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).


For more Sugar Free ideas check out my …




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,


John MacArthur video I referenced:

Abortion/McAuliffe article I referenced:

I Lost God

I Lost God

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”

– Isaiah 55:6 –

              If you are like me .. .you’re that girl who loses her phone while she is talking on it, the girl who locks her keys in her car, and the girl who can’t buy nice water bottles because she leaves them everywhere she goes … so it would make sense that you too feel at times that you have lost God. For those of us who love Jesus and know he will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 4:31) … I guess we could say we have “misplaced” Him. But in all reality we have to come to grips, look ourselves in the mirror, and say “REALLY Melissa … you know you put Him on a shelf last week and just cant remember which one”.

              (At times to my detriment) I am a fixer. I pride myself on being the strong one with the Miss America smile that doesn’t fade, the one ready to push up her sleeves and take on the difficult jobs, the one you can count on no matter what … or as my brothers would call me – “mother hen”. This has gotten me pretty far in life, but a lot of times holds me back from the most important thing: listening to and searching for God. When problems come my way, I think I can see the big picture and dive into action, but what if I stopped looking a little less confident and proved to God that I really need him?

              Today I am home sick, my dogs chewed a hole in my kitchen floor, my husband switched jobs (which is a blessing) but he was out of work for a few days in between so now we have a little less money this pay period and I am trying to make sure everything is paid this month, we just had the busiest week of my year at work and I feel like I am behind on my job, I’m trying to be a good step parent and get some things done for the kids but the system says that no one is allowed to talk to me about anything because I’m not a “legal guardian”, my house is a wreck, my yard needs to be raked, I am trying to run a ministry, and I have gained back 5 pounds! Today I do not have it all together. Today I do not want to be an adult! So what did I do? I would love to tell you that I got my bible out first thing to soak up God’s love and tell Him how wonderful He is … but I’m that girl who misplaces things – mainly my priorities! I threw up a little “Give me strength Lord” half a prayer/plea, spanked my dogs, checked my bank account to pay the bills, and went on Facebook to ask everyone else for prayers for health. (I can’t believe I’m telling you this lol)

              Oh I have no doubt that God is in control, and He will provide, and everything will turn out just fine because He loves me … but maybe if I did a little more seeking and a lot less worrying and complaining, I wouldn’t have to wonder where God’s purpose was in all of this. Maybe that is the problem with most of us “church-kids”: we know all the bible verses and Christian quotes to tell ourselves and others but instead of repeating them over and over I should study them more in-depth to apply them to the everyday. So after my “I-can-do-it-myself” flurry of activity happened, I started to think: “Melissa, you know that God has to slam doors in your face to make you listen. All of these things are happening at once because God is trying to get your attention. You feel like you take one step forward and two back because you do … by going against what you know to be true. Instead of feeling like you can’t catch a break, why don’t you take a break and listen and learn.” I remembered a verse so I looked it up: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.”(Isaiah 55:6) and it made me think!

              Remember when we used to ask “Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?”, and the teacher would say “I don’t know, can you?”. God says specific things to us: “Seek the Lord while he MAY be found”. It isn’t that we can’t find God … it’s that we won’t. God is available but we have to seek Him. Jesus does not want us to stay where we are; He was always moving and so we have to move as well. Jesus always said come and follow me, so why do we think we can stay in our old ways and still go down the new path He is preparing for us? The “may” in this verse gives us permission to be one with Him. This shows the people of the Old Testament (and us) that they didn’t have to just sacrifice and wait for God to rain down fire from heaven so they would get a clue and move. They were allowed to seek Him, find joy in His comfort, and get the direction they needed to do His will.

              The next part of the verse says: “Call unto Him while He is near.”. This indicates that God won’t be available to everyone at some point. We serve a loving God, but He also has justice, and we know that there is a heaven AND a hell for a reason. If we strive to keep Him near at all times, then He won’t ever be able to get too far away that we have to run to catch up. I am assured in my faith, but I don’t want to reach the end of my life and have to explain to God where I was the whole time. I want Him to know I was at the edge of the stage at His concerts holding up the glitter signs and I have proof because I was in the picture in the “Heaven Herold” that He put in His scrapbook … not having to explain that He must have not seen me because I ran out of gas and my car broke down and so I was in the back next to the porta-potty and couldn’t see Him jamming out or get His autograph!

              So what are some things to remember when we feel like we have lost sight of God? Here are a couple tips that I borrowed from some friends:

1. You can never say that God is silent when you have a thankful heart.

2. You can never say God is silent when you have an open Bible.

3. You can never say that God is silent when you are a faithful servant.

              So the next steps for me (and perhaps you):

1. Stop complaining and realize God is trying to get my attention. Be thankful for what I do have instead of focusing on the negative. (I have an amazing God, a wonderful loving family, a good job that provides and nice co-workers, a home that keeps me safe, relatively good health, and the ability to stop eating bread so I loose those 5 pounds again!)

2. Seek Him first and search for answers in His word. (Get off Facebook and open the Lord’s book!)

3. Serve others. (This helps put everything in perspective. If I am serving then I am thinking about God and others and not myself.)

              I hope God slamming the door in my face today will help you stay one step ahead of your troubles tomorrow! May God bless you and may you always seek Him.