Don’t Spoil Your (Spiritual) Appetite

Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

When you were young, did your parents ever admonish you not to eat sweets too close to dinner time because it would “spoil your appetite”?

Mine certainly did. However, delaying dessert until after dinner is difficult to do.

The look of a beautifully frosted cake or the smell of freshly baked cookies can be notoriously tempting. And of course, one cookie or piece of cake invariably leads to another…

Before you know it, you’ve stuffed yourself with sugary foods and are too full to eat dinner. You miss out on all the good protein and vegetables in the main meal.

I guess Mom and Dad knew best: we should fill ourselves with more nourishing things first, and leave the dessert until afterward as a treat, not the main course.

The same lesson holds for us spiritually, doesn’t it?

We should concentrate on things of substance in our lives first.

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Which Body Part Are You?

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Don’t you just love cookies shaped like little people, such as gingerbread men and women?

I always start munching on gingerbread people at the head. According to a survey conducted by the folks at Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m not alone. Almost two thirds of people surveyed start at the top when eating a gingerbread figure. A fifth of people begin with the legs, while the remainder go for the arms first. (To make some gingerbread cookies yourself, see below for a classic recipe.)

We seem to have a penchant for foods shaped like bodies, or at least named after various body parts.

There are chicken fingers, kidney beans, artichoke hearts, navel oranges, black-eyed peas, heads of lettuce, ladyfingers and elbow macaroni.

The Italians have given us pasta shapes like orecchiette (little ears), linguini (little tongues), and capellini (angel’s hair). In France, cotton candy is called, “Dad’s beard.”

Our bodies are precious to us and are wondrously made, so it’s no wonder we pay tribute to them by naming foods after our various body parts.

But did you know that if you’re a believer, you don’t just have your own body, you’re a part of another body, too?

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How Are You Sleeping?

Photo by Danny Chang on Pixabay

How have you been sleeping recently? Do you find yourself waking at night, worried about the future?

Wish you could sleep as soundly as your pet?

Cats and dogs have an advantage when it comes to sleeping deeply. They’re predator animals: in the wild, canines and felines are hunters. Large predator mammals generally spend more time in deep non-REM sleep than their prey.

Prey animals such as rabbits or deer, the hunted, spend more time in lighter non-REM sleep. They also experience very little REM sleep at all. Their survival is dependent on being permanently alert, and the paralysis of REM sleep would make them too vulnerable to their predators.

I wonder if the poor sleep we humans often experience relates to our feeling “hunted,” relentlessly chased by worries, deadlines, and obligations?

Is there a way we can calm our anxious minds and get a good night’s rest?

Yes! I believe the Bible offers some tips to help us sleep better.

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You’re Not As Alone As You Think

Photo by Lorie Shauli on Flickr CC BY-SA-2.0

Winter can be a lonely time, can’t it?

The joyful symphony of birdsong that graced the spring and summer months has diminished. In these parts, most birds have already flown south for the winter by now. The backyards and parks seem unnaturally quiet, with nary a chirp to be heard.

It can leave us feeling bereft, like we’re all alone.

But we’re never as alone as we might think, as we’ll see from some encouraging accounts in the Bible.

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The Unexpected Detour

Photo by awsloley on Pixabay

While going for a walk recently at a track in my neighbourhood, I noticed something that hadn’t been there before.

There was now a second path parallel to the old gravel track circling the playing fields. This new footpath had been beaten into the grass over the summer and fall by people wanting to jog while still physically distancing from those on the main path.

It got me thinking how events in our lives often make us forge a new path.

For just about all of us, the coronavirus has diverted our life path onto an unexpected detour. Some of us may have experienced a job loss or had our health impacted. All of us have had our daily routines disrupted and our plans upended.

We’re having to travel a new path, one we’ve never taken before.

But the good news is that God knows which way we should go, and will lead us in the right direction.

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Sing While You Fly!

American Goldfinch
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA-3.0

Birds, like humans, have different quirks.

Some birds like to have everything “just so” before they sing.

The time of day has to be just right, they have to be perched at the top of just the right tree, or they have to be within earshot of a desirable mate.

They would never think of singing if the conditions weren’t to their liking, or if they were busy doing something else at the time, like flying.

Other birds aren’t quite so picky.

Take the American goldfinch, for example.

This handsome little songbird has some unusual traits. One of them is that his flight pattern resembles a roller-coaster instead of a level path.

Another is that the goldfinch is perfectly happy singing while he’s flying.

He doesn’t wait until just the right circumstances fall into place—this yellow fellow sings while he goes about his daily business.

Perhaps we can take a page from the goldfinch’s book?

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Remembering The Few and The One

Squadron Leader D Finlay, CO of No. 41 Squadron RAF, standing with four of his pilots in front of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk II at Hornchurch, Essex, December 1940.
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

This week we commemorate Remembrance Day, and honour those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Some of those we remember are the airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice eighty years ago in the Battle of Britain during World War II. This battle, fought in the skies in 1940, saved that island nation from almost certain invasion by Hitler’s Nazis.

But it came at a terrible cost to the Allied flight crews who were battling the Luftwaffe. The average life expectancy of a Spitfire pilot during the battle was heartbreakingly short: a mere four weeks.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to those airmen in his famous wartime speech on August 20, 1940:

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

This became one of the most famous of Churchill’s sayings, and those airmen became known as “The Few.”

Battle of Britain poster
Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

But did you know that Churchill actually started out with a different line when he was composing his speech, and felt he had to change it?

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Signs From God

Image by Annalise Batista on Pixabay

I used to love eating Doritos, and would buy them regularly at the store.

I finally admitted, however, that junk food like this wasn’t very good for me, so I stopped buying them.

Except when they were on sale: then I viewed it as a sign from God that I could buy some.

I’m just kidding, of course: a sale on Doritos is NOT a sign from God. I was just fooling myself and creating a reason why I could have what I wanted.

It’s sometimes hard to recognize when something really is a sign from God, isn’t it? We put our own spin on circumstances, and conveniently draw the conclusions that align with our desires.

But there are some things that we can be absolutely certain are signs from God, because they align with His Word.

When you see the following “signs” in your life, take note and obey them:

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The Gift You Didn’t Expect

Photo from Needpix, Public Domain

Did you ever receive a gift that wasn’t quite what you were expecting?

Maybe you’d dropped hints to your husband that you wanted a certain designer perfume for Christmas, and instead you received…a power drill (coincidentally, exactly the one he wanted for his workshop!).

Or you were certain that your brother was going to give you a gift certificate to a spa so you could be pampered on your birthday, but somehow all you got from him was a new ironing board.

Let’s hope no one visiting this blog received the most tone-deaf Valentine’s Day gift I’ve heard of: a pre-planned funeral arrangement!

Our Father in Heaven knows how to give good gifts to His children, but He doesn’t always answer our requests in exactly the way we expected.

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“Magic” Still Happens

Vintage poster of magician from 1899
Wikimedia Commons CC BY-2.0

Have you ever tried a recipe you secretly doubted would work out?

They’re often the ones with the word “magic” in the recipe title, and they seem to promise the impossible.

The “Magic Chocolate Pudding Cake” below is a good example. The recipe instructs you to press a firm batter into a baking pan, and then pour flavoured boiling water on top of it. It claims this will magically transform into cake and sauce during the baking process.

You may be a bit dubious about this, however. The batter seems too solid and unyielding, impenetrable to the liquid atop it. You don’t see how this “magical” transformation will ever happen.

As you put the baking pan in the oven, you may think, “This will never work out. This will be another culinary disaster my family will tease me about for years to come, like the time I tried to cook a Thanksgiving turkey but forgot to turn the oven on.”

But lo and behold, the recipe does succeed after all! The two differing natures of the mixture are indeed transformed into something new and delicious, and your family thinks you’re a genius in the kitchen.

Unlikely transformations can still happen in our lives, too.

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