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Friday, 5 May 2017

Diabetes and Smart Eating

A couple of weeks ago my husband was hospitalised with DKA, which is where the body develops ketones in the blood from undiagnosed diabetes.It is type 2 and unusual to have such symptoms, but it seems it was complicated and accelerated by pneumonia. Scary time, as he could have actually died. I guess the key signs were craving sweet drinks, foods. He had turned into a sugar gremlin. Then, when he started to feel unwell, sleeping all the time, then violent vomiting I just rang 999; Apparently, saving his life.
A few weeks on, and his sugars are almost back to normal.He has lost two stone in a month. I have learned a lot of things already, and will share them here.
I have discovered Gullon Spanish biscuits, sugar free from Poundland. The wafer ones are delicious, and I can eat them.
Oppo Icecream bought at Ocado. This is sweetened with Stevia, and apparently yum.
Blackcurrant no added sugar jam-Tesco. Stabilised with sorbitol.
Chocolate sweetened with stevia- available everywhere.
Just be aware too much can send you to the toilet!!
We had little advice and of course the food the hospital as giving:orange juice, jam puddings??????
I would say these are our go to foods:
Sweet potatoes, mash made with swede and cauliflower added.
Low carb bread (half veggy flour), brown sour dough, wholegrain.
Brown basmati rice, quinoa, porridge.
What we have done is reduced the carbs at dinner, and also swapped for smarter alternatives as mentioned.Snacks are limited to really low, or no sugar foods, or maybe toast, or nuts.
The thing is, we do not need all those carbs in the diet, and we found cutting out sugar not enough, as the refined carbs convert quickly to sugar. Key here is low carb diet. I haven't quite worked out eating out, but dried chips are a no, unless just a few, and no battered fish!
I am still on a learning curve, and will share recipes soon. A really nice drink is hot chocolate made with almond unsweetened milk, and cocoa powder, sweetened with xylitol.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Feed Twelve for Under a Fiver (budget meal of the week)

Looking for budget meals? I think these meatballs from Waitrose offer exceptional value this week.

They are normally £3.40 a pack, but with the five for £7 offer, it works out only £1.40 each.

To feed Twelve, you will need two packs, or more, a large bottle of essential Waitrose pasatta(88p) onions, garlic, and some basil.
I fry them first until browned, then put in pot with the pasatta, onions, and spices and cook for fifteen minutes or so.
I served with wholemeal spaghetti. This is cheapest at the moment and Asda, or Morrison's.(2 for £1)
The meatballs are also available at Ocado.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Easy Quick Meal Ideas

Hadn't realised it has been so long since posting! However, been really ill with flu, and cooking has not been on my mind, surviving has! Having said that, it is important to eat as well as you can, that is why I am sad that some families just don't seem to have time to cook, so they find it easier to go to McDonald's, or pizza hut and eat there instead. I think they just think that meals are too time consuming and complicated! I am going to list a few of my quick, less fuss meal ideas here, these are easy, and take 20 minutes to cook, and just little preparation.
Stir Fry
This is so versatile, all you need is some beef strips, bean sprouts, a pack of mixed Chinese veg, a stir fry sauce, and some noodles. I use the whole-wheat noodles nests.
The beef fries in ten minutes, and then while you are doing that heat the noodles in boiling water, until it is used up.Stir fry the veg for five minutes or so, add the stir fry sauce to meat when browned,and hey presto!

Spaghetti Bolognaise-serves 4-6
Just heat a 500g pack of mince, add garlic, basil, and bit of pepper and fry with onions, and peppers (frozen) Add a jar of pasatta, and heat for 20 minutes. Spaghetti cooks in about ten!

Again, heat up 500g mince with onions, peppers and add a can of kidney beans. Add garlic, and a packet of chilli spice. Also a jar of pasatta. Cook for. 20 minutes. Rice cooks in 20 just use 50 g per person.

Some other ideas just for quick throw in the oven meals: quiche, rice and salad,
Fish in batter and chips,
Pizza, beans, and chips.

Using a slow cooker is a great idea if you haven't got time in evening, as all the ingredients can just be thrown in and heated all day. Much easier if you know you are going to be out/ busy, or just have people coming home at different times like we do!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A New Year: Our Most Important Priority

I was recently reading, and came across something thought provoking; the general gist was this; if we don't commit ourselves to God through Bible study, prayer, doing God's will etc, then we will not reflect God, we will reflect whatever else it is we have committed to in this life, and it will be worthless, and damaging! As Christians our goal is to be perfect as He is perfect Col1:28- to be conformed to the image of Christ.

This definitely rings true, and now is a good time as any to put priority on Bible reading, as it is the start of the year, and there are many Bible in a Year plans available. I am doing one where you read from a different portion each day; The Law, Prophets, History, Gospels, etc. Last year I did the Chronological plan which was quite interesting and insightful, seeing where everything fitted in historically. If you don't feel you have the time to read that much in a day, then there are 2 year Bible plans.

It really is important to read the 'whole counsel' of God, not just bits of it; it is really tempting to just pick and choose from portions. I have found reading the whole Bible to be a blessing, and yes, even Leviticus! Amazing what you can glean from EVEN Leviticus.

I am using the Reformation Study Bible from Ligonier this year, to aid me in my study, as they brought out a NKJV last year, (yay!) Though I would have preferred the KJV. I have a lovely journalling Bible which I put all my Bible notes, and notes from sermons, and Bible studies I listen to. There is such a wealth of material out there to help, not to mention Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole, which is available free online, or at a very small price on Kindle. I love Warren Wiersbe's commentaries, too, and sometimes you can get these free, or discounted on Kindle.

I have found it is better to do my reading at, or after breakfast, as later on and my day just gets too busy. If you want a Bible that is great for devotional, reading to the kids etc, then I would recommend the Reformation Heritage Study Bible (Joel Beeke)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Favourite Books of 2016

Always on the look out for new authors to read, and for the children to read. Quite disappointed at some of the secular book offerings, as they are in my opinion unreadable; having either way too much bad language, or just the general worldly themes, and acceptance of values that are completely alien to me! I like to be encouraged, entertained,educated or challenged in a book.
My favourite genre is suspense. Secular author I have discovered in the last year is Mary Higgins Clark. Her novels do not contain bad language, or unnecessary embellishments!

For Christian suspense I have been discovering more of Dee Henderson's books, but also other authors I hadn't read, such as Barbara Ellen Brink, Patricia Bradley, Dani Pettrey, and a new male author Creston Mapes.

For something a bit different; The James Rubart Trilogy. Hard to say where it fits, but definitely a message with the books, and an intriguing one at that. Definitely in the fantasy realm.

For humour, it has to be Gervase Phinn! I really enjoy the style of his writing, and humorous without resorting to the profane. I have been reading the School Inspector fiction series, and am on the last but one book.

Life stories: The Yorkshire Shepherdess, and The Vow, also The story of Martin Luther as told by Jim Cromarty.

Secular: Lesley Thomson's Detective's daughter books. Though, there is some language in, it is rare. I found the books rather different to what I had read, and definitely a twist. I guess you could say they fit in with Murder Mystery. I also rediscovered Agatha Christie's books, and will be reading more.

Devotional: Flavel on a variety of themes, John Mcarthur, and Spurgeon. I don't think you can ever tire of Spurgeon! Also, a must check this out is Francine River's new Earth Psalms Devotional- stunning pictures, and lots of ideas for reflection!

Feel Good and Seasonal: Debbie Macomber; fairly corny, but can be uplifting! Also, a nice Christmas one I enjoyed was A Miracle at Macy's by Hulsman.

Found a new horsey author for the girls this year; Mary Gervaise. The books are from the 1950's but colourful description with good use of language, and enjoyable story lines. Not easy to find stuff the girls like that actually isn't full of boyfriend's, and wordly themes!

Any book recommendations gladly taken. Please comment! This year I am doing the Virtual Theology Reading Challenge. I have to select a book from each section. Will post on what I have chosen, soon.

Monday, 12 December 2016


It's that time of year again, but are we just going through the motions like a robot?
Christmas cards.......tick.

Christmas has become far too commercialised for my liking, it seems it is all materialistic. Also, our Pastor even referred to a radio programme where they were asking Jesus or Santa? Erm, what???
I have shared before why we don't 'do' the traditional Santa idea. For us as Christians it is all about God's gift to us, and the most important thing is that we share that good news, but have we lost that special sense of what Christmas means?
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, providentially being kept from being murdered. He lead a sinless life because He is God. Immanuel- God with us.
He pointed people to salvation which depended not on external rituals, and earning something. Salvation is free to all who repent of their sin, and believe.
Jesus died on the cross for our sin, and we can't grasp that. He was utterly forsaken at that moment, and darkness was all around. The darkness symbolic of the sense of forsaken-ness.
The curtain was torn in two- symbolic of us NOW having a way to approach God. There was no other way, as God is Holy, and he cannot tolerate sin. The only way was for Jesus to live a perfect life on earth, to die an agonising death on the cross, not just the physical agony, but the emotional agony. He rose again after three days, and this symbolises God's power. What God has ordained WILL come to pass. We know that when we trust in his atoning blood that we may die, but our souls will live on for eternity in heaven, and not be cast into the utter blackness, and darkness that is hell.
Are we thankful for His gift?
Do we set our hearts heavenward?
Are we yearning to just taste a drop of what eternity has to offer us?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Importance of Martin Luther and the Reformation

Recently, I enrolled in a Ligonier connect course moderated by Tim Challies; the topic was 'Justification By Faith Alone'. It was an eight week course, and I wasn't quite sure what I would come away with, but I did actually learn a great deal.I have made an attempt to condense it into a nutshell; a nutshell, as there was so so much!

One thing this course affirmed was that History should never underestimated, especially church history. Sadly the secular History books don't even mention Martin Luther. We have whole generations who can't even tell the difference between Roman Catholics, and Christians. Luther was the focal figure for change, and it was quite accidental on his part, although we no that God had other ideas!
Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Eisleben. It was his father's intention that he would become a lawyer, but he dropped out of that to become a monk, after a couple of disturbing episodes;the first in which he was walking, and the sword he was carrying for protection sliced through his leg causing a lot of blood loss. If that wasn't bad enough he was later struck by lightening, and was so shocked that if he called out, 'Save me St Ann, I will become a monk.'

A century earlier, a man named John Huss (meaning swan) was accused of heresy and condemned at the stake by the Roman Catholics. (His crime was simply that he elevated scripture above the churches' teaching! Many people today seem to think we get our authority and teaching from the church. No! The only authority the church has is The bible, and on that everything stands.) He said at his death, ''You may burn me, but there will come a swan that you won't silence.' These words were prophetical! Ironically Luther was ordained on the site where John Huss's body was buried!
Throughout these years it was obvious that Martin Luther had an extremely tender conscience. He was always confessing sins, even the most trivial. He never felt he was forgiven. He was extremely disturbed at the evil he saw around him. On a trip to Rome he witnessed prostitutes, filthy living, a love of luxury, and all in the very people who claimed to eschew all this! Of course when he condemned it, it didn't make him very popular. The Roman Catholics promoted 'Indulgences' basically Tetzel was one of the better known sellers of these indulgences, and basically if a person purchased these then they could be forgiven their sins. (This rather makes me think of Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, shocking that people could be so gullible, but it is actually going on today, in the sense that some claim their handkerchiefs, or water can heal, and make one wealthy!)Some of the items sold claimed to be parts of Jesus' robes, or Mary's hair locks etc.

As Luther was reading Romans, preparing a sermon one day (bear in mind only the clergy could generally read the Bible as it was all Latin, but Luther had access to the Greek and Hebrew also) he read, 'the just shall live by faith' The righteousness that God bestows by his grace. Imputation to the believer affected by faith. Imputation-God counts as putting trust in Christ, He has done the work. At that point he felt he was reborn, as he had realised that it is not as the church taught, which was Justification = faith + works. He began to see Justification by faith all through the Bible!
So, having discovered all this made him feel that the whole system of indulgences was wrong, and contrary to what scripture taught. It then caused him to nail his 95 theses to the door. Now, of course at that time that was the way in which you would raise a point to be discussed among the clergy etc, so it wasn't meant to be some huge world changing event! He basically attacked the idea that salvation, or forgiveness of sin could be purchased, and that Justification was by faith alone, not faith plus works. The catholics believed that salvation was only brought about through the church, and confession through a priest. Roman Catholics taught that baptism was a step in justification. Of course we know it is just a symbol of our faith- a public witness. They believe that faith is necessary for justification, but when sin is committed you lose that justification and now need penance: confession to priest, and works of satisfaction, and if you died with impurity on soul you would enter purgatory; which they believe is the cleansing period. Essentially they didn't have enough righteousness to enter heaven. We know that Christ was righteous, and that is why he had to live a perfect life on earth, so he could transfer that righteousness to us. His death on the cross and resurrection so important, propitiation, and expiation took place.
Expiation= Jesus removing our sins (by dying on the cross.
Propitiation= Settled demands.

The Bible appears to contradict itself in James, and Romans: In Romans chapter 4 it says that it was 'counted to him (Abraham) as righteousness.
This means that Abraham was justified the moment he put his faith in God.
In James it quotes 'faith without works is dead.'James 2:14. In context it means that if we are true believers in Christ we will do good works, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved!'If you love me keep my commandments.' This is a living faith, not a dead faith! I can only imagine how excited people were when they realised what true freedom in Christ was!
Obviously the message spread across the world, and the Pope who had control of much of Europe started to lose his stranglehold on these countries. Luther saw the Pope as the antichrist, as only Jesus, God has the power to forgive sins, and grant salvation. It seemed Rome's great wickedness had been exposed for all to see. No wonder they didn't want people reading the Bible!The Pope issued a death warrant for Luther, and all who help him. He eluded them for some time by being taken into hiding.

Through the providence of God Luther lived on till his 60's, and even married and had six children. I would urge you to read the story, it is a very interesting one. Yes, he was brash, and sometimes crude. He was what we would term anti- semetic, but you have to take it in context with the day in which he lived. One thing is certain- from this point on Christianity was not quite the same.

''Justification is the hinge on which everything turns.' John Calvin.