow/slush with him, because he kept calling my attention to how beautiful the trees & bushes are with every twig laden with snow.
It was good to be at the service with him & with our church family, & it is good to be entering into Lent. As our pastor said tonight, "lent" means "spring" & expresses the hope that beneath the apparent barrenness & hardship of winter God is at work bringing life.
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