In the US, much of the complaint coming from religious people about being religious is that “we” (in the US) tend to “compartmentalize” our religion. As if that’s a bad thing. Look at the Middle East for an excellent example of non-compartmentalized religion. Do you actually think the US would do a better job?(If you do, share your thoughts in the comments section.) Continue Reading…

Not My Job; Not My Place

Amy —  February 18, 2015 — Leave a comment

Recently a young mother made a very public decision that as a Christian, she was going to stop wearing yoga pants in public. She was concerned about the message that she was conveying. There was a bit of a backlash from people and I was one of the people who commented. Here is what I had to say:

Veronica – here is the first mistake: Thinking you can affect this kind of a situation by what you wear. You are an attractive woman. Unless something drastic happens, you will probably be considered attractive for a long time. How people of the male persuasion respond to that is entirely out of your control. Seriously. Unless, of course, you wear them a size too small with the intention of getting a response. But it sounds like you weren’t. There are men who find attractive, well kept women – well attractive. Some find women who aren’t so attractive by some standards – well attractive. I’m one of those people who has gotten my fair share of “appreciative looks” over the years. I actually put on 100lbs in an attempt to discourage it because maybe I needed to be less attractive to help them out. Guess what? It NEVER happened. I point blank asked one guy who was pretty bold why he was hitting on me – that I had gained a lot of weight to stop that kind of behavior, and he told me I was sexy. The last thing I was trying to be was sexy. I didn’t feel sexy. I didn’t think I looked sexy – not with mom pants, a shapeless shirt, and no makeup. That’s when I determined that it had absolutely nothing to do with “me”, how I looked, or what I wore.

Secondly – there is an upswing to women wearing form fitting clothes. It has a tendency to desensitize men to the female form. One only has to visit a Middle Eastern country to see what full coverage of women (and the idea that it is necessary) has done to those men. It is impossible for me to walk around a Muslim country in Western clothes that are very modest by Western standards without an escort. Even at a size 22. It is the perception by those men that my wearing of Western clothes is an invitation to be leered at and even groped. Even the non-observant girls and women in that region cover out of protection, when in actuality, it affords little in the way of protection. It’s all they can do in a culture that objectifies them.

Thirdly – how are yoga pants less modest than skinny jeans? How are long sleeves more modest than short sleeves? In reality, how is a one piece swim suit less revealing than a bikini? How is covering one’s neck more modest than a v-neck? It’s really a matter of culture and conditioning. I suggest that rather than teach our males that it’s the female’s responsibility to spare them from being tempted, how about teaching them to not objectify females?

Fourthly – Adam and Eve covered themselves out of shame, and their effort was insufficient – a testament to our efforts ALWAYS being insufficient. Jesus doesn’t say a word about the female’s obligation to dress modestly for his sake. Paul brings it up – and again it’s largely within the context of culture. He has a problem with braids and gold in the hair. Do we really need to throwback to that? The point being is that there is no clear line to stand behind. Even the Apostolic girls have issues finding the sweet spot. In Muslim ideology it has become a no-win situation for females.

Men are going to put their imaginations to work regardless of, and in spite of anything you or anyone else tries to do. The easiest way to deal with it is to not feel responsible, and simply go about your business, because you really have no control over what they think.

Lastly, why the need to blog about your decision if, in fact, it was a personal decision based upon an epiphany? It NEVER occurred to me that it could be construed that I was wearing pick up pants when I went to Home Depot – well until now. You say you made this choice in order not to tempt men, but then you go making that public announcement, when it could have been mostly self talk, or at least not nearly the problem you thought it was. What could have and should have been a personal decision based on personal conviction and just done has become a public debate – over LEGGINGS. You know, really. important. stuff.

While I appreciate what she is trying to do, I honestly believe that Christians need to move away from telling others how to live their lives – especially non-Christians. We do this in a number of ways, namely through laws. And we need to stop it. There is NOTHING in Christian scriptures that gives Christians the right to tell non Christians how to live. We are to serve as examples and teach each other – and that’s it.

We are quite capable of refraining from marrying same sex partners. We don’t need to stop same sex people from marrying. Their ability to legally marry does not interfere with the sacredness of my marriage to my husband. That is really the only thing that a Christian should worry about – their own marriage.

Abortion laws do not affect Christians. As much as I disagree with the reasons why women choose to abort, the fact is that it is unclear when life begins in a scriptural context. Our counsel to women who find themselves wrestling with that decision should be personal and private – not screaming at them from the curb.

We need to stay out of the drug/alcohol/gambling law debates. We can refrain without demanding the same from others.

We need to stay out of the bedroom of consenting adults.

We need to stop telling people what modesty looks like.

Most Christians have enough to worry about just keeping track of how they conduct themselves in public and in private. Those who focus on others tend to leave little time for self examination.

Christians can and are reforming. Part of that reform is understanding what Christians need to stay out of. Christians will not usher in the Kingdom by making laws. Christians will usher in the Kingdom by faithfully living the 2 laws.

 

Revival – Islam Style

Amy Stinson —  October 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

Have any of you ever attended an old-fashioned Christian revival? I’m talking about the tent in the field type – complete with an all fired up preacher and some laying on of hands healing. I haven’t, but I have been to some near revival experiences and they are awesome for getting people all fired up for Jesus. We talk about being “on fire” for Jesus as though it were a good thing. And for the most part, it is.

Make no mistake, IS, ISIS, ISIL, or whatever you want to call it, is nothing more than a good old fashion revival – Islam style. Islam began as a fairly innocuous religion, for a fire and brimstone based “theology”, but it had a fair amount of competition in the monotheistic religions, neither of which is particularly political. Judaism does not go looking for converts, and while Christianity was political during Mohammad’s lifetime and for a few centuries afterward, it’s not supposed to be.

Islam was a failure until Mohammad received the “revelation” concerning jihad. Almost no one was willing to embrace fire and brimstone aspects of Islam until it was sweetened with the concept of the 72 virgins awaiting in paradise if one was to die in jihad. To a horny male, there is nothing that gets their attention more than unlimited sex (I do not get the virgin thing at all). Mohammad found his hook in exchange for promoting his “religion”. Also, everything about Islam promotes this heightened sexuality that is also repressed. Making all sex outside marriage and jihad sanctioned rape punishable by death is a sure-fired way of promoting jihad. Furthermore, they will tell you that covering is all about “modesty”. And perhaps modesty plays a part in it, but the result creates a highly sexualized tension. That, combined with the notion that females exist for the sole purpose of satisfying males and for procreation, turns females into prey.

Islam creates this pressure cooker of sexual tension and religious fervor that can only be quenched by jihad. Only in jihad can females be openly preyed upon with the added “bonus” of eternal virgins.

The mosques and YouTube videos that preach jihad serve to inflame the revival mentality and exploit the sexual tensions of the males. Any peaceful version of Islam doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell because it is perceived as western in origin, milquetoast in comparison, and fails to address the sexual issues.

Perhaps you’ve read recently where artificial sweeteners do not assist in weight loss. I have found this to be the case in my own weight loss issues. The more powdered artificial sweeteners I use, the harder it is for me to lose weight. I struggled with how my Equal sweetened coffee could raise my blood sugar by 15 points if it was metabolically “inert” as any non-caloric sweetener should be. Here is the answer (as I see it): Powdered sweeteners are bulked with maltdextrose, which any way you slice or dice it, is a sugar. The argument for using maltdextrose is that it isn’t enough to matter. That really depends on who you are. It makes NO difference to my husband, who piles on the powdered version of Sweet’n Low in everything he tends to use sugar on. He is normal weight with no history of diabetes. His body does not over-react to sugar – unlike mine. I, on the other hand, am 7 years into my diabetes diagnoses and even after almost 3 years of being “normal” weight, I still have diabetes. I am not affected by drinking diet soda or Crystal Lite. I just can’t put packets of anything in my drinks or food and not experience a jump in my blood sugar.

In my particular case, I overreact to carbs. I put out entirely too much insulin in response to carbohydrates. I can eat 1200 calories a day, which is enough for most adults to at least have a modest calorie deficit, and if the macro nutrients are mostly simpler carbs, I will gain weight unless my energy output is twice that. I have been measuring this for over 3 years and all my weight loss success can be tied to eating less food and mostly low carb.

How do I get around this maltdextrose thing? I buy liquid or small tablet versions of sweeteners. Equal does not have a liquid version of its product, but it does have little tablets. 002Sucralose, stevia, and saccharin all have liquid and/or tablet versions. The caveat is that none of these versions deliver the same sweetness as the powder varieties. If you like things sweet, you will have to adjust your palate or what you use to sweeten. I personally use a mix of liquid stevia and liquid saccharin (less bitter) along with training my palate to prefer less sweet things.

I have also started limiting the amount of sweeteners I consume. I don’t do this because I believe they are harmful. I do this because I believe eating or drinking lots of sweet tasting things fosters a preference for sweets over other tastes, which makes me crave them.

As usual, your mileage may vary. You might not be struggling with weight due to powdered sweeteners. However, if you are truly eating low calorie and low carb and are experiencing stalls and unaccounted for gains, and powdered sweeteners are part of your diet, it’s worth exploring.

 

UP24Pic1I have had this new contraption for a few months now. I’m not sure it works as well as my BodyMedia Fit Link, but it’s less noticeable and it does give me a buzz every 15 minutes whether I need it or not, to remind me to do something.

A few weeks ago I got a notice for a firmware upgrade that would give me 7 extra days of battery life. I think I lost a full day trying to get it to update on my windows 7 laptop over several days of trying. It would stop at 35%; time out, and then I would start all over.

Today I finally got it to update, so I thought I’d share how I finally got the update to work.

  1. The UP24 had “installed” itself as an unknown device.
  2. I opened the device manager and deleted the unknown device from the “other devices” area
  3. Then I ran the update again.
  4. This time I did not plug in the UP24 until the updater asked me to.
  5. Then (and only then) did the update move past 35%, say that the driver device had installed correctly, and
  6. complete the update in about a minute.
  7. After that I left the UP24 plugged into my laptop until it was completely charged.

Habits-tekst-in-3D2I don’t know…yet. What I will try to do is be my own best test subject. Here are some things I want to do:

1.      Write something in my blog every day that consists of about 250 words. Right now, I have no idea what 250 words looks like, but I think it’s the size of a decent letter to the editor, which should force me to edit for readability. It’s easier to be long-winded than concise, but it’s harder to get into the habit of writing every day.

2.      Get in the best shape of my adult life by the time I turn 60. That happens on May 2, 2015. That gives me a hair over 6 months to get the last of my excess weight off and get the fat percentage down. Currently I’m “normal” weight, but I’m overfat. I strongly dislike exercise, although I have enough equipment and DVDs to be very successful. I need to build the habit of working out and planning my meals better.

3.      Become a better cook. I’ve always enjoyed baking, but cooking has been something I do – not particularly well, but at least I don’t burn everything anymore. I don’t become sidetracked the way I used to – thanks to Sydney. She keeps me on my toes when I’m cooking. Besides that, I simply have never learned to use a knife or work through a recipe that requires using somewhat exotic ingredients.

4.      Learn French to speak conversationally. Our youngest son’s significant other is French. Her parents speak about as much English as we speak French, so it makes sense to get better at French.

5.      Work on the house. Once we put on the new porch and decorated/furnished it, I really noticed how forlorn the rest of the house is getting. Sprucing it up seems overwhelming, so doing a bit at a time seems like a better plan.

6.      Get crafty again. I have 6 knitting machines and enough yarn to stock a small store. I have good sewing machines and enough fabric to stock a small store. I have enough ideas and plans to keep my brain and hands busy for at least 10 years. Now I just need to do something about it before I can’t anymore.

So that’s the plan. Work on 2-6 and document with #1. BTW, I’m over 250 words and hopefully haven’t bored you to tears.

Breakfast:

What I wanted: 1 or 2 slices of homemade zucchini banana apple raisin bread

What I had: 1/2c Egg Beaters with fresh spinach, diced onion, fresh tomato and 2 slices of Canadian bacon

Lunch:

What I wanted: an Oreo chocolate milkshake at Steak ‘n Shake

What I had: A protein shake made up of Optimum Nutrition’s Vanilla Pro Complex blended with 3 berry blend frozen fruit and 1 packet Emerald Balance

Snack

What I wanted: anything chocolate

What I had: 2 Viactiv calcium chews

See my post on the commercial this is parodying.

Do You Know What You’re Doing, Obama?