Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Gem

Ecclesiastes Season

My husband and I recently spent some time at a local park, taking in the wonderful fall colors. I love autumn. Who can deny the dramatic, vivid explosion of colors?
I got me to thinking about the changing of seasons. It's not just about winter, spring, summer and autumn; it's about the phases of our lives. Nothing stays the same. Things change; it's a law of life. "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1 Which season are you and I in now? which season have we closed and which season awaits?
Bishop T. D. Jakes once preached a message whick spoke of embracing the beauty of the season you're in. There's beauty to each and every phase of life we experience. That doesn't mean loss, pain and difficulty won't often occur, even simultaneously with the beauty. But there IS a beauty; there IS a deeper meaning. So, which season are you in? Are you embracing it? Fighting it? Struggling with it? And where is God, in realtion to your season? Have you invited Him in? Let this autumn be a reminder that there is, indeed, true beauty and meaning to whop you are and to each individaul season of your life! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Wishing everyone a blessed Sukkot!!!

Chag Sameach!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

It will get better

A Series of Decisions...

I'd rather believe in God than not believe

Something to think about...

Disorder Versus Recovery Questions

Which questions are you and I asking ourselves?

A reality check reminder we all need

We need to keep this simple, much used, staetement in mind. Nothing we go through lasts forever. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 Never give up; God's moving in our lives!!!

In memory of those we've lost to eating disorders...

And guess what?


Trade Off

Think In Moderation

One of the hurdles I’ve been working on overcoming has been the extreme, all or nothing, kind of thinking. This approach to life can often lead to eating disorders and addictions. It certainly did with me. If I wasn’t astonishingly beautiful, I was ugly. If I wasn’t impossibly rail thin, I was grotesquely obese. If I wasn’t completely perfect, then I was a miserable failure. Extremes. But none of it was healthy or orderly. And, like the scripture goes… “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 Yeah. That wasn’t me. Neither was the scripture… "Let your moderation be known to all men". Philippians 4:5 Nope, not me either. Recently, I came across this image and quote from the late Marilyn Monroe. You know, the beauty icon and pop culture symbol. And she makes a great point. While there’s nothing wrong with doing our best in life, each of us needs to be careful not to cross the line into believing we need to attain unrealistic standards of perfection. There’s no doubt Marilyn was beautiful, flawed and had a good heart. That comes through in the images and the stories about her. But she recognizes her inability to attain the impossible perfection does not, however, disqualify and cancel her already existing qualities. And how much more would God’s Word and His beliefs about us do the same thing…if we let that happen? God says the following about us: “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14 “O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 We’re not to have super-inflated ideas of ourselves. God doesn’t want arrogant or prideful thoughts. But we’re not to have a poor, wretched sense of self, either. The point to our lives is not image and perfection; it’s about relationship with God. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 We need to keep in check what are attainable Godly requirements versus what are our own oppressive, rigid rules. Moderation. Balance. Healthy perspective. And no, not easy; it’s often a lifelong, work in progress which is, yes, imperfect. But it can be done; it can be started, now, wherever you and I find ourselves in life. God’s inviting us to think differently about ourselves and our lives? Will we? “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be a Merry Dumbo!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 I love the Disney classic, “Dumbo.” It’s the story of a little elephant who learns to accept himself and his large ears. Doing so, he grows into his potential. A good lesson. I wonder how many of us are fighting our bodies, our physical traits? What if we embraced them? Look at this image of Dumbo: It’s like a “before and after” photo, isn’t it? Could it possibly be a situation of “before acceptance” and “after acceptance?” God has created us to be who we are, traits and all. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 Why are we spending so much time fighting it? And could fighting that reality be exactly what makes us so miserable? Think about your self- concept and your self- talk. Are you closer or further away from being the fulfilled potential you’re called to be? Fulfilling your potential starts with accepting your God-given, God-created identity. Are you doing that? Could it be that is the basis of joy? Knowing and celebrating yourself are not wrong, selfish things. Knowing and celebrating Who God has created you to bring Glory to God, health to yourself and others. But you won’t get there unless and until you stop hating and rejecting yourself. God has decided each one of us is worth loving. After all… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 So love yourself! Start embracing God’s acceptance and delight of you. And start applying it to yourself, step by step, bit by bit. It won’t be perfect and it won’t occur overnight, but God will honor it. Let your light flourish like Dumbo’s ears! Be yourself! Be God’s wonderful creation! And be happy! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

More disturbing percentages...

More disturbing percentages about our young girls and their self-image. Let's CHANGE that!!!

Let's change this percentage!!!

Let's allow young girls to be themselves; let's change the reality of this percentage!!!

Have a blessed Yom Kippur!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stand out!

Be Who You Are

Stop and Start

Faith in the Blinds

Our cat, Glory has developed a new habit. She spends an inordinate amount of time on our bed, looking out our window, getting her head stuck in the blinds.
But she seems to enjoy it. Her two little paws grip the window sill as she shifts back and forth, convinced she’s talking to or stalking something outside. We look out the window with her from time to time, just to see what the fuss is all about. But nothing. No birds or squirrels. Is there some invisible critter taunting her predator instinct (she does that cute “cat chatter” thing)? Is there something interesting going on outside? We don’t see it; just a boring street and sidewalk. But there appears to be something. Something…something… And it got me to thinking. Should you and I get that excited about what God is doing in our lives? I don’t know about you, but, most of the time, I’m not exactly jumping up and down with enthusiasm concerning things I cannot see. But should I be? God tells us to expect wonderful things. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 He wants us to get excited about our lives lived for Him. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 Sounds convincing, right? But how many of us are truly excited, getting our faith enthusiasm stuck in our spiritual blinds? Not too many of us, huh? Let’s face it: life can get tedious. So enthusiasm can get trampled upon. But it still doesn’t change the reality of what God is doing in our lives. So, indeed, it would serve us well to look out our own window from time to time and dream. Remember dreaming? I don’t think we do that enough today. God is encouraging us to use our imagination to envision an incredible life for ourselves. Have you and I been doing that? Let’s get our heads stuck the blinds. We may not see the blessings just yet, but something wonderful is out there! God is up to something!!! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Weight Stigma Awareness Week

It's Weight Stigma Awareness Week this week. Let's all be mindful of other peoples' insecurities about their bodies. Many of us suffer from some painful body image issue. We never know what's going on with an individual. Suffering often is silent and secretive. Be kind. Be respectful. Use words that heal and not harm. And know how important each one of us, issues and all, is important to God!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

About the odds

Never make the odds against you bigger than a loving God Who is for, not against, you!

How amazing!!!

This is not living

God has more for your life and health than any eating disorder or self-destructive behavior can offer. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 What's the self-destructyion thief been trying to do to you? Choose life; choose God instead!!!

Feeling this way?

Feeling this way? Perhaps, it's a signal you need some fresh help. Start with God! "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1

No measurements ever needed for your inherent worth!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Something greater

The Scale is NOT you!!!!

If you don’t have nothing nice to say...

In the Disney classic film, “Bambi,” the adorable rabbit, Thumper repeatedly speaks before he thinks. Case in point, when Thumper offers his commentary on Bambi’s awkwardness as a new fawn, making some unkind remarks, we next see Thumper’s mother chastising him: “Thumper, what did your father tell you?” Busted! Thumper responds, looking down at the ground sheepishly,
“if ya don’t got nothing nice to say..."
"... don’t say nothing at all.” Out of the mouths of bunnies. And how many of us, growing up, have heard that similar advice from a parent, a friend or a teacher? Sounds simple enough: be nice, say nice things to others. But do our ears convey the sentiment to our brains, effectively, on a regular basis? Eh, not so much. And for those of us in the Christian community, we are, likewise, constantly reminded of Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” So, it should be old hat by now. It should be. But often, we seem to be short on our understanding and application of the concept, while being long-bunny ear long- on our hasty mouths and two cent opinions. Each one of us is guilty of being Thumper. Words. We often choose to speak before we think, if we even think at all! However, we often lose sight of a spiritual consequence: “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 To break it down into some slang: “Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing!” We underestimate the power of our words, only to learn the lesson of just what they carry. Each one of us has said things we want to take back. We have lost our temper, cussed, said things out of sarcasm and anger. And usually, we’re sorry and we want to take them back. But the impact from those words leaves a mark, a wound and a scar. Indeed, how many of us spend our entire lives recovering such marks, wounds and scars? “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” James 3:5 Yep, our tongues can set our lives ablaze with a hurtful, rash word. But it’s not hopeless. Again, going back to Proverbs, each one of us needs to remember our words have power for not just death and destruction, but for life and healing as well. Words hurt. Words heal. We choose which direction to apply them. And each one of us have had instances in which someone said something, gave us a compliment or a soothing bit of comfort- and it made ALL the difference! “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Proverbs 15:23 We can do this in our lives on a regular basis, but it requires some work. It requires thought. It requires stopping to think about what we’re going to say. I love this sentiment below. I saw it passed around on Facebook and I just had to like and share it. Check it out:
Does what we’re going to say next improve or worsen things? No, we cannot control everything in life, including another person’s response to our words. Misunderstandings will occur. But we can make can effort, like the Hippocratic oath, to “do no harm” with what we say. That may mean you and I have to sacrifice giving someone a piece of our minds. It may mean not using a colorful four letter word. It may mean swallowing some pride and walking away. And, when we’ve have blown it royally with our words- and we will blow it- it may mean saying “I’m sorry,” humbling ourselves for our wrong choices. None of these options are easy. And honestly, none of these options feels so great. But there’s a longer term result to keep in mind which goes beyond the short term, few seconds to blurt a wrong thing out. What damage can we avoid in the first place? We can make a choice to not cause the harm. Or we can face the ramifications of what we’ve said. Words are powerful and, once said, reverberate in our lives for years, even decades, to come. Which words do you want to be identified with? Yes, it requires soul searching, going to God. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 But taking this time, if for nothing else, to stop, breathe, and even count to ten, will leave us with less regrets than anything said in the heat of the moment. Remember Thumper? Remember what his mother said to him? “What did your father tell you?” What is our Father, God, speaking to you right now about your words? What changes can you make regarding them today? You are created in God’s Image. So live and speak that way! Speak with love… “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Allow your words to be the love of God- and watch success blossom in your life! Thumper, what do you say? Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Sunday, September 16, 2012

NEDA-Save a Life

Awareness, support and encouragement are all a part of recovery from eating disorders. Each of us can do something in and toward that recovery process!!! Today! Right now! As we are! Choose to do something today!!!

The Scary Choices

Something you've never done

Tree Pose: Heart and Mind

I admit it; I’ve tried yoga. (This is not the point in which you laugh yet). Although, my yoga odyssey is humorous to watch (both my husband and my cats cock their heads to the side in bewilderment), it has helped me to at least address, if not practice, the concept of balance. And one pose, in particular, seems to concentrate on that goal: the tree pose.
Here’s a quick rundown of that pose for those of you out there who are not bewildering your significant others and pets: First, you stand still, while slightly shifting your weight onto your left foot. Next, take your right leg, bending your right knee, all while grabbing your right and positioning it on your inner left leg. Anyone fall down yet? Balance! Yes, wonderful, beautiful balance! But wait, there’s more. Next, press your hands together, raising your arms above your head. Okay, now, focus on a fixed point, keeping that pose while not falling over for thirty seconds to a minute.
And then repeat with the other leg. You should look like a peaceful, harmonious tree. (Perhaps, now this spot is where you should laugh). Do I look like one such tree? Eh, it’s debatable. Do I feel like a peaceful, harmonious tree? That seems to be even less of a reality, as tip! There I go! (Okay, now, go ahead and laugh). Yes, this tipping, beautiful art of the balance thing has been on my mind, not just in my limbs as I try to stay vertical, but also in two little tricky parts of the body: the heart and the mind. Let’s face it, there’s no yoga pose to deal completely with those two things. And anyone who has tried to balance anything: body, finances, career, family or marriage, for instance, has faced their own challenges when arriving at their personal “tree pose.” While uncoordinated, clumsy limbs may not be involved, nevertheless, the heart and the mind are participating in a tug of war all the same! And, in our culture, there’s often discussion about the heart and the mind. Which one should run the show? It becomes especially tricky if we’re thinking about significant relationships and issues, especially in the love realm. You can almost hear the fists flying now! The heart should do the talking; after all, love is all about the affairs of the heart, right? And then there comes the mind’s argument: one needs to think this thing through before one “loses their head.” And no one’s even brought up God yet! Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi!!! So, which one is it: the heart or the mind? Is it possible to separate the two? Let’s look at the heart first. We, after all, celebrate it so much in our culture. We have hearts everywhere: Valentine’s Day, love songs, soap operas, chick films, just to get started. It is one of the first things us ladies doodle on our notebooks when we’re school girls. We love hearts. But what, exactly, is one? What does it mean? From whatever Biology classes we’ve taken in school, we learned that the heart is the major muscle, pumping blood to every part of our body, keeping us alive. If the heart goes bad, we go bad. We die. Fun fact. And, according to Hebrew wisdom, everything in life has a physical and a spiritual component to it. So, it stands to reason, spiritually speaking, Proverbs 4:23 is that spiritually pumping heart. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” One may argue the point that our spiritually issue-filled heart creates the core of our identity, even making us who we are… “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” Proverbs 23:7 It also shows us what we value in life… “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34 “Okay, okay,” we think, “this isn’t too bad, too much to handle. I’m trucking along pretty well.” Just one second here! There’s one tiny detail to the heart that should get our attention before we all run full steam ahead with our hearts dictating our life shows. That one detail? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 Oh, that. Back to the tree pose? Should we forget about ever listening to or following our hearts again? Should we toss ‘em out with the recycling tomorrow? Not so fast. No baby and bathwater scenario here, just apply God. And we start with Jesus. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:17 Yes, we haven’t tossed out love completely either. The balance comes when we’re grounded by faith and love which asks ourselves the question, “what would Jesus do?” We need to apply that to our heart issues. That’ll help. But we shouldn’t stop there. There is some advice to take; it’s called God’s Word. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 God is not intimidated by our tricky hearts. He knows what makes us tick. But notice what He also knows: >“the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hmmm. Sounds like the mind to me. And yes, God has something to say about our minds as we grapple with our tree poses for balance. Let’s return to Proverbs 23:7: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” Without sounding like Winnie the Pooh too much (“Think, think, think”), we are confronted by the power of our thoughts. Indeed, if thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions and actions lead to our life issues, I suppose it’s worth it to take the time to think about our thoughts, right? “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 How do they affect our balance? Are our thoughts making our tree poses in life tip over? And, if, through bad decisions already, what do we do if we feel we’ve already lost our minds? Are we hopeless? Out of balance forever? No. Could we ever be a peaceful, harmonious tree pose in life? Yes. But, we need to choose. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19 Ah, yes, choice! Just like the yoga pose, there need to be adjustments made not only in our body, but also in our lives as well. When in the actual tree pose, itself, there are varying shifts to the left or to the right side of the body one needs to make in order to achieve that steady balance- and to avoid a face plant. How much more then, are there adjustments which need to be made concerning our hearts and minds, which are-hate to break it to you-tied together? And that may be part of the balance issue. First, we may have not decided to choose life, to choose God for ourselves. And the second potential factor may be, you and I may still be in limbo about our hearts and minds working with each other instead of against each other. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6-7 Are we double minded? Check out what being that means: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8 Feeling double minded? Tipping over emotionally in your life? It’s still not hopeless, you know. Why not? Because of God- and something He said a few verses earlier… “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 By George, wisdom!!! Yes, we can actually ask for it! But the catch is, to ask God for the wisdom. And how many of us have gotten ourselves into different kinds of trouble, getting our wisdom from other sources. You and I, however, can change that! “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8 And this wisdom, once again, assures us of a bigger mind connection than what our finite thoughts could ever be capable of… “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 Balance is about God: heart and mind. It is constant; it’s not just a one-time decision. It’s daily. It’s living and breathing. It is a relationship with God, with Jesus acting as our bridging Lord and Savior. And yes, in our lives, sometimes, there will be swaying involved. But as you are swaying, whether in your body, mind, heart or faith, your life is moving, nevertheless. “And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7 Allow that movement, then, to steer you closer to God. Allow that to be your definition of balance. And strike your own victorious tree pose! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Happy Rosh Hashanah!!!

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Be blessed with success, happiness and health this next year!!!