Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishing you a Brown Christmas so your White Christmas doesn't get Blue ...

During the holidays when even the best of us are prone to deviating a little from our healthy eating regime, information about ‘Sugar Feelings’ might be timely. Being mad, sad, and happy are regular feelings that come up in response to our everyday life. Those of us who are sugar sensitive have had very little experience with regular feelings in the past because we have been wrapped in what Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D. of http://www.radiantrecovery.com/ calls "sugar feelings."

Sugar feelings include such feelings as:

1. Feeling overwhelmed
2. Feeling that life is out of control
3. Feeling inadequate
4. Having low self-esteem
5. Not being able to follow directions
6. Being headstrong
7. Feeling victimized
8. Living in la-la land
9. Having a hard time doing your life
10. Overreacting to criticism
11. Being highly impulsive

It may be hard to believe but no amount of spiritual growth, counselling or self talk will change these feelings because they are a function of brain chemistry rather than character. These feelings are a function of a sugar-sensitive brain and body.

DesMaisons affectionately refers to this state of an unbalanced, sugar sensitive brain as "mush brain". “Mush brain” happens when we use sweet foods, eat white things and choose not to eat a healthy breakfast.

I thought for years that that was how my brain...and my body...really was. What a change in my life when I realized that these feelings were not REAL. Now when I go from a high to a low I check on what I’ve been eating because I now know that the types of feelings listed above change when my food changes. If I’m going to give myself permission to indulge a little, I remind myself that the ‘woe is me’ will pass as I clear the sugars and whites out of my system.

And that, my dear readers, is how a White Christmas becomes a Blue Christmas. So, I wish you a Brown Christmas. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, and you probably won't hear rewrites of the old Christmas carols anytime soon...but there it is!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm a very visual person so when my Every Day with Jesus (EDWJ) devotional mentions a Paul Tournier nutcracker analogy I see it quite vividly in my imagination. It is interesting to have the author use this analogy in a devotional this close to Christmas when the first thing that comes to mind is Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite which has become an annual favorite.

But Tournier's analogy brings to mind an Anne Geddes type photo with a person laying inside a nutcracker (although in my minds eye it looked more like a person curled up in a Mexican style metal lime press). With that lovely image securely in your mind, let's get back to the analogy in EDWJ.

This devotional is laid out in a way that covers one topic over a 2 month period. In the 2010 November/December issue Selwyn Hughes is covering the topic of "Soaring above the Storm." On this day, the devotional is entitled 'Coming Alongside.' Tournier, it is said, uses the analogy of the nutcracker to point out the fact that adversities and disasters apply a pressure to our lives that breaks through the hard shell of our personal security. The trick to successfully cracking a nut is to apply just enough pressure to break the shell while ensuring that the tender fleshy nut inside remains whole and undamaged. So it is with coming alongside someone, be it a friend, a family member, a patient, a client or a parishioner. As Hughes says, the real task is to be there in a way that keeps life's pressures or circumstances from destroying someone. We are called to encourage each other daily.

For many, the Holiday Season is one of those times. Let's consider ways that we can come alongside others, making it a 'safe zone' for them to come out of their shells knowing that in the midst of the pressures of life we can grow and gain insight into our lives.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart...For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
2 Corinthians 4:8-19

Friday, December 10, 2010

Need Sharpening?

“As iron sharpens iron,
so a man sharpens
the countenance
of his friend.”
(Proverbs 27:17)

I'm just stopping by today to direct you to a great blog about friendship:


I hope that it blesses you. The blog is sponsored by The Nature In Us. I have been receiving informative newsletters in my inbox from them for awhile now. I appreciate their spiritual focus on all things pertaining to nature.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Along with all the hustle and bustle of the season, we hear about Santa’s ‘Naughty and Nice’ list in traditional Christmas songs that are played. So, it's got me thinking...

I’m a Canadian: Canadians are known to be nice!

I am a Christian: Christians are often taught to be nice!

I have a Mennonite pacifist cultural background: This often translates to being nice.

With that triple-decker niceness I’m sure to be on the nice list, right?

Oh, to top it off, I’m a girl (well, technically a woman) and females are reputedly made of sugar and spice and all things nice!

Yikes! A quadruple-decker becomes a wee bit hard to balance!

All of this syrupy, saccharine niceness is too much for me. Besides, (shhhhhhhh, don't tell the children) I don’t believe in Santa. I don’t want to be on any nice list. For the past few years, I've been learning to get off of that list. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be on the naughty side either. I’ve out grown that stage of my life. But the opposite of nice is not naughty. It’s kind, it’s good, it’s honest, it’s real.

I'm not crazy about the writing style of the authors, but I recently picked up a book called, No More Christian Nice Girl: When Just Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends. Just so you don't feel left out, they've also written one for guys called, of course, No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts Men, Women and Children In an interview with CBN co-author Dr Degler is quoted as saying:
Women often times just need to look at, “OK, do my insides match up with my outsides or am I really just pretending a lot of the time? Am I lying?” Really, that’s what it is. When you aren’t speaking the truth in love, you’re lying. And that means they’ve got this Christian nice girl problem and many times what they’re going to find is that they’re not getting the abundant life that Jesus promised; their relationships are not satisfying.

That's the goal. To speak the truth in love. To have the insides match the outsides. Since 'nice' people are essentially liars! OUCH!

Your niceness 'training' may not be quadruple decker like mine. But if you want to begin to let go of your niceness you'll have lots of help because I'm not the only one who has been thinking about this. Besides the ones mentioned,there are other books such as Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill or one's written by psychotherapist Dr Evelyn Sommers

True Godliness is not PC. True Godliness is not always "nice". There are many things that Christians should not be nice about. Jesus, our perfect example and teacher, was not always nice. But He is kind. And it is His kindness that brings us to repentance.

How do you get to be more like Him? Dr. Degler sums it up well in her previously mentioned interview when she says:
You begin to speak the truth in love. Over time, if you will do that, it’s amazing how your relationships will transform. They will be more intimate. You will have the abundant life that Jesus promised. But you’ll never have that if you don’t really follow the real Jesus. He spoke the truth in love even when it cost Him.

Speaking the truth...in love. That's kindness.

Perhaps you are already on this journey with me, but if you are not, I hope that you will join me in getting rid of the many 'decks' of niceness.

No more lying then.
Everyone must tell the truth to his fellow believers
because we are all members together in the body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:25

I wish you an un-nice real honest to goodness Christmas Season.