An Open Letter to Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church

Dear Pastor Young,

Your church is in Dallas. I have not lived in Dallas for almost 2 years. Even if I wanted to, I would not be able to come to hear your new series, beginning tomorrow.

I really don’t appreciate your phone calls on Saturday morning. Unfortunately your robo-dial system just sees my area code and calls me, although I am now on the West Coast. So when you call at the “reasonable” hour of 10:00 am Central Time, it is really too early for a Saturday morning at 8:00 am Pacific Time.

Perhaps you need to rethink your “evangelism and outreach” initiatives from now on. Church is not about butts in the pews – it’s about community, and getting to know people. Taped telephone messages might let me get to know you, but it obviously doesn’t let you get to know me.

I am perfectly happy with my own church, and what you are doing is closer to sheep-stealing than evangelism.


A sleepy recipient of your calls


For any of the rest of you churchy-type people who think robo-dialers might be a good idea, let me discourage you – DON’T!

And please, if any of my gentle readers live in Dallas or the surrounding area and know/know of Pastor Ed Young, would you tell him his calls are doing more harm than good.

Thank you!

Food (a Diet Update)


In my first week on my medically supervised diet, I lost 2.5 lbs. To those of us who are used to fad diets, and starvation diets, and quick-weight-loss programs that may seem like too little. But I’m assured by my physician and my dietician/counselor that I won’t immediately regain that weight. And at this point in my life, I’m trying to focus on the long-term.

I’m also told that I am/have been dehydrated (who knew) even though I’ve been drinking plenty of tea, diet soda, etc. every day. I’m trying to fix that by being sure to drink at least 64 oz of WATER every day (I wonder what I would do if I were unlucky enough to live in one of the places like Kentucky or Arkansas whose safe water supply has been recently compromised).

I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times today by Mark Bittman, entitled Abundance Doesn’t Mean Health. Here are some of the salient points he made. His facts were reported in Oxfam’s recent report on nutrition and food in 125 countries.

  • We rank first in food affordability; food is cheap compared with other things we buy, and prices are relatively stable. We also rank highly (4th) in food “quality,” which is measured by (potential) diversity of diet, though access to good water is shockingly low (tied for 41st, about a third of the way down the list).
  • When it comes to healthy eating as measured by diabetes and obesity rates, we’re 120th: sixth from the bottom, better off only than Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Fiji and our unlucky neighbor Mexico. (Canada fares a little better; it’s 18th worst.)
  • We’re also in a tie (with Belarus and other powerhouses) for 35th in “enough to eat.”
  • Much of what’s grown with the potential to become “food” is actually turned into edible foodlike substances — in short, junk food — that produces the opposite of health.
  •  While we generally manage to keep the neediest quarter of our population from actually starving, we do not reach everyone who could use help; for example, only half of those Californians eligible for food stamps (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) actually get them.
  • The budget for food education in the United States pales compared with the marketing budget for junk food, and much of that education is either unconvincing or ignored in the face of the barrage of “fun to eat” ads for the food that is worst for us.
  • Part of the problem lies in oversight…we do not have an official government policy or agency responsible for coordinating and assuring that the nation’s investment in food and agriculture is for a nourishing and healthful food supply.
  • In the long run, what’s needed is not a Farm Bill but a national food and health policy, one that sets goals first for healthful eating and only then determines how best to produce the food that will allow us to meet those goals. It doesn’t make sense to tell people to eat vegetables and then produce junk; that leads only to bad health in the face of evident abundance.

All of this was brought home to me yesterday as I trudged around the supermarket stocking up on fruits and vegetables – the staple of this diet that I’m on. I filled my basket with the “good” stuff (zero canned foods, zero meat, zero cakes, cookies, snacks, etc.), and checked out to the tune of $54.65.

I swiped my rewards card, and came up with a savings of $00.00.



No rebate/perks/encouragement for buying and eating the stuff that’s good for you.

And is it any wonder that folks on SNAP are reluctant to spend their small amount of available cash on the “good stuff”?


Diet Update

I promised you I would keep you updated on my progress on the diet, and let you know what I’ve learned along the way. Yesterday, I met with the dietician for an hour and a half, and she basically told me NOTHING I’ve been doing to try to lose weight was right. Well, maybe not nothing, but many things.

  1. Quit drinking Diet Pepsi. It’s poison (other folks have said so, but I didn’t really believe them.)
  2. Drink at least 64 oz of water every day (and spend so much time in the bathroom you don’t have to try not to eat anything.)
  3. Don’t use artificial sweeteners, except Stevia (made from plants, not chemicals), and then only 1 packet a day.
  4. Eat protein in the morning, and fruit at night.
  5. Only one grain per day (that’s one slice of toast).
  6. Be sure to eat lots of vegetables.
  7. Eat some sort of beans every day (includes hummus – so that’s good).
  8. A few nuts every day are required.
  9. A little bit of oil is required.
  10. Only two fruit servings per day.
  11. Eat something every 2-3 hours.

Keep up with the Tai Chi and the Recumbent Cross Trainer.

So far I’m not too hungry (although I did dream of what I would have for breakfast, last night).

I’ve only been doing this for one and a half days, so the 2 lbs I’ve lost is mostly water.

That’s all for now, I’ve got to go eat a protein bar and drink a glass of water!


New Beginnings

This year, I, along with half the people in the known universe, decided I would really get serious about my weight. And to prove that I’m really going to do it this time, I signed up with FirstLine Therapy, the medically supervised weight-loss program that my doctor referred me to. I made appointments beginning yesterday through the end of February. THIS TIME I’m really going to do it.

My grandmother was overweight until she had a heart attack when she was 64 years old. After the heart attack she lost sixty (or more) pounds, and went on to live another 30 years.

Nannie & Aunt Maimie

Mama was very overweight as well, but when she was about 65 she got serious about her weight and lost about 80 pounds. She would probably still be alive today if she hadn’t died at age 78 of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mama & Papa (7)

So… I’m 69 and I figure now is the time for me to do the hard work and really lose a lot of weight (hopefully upwards of 120 pounds). I know it will take a while to get that weight off, but I really need to do it.

Abbie Watters

I’m also motivated by my baby brother who lost 50 lbs last year, and looks like a completely different person (although he’s still there underneath).

I’ve spent the last year really struggling to lose, and I’ve managed to shed 15 pounds since this picture was taken, but you can hardly tell it by looking at me.

So… All of this is a build-up for asking you, gentle readers, to help me stick with the program. I’m not going to bore you with meal by meal recaps, but I will be posting every week after I go to my appointment on Tuesdays, and reporting progress (if any), and anything I’ve learned about myself along the way. According to the doctor, I should be able to get rid of 2-3 pounds a week for the first couple of weeks and then about a pound a week. I’ll keep posting “selfies” to keep you up-to-date, but I’ll need you to “holler at me” if I start slacking off on my progress. I figure it’s going to take about a year to get all this off, so I know I’m in it for the long haul.

Pray for me, please.


Jen Bradbury – Enough

Abbie Watters – New Beginnings

Cara Strickland – Bursting

Carol Kuniholm – Acorns, King, Beloved Community

Done With Religion – A New Year, A New Beginning

Kelly Stanley – A Blank Canvas

Glenn Hager – Overcoming The Biggest Obstacle To Reaching Your Goals

Dave Criddle – Get Some New Thinking

David Derbyshire – Changed Priorities Ahead

J A Carter – The Year of Reading Scripture for the First Time

Damon – New Beginnings: Consider These 5 Questions Before Tying The Knot

Jeffrey Kranz – Where To Start Reading The Bible

Joanna990 – On survival – my one word for 2014

K W Leslie – Atonement

Happy – my One Word 365 surprise

Michelle Moseley – Ends and Beginnings

Matthew Bryant – A New Creation

Liz Dyer – It’s a new year and time to make some new mistakes

Edwin Pastor Fedex Aldrich – Foreclosed: The beginning of a new dream

Jennifer Clark Tinker – Starting a New Year Presently

Loveday Anyim – New Year New Resolutions

Loveday Anyim – New Year Resolution Dreamers

Loveday Anyim – New Year Resolution Specialists

Jeremy Myers – Publish Your Book with Redeeming Press

Amy Hetland – New Beginnings


I told you last week that I had chosen “Provide” as my word for the year. Today, I’ll try to explain a little more fully what I mean when I say “provide”, because it’s as much about what I can’t do as about what I can do.

Buttermilk Sky (2)

1.  I can’t provide emotional feelings to anyone else. In other words, I can’t MAKE somebody happy (or sad, or envious, or loving). I can act in a way that may encourage the good feelings and discourage the bad ones, but people’s feelings are their own. I need to keep reminding myself that I’m not responsible for anyone else’s feelings.


2.  Sometimes, when it comes to providing things, I can’t do it all myself. Sometimes it means getting out of the way while other people do the good work. Sometimes it means doing something with my own two little hands. Sometimes it means giving money so that folks are fed and housed. Sometimes it means organizing rallies and meetings, and sometimes it means attending them, and sometimes it only means helping publicize them. But all of those help to provide.


3.  Often providing means working with my time commitments so that I can be available at home, at church, and at other activities. I like to go places and see things, so I have to be able to say “No” to some commitments, while still providing alternative choices to be sure the commitments get taken care of.

Ian & Granddad

4.   I also have to remember that I need to provide myself with intellectual stimulation – new books, and blogs to read – awareness of current events – educational groups to connect with – classes to take – people to talk to.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I’m having such a good time in my life, that I’m sure I will have a Happy New Year. I hope you will too!

I’ve been thinking and wondering and cogitating and noodling about a One Word for this year. Several of the blogs I read regularly participate in this exercise, and I think I’m going to give it a try this year. I’ve thought about “Give”, and “Steadfast”, and “Spirit”, and “Participate” and none of those seemed quite right. So I think I’m going to try


this year. Check back on Monday, when I will try to do a better job at fleshing out what I mean, and, then on each first Monday of each month throughout the year of 2014, I’ll try to do a post about how I’ve lived up to it.