Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

My sugar free column in the IHPA (Virginia Commonwealth University Inter Health Professional Alliance) Newsletter for November 2017:

IHPA Nov 2017 Newsletter

*Original article wording (newsletter has edited – for space – version and recipe):

Sugar Free Holidays?!?! Are You Serious?!?!

It is a week before Thanksgiving and I am on a drastic liquid only diet. Call me crazy, but I know I have to get a jump start on my diet before I go overboard during the holidays.  Thanksgiving is a time for family, counting your blessings … and eating way too much food!  So how do we have self-control and still celebrate?  I want to give you a couple tips on how to get through Thanksgiving without increasing your blood sugar, over-eating, and having to buy new pants because you ate too much:

  1. Eat a good breakfast with protein.
  • My family doesn’t eat until 1pm so I am really hungry when we finally sit down causing me to pile up my plate. If you eat breakfast then you won’t be starving later in the day.
  1. Don’t fix so much food.
  • Do you need 12 types of meat, 5 types of potatoes, and 72 types of vegetables? Limiting your menu will help with less temptation to over-eat, less dishes to clean, and less food that gets wasted.
  1. Stay away from bread.
  • Stuffing is a big deal for most families at Thanksgiving, but my family makes like 4 different kinds and then bakes rolls on top of that. The less bread you have, the less you will eat.
  1. Don’t “taste test” everything.
  • Of course you want to test the mashed potatoes to make sure there is enough salt in them… but that doesn’t mean you have to test it 4 times.
  1. Drink water.
  • You will already be getting enough calories and sugar that day, so sticking with water helps you stay full and healthy.
  1. Put half the amount of each food on your plate … or use a smaller plate.
  • You can always go back for seconds if you are still hungry. I feel like if I put it on my plate I have to eat it, so if it isn’t on my plate I won’t feel like I have to stuff myself.
  1. You don’t have to try everything.
  • Grandma Gertrude and Aunt Agnes won’t actually disown you if you don’t try their dish. You are an adult and can make decisions for your health.
  1. Only have one type of dessert or try sugar free options.
  • I know it may seem like blasphemy to ask you to not have pumpkin pie AND sweet potato casserole … but your body will thank you later!

I have already limited my menu for this year, and have substituted some desserts for sugar free options. Hopefully the recipe below will satisfy your traditional tastes with a little change toward the healthy side!  Have a great Thanksgiving and know that I am thankful for you.

For more tips visit Melissa’s website where you can read her blogs and connect with her social media accounts: www.zechariahssong.com

 

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Out of Context – T3 Bible Study October/November 2017

Out of Context – T3 Bible Study October/November 2017

Third Thursday Theology – October/November 2017 Bible Study

We thought it might be interesting to look at some bible passages that are sometimes taken out of context and discuss them as a group. I hope we can dive deeper into the bible and really think about how those passages can speak into our lives.

Powerpoint with notes from discussion: out of context

If you have questions or comments about the group or the presentation please feel free to contact us through this page or the groups Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/t3study/

Sugar Free Trail Mix – IHPA Newsletter Article October 2017

Sugar Free Trail Mix – IHPA Newsletter Article October 2017

My sugar free column in the IHPA (Virginia Commonwealth University Inter Health Professional Alliance) Newsletter for October 2017:

IHPA Oct 2017 Newsletter

*Original article wording (newsletter has edited – for space – version and recipe):

You Have A Pretty Smile: Sugar’s Effect On Your Teeth

One really great thing that happens when you choose to live without sugar: you smile more. Your body feels better, you have a better attitude, you don’t get as sick … and this makes you happy!  And while you are smiling, your teeth are showing.  I have been sugar free for about 3 years and one of the things that I didn’t even think about were my teeth being whiter, stronger, and healthier.  The last time I went to the dentist the woman cleaning my teeth could not stop talking about it.  She told me that I didn’t have any cavities, I didn’t have much plaque, and my teeth were nice and white.  I told her I didn’t eat sugar anymore, I didn’t really drink sodas, and I didn’t drink other things that had lots of sugar like coffee, tea, or juice.  She told me that she wished everyone was like that because my teeth were doing so well. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, so why don’t you give your teeth a break and eat a little less sugar.  Your body will thank you, your teeth will thank you, and your dentist will thank you.  Less sugar means less cavities … and that means less money and time at the dentist.  This week’s recipe tip is a great substitute for sugary snacks.  Sugar free trail mix is easy to make and can be kept in your purse or child’s book bag for a quick snack instead of grabbing a candy bar.  Below are the things I put in mine, but you can pick and choose to make your favorite combination!  Happy trail mix to you until we meet again! (recipe at bottom of newsletter … click on link above)

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Sugar Free Cereal (deconstructed) – IHPA Newsletter Article September 2017

Sugar Free Cereal (deconstructed) – IHPA Newsletter Article September 2017

My sugar free column in the IHPA (Virginia Commonwealth University Inter Health Professional Alliance) Newsletter for September 2017:

IHPA Sep 2017 Newsletter

*Original article wording (newsletter has edited – for space – version):

For years doctors, health food companies, and the world have told us that a high fat diet was bad for us.  Because of this food companies have posted big signs on their food boxes that say: “no trans-fat” or “fat free food”, but that does not mean it is healthier for us!  I have read about this and heard people speak on the subject and I will try to quickly and plainly tell you what happened.  A long time ago some scientists thought that the fat in food was killing us, so they took some of their data and told the government that we needed to change our food habits.  This made the food companies change the way they made food. BUT … the scientists didn’t give all the information.  So we now have a system set up that may not be the best option for everyone.  Because they have taken out some fat (which takes out flavor) they have had to replace it with something else: SUGAR!  If you read my last newsletter article, then you know sugar is very addictive and very good at making us gain weight because we just want it all the time.  I know that my great grandma (and many other relatives) ate bacon and fried chicken every day and lived into their 90’s.  Most natural things are ok for us to have, as long as we are smart about how much we eat.  I know that cooking things in bacon grease is not going to kill me like everyone thinks, but if I eat it every meal then it won’t be great for my health.  I guess what you need to know is how to look at the box label.  Just because something says all natural or healthy or less fat does NOT mean it is good for you.  You should really look at the amount of sugar too. People are changing their tune about sugar and are realizing that carbs are more of a problem then natural fat.  There are many phone apps or google searches that can help you understand what the label says and what is really in the food you buy.  This month I want to give you a very simple recipe that can help at breakfast (which is when most children get the highest amount of sugar – not what you want to do right before school when they need to behave and concentrate).

——————————————————————————————————-

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Respect For The Integrity Of Every Life!

Respect For The Integrity Of Every Life!

I received an email today from my employer … below are several excerpts:

“Over the past few weeks, we have seen hatred and disregard for life resurge in our own back yard, across our country and throughout the world in ways, many of us thought we would never see again.”

“I believe this means that we must further strengthen our message of respect and acceptance of all people. We must be direct and clear in this message, supporting one another in our efforts to convey respect for the integrity of every human being, every life.”

“For me, these last few weeks have felt like stepping backward in time. But I believe that we will move forward by gaining a greater understanding of what drives the hatred and disregard for human life that we see around us.”

While I think this was a well written and moving letter from the CEO/Vice President of VCU/MCV, and understanding that these words were written in the wake of some disturbing racial/political/hate-group demonstrations, my first thought in reading this was not about how I or anyone else react to the color of someone’s skin … my first thought was: “what if we applied this same rhetoric to the terrible hatred that is abortion?”!

One person died in Charlottesville because of the wickedness and selfishness in people’s hearts toward those who are different … and though that is one too many and I DO NOT condone hatred of those different than you … over 25 hundred babies are aborted in the US every day!  We will scream and cry and argue and relive the tragedy of Charlottesville for weeks on the news and Facebook willing to lose friends and stand up for our “convictions” (condolences to the family of Heather Heyer’s family who will live with this for the rest of their lives), we will take down monuments and try to “erase” history so we don’t have to be reminded of our past and failures, we will turn against our neighbor and divide our country to be “right and justified” … but who will cry for the unborn, who will stand up for what is right and try to erase the millions of murders, and who will heal our country and unite us in the REAL fight for “conveying respect for the integrity of every human being, EVERY LIFE”?!?!?!

I recently saw a powerful video of John MacArthur speaking about the biblical reasons “why Charlottesville happened” (link at the end of this article).  He attributed it to three foundational reasons:

  1. Breakdown of moral law
  2. Breakdown of the family
  3. Lack of respect for governing bodies (police)

In the same way I think these principles apply to the abortion debate as well …

  1. We have gone away from the biblical view of love. We do not value life and the fact that we are made in the image of God.  We have selfishness in our hearts and think more about what a child would do to us then what that child can do for us and the world.  We rid ourselves of anything that might cause stress or make us look bad (an unwanted pregnancy, a deformed child, the shame or guilt of a decision fueling our want to rid ourselves of the “consequences”).  We disregard what God says about the love between a man and a woman and what responsibilities we have to each other within the parameters of that union.  We set our lustful desires above the obedience of a God who knows what is best for us.  And when we find ourselves in a situation that isn’t optimal for us, we throw aside moral law and life itself.  We have become a society of death and then we wonder why there is so much disregard for human life in other areas of our mindset.
  2. When you disregard God’s structure of the family unit with rampant divorce rates, soaring out of marital conception numbers, gay unions, cultural disrespect for the father role, the government stepping in to teach our kids about sex (“safe” casual sex instead of abstinence), lack of discipline breeding an entitled generation, a porn driven society, and a “what is in it for me” mentality … no wonder there is no reverence for life on a basic scale!
  3. We have not only thrown aside believing in the government (whom we have elected according to our corrupt views about what is important), built a thriving disrespect for our civil servants (I agree there are police that take advantage of situations, but there are just as many people if not more judging men and women on the basis of what they might do), and treated our elders with disgrace … we have stopped having a healthy fear and reverence for the law of God. We believe we can say anything we please on social media because it is not face to face with anyone, we think our opinion is all that matters while lashing out at others when they think the same thing about their opinion, and we allow adults to act like children because there is no discipline or consequences in our homes.

In my home state of Virginia this is coming to light in the fight for life against our governor (McAuliffe).  He has gone against laws that allow for stricter regulations of abortion clinics to ensure a safer experience for women.  In rolling back restrictions this allows clinics to operate in unsafe ways to make more money.  He also “awarded” Planned Parenthood (a company that was essentially founded as a way to keep the amount of black children born in this country at a lower rate) government funding to operate.  And now Planned Parenthood is thanking him by backing his political agenda and pouring campaign money into pro-abortion candidates (how is this even legal?!?!?!?!).  But at least one group is fighting back! (Link in bottom of article)  We need more people to stand up and fight for life and to let it be known, that just like taking a life because of racial discrimination, it is not acceptable to take a life by abortion either!

So today let us go forward with pure, unadulterated, Godly love (for our fellow man, for the unborn, for ourselves, and most importantly for God).  Let us break the chains of sin and death.  Let us value life in every form – not just what looks like us or makes us comfortable.

With love for EVERYONE,

Melissa

John MacArthur video I referenced: https://www.facebook.com/GracetoYou/videos/10155701072921602/?hc_ref=ARST_Wa43R3j5AF5kkXkqO3ea854QR7IZsxf_u1hSdmHFikQPMo0nv_y8qNosxsrpH8&pnref=story

Abortion/McAuliffe article I referenced:

http://www.nbc12.com/story/36201866/legal-challenge-to-abortion-regulations-can-proceed

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/henrico/henrico-judge-s-ruling-allows-case-over-state-abortion-regulations/article_b216ab8e-8708-54f9-a519-13726a2c5e9e.html

Sugar Free (No Bake) Strawberry Cheesecake – IHPA Newsletter Article April 2017

Sugar Free (No Bake) Strawberry Cheesecake – IHPA Newsletter Article April 2017

I have started a sugar free column in the IHPA (Virginia Commonwealth University Inter Health Professional Alliance) Newsletter.

Here is my first article/recipe:

IHPA April 2017 Sugar Free (No Bake) Strawberry Cheesecake

 

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PEOPLE & THEIR JOBS – T3 BIBLE STUDY APRIL 20, 2017

PEOPLE & THEIR JOBS – T3 BIBLE STUDY APRIL 20, 2017

Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.

What is something you noticed about most people’s introduction?

(You are introduced to a new individual. How do you describe yourself? Do you talk about your job and what you do? Do you talk about your family and helping others? Do you talk about your Faith? … Our jobs are a big part of our lives, but is it the most important thing?)

  • For both men and women, their “work” or the “job they do” constitutes a large part of their awake hours and can be an important part of who they are. Many times work may define how a person sees themselves, including how they value themselves and their life.  A job or career can become too large a factor in how someone “defines themselves”, including how they assess their value as a person. By itself a job is not bad or negative. In fact, a “job” is mentioned by Jesus in the Bible as something normal for people to do. A job only becomes a negative when we equate it too much power. Our jobs can cause us to lose track of “why we are on the earth” and discovering God’s true purpose for us.

Prayer Focus: Lord, my prayer is that you will enlighten us regarding our tendency to identify much of our self-worth with our jobs. Help us to re-prioritize our lives and follow your teachings on this topic for Christian men and women.

  • Genesis 3:17-19: To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

God “knows about people”, the good and bad part of our “natural nature”. He knows if our priorities aren’t “God centered”, we will wander without discovering our true purpose. It is clear God did not intend for “our jobs” to define us as Christians. He has a much greater and grand purpose for us. When we keep God first in our heart, our true purpose will reveal itself.

  • Exodus 36:2 says “Moses called Bezalel, Oholiab, and all the other skilled men to whom the Lord had given ability and who were willing to help, and Moses told them to start working”
    • What does this tell you about using your God given abilities and skills?
    • What do you believe are your God given abilities and how can you best apply them at work, with your family, and in helping others?
  • Deuteronomy 5:12 (Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,as the Lord your God has commanded you.)  Leviticus 23:3 (There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.)
    • These two Scriptures deal with work and the Sabbath. After reading these two Scriptures do they describe your current lifestyle and how you lead your family?
    • If not, what changes are you going to make in the next few weeks to honor God and lead your family as a Christian?
  • Ephesians 1: 9-12: He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
    • Think specifically about what the following words in 1:11 mean to you, “All things are done according to God’s plan and decision”.
    • Do you believe this? (You can’t have free will and then complain when you go against God’s plan and it doesn’t work for you)
    • Do you know God’s purpose for you? (You can learn what God wants and do it, or you can do something and learn the hard way what God’s plan was for you)
    • If not, please pray that He will help you discover His purpose for your life.
  • Colossians 1:27: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
    • What is His glorious secret?
    • How does this secret relate to sharing in the Glory of God?
    • How do you know if you are fulfilling God’s Purpose for you?

Challenge:

  • When someone asks us in the next week what we do, with God’s help we will concentrate on describing ourselves more in terms of our Faith, our spouses, our family & friends, our concern for others and “then” our jobs. We will pray daily for wisdom in discovering our true purpose as men on earth.
  • Assuming you are over-indulged in work and your career. How are you going to change? How will you get your priorities straight beginning with God?

If our faith was our job:

  • Code of conduct: 10 commandments
  • Emails: Prayer
  • Clients: strangers, those in need, etc.

Prayer Point: Lord, please help each of us to reevaluate our lives. Give us the strength and wisdom to re-prioritize our lives by putting you first. When praying we will be open to hearing your soft words of wisdom to discover our true purpose on earth.

Additional Resource:

Resurrection Sunday – Guest Blogger: Martin Dorgan

Resurrection Sunday – Guest Blogger: Martin Dorgan

Resurrection Sunday.

To some it sounds so religious, so historical, so staged. It requires a crisp new suit and a knee-length dress. We frame it in formality, and determine its success by how far we can contrast its stilted recitations and repetitions of worship from our everyday living. Easter sounds joyous, celebrative, fun. It mandates candy, play, and a mindset of being carefree for the purpose of demonstrating the innocence of children at play. We want to live there everyday.

And as we complete the activities of yet another Spring holiday in which we verbally attempt to interchange the terms (which in reality reflect more our appreciation of fun and less our understanding of holiness), I sit in my office and wonder…

There is a major historical significance behind the name ‘Easter’, as well as behind the concept of ‘Resurrection Sunday’. We have made an attempt to redefine both, for the purpose of rendering them to be synonymous, and in doing so have marginalized the significance of each. It is like trying to mix oil and water, no matter how hard you stir, the two will never bond. Still some will protest against the need to be more selective by simply suggesting that it is all in fun, all in good nature, and all for the sake of making the holiday more appealing and more inclusive.

If we totally ignore the historical significance of Easter as it pertains to its origins, I still have to ask why we would want to use any form of celebration that detracts from what Jesus did? And if I wanted to be less tolerant, I could ask why we would use historically identified symbols of pagan worship to celebrate the resurrection, knowing that the cause of the death was first due to our misplaced worship?

We live in a culture that necessitates preemptive apologizing for spoken words that have the potential of causing offense. I do not intend to offend, or put anyone on the defense. I simply discuss ideas, and values. And on occasion, I will talk about the One who died for me. And I do not apologize for taking a position that preserves the highest and most selective honor for Him.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Martin Dorgan

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Good Friday – Guest Blogger Lisa Leland)

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Good Friday – Guest Blogger Lisa Leland)

Today is Good Friday. I suppose it’s “Good” because of the good that came of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross. He paid the penalty for ALL my sin as well as the sins of the whole world population, past, present, future. Our pastor reminded me last Sunday that my sin was PAID IN FULL, which was particularly emotional for me since my sin is so great. I imagined a HUGE (as my daughter used to say, “hooooooj”) PIF stamp applied to my life’s “bill” in red ink. Yes, it’s a Good day.

This morning, as I was driving to work listening to American Family Radio Talk, I was surprised but very much moved to hear a portion of the song “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”. I started thinking, “Why would someone in the 21st century ask, ‘were you there when they crucified my Lord’? None of us were there when they crucified my Lord!” (Actually, after some research I discovered that this song was probably derived from an old slave spiritual which would have made it a 19th century song…) As the words played over in my head, “Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?…Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?…Were you there when the sun refused to shine?…”I started to realize, “Yes, I WAS there! My sin was there! He was thinking of ME, and YOU! As the group Sidewalk Prophets proclaim in their song, “You Loved Me Anyway”, I was the thorn in your brow, I was the nail in your wrist…. And then I asked God, “how many of those lashes with the cat of nine tales did Jesus take for me?” I was there! I was there…………….. and You loved me anyway.

A few years ago, during the height of my deepest struggles, I had a dream. I was in the crowd when Jesus was coming down the road carrying the cross. He fell right in front of me and the heavy wooden cross landed on His bloody, beaten back. He looked up at me and with every ounce of energy left in his body as though in defiance (though I know it was in complete, unmerited, unconditional, sacrificial love) He pushed Himself up under the weight of that tree and continued His labored walk toward Golgotha. Then all at once, I was at the foot of the cross on my knees, crying. I looked up at my Savior and with tears streaming down my face, I said, “I’m sorry”. Jesus looked down at me with the most tender and loving sweaty, dirty, bleeding, thorny face and said, “It’s o.k.” That was the beginning of my road back “home”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Yes, I was there when they crucified my Lord and “oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble”.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you took all of my sin with you on that old rugged cross so that today, some 2000 years later, as I remember that my debt is Paid In Full, I can say, it is Good Friday.

Lisa Leland

Where you there when they crucified my Lord lyrics:
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh were you there when they crucified my Lord?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Well, were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?