Saturday, July 29, 2006


When I was 16 years old, I had a great job, my own car and I was just about to start college. On the outside I seemed to have it all together, but on the inside, I was a mess. I was still living at home in the midst of a very disfunctional family, and my life did not taste good to me. In fact, it gave me a very bad taste, and I was seeking in my heart for something, but I didn't know what.

When the light of my cousin swept into my life, I think I was a little attracted to her glamour. She was tall and she had this big head of beautifully styled blond hair and perfectly made-up face. It was curious for me, to meet a cousin whom I did not know existed, who came to mean a lot to me in a very short period of time (kind of like she was an angel). She listened to me. She really cared about me as a person, and seemed to understand what I was going through. And she was full of praise and thankfulness to a person she called Jesus Christ. However, I was truly not interested in Him. For I equated Him with "religion" and rejected it. I was enamored of the person who cared about me enough to listen and really seemed to love me.

Cynthia eventually invited me to live with her, as I was desperate to escape my home life, and I took her up on it. I remember that her daughter Crystal, 10 years old at the time, gave up her bed for me. She stayed in a small "L" shaped bedroom and she was so delighted to sleep on a bean bag at the top of the "L", while I slept in the comfort of her canopy bed at the bottom of the "L". My life started to taste good:-)

Eventually, through her testimony and prayers and other influences, I did believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. And now when I reflect on how He drew me to himself, I can't help but think of this verse:

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

An earthen vessel who influenced my life was my cousin Cynthia. She was far from being a perfect person, like the Lord. But He shined out of her into my heart so brightly; and eventually I recognized Him and fell at his feet (splashed really, but we won't go there:-). God desires each one of us to shine and sprinkle as we go about our daily lives.

He knows things that we aren't always aware of. That there are people walking about in darkness, partaking of a tasteless existence. People who really need Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this morning that we would lift up our eyes to the Lord, from whence our help cometh, and lower our eyes again, to the people He seeks to help.

Jesus says: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Let the Change Come! Part 2: Hydrogenated Oils

I dream of a time when I will not have to go to the grocery store. With my mind's eye I can see myself pushing a button to order the month's needed groceries, and then receive them at my door in a few days. Ahhhh! It will be wonderful :-) For I truly hate shopping.

Right now I do once-a-month shopping. I've found that this makes it easier to stay on track with what I was intending to spend. At the moment it also has unintended consequences; we are pottytraining Joshua because we ran out of diapers and I refuse to buy more. At least until the first of July, but potentially never :-) The problem is that he is not motivated to be pottytrained. He knows that I will buy him a new bike when he is trained, but that far-away reality doesn't stick with a three-year-old in the day-to-day grind. I think I need to get some stickers. Or something.

But what does pottytraining have to do with hydrogenated oils? Absolutely nothing. I am truly on a rabbit trail. Ahem. Shopping. Right. Well, when Nathan said I was not to buy anything else with hydrogenated oils it really made shopping difficult. I became a label-reader; and the kids were really bored and acted up during our three-hour shopping trips. On the up-side, we now had a hard-and-fast reason to say "no" to our seven-year-old son if he was eyeing the Twinkies....

David: "Mom, can we get these cupcakes?"
Mom: "I don't think so. Just read the label David."
David: "Does it have hydrogenated in it mom?"
Mom: "Yes"
David: "Aw Mom, why does everything have hydrogenated in it?"

He is right. Nearly everything in the store has hydrogenated oils in it. We sadly walked by the hydrogenated underwear, and for awhile I had the children convinced that all of the toys were hydrogenated :-) (I'm sure if they don't have hydrogen bubbles blown into them, they must surely have "hypnotic" bubbles blown in). I jest, but nearly every cracker and cookie in the store contains this health-risk. All donuts and all peanut butter except for a few natural brands (we buy Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter). Most of the chips contain hydrogenated oils. Even the ones which now say: "0 Grams Trans-Fat" have hydrogenated oils. The law states that they are allowed to make this statement if the product has less than a gram (per serving?). Considering the risks associated with just a small amount of trans-fat, this seems a bit sneaky to me.

What are the risks anyway? Why is it important to avoid hydrogenated oils? Consider the following:

What's Wrong with Hydrogenation?

Unlike butter or virgin coconut oil, hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats. A trans fat is an otherwise normal fatty acid that has been "transmogrified", by high-heat processing of a free oil. The fatty acids can be double-linked, cross-linked, bond-shifted, twisted, or messed up in a variety of other ways.

The problem with trans fats is that while the "business end" (the chemically active part) is messed up, the "anchor end" (the part that is attached to the cell wall) is unchanged. So they take up their position in the cell wall, like a guard on the fortress wall. But like a bad guard, they don't do their job! They let foreign invaders pass unchallenged, and they stop supplies at the gates instead of letting them in.

In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. They interfere with the metabolic processes of life by taking the place of a natural substance that performs a critical function.

We have not been able to eliminate 100% of these poisons; I'm sure some of our food when we eat out is contaminated, and we sometimes "cave" when an urge for some favorite storebought good overcomes common sense (arrrgggghhhh!). But over time, by focusing on reading labels, we have drastically changed the amount we consume. Who knows? Maybe soon the companies who are continuing to poison the American public will be forced to change too. Then everyone would benefit. :-)

Update: I started writing this in June; sorry about the reference to July 1st! Also, my son has utterly resisted my efforts to potty-train (even with M&M's and our potty song), so rather than continue washing diapers I bought "just one more" pack of Walmart diapers :-).