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:


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:



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?


  • 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:

A Biblical View on Rapidly Changing Social Institutions

A Biblical View on Rapidly Changing Social Institutions

A Biblical View on Rapidly Changing Social Institutions

Third Thursday Theology Bible Study Guest Speaker – September 2016

T3 hosted Joshua Hetzler, legislative council for the Family Foundation of Virginia, as he spoke about the breakdown of our social institutions starting with the family and cumulating to the very fabric of human life – pinpointing how the devil wants to destroy who we are so he can separate us from God.

Josh’s PowerPoint Presentation: a-biblical-view-on-rapidly-changing-social-institutions

Link to Josh’s Family Foundation Blog:

Family Foundation of Virginia Website:

T3 Facebook Link: