Monday, June 28, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Way Back in the Country Garden

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Way Back in the Country Garden

Hannibal Books (May 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Jennifer Nelson, PR Specialist, Hannibal Books for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Author Kay Wheeler Moore has written and spoken widely on the subject of relationships and family life. She is the author of Way Back in the Country; When the Heart Soars Free, a book of Christian fiction; and Gathering the Missing Pieces in an Adopted Life, based on her Houston Chronicle newspaper series that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She has also been a newspaper city editor and a reporter for United Press International.



Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Hannibal Books (May 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934749710
ISBN-13: 978-1934749715

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter 1: “We Were Rich”


The screen door to the farmhouse creaked open and then quickly slapped shut.


Without glancing up from her ironing board Grandma Harris knew the next sound would be that of feet pit-patting from the front porch into the living room and halting abruptly at her dining table.


Those feet, Grandma knew, could belong to any of several of her grandchildren, whose stopovers at her house were part of their regular home-from-school itinerary.


“Oh, yum, she’s got a fresh bowl full,” Grandma heard a high-pitched squeak emerge. That would be Mable, the youngest of Grandma’s daughter, Mattie, who lived across the pasture with her family.


“I was here first, Mable,” a slightly older voice cajoled. Frances, Grandma’s namesake, got irritated easily with her smaller sibling. “Don’t hog the crackers so I can have the first dip.”


“We’ve all gotta be quick before the others get here,” the oldest one, Bonnie, warned her younger two sisters. They glanced over their shoulders to see whether any of their cousins were hungrily making their way onto Grandma’s porch.


“Girls, I got plenty of tomato preserves fer ever’one—for you and yer cousins,” Grandma gently chided. She stepped from the kitchen to hug her granddaughters, who competed for the first taste of the thick, sweet treat that awaited them as an afternoon snack. “Take turns, now, so I won’t have t’ tell yer mama ya didn’t share politely.”


Grandma Harris had put out the new batch of tomato preserves earlier that day after Grandpa fetched several jars from the storm cellar which had housed them since the summer’s canning. Grandma’s long, hot days of putting up delightful red tomatoes from their garden had yielded a treasure trove of preserves Grandma could share throughout the fall and winter.


In mid-afternoon Grandma had opened the first jar and ladled its contents into a wide-rimmed, cutglass compote that stood on a gleaming, glass-stemmed pedestal in the center of her dining table. The cutglass glistened like diamonds as it reflected the sun’s light filtering through the room. Into a separate dish Grandma had set out some saltine crackers. On this particular afternoon her red-haired granddaughters—Bonnie, Frances, and Mable Miller—were the first snack-seekers.


No doubt they’d soon be followed by some of the youngsters of her other sons and daughters whose homes were also nearby.


Ultimately Grandma Harris would go on to begat 52 grandchildren in all, but she never ran out of treats for them or resourceful ways to prepare the many vegetables that she and Grandpa Harris grew in their everlastingly prolific garden. Every Sunday Grandma prepared an enormous, after-church dinner for all of her 11 children and their families who could attend.


Because their farmhouse was closest to Grandma’s, the “Three Red-Haired Miller Girls”, as many in their community of Brushy Mound knew them, hardly ever missed a Sunday—or an after-school afternoon—at Grandma’s house, where her good cooking always abounded.

* * * * * * * * * *


A century later the Harris farmhouse built on the rich, black soil of Delta County, TX, has long ago crumbled down. Grandma’s abundant garden has been plowed under with only a few derelict weeds to mark the spot where those sweet-ascandy tomatoes grew so bountifully. For more than 65 years grass has grown unbidden around the tombstone marked “Frances E. Harris”—the Miller girls’ beloved “Grandma”.


But down all the decades, the memory of Grandma’s delectable tomato preserves served in the sparkling, pedestaled compote would remain fresh in the mind of her namesake—little Frances, who was still recounting the tomato preserves story well into her 103rd year on this earth.


“We were rich,” Frances recalled to us nieces and nephews, who discreetly pumped her for just one more of her “olden-days” country tales before night would fall on her memory forever. This font of family lore was the last surviving member of that generation of our kin. At 102 years and 1 month of age Frances could still describe picking melons the size of basketballs, okra rows that were city blocks-long, and cornstalks that seemed to stand tall as skyscrapers.


Although farm families such as hers usually lacked financial means, the garden insured that no one would go hungry. Just before supper each night Mama faithfully sent Frances and her sisters out to see what was ready to be plucked from the vine and cooked up for that night’s meal.


“We had no idea we were poor,” Frances mused from her wheelchair, “because we always had food from the garden.”

* * * * * * * *


At the time Frances related her last tomato preserves story before her passing in May 2009, people everywhere were turning to backyard patches of earth again for the same reason the Miller girls and their mama and grandma did in the early part of the last century.


Economic woes in the United States and around the world have caused family incomes to plummet. Home-gardening has become a passionate new interest for people who have never planted a seed or worked a hoe. Even the wife of the U.S. President at the time, as an example for others, grew vegetables in her own White House garden. Heads of households can gaze on small stretches of garden dirt and comfort themselves in the same way Frances’ family did. After all, the Great Depression, which clouded the Miller Girls’ youth in rural northeast Texas, did not sting as much to those who could till the soil and cultivate its yield. With food from the garden, they could always feed their families and feel “rich”, no matter how lean the times or how thin the pocketbook.


My earlier cookbook, Way Back in the Country, emphasized that food, the recipes for how to prepare it, and the stories of people who cooked them are all interwoven into the fabric of family life. Way Back in the Country encouraged families to preserve not just their legendary recipes but the lore of the loved ones—such as the indomitable Grandma Harris—who made them popular. Through tales of the Red-Haired Miller Girls—my mother, Mable, and her two sisters, Frances and Bonnie—and six generations of their farm kin and the recipes that have been regulars at family gatherings for decades, Way Back in the Country inspired others to get their tape-recorders out and investigate why “Great-Aunt Gertie” always brought lemon pound cake whenever their extended families dined.


With gardening surging in popularity once more, the time seems right to revisit the Miller-Harris legends and recipe chests—this time to celebrate the role that food from one’s own soil has always played in American homes and how, in the Tight Times of this Great Recession, it makes us feel “rich” with hope and comfort afresh. Way Back in the Country Garden again will intertwine six generations of my family’s anecdotes with cooking instructions that will probably remind you of some of your own family favorites.


So prepare to laugh, cry, and traipse down memory lane once again with the Red-Haired Miller Girls and their progeny—through yarns my family told—yarns that I didn’t always witness firsthand but can try to recreate as I can envision them happening in my mind’s eye. May you soon be preserving some country gardening tales of your own and savoring the memories and tastes of yesterday.


Copyright © 2010

All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written consent of the publisher.
REVIEW:
The book traces this East Texas farm family’s line back to the early 1900's and shows how they have been happily living off the land since. It starts with the three red-headed Miller girls in their Grandma Harris’ kitchen and goes on down through the generations with real-life family experiences and stories of living off the land. Among the personal stories, the author shares several yummy recipes from Quick Peach Cobbler to Butterbeans with Ham to Baked Stuffed Onions. There are many more recipes divided into the following categories: Breakfast Foods, Relishes, Appetizers, Jellies, Salads, Beverages, Soups, Stews, Vegetable Sides, Main Dishes, and Desserts (from p.137 to p.214). In addition, there are family photos of the different generations. If you enjoy gardening and/or frugal cooking (especially with fresh produce), I think you’ll like this book.

Friday, June 25, 2010

CSN Stores

I'm excited about a new opportunity to review a product from CSN stores (over 200 stores).  They are online stores that carry a variety of items from furniture, cookware, home decor to bedding, tools, lights and more.  I will let you know what I pick and what I think about their product in the near future.  I can't wait :)!

Friday's Fave Five #18

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My fave five this week include:
1. Our Annual Father's Day Weekend Cookout.  We always have tons of fun there.

2. Croquet.  My new-found sport that I really enjoy :).

3. My favorite Father of All is God, our Heavenly Father.  My next favorite father is my dear husband.

4. My spring reading's total count was 12 1/2 books.  I enjoyed discovering great books.

5. My two posts on Faithful Feet this week: Filtering Incoming Information and Filtering Outgoing Information.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spring Reading Thing 2010 Wrap-Up

This spring, I managed to read 12 1/2 books as follows (you can read my review of each book by clicking on the titles):-

- On Guard (Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision) by William Lane Craig
  
- Storylines (Your Map to Understanding the Bible) by Andy Croft and Mike Pilavachi

- 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad (What Fathers Can Do to Make a Lifelong Difference) by Jay Payleitner
  
- This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano, illustrated by Mark Elliot. 

- The Secret Holocaust Diaries (The untold story of Nonna Bannister) by Nonna Bannister with Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin

- Real World Parents (Christian Parenting for Families Living in the Real World) by Mark Matlock

- Fear to Freedom: Victim to Victory by Rosemary Trible (This is the one book that I started but have not finished.)

- Just Like You (celebrations of life from every continent) written by Marla Stewart Konrad, illustrated by Lin Wang

- Rooms by James L. Rubart

- Let's Have a Daddy Day by Karen Kingsbury

- The Overseer by Conlan Brown

- Reborn To Be Wild (Reviving Our Radical Pursuit of Jesus) by Ed Underwood

- True Religion by Palmer Chinchen
  
Out of all the books on the list above, my favorites are the last two.  I'm not a fiction fan, but surprisingly, I did enjoy Rooms and The Overseer.

To see other participants' wrap-up posts, visit Katrina at Callapidder Days for the links.

FIRST Wild Card Tour: True Religion

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook (June 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Palmer Chinchen has served as pastor of The Grove in Chandler, Arizona, for the past seven years. He grew up in Liberia, West Africa, and as an adult has led many people on numerous mission trips around the world. He has served in college ministries in Wheaton, IL, and southern California and has taught Spiritual Formation at African Bible College. Chinchen is passionate about Christians responding to affliction and injustice in the world. He holds a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and a BA and MA from Biola University in California. He lives with his wife and four children in Chandler, Arizona.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 078140343X
ISBN-13: 978-0781403436

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


TRUE RELIGION


I believe God wants us all to live bothered by things around us that are not right. The world is a broken place, and He has put you and me here to make it whole. Possibly the most important indicator of true religion is the desire to love and care for people who hurt.



Trues


Some friends told me about a brand of jeans that are popular with the Hollywood crowd and the fabulously rich; they’re called True Religion. I stopped and looked at them in a store the other day—the

price tag read $348. That might become your religion if you spent so much on jeans, but that certainly is not true religion.


Jesus’ brother James said it like this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless [true religion] is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”


Can I just say if I were to ever spend $348 on a pair of jeans, then I’ve lost all bearing on life? Seriously, if children in Malawi are being chained to trees because there’s not enough food to go around, or if Africa is filled with children living bare naked because they have no clothes … then how on earth could I make any sense of spending $348 on jeans?


True religion is more about others and less about me. Living out true religion means I’ve stopped being so concerned about what I want and what I get, and I spend my days caring about what others don’t have and what others need. The Christian life is meant to be that way.


Jesus explained true religion like this: “Whenever you feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give water to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, or loved the unloved—you love Me!”


My favorite introspective writer, Brennan Manning, observes, “Jesus spent a disproportionate amount of time with people described in the gospels as: the poor, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the hungry,

sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the persecuted, the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy burdened, the rabble who know nothing of the law, the

crowds, the little ones, the least, the last, and the lost sheep of the house of Israel…. In short, Jesus hung out with ragamuffins.”


So, in the name of Jesus, give your life away to love people who hurt! God wants everyday people like you and me to be His hands and feet. So go! Love the marginalized, free the oppressed, show mercy to the hurting, give to the poor, feed the hungry, love the orphans and the widows, and take good news to the lost.



Margins


Jesus always seemed to notice when people were pushed into the margins. They are still there today. But too often they are the invisible ones. We pass them and don’t know their names. We don’t stop to ask about their pain. They are the forgotten ones.


Jesus lived bothered by abuse, injustice, and oppression.


On one occasion He happened upon a crowd of men planning the stoning of a woman accused of adultery. Jesus’ eyes pierced the men surrounding the shamed woman. She stood guilty of adultery and infidelity. But Christ stood close. His fists were clenched, His words were curt: “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.”


The silence was deafening. He slowly bent down and wrote with his finger. Were they words of compassion he wrote? Was it a line from the Torah? Theologians have debated the words in the sand for centuries. Personally, I believe he wrote this: “The first one of you who dares to throw a rock at this beautiful woman … I will personally beat you down!” Okay, I’m probably wrong, but I like the thought, and I might be close. I feel this way because His attitude toward injustice was always—NO WAY! Not on my watch; not as long as I am here.


This must be our attitude as well. We must develop a moral conscience. Injustice should gnaw at our soul. Begin to be bothered by situations that are not right. Start speaking up when things are not right. This is what the Lord requires of His followers.


We all need to live a bit more bothered when something is wrong with this world.



Moral Dilemmas


Christians talk much about conversion and change. An important aspect of the change that must take place in the believer’s life is moral transformation. All people are created with a moral dimension to their human personality. In much the same way we grow and change physically, we also develop morally.


Donal Dorr, who writes extensively on the need for a balanced faith, one that addresses issues of justice, says we need a moral conversion. Because sometimes Christians have a conversion of the intellect, but their soul remains calloused to what is not right in this world.


Harvard University professor Lawrence Kohlberg developed the idea of Stages of Moral Development. He explains that people develop morally in stages.5 For example, children do not understand or comprehend justice the way adults should; that’s why two-year old always say, “Mine!” We’re supposed to outgrow that.


The problem is that as Christians we often only teach moral knowledge. But unfortunately, moral knowledge does not always lead to moral action. The moral conscience can be scarred, callused, or ignored. For example, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew the Hebrew Bible inside and out, yet Jesus said if they were to see a bleeding man on the side of the road they would walk on by. Their spirituality was not true religion.


The ancient Jewish prophet Micah wrote about true religion, religion that makes the heart of God smile: “He has shown you all people what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”


Jesus described his own purpose and mission as this: “He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.”


I would argue then that moral transformation often comes when we are willing to step outside our places of comfort and safety and not just think morally but do morally. When you give yourself away to the world, when you live out your religion as God intended, you open your life to being stunned by God and having your moral character transformed.


The world is filled with places and actions that are unjust and oppressive. A primary Christian duty is to put an end to these practices. Live convinced that you can change what is wrong in this world and make it just a little bit more beautiful.



Unsilenced


My friend Scott Erickson, who paints the images that are branded on his heart from his travels to Cameroon, says he paints so that his art becomes a voice for all in Africa who have been silenced.


Part of our Christian duty is to become a prophetic voice. By this I mean you and I speaking out, as did the ancient Jewish prophets, against practices that are not right.


The work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire has revolutionized the way Christian educators talk about our moral duty. Frustrated with Brazil’s oppressive educational system, Freire began promoting the idea of conscientization.


Conscientization is the process by which people become aware of practices around them that are dehumanizing. People must first realize their oppression before they can confront it and overcome it.

Liberation comes through conscientization. The more people understand their oppression, the more they become human. And once the marginalized can name and verbalize the oppression, they become empowered to take part in confronting, speaking out against, and reshaping that reality.


But you don’t have to go to the Democratic Republic of Congo or Sudan to see oppressive practices that need your voice.


The first time I passed a sheriff’s chain gang in Arizona, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Women in prison-striped uniforms hoeing weeds … chained at the ankles, with shotgun-toting deputies standing watch. I was shocked. It looked like a scene from 1950s rural America.


My soul ached to the gut. Yes, these women may have committed crimes that deserve incarceration—but not this dehumanizing humiliation. I hurt for them. I wanted to cry for them. My thought was, “Palmer, you must do something …” So I hung a U and got out. I approached the deputy and asked if he would give a message to the sheriff. He listened patiently as I said, “Please tell your sheriff that in Chandler, we do not want women humiliated. In Chandler, we believe that every person should be treated with dignity and respect. In Chandler, we want this practice stopped.” He was kind enough to say he would pass my message along.


All human beings have great worth. Regardless of race, gender, ability, wealth, religion, or nationality, all people deserve dignity and respect. This is not only a Christian argument or position. This is a

moral position. To publicly humiliate another person is immoral and unjust. It’s wrong at every level.


Who among us would stand idly by while a person maliciously scarred da Vinci’s Mona Lisa with graffiti? We would scream NO! Stop!—we would take action because this painting is deemed beautiful and priceless. How much more beautiful and priceless is the life of a woman—even one in chains!


The Christian today must be aware of the pain that society, consciously or unconsciously, imposes on people. The suffering is real, it hurts, and it’s time to stop it.



Respond


Solomon, in his great wisdom, explained that empathizing with those who hurt is not enough: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”


About twenty of us Chinchens were standing under the shade of a giant tree at Disneyworld trying to decide where to head next when just a few feet away I noticed a young couple arguing loudly. I turned just in time to watch him raise his hand high and slap her hard across the face.


I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed. Without thinking, I reacted by grabbing him from behind.… Okay, I realize this was not a pastoral response, but I’ve got some Scotch-Irish in my blood.


“What are you thinking?! You can’t hit her,” I blurted out.


“She was asking for it,” he mumbled, still in my grip.


“Well, not here,” I stated with conviction. “Never, ever again will you hit her. Is that clear?”


I’m not sure if it was the headlock or my convincing words, but he agreed.


Anywhere in the world, slapping a woman is despicable … especially at the happiest place on earth!


~~~~~


As I said earlier, Christian morality is not simply about having good judgment on issues of right and wrong; it’s more about moral action—doing what it right.


In the late 1960s, John Darley and Bibb Latane were the first researchers to do extensive studies on the psychological phenomenon of noninvolvement, or why people fail to help when someone is in distress.


Darley and Latane found several reasons why bystanders will simply watch a person drown, for example, and do nothing. One is stage fright: “I may appear foolish if they really do not need help.” Another reason is risk: “They may pull me under, and I may drown with them.” Still another reason is deferred involvement: “If others are not helping, I guess I don’t need to help.”


Here’s what’s most bizarre. The more people present, the less likely it becomes that someone will help! Researchers have put children on the streets of both cities and small towns and had them say to passing strangers, “I’m lost. Can you help me?” People in cities like New York kept walking. I’m not kidding. People in small towns were far more likely to help. Their finding was that it’s better to be desperate in a small town with fewer people than in a city, especially New York, with many passersby.


We can live a lifetime that way. We can see pictures of women chained to trees as slaves in Sudan and say, “That’s sad. I’m sure the U.N. will put a stop to that.” Or we can watch CNN and see men eating dirt out of cans in Malawi to ease their hunger pangs and think, “That’s not good. I’m sure World Vision will ship in some rice.” We do this never realizing the responsibility may be ours!


~~~~~


I was glad to be getting out of Kenya. The county had been going through months of civil unrest. For the first time in decades, Kenya had become a place of violence. Neighbors who had lived for years peacefully next door to one another were now turning on each other because of tribal differences. The mood of the country surprised even Kenyans.


I woke up early to catch my flight to Monrovia and left my hotel by six thirty. But as my taxi driver went past Nairobi’s central park, it was already filling with riot police and water-cannon trucks. In spite of the government’s objections, a new political party was planning demonstrations for this day, and no one expected them to be peaceful. I was really glad to be getting out of Kenya.


We made our way onto the four-lane road that leads to the Nairobi airport and were doing about sixty when suddenly the minivan in front of us abruptly changed lanes, striking the rear quarter panel of a minibus to its left. The minibus was packed full of passengers, at least a dozen. The minibus swerved left, then right, then violently flipped onto its side. It skidded before rolling up onto its roof, which immediately collapsed.


I have to be honest—when I saw the minibus full of people crash onto its roof, my first thought was, “Let’s get out of Kenya. Riots are coming. If you stop you may miss your flight. The road is busy with cars; of course others will stop to help. Palmer, you don’t have to get involved.”


But of all thoughts, in that nano-moment, my mind raced back twenty-plus years to the memory of Mike driving past the upsidedown taxi. And I remembered my promise: I will live differently.


“Driver, stop the car!” I shouted with urgency. We both jumped out running. He was a Christian too; we had been listening to praise songs in Swahili.


The collapsed roof had smashed every window in the van. The openings were now barely wide enough to pull people out. Others joined as we took people by their arms or legs and eased them through the shattered glass. Within just a couple of minutes everyone was out. Some had minor cuts or bruises to their heads, but miraculously no one appeared critically injured.


Just as I was feeling relieved, my driver shouted, “They’re beating the other driver.” I turned to see a mob attacking the driver who had caused the accident. Some were kicking him in the head, others

punching, some throwing huge stones.


In Africa they call it mob justice. If you hit a pedestrian with your car, the mob will beat you to death. If you steal a shirt off a neighbor’s clothesline, the mob will chase you and beat you to death. It’s become a senseless form of law enforcement that, unfortunately, unemployed young men seem to take pleasure in.


With my driver shouting at the mob in Swahili, I ran into the midst. Pushing to the middle I dropped to my knees and bent over the man to protect him from the blows. A thought flashed through my head—“I hope they don’t turn on me.” Strangely, I did not feel afraid. I sensed that a man was dying and I had to do whatever I could to save his life.


I looked up as one man buried his foot in the man’s side and clasped my hands together, a sign of pleading, and yelled, “Palebe, palebe!” (In Chechewa, the national language of Malawi, where

I had just been the day before, this means please. But now I was in Kenya where they speak Swahili.) They seemed to know what I meant. Their faces were still filled with rage, but the kicking and punching stopped. The stones were dropped.


The angry men continued to argue with my driver in Swahili (he later translated): “We want to kill him. He’s a fool. He deserves to die!”


My driver was adamant in return, “No, you will not.”


The man had been struck hard on the back of the head by a cement block. He was unconscious when I first bent over him. I held his head and began to say, “You have to get up, you can’t stay here, they want to kill you.” He regained consciousness, and I helped him sit up. I rubbed the debris from the back of his head and finally helped him to his feet. I waited till the mob dispersed.


Just the day before I had been feeling sorry for myself because during this particular trip to Africa I had missed my wedding anniversary, I had missed my son’s eighteenth birthday, and I had missed a large weeklong event at my church. But as we drove the rest of the way to the Nairobi Airport the thought hit me that maybe this was the only place God wanted me. Because if God used me to save just one man’s life, then it was worth everything I had left behind.


I’m not a hero, just a Christ-follower trying to do what I encourage others to do.


Give your life away.


Pour it into people.


Souls last forever.



Ideas for Becoming the Expatriate


Rent more movies with subtitles. France, India, and Japan, for example, are producing an increasing number of good films that rarely make it into American theatres.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. True Religion by Palmer Chinchen. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.
MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
I love this book! The author and I share the same passion and vision: to reach the world with the love of Christ not only locally but also globally. This book aims to make you bothered; the author shares several disturbing events that may shock you. I am indeed bothered (often digusted) by the prevalent evil, injustice, oppression, and sufferings in the world. The author's goal is to challenge us to give our life away to make a difference in the world. The book encourages us to put the two greatest commandments (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself) into action. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) That's true religion! We, Christ's followers, are to live and love like Jesus does, to spend and want less but to care and give more, to be more Christ-centered and other-focused. "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." (~Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision) May our heart be bothered/broken and may we do all we can to take pieces of heaven to places of hell on earth by sharing the Good News, God's love, hope, our time, talents, and treasures/resources with the hurting world!

Note: David C Cook is sponsoring the “True Religion Missions Trip Scholarship” through October 31. The winner will receive $1,000 to apply towards a short term mission trip. For more information, visit www.TrueReligionBook.com.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Weekend 2010

Every year, we drive to Washington to have a BBQ at my father-in-law's house during Father's Day weekend. Great food, great company, and tons of fun! This year we (our family of five, my father-in-law, my sister-in-law, and our nephew) played croquet and baseball. I had never played croquet before and I enjoyed it a lot. We paired up into four teams and then changed different partners for the next rounds. We all had a fabulous time!
Today, we had a quiet, relaxing day at home celebrating Father's Day with the world's best dad (to us).  My husband is recovering from a stomach flu and my daughter got hit with the same stomach flu today so we were taking it easy at home.  We gave my husband a card, the picture of the kids with Daddy, and two Vision Forum CDs about  fathers.  My children are truly blessed to have such a Godly daddy!  "The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him." (Proverbs 20:7)

Friday, June 18, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Reborn To Be Wild

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook (June 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Ed Underwood oversees the ministries of Church of the Open Door in southern California with Judy, his wife of almost forty years. Still a “Jesus Freak” at heart, Underwood placed his faith in Christ during the Jesus Movement of the late 60s, and his passion in life is to see revival one more time. During his lifetime, Underwood has served as a fireman and a commissioned Army officer, but his passion for revival moved him to enter full-time ministry. Reborn to Be Wild is Underwood’s second book. He wrote his first, When God Breaks Your Heart, after almost dying from a vicious and chronic disease.

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700178
ISBN-13: 978-1434700179

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Meeting Jesus on the Streets


I don’t have to wonder what it would be like to be a part of a genuine revival. I lived through one in the late 1960s and 1970s. I was there. I didn’t meet Jesus in a church—I met Him on the streets of Bakersfield, California.


If you knew me in those days before I met Jesus, you would never have thought that I would be writing about revival forty years later. Especially if you knew and thought what religious people knew and thought back then.


There was no way the people who knew and believed that stuff would have chosen me to be on their team. I was the guy who didn’t even know that the Bible had books, the one who went to church only because it was Mother’s Day and my grandmother’s church had some type of pack-a-pew-for-Jesus event and my grandmother, Sister Patrick to her friends, was part of it. You didn’t have to worry about me coming to your church because I didn’t want to be there in the first place. I was the guy telling dirty jokes in class and buying beer for my friends, the one who loved it that the teachers couldn’t figure out, “What has happened to Eddie? He used to be such a good boy.”


Well, I wasn’t a good boy anymore and I liked it that way. I hated just about everything having to do with authority, and if you had anything to do with God, you had a lot to do with authority. So I didn’t want to be on your sorry team.


No, if you had anything to do with religion or church or God, you wouldn’t have chosen me to be on your team. You wouldn’t have picked any of my friends either. In your most undisciplined theological imagination, you would never have dreamed that my friends and I had anything to offer “God’s Team.


Fortunately for me, and for them, God doesn’t let religious people choose who gets to be on His team.


I became part of a very special team chosen by God, a handpicked army of revolutionaries who took our culture by storm—thousands of us at the center of the last great revival of American history, the Jesus Movement.


But to understand our revival, you have to know more about us, my generation. I graduated from high school in 1968.


1968


I like Tom Brokaw a lot. His books and documentaries move me because he is more than accurate; he is passionate and honest. When he told the stories of the men who went to war with my dad and the women they left behind, I felt like he was letting others know what I already understood about those boys who gathered into bands of brothers and stared down Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, and Stalin. They were the greatest generation because they saved our skins and didn’t brag about it.


He also wrote about my generation in his book Boom!: Voices of the Sixties. When I read and listen to him it’s like hearing the slightly older brother or very young uncle I never had but always wished for explain what happened to us—to me. How we could be so noble and so screwed up at the same time. So open to ideas but so unbending in our convictions. So full of advice, but so unwilling to listen. So bent on changing the wide, wide world, but so incapable of changing the little worlds around us: our marriages, our families, and our neighborhoods. So full of hope for the future, but so full of anger about the past.


His documentary 1968 with Tom Brokaw takes us through what historians tell us is one of the most tumultuous and decisive years in American history. For twelve months America stood at the crossroads of who we always were and who we might become. The anger fueling the debates over politics, civil rights, feminism, music, and recreational drugs turned to rage in 1968.


In a single summer, terrorists shot and silenced two of the most powerful voices for change when a homegrown Southern bigot gunned down Martin Luther King Jr. for “his people,” and an angry Palestinian from Jerusalem placed a small caliber pistol to the back of Bobby Kennedy’s head and pulled the trigger “for his country.”


Riots broke out; we burned our own neighborhoods and beat our own people over the head with nightsticks. We watched a war on TV in all its gruesome reality and wondered why our boys couldn’t stop the real enemy in their Tet Offensive and why they had to shoot women and children in a tiny hamlet named My Lai. Our brothers were dying in Vietnam and our sisters were burning their bras. Bob Dylan had warned us in 1964, “the times, they are a-changin’.”


They weren’t just a-changin’; they were a-fallin’-apart!


We questioned everything, read the writings of revolutionaries, and decided to start one. Our motto was simple, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty!” Ours was a revolution of the people, and it happened on the streets of our campuses and cities.


Brokaw brilliantly depicts the political and cultural aspects of the revolution using images and firsthand accounts. Everything he says about the 1960s is true, but there was more—a revolution he never mentions, a revolution that maybe he didn’t see, a revolution that hardly ever made the nightly news on earth but a revolution that was big news in heaven.


It was a revolution of the Spirit of God.


Towards the end of the documentary, Bruce Springsteen says, “The 1960s made room for outsiders and their ideas.”


I was one of those outsiders for whom the spiritual revolution of the sixties made room, and the ideas erupting from our redeemed hearts hit the streets of the campuses and cities of America with the freshest expression of the good news modern man had ever heard.


The Outsiders


It intrigues me that Springsteen used the same word the apostle Paul used to describe those who now find room for their ideas in a revolution—outsiders.



Paul used the Greek term three times to remind Christians of their responsibility to live in a way that “outsiders” (NIV, NASB) or “those outside” (NKJV) would want to know more about Jesus (1 Cor. 5:12; Col. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:12). Outsider is his technical theological description of people who live outside of God’s mercy and grace. Outsiders were those living in the domain of darkness, outside the borders of the kingdom of the Son of His love (Col. 1:13).


Even if I didn’t know what the Bible called it, I couldn’t think of a better title for the place we lived before God’s love brought us inside—darkness. The revolution reached into the darkness outside, where we lived:


• Tough, hip neighborhoods where God was for dorky church kids and the only thing we liked about Jesus was that he wore long hair and sandals.


• Busy, preoccupied homes that didn’t have time for the silly charades of religious folk.


• A culture in which grace was when a well-starched family took the booth next to yours in a restaurant, bowed their heads and folded their hands in a way that made everyone around them feel weird.


• Neighborhoods where loyal, lifelong friendships seemed to be unraveling from the pressures of growing up, where mercy was what you called for just before blacking out when the big neighbor kid caught you in his famous “sleeper hold.”


Oh, it was darkness all right. But it didn’t seem dark to us then, before we saw the light. It was just life, our reality, our dark reality. From the core of our blackened souls to the gloomy, immoral rhythms of our everyday lives, to the sinister generational evil we were trying to ignore, we were incapable of knowing anything but darkness.


I think our hopelessness had a lot to do with our revolution that became a revival. From the darkness of our lives, we couldn’t see the light, had never seen it before. We didn’t entertain ideas about how much the light might need us or how it could improve our lives in ways that would enhance our career or get us to heaven when we were through doing what we wanted to do down here. We were blinded by the light.


Before we met Jesus, we were outsiders and we knew it. After we took Him at His word, we were insiders, and we knew that, too. And we knew how we got on the inside. Jesus rescued us from darkness. We couldn’t quote it from memory because we probably didn’t know where to find it in our crisp new American Standard New Testaments, but when we read His words, we knew Peter was talking about us when he said:


But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9–10)


If you’re going to have a revolution, you need to have new ideas. If you’re going to find new ideas, they will never come from those who are comfortably inside. They come from the outside, from outsiders. Even though we were now inside the borders of the kingdom of the Son of God’s love, the old insiders never did embrace us. To them we would always be outsiders.


It didn’t bother us much. Actually, it didn’t bother us at all. To be totally honest, we dug it. Our hearts were on fire with the love of Christ and we didn’t really trust them with the fire anyway. All they wanted to do was douse it, control it, or worse, take credit for it.


And so we did what outsiders often do, we started a revolution fueled by a passion insiders can’t know… unless they reach out to us. And like revolutions everywhere, our fresh expressions of truth didn’t move along the protected stain-glassed corridors of the institutional church. Our revival happened in the very places that had been deserted by most religious insiders as they watched in horror, threw up their hands, and screamed bloody murder from inside their cloistered fortresses of irrelevance. It happened on the street.


Street Scenes


When I hear most other Christians talk about their spiritual journeys, I’m reminded of how different our stories are. They talk about hearing a powerful sermon and deciding to do this or being at a Christian retreat and realizing that, or the way a Sunday school teacher or youth pastor told them what they needed to hear. The story usually starts at church or some religious event surrounded by Christians.


I didn’t know any people who were Christians, but a lot of the people I did know were becoming Christians. None of it happened at church.


The very first conversation I remember ever having about God was with an old drinking buddy and fellow degenerate. It was during homeroom at South High. Mike, Jim, and I always sat together near the back. That way Miss Beane couldn’t tell that we weren’t discussing our assignments. I can’t remember what we were talking about but I’m sure it had something to do with girls or beer or sports. I’m also sure it had a lot to do with the fact that everyone else around us was stupid. Mike, Jim, and I were smarter than most of our peers and we knew it. We thought we were cooler than everyone else too, but we probably weren’t.


One of us brought up the subject of Bobby. Bobby used to do everything with us. He was our contact at the local grocery store where he stocked shelves. We would give Bobby the money to pay for the massive amounts of beer we needed for the weekend and he would put the money in the cash register before sneaking cases of Coors in bottles out the back door in big toilet paper boxes. We wouldn’t want to steal.


“So what do you think? Is Bobby a Jesus freak? I heard that he’s not going to get us beer anymore.”


Somehow the next comment turned the conversation in a way that amazes me today. I know it happened because I was a part of the discussion, I just can’t believe that we were talking about it.


“Hey, how does this work anyway? If there is a God, then He has to know everything, doesn’t He?”


“Yeah, seems like He should.”


“Okay, if He knows everything, then He must cause everything. Right?”


“Wait a minute. Slow down, what are you getting at?”


“Well, if I’m supposed to somehow accept Jesus, but God already knows what I’m going to decide, because He’s controlling me, then how can He send me to hell if I don’t do it?


“Do what?”


“Accept Him, or Jesus, or whatever it is we’re supposed to do.”


“How can He send anyone to hell? It’s all His fault, isn’t it?”


Mike broke in. “I asked Bobby about that. He said he didn’t know, but he would ask someone. He said the important thing is that we should know that God loves us and that He wants to have a relationship with us.”


Jim and I immediately reacted. “What? Have you been talking to Bobby about this (let me use a better word than we used on that day) … stuff?”


That’s how the revival started, how it began moving. People like Bobby were everywhere. On every football team, in every car club, every drinking buddies club, every neighborhood, every dorm, every locker room, every Spanish, history, and physics class, every cheerleading camp, cruising every strip, sitting in every McDonald’s, every group waiting to catch the next wave at Huntington Beach, every work crew improving trails in the High Sierras, at every family reunion, every wedding, every party, every spirit rally and dance in the school gym. At every event that gathered high school and college students together—there was a Bobby. There was someone who had just discovered the grace and mercy of God and who simply refused to stop talking about Jesus.


The penetration was that broad and that deep. When I think of it now, it absolutely blows me away. We were three pagan kids sitting in our little corner of the universe debating the sovereignty of God and the free will of man!


The critical time in each of our lives was when God came onto our scene, to our street, our homeroom, our team, our dorm. He did this by sending a Bobby. The scenes of my life shifted dramatically as God brought my Bobby to my street.



Scene 1, Home Phone


“Hey Eddie, this is Bobby. I’m on my way out to Phil’s new ranch. He needs me to watch the ranch house for him tonight. He has to work. You want to come with me? I’ll cook you some steaks from the steer we butchered last week.”


Before I said yes, I thought it through. I had heard about this so-called ranch. Phil was the first one to fall for Bobby’s Jesus message, and he was all in. I never saw him in the old places anymore. His girlfriend told people that he broke up with her because he didn’t think that their relationship was “pleasing to God.” Since I knew what they were up to (the same things we were all up to), I had to agree with him on that point. If there was a God, He probably didn’t like the things we were doing with our girlfriends. Phil and a couple of his new Jesus friends had actually rented a ranch outside of town. How they did it, I didn’t know. How do three guys our age rent a whole ranch?


Word on the street was that they got together out there and had Jesus meetings. They would all work together to care for the stock and keep the place up. Guys, girls, all together feeding cows, cleaning stalls, brushing horses, watering crops, washing walls, painting the barn, cooking meals and doing dishes. In the evening, they would all get around a campfire and someone who knew something about Jesus would teach stuff from the Bible and they would all sing Kumbaya and then pray and hug each other.


Anyway, that was what someone told us.


It sounded boring compared to our Friday nights of cruising the strip, getting drunk, and picking up some girls if we got lucky, or getting in a fight with guys from North High if our luck ran out.


But I did hear that some of the best-looking girls in Kern County were there. And Bobby was my friend. I calculated.


What do I have to lose? What could happen on a Tuesday night anyway? Besides, I could use some steak and nobody else will be there. It was a good excuse to get out of the house.


“Okay, Bob. Come on by. But I don’t want to talk about Jesus all the time.”


“I promise, Eddie.”



Scene 2, The Ranch


“Great steak, Bobby. But, I sure could use a beer.”


“Sorry, no beer out here. What do you think of the place?”


“Pretty nice. Feels good to be out here. You come here a lot?”


“Most nights after work at the market. I like getting away. We really have a lot of fun out here, Eddie.”


“You mean at your ‘Jesus Parties’?”


That’s not what we call them. We’re just a bunch of Christians getting together. I’m no different from you, Eddie. Only forgiven …”


“Bobby, you promised,” I stopped him.


“You’re right. Sorry. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Mo’s coming by tonight on his way down to L.A. He’s just crashing here for the night.”


“No problem. Just don’t wake me up when he gets here.”


I had heard about Mo. His real name was Craig and he was Phil’s old friend who used to live in Bakersfield but now lived up north. He went to Chico State and all the Jesus people talked about him like he was the coolest thing since whipped butter. Long hair parted down the middle, drove an MG, talked a lot about philosophy and religion, understood some things about the Bible, and lived in some type of Jesus commune or something. He was a student leader of this “club.” They called it Young Life.


I didn’t want to talk to that character, so I made sure they thought I was asleep when he showed up around midnight. But I listened to this guy and my friend Bobby talk late into the morning. I heard every word. I still tear up today as I write these words telling you what their sentences awakened in my heart that night: a spiritual desire for Jesus more powerful than any sensual desire I had ever experienced.


They were talking about Jesus like they were talking about a friend, only different. They not only admired Jesus, it seemed like Jesus was really a part of their lives. I began to wonder if maybe they had something, if maybe I was missing something, something big, something forever.


Then they began to talk to God about people, some of the people I knew. I guessed that this must be how they prayed. Didn’t sound like any prayer I had ever heard at Grandma Sister Patrick’s little country church. It was just conversation and they weren’t telling God how bad these people were; they were asking Him to help them show these people how much He loved them. They asked God how they could help these people believe in Jesus, how they could tell them about what a difference Jesus was making in their lives.


And then they mentioned me. As far as I knew then, this was the first time anyone had ever talked to God about me in a way that wasn’t bringing up all the stuff I hoped He hadn’t noticed.


I stared at the wall, didn’t move a muscle, and secretly hoped God was listening to them.


The next morning Bobby and I left before Mo stirred.


“You okay, Eddie? Pretty quiet. Did we wake you up last night? We tried not to be loud.”


“No,” I lied. “I’m just thinking about my day.”


No I wasn’t. I was thinking about my night, last night and the rest of my life and beyond. I was deciding that maybe I needed to ask Bobby more about Jesus, that maybe I wanted to meet this guy, Mo, or Craig, or whatever his name was. Maybe I wanted to be able to talk about God and to God in the same way they did.


But not right now, I told myself as we hit the first red light back into town. I needed time to think and room to breathe.



Scene 3, Kern County


I had plenty of time to think, but no room to breathe. I remember the months following the night Bobby and Mo prayed for me at Phil’s ranch as the most miserable months of my life. The darkness was beginning to smother me.


• Larry got killed in Vietnam just a few months after I organized his going-away party, where we all got drunk and told him he was “too ornery to get killed.” No, he wasn’t; I helped carry his casket from the chapel to his grave. And then we all “remembered” his death by having another party in the same place

with the same people. The only difference was that this time we all loaded up in my ’69 GTO and a couple of other muscle cars and went out to Beach Park where the hippies and protestors hung out and beat a couple of them within an inch of their lives. We told ourselves that we did it for Larry and America, but we knew better. We knew we were just being mean because we didn’t know what else to do with the pain.


• My girlfriend, the one I hoped God didn’t know what I was doing with in the backseat of my GTO, met some guy at a ski resort in the Sierras and decided that she wanted to become an Olympic skier and that she needed some “space” to train. Right.


• I launched a very short and unsuccessful career as a petty thief. I felt horrible when we stole stuff from friend’s garages, batteries from tourists’ cars, and hard liquor from anywhere I happened to be when I noticed it on the shelves. I didn’t even want the stuff, but it made me popular with my friends. I gained quite a rep as a reckless dude, until I got caught and spent the night in jail, scared spitless. My dad didn’t say much on the drive home. He just kept looking at me with that, “What happened to my son?” look I was beginning to recognize. I had no answers to that question because I was asking it myself.


• And college? Forget that. All of my smart friends who had been with me in the smart kid’s classes since first grade were off to places like UCLA, USC, and even the Air Force Academy. Me? I was flunking out of the local community college because I spent all my time at the lake water skiing or at the pool hall, honing my “skills” in these two life-success-critical talents.


Kern County was my open-air playground—skiing on pristine lakes in the foothills on weekdays when we were the only boat in the water, hunting quail in the Sierras whenever I felt like it, skipping class and heading to the pool hall where an old guy sold us drinks as if he really believed we were twenty-one. We were living the 1960s dream expressed in the songs we listened to on the radio—we took “surfin’ afaris” whenever we felt like it, drove “country roads” proving that we were “born to be wild,” got lovin’ “eight days a week,” and “lived for today.”


But the dream was turning into a nightmare for me. Especially when I was alone. When I was alone the desperate lyric of the day seemed more appropriate, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”


As the suffocating shadows closed in, proving that Simon and Garfunkel didn’t know what they were talking about—that darkness was not my friend—another friend dropped by, a friend whose smile brought a glimmer of light to my dark existence.


Bobby.



Scene 4, Keith’s House


The smell of the sizzling quail filled the house. Mom and Dad were gone somewhere and I was all set to watch something on TV when Bobby walked in the way he used to when we were close. He never knocked because he didn’t need to. My family loved him. He was the only one I ever knew who did that; it was just his way.


He popped in to report that Billy Graham was going to be on TV later and told me I should listen to him. Then, just as quickly as he had arrived, Bobby left. On his way out he said this, “See you, Eddie. If you want to talk, come on by.”


I don’t remember any of what Dr. Graham had to say, but it was enough to get me to drive the few blocks to Bobby’s house for the first time in over a year.


“Bobby, I need to talk to you. I did watch Billy Graham; that’s why I came here tonight. I don’t know what to do. I have to talk to someone.”


Bobby smiled. “I know just how you feel Eddie. I don’t know a lot, but I do know this …”


As my friend explained the core message of the good news that he and my other “Jesus friends” had believed, I knew this was the best news I had ever heard. Bobby quoted the first Bible verse my ears would ever really hear:


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


The questions poured from me. Bobby tried to keep up and then held up his hand and said, “Let’s go ask Keith.”


I had never met Keith, but I knew he was talking about Keith Osborn. Keith had quit his job teaching and coaching in a local high school to become the Kern County Young Life Leader. A few months prior, Keith had been the last person I wanted to talk to; now I couldn’t wait.


We drove the few blocks to Keith’s house. His wife met us at the door.


“Keith’s at a club meeting. He should be back soon. Come on in.”


“No,” I offered, “we’ll just wait outside.”


I didn’t want to be rude, but I wanted to talk more with Bobby about God and Jesus. It didn’t seem like we could do that in some stranger’s living room.


Keith drove up in an old beat-up car. I picture him in my mind today and he looks tired, but I didn’t even notice any of that; I just had to know more about God. Keith was easy to talk to. He smiled when he saw me and said he had been praying for me. I gave Bobby a look that said, “Have you been talking about me to all these Jesus guys?”


He winked and smiled.


Keith took a seat on the curb in front of his house, invited me to sit down next to him, and opened his Bible. I remember it didn’t look like any Bible I had ever seen before—the huge ones on coffee tables in religious homes or the big black ones the people in Sister Patrick’s church carried under their arms. Keith’s Bible was ragged and used, he had scribbled notes all over the pages and underlined a bunch of sentences. Wow, this guy actually reads this, I thought.


Keith began talking about God and Jesus and truth and mercy and a word that I was especially attracted to, grace. He was so gentle, so real, and so different from anyone who had ever talked about God around me before. And it was on that curb in Bakersfield, California, on that summer night, that the Jesus Movement moved into my heart.


This man I had just met asked me to pray with him, and I did. In everyday sentences, I told God that I knew I was a sinner, that I believed Jesus died for my sins, and that I wanted to receive Christ as my Savior. Keith said “Amen,” grabbed me in his arms, hugged me wildly and read from his Bible how the angels were having a party right now because they were so excited that I had become a Christian.


That was the night the light dawned in my heart and the darkness lifted from my life. Like the thousands of others who were meeting Jesus through the Bobbies and Keiths in their lives, I knew I was different. Especially when the darkness tried to hang on, while Jesus pulled me from its death grip.



Scene 5, Jeff’s Car


We called it the “Hole.” It was a huge depression in the desert floor outside of town, a perfect place to party. If you didn’t know it was there, you couldn’t find the source of the rock music blasting from the huge speakers someone wired to their eight-track tape player. If you knew the unmarked way, you would slow down just before you hit the edge of our four- or five-acre crater turned rock concert. As you dropped into a lower gear you would look for a place to park, pull out your drug of choice, depending on whether you were a “juicer” or a “head,” and start partying. The cops couldn’t find us so it got pretty wild.



My new Christian friends had warned me against hanging out with the guys from the neighborhood. They said something about not having “fellowship with darkness.” I had already figured out that fellowship was Christian-talk for friendship but I didn’t see any harm in spending a Friday night with my old buddies at the Hole.


Jeff promised he wouldn’t tell Bobby I was going out there with him. I was already learning how to be a hypocrite. And besides, what would a few beers and some laughs with my buddies hurt? I never wanted to become some holy nutcase.


I tried to have fun like before, but it just didn’t take. I had another beer and danced with some pretty girls to see if that would help. It just got worse.


I walked over to Jeff’s Malibu, sat on the hood and talked about Jesus with a guy I had only met a few times. I remember thinking as I talked about Christ that I was becoming a Bobby. I also remember deciding that I didn’t care.


My most distinct memory from that night was leaving the Hole riding shotgun in Jeff’s car with a buzz on from the alcohol and hearing God say plainly, You don’t belong here anymore. This is not your life; there’s nothing here for you. Your future is with me.


I never looked back.


I made mistakes and still committed a lot of sins, including many of the same sins I was committing before I met Jesus. But I always knew that it wasn’t the real me, or the new me, doing these things. That was just the old me messing up on the way to my real future, the one I really wanted, my future with Jesus.


You Say You Want a Revolution


We said we wanted revolution and that we wanted to change the world. John Lennon sang about it. We immortalized it.


Tom Brokaw tells us now that some things changed for good and some things changed for worse. As I said earlier, I think he’s correct in everything he says, but he missed the most significant world change, the most lasting revolution of the 1960s.


It didn’t start in Berkeley or at Woodstock. It began in Southern California with the Bobbies of Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Venice, and Westwood. It spilled over the mountains, as the Bobbies came home to places like Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, and Chico. It was a revolution that happened on the streets, but it was a revolution of the heart.


We called it the Jesus Movement, and it consumed us. Only one word accurately describes what it was—revival. If you’re a Christian, you’re already thinking about what you hope is coming next. There is a question in your heart that you hope I’m going to answer. You want to know if there was a pattern, a path to follow toward revival.


For years my answer to that was always, “No, it just happened. God just did it.” My wife, Judy, changed my mind when she said, “Honey, when I read 2 Corinthians 4:15, it makes me think of when we came to Christ in Bakersfield.”


For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 4:15)


Have you ever had one of those moments when you suddenly understood something so perfectly that you were able to say what you felt so intensely with absolute clarity? Something you always had to get out of your soul but you just couldn’t find the words, and then it unfolds and the words just flow from your lips, and as you hear yourself, you’re thinking, That’s it!


I had one of those moments in our living room that day just before breakfast when Judy read 2 Corinthians 4:15. The apostle Paul had condensed everything that happened to us in the Jesus Movement into one sentence: “The grace God planted in our hearts spread through the many and caused thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”


That’s it. That’s the path to revival.


When I checked 2 Corinthians 4:15 in my favorite paraphrase, The Message, I was really fired up because it divided the path to revival into three progressive steps:


We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! (2 Cor. 4:13–15 MSG)


There it is, the path to revival: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! Grace, People, Praise.


If you want to change the world for Christ, if you want to start a spiritual revolution, it all begins with grace, and lots of it.


More and More Grace


The only starting point is grace, pure and free. If you want revival, you must embrace grace, or it’s not Christianity. Grace sets Christianity apart from all other religions. It’s what makes our message good news.


Years ago a group of British thinkers on comparative religion furiously debated whether one belief set Christianity apart from other world religions. C. S. Lewis wandered in late, took a seat, and asked, “What’s the rumpus about?” When they told him they were trying to determine Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Without hesitation he replied, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”3


It’s grace. Would you say that? Without hesitation? If not, you’re not ready for revival. Whether you met Jesus in the Jesus Movement like me or you’re an emergent Christian or you’re a believer anywhere in between who’s asking God to use you to make a revival-difference in this world, you have to get this straight.


Only those who are willing to join God in risking grace by extending it to sinners without hesitation or compromise will know the spontaneous spiritual joy that sparks spiritual revolution.


Undeserved, unending, unearned, unconditional, uncontrollable, unblinking, unbound, undefiled, undeniable, unequivocal, unfaltering, unhinging, unlimited, unmistakable, unprecedented, unsettling—grace—God’s gift of life to all who believe in His Son, unheard of anywhere else but in Christ.


To us, grace was so much more than a theological doctrine. It was the air we breathed and the new reality of our existence. We never thought for one minute that we were walking a path of measuring up to God. We knew we were walking a path of trusting God. Those two paths never lead in the same direction. One leads to a world of failure, defeat, and misery; the other leads to a world of strength, victory, and joy.


The ones on the path of measuring up never invited us along. Even if they did, we would have told them what they could do with their religious selves. The ones on the path of trusting couldn’t contain the message of grace or the joy in their hearts. And so, like my friend Bobby, they invited us to trust God with them … and we did.


If you were there, you remember when your Bobby came to your street and the moment the light of Christ began to shine in the darkness. But that’s not all you remember. You remember how it felt, the adventure of living on the edge of a powerful movement of God. And you know that you want to feel that way again.


If you’re a Christian but you weren’t there and the institutional church has yet to anesthetize your heart, perhaps you’re reading about something you would love to experience. Maybe you never even thought of yourself as someone who could be part of a revival.


By the time you finish reading this book, you will know that it can happen again. You will understand that in order to get a clear picture of revival you don’t need to strategize, analyze, contextualize, or market Jesus the way some leaders are telling you today. For revival, you simply need to get back on the path of grace, the path wild revolutionaries walk, the path of trusting God. Then, you will look at the streets of your life and imagine what would happen if you decided to be a Bobby.


That’s what we did. As soon as we met Jesus on the streets by hearing His message of grace, we couldn’t keep it quiet—more and more grace. Every detail worked to God’s glory as more and more people praised God as we took Jesus to the streets.



MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW:
I was just born in 1968 and yet I absolutely loved reading about and got inspired by the Jesus Movement in 1960s and 1970s. The passion for Jesus and for telling others about Him was so evident among Christ's followers during that time period. Many people can attest to that. The author's life was greatly and deeply affected by the Jesus Movement. He longs to see such revival again today (me, too :)). "I'm asking God to use this book to show those of us from the Jesus Movement generation how to finish what we started. But more than that, I'm begging Him to call Christians of every generation to the radical commitment that fuels revival." (from the book's back cover)

I don't want to be a tame evangelical. I am reborn to be wild about Jesus and for Jesus! God does not want and does not use lukewarm/complacent Christians. Mr. Underwood addresses how the Jesus Movement took off by sharing his personal experiences, the characteristics of revolutionaries, the six lies that have sidetracked them, and five truths that can help revive our radical pursuit of Jesus.

Mr. Underwood does not sugarcoat nor beat around the bush. I love the way he presents God's truth and principles as they are...direct and to the point. He speaks from his heart; we can tell how much he loves Jesus and truly lives for Him. One thing I want to mention is that the author seems to have a misconception of homeschoolers. He thinks homeschoolers do disservice to their children by separating and disassociating them from the world. He assumes that homeschoolers are ineffective for revival and that some even are hypocrites who protect their children from outside sin but they themselves are unclean on the inside. He gave an example of one homeschooling family he knew. In my opinion, he has had one (maybe a few?) negative experience(s) with homeschoolers and then drew a conclusion from that. In reality, lots of homeschooling families are sold-out Christians who are making an eternal impact for God's kingdom. We homeschoolers still interact with the world and reach the lost.

All in all, I recommend this excellent book. I think any Jesus Freaks at heart would really enjoy it. O Lord, please set our hearts on fire to reach out to the world with Your love and Your message of salvation (One Way!). We want to be a part of Your wild revival!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday's Fave Five #17

It's time for another Friday's Fave Five (hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story).

My fave five this week include:
1. Spending time with my mom.  She was so cute. When I asked her what she would like to do to celebrate her 69th birthday, she said she wanted to go to Wunderland (an arcade) so we took her there. We all had lots of fun and won enough tickets to trade for a beautiful touch lamp for my mom. We made her day :)!

2. Biblical Motherhood.  This is a wonderful study that takes place in a chat room once a week (7 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesdays) at Conservative Homeschooler.  It's not too late to join :).

3. Our National Bible Bee 2010 box arrived on Wed. We're so excited!  We'll be studying Colossians in depth and trying to memorize 800 verses (well, the latter will most likely be done only by my 16 year old daughter; the rest of us will do our best :)).  "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11

4. Reading a cool book called, "Reborn to Be Wild: Reviving Our Radical Pursuit of Jesus" by Ed Underwood.  I've just started to read it.  So far...so good.  "This is a book for those who want to live expectantly and wake up every morning thinking about Jesus and what we can do for Him, and go to heaven with stories of what He did in our lives that we will be talking about forever!" (from page 21)

5. Knowing the problem.  We finally got an official diagnosis for our 11 yo son.  Details are in the post below.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Perplexed

My husband, our 11 yo son, and I were at Doernbecher Children's Hospital from about 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m. today.  After several months of being on their waiting list, my son (whom we thought had some kind of autism) was finally seen and evaluated by the doctors/psychologists/specialists.  He had to undergo 4 different long "test" sessions.  He did exceptionally well for the first 3 sessions.  Then during the beginning of the fourth session when the doctor laid out various toys on the table and invited my son to play with them.  He refused to play and became more and more anxious to get out of the room.  In summary, he experienced a panic attack and we took him out of the room; he did not complete the autism diagnostic observation.  However, the team of the doctors told us that they had enough information from the previous 3 tests to make the diagnosis.  Well, they surprised us with their diagnosis.  They told us that our son is not autistic.  Instead, he has Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (the term that is pretty vague).  One of the child psychologists said to me that she was perplexed by my son/his conditions :).  They could not pinpoint on anything more specific but they said they had enough reasons to rule out autism.  In some way, we are relieved and very thankful.  But there's still a long road ahead.  We hope and pray that the Lord will lead us to the right Christian child psychologist who can help our son.  The following verse came to my mind.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Perplexed, but not in despair!  That's us.  Praise the Lord!

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!



You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:





and the book:


Siloam Press (May 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of the best-selling Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the US. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, her juice therapy and cleansing programs have been popular for more than a decade. Cherie has worked as a clinical nutritionist and has a master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now serves on the Board of Regents. She is also known as George Foreman’s nutritionist and the other spokesperson for the George Foreman grills.
Visit the author's website.




Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Siloam Press (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381493
ISBN-13: 978-1616381493

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




The Turbo Diet



I answered the phone one afternoon to hear the excited voice of Denise at the other end of the line. She had just lost 8 pounds on the Turbo Diet. Having read about it in the cover story of Woman's World magazine's May 4, 2009, issue, she had tried the juice diet as a last resort. "It's just amazing to me," she said, "that I've lost this much weight so quickly and easily. I've dieted and dieted on all sorts of plans and couldn't lose any weight. I even went on a strict three-day water fast and hardly lost anything. Now, the weight is just melting off. It's amazing!"



Amazing is a word I hear frequently about this diet.



Why have so many people found the Turbo Diet to be amazing?



Simply said—it works!



The Turbo Diet is loaded with nutrients—enzymes, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, and life! That's right! It's full of those little energy sparks we call life. Fresh raw juices are considered live food because they feed the body a cornucopia of nutrients that have not been destroyed by heat or processing along with the energy the plants absorb from the sun. This diet is also high alkaline, low acidic, and low glycemic. Achieving a healthy alkaline-acid balance through your diet and lifestyle is so important to weight loss and health that once you understand the importance of this factor, vegetable juices will taste even better.



On the Turbo Diet, "the munchies" just seem to disappear. You might realize one day that you don't want the junk food you used to eat. In fact, you will probably find that junk food makes you feel awful and it's just not worth it. I'm not saying that a potato chip won't ever lure you into its grip. But you will be better able to resist the call of that starch, grease, and salt when your body is well fed and pulsating with energy.



Freshly made vegetable juices are at the center of the Turbo Diet. They provide concentrated sources of very absorbable nutrients. They are low in fat and calories, so replacing higher-calorie foods with fresh juice is a shoo-in for weight-loss success.



But the benefits of juicing don't stop there. Vegetable juices help curb cravings because they satisfy your body's nutrient needs. They're alkaline, which is very helpful to balance out a system that's probably too acidic. They're also high in antioxidants that are antiaging and immune enhancing—that means you're giving your body the things it needs to start looking and feeling younger. How cool is that!



And this diet doesn't toss the carrots out with the potato chips because all carbohydrates are not created equal. You will learn which carbohydrates are healthy and which are not as you discover why the low-glycemic diet works so well with vegetable juices. Your taste buds will be happy—the juices taste great! But clearly the most important aspect is that juicing helps you improve your health. And since you get one precious body for one lifetime, that's far more important than just getting skinny.



The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet teaches you how to eat healthily to stay trim by consuming good carbohydrates, lean proteins (unless you're vegan), healthy fats, and two glasses of fresh vegetable juice each day. You will be arming your body with an arsenal of powerful weapons to help you lose weight, lose cravings, and get healthy—maybe healthier than you have been in years. That's weight loss with a mission!







Radio broadcaster Sarah Taylor was on the cover of the May 4, 2009, issue of Woman's World magazine and the featured person in the Turbo Juice Diet story. "I'm currently down 20 pounds, which is HUGE for me, as I haven't successfully lost weight in years," said Sarah. "But the best part is that I wasn't trying to lose weight. I just incorporated healthy, live foods through juicing for nutrition. The weight loss was just a bonus!" She said she started filling herself up with the right foods and her body said thank you! "I lost 20 pounds in ten weeks," she added. "This is the only diet that's ever worked for me. I love it!"







The Secrets of the Turbo Diet



Vegetable juice is the secret ingredient to your weight-loss success. It assists you in becoming slim and healthy due to its alkalinizing, nutrition-packed, energizing properties. Let's face it—juicing is a lot easier than spending all your time chowing down brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli. Don't get me wrong. I recommend that you eat these vegetables often, but really, just how many vegetables can you eat in a day? But you can juice them and drink them with ease.



Because vegetable juice has very little sugar, while offering an abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients, it's incredibly helpful for weight loss. It offers what your body needs to fight cravings and do its work to keep you healthy. You will not only want to eat fewer calories when you include vegetable juicing in your daily routine, but you will also gain energy. On the other hand, you can eat a whole bag of chips and still want something more to eat because your body was given a lot of empty calories that made you feel sluggish and tired. The biggest plus of a juicing program is that it adds valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients) that are easy for your body to absorb and that have a heap of health benefits at minimal calorie cost.



You will be downing highly concentrated health cocktails brimming with life and loaded with nature's bounty of nutrition necessary for vitality and a healthy immune system. This facilitates optimal functioning of all your body's systems.



Most of us are very aware of the side effects of unhealthy appetite suppressants or risky surgery, but sometimes people feel that they have no other option. I'm here to tell you that you do have options, and the Turbo Diet is one of the healthiest options on the earth! The vegetable juices act as healthy, harmless appetite suppressants. You can opt for a glass of fresh veggie juice before your main meal and quickly experience those hunger pangs taking an exit. That's just one of the secret reasons why the Turbo Diet works.









Sometimes people say that they just don't have time to juice. My answer is that there's always time and creative ways to accomplish what we value. I have a friend known as "Dave the 'Raw Foods' Trucker" who's lost a truckload of weight by juicing. Dave was desperate to drop about half his weight and restore his health. Weighing in at 430 pounds, he faced losing his job because of his poor health. He had no idea how he would earn a living if he lost his driving profession. To say the least, this made him anxious to find an answer that worked quickly.



When a friend introduced him to vegetable juicing, it made sense that this could change his life. Dave bought four juicers—two for his house and two for the truck—two so that he'd always have a backup in case one broke down wherever he was. He also bought the longest extension cord he could find. He'd plug in the cord in restrooms at truck stops and juice on picnic tables. He said this was not easy because he'd often draw a crowd of folks who were very curious about what he was doing. They'd ask lots of questions and slow him down as he tried to explain what he was up to. But Dave never gave up. He just kept juicing and drinking his hearty green juice combinations on the road six days a week.



It paid off! Dave has lost well over 230 pounds. But that's not all. He has energy and vitality! He said he's noticed emotional changes as well as physical, such as feeling more loving toward people. Recently a friend told me she was standing near him at a raw foods lecture at Thrive CafĂ©—one of our local Seattle raw foods hangouts. "Dave was vibrating with energy," she said. "It was like he had electricity pumping through his body." (I think Dave was saturated with the vitality of raw plant life.)



I now say to people, "If Dave can juice on the road, living out of a truck most of the week, plugging in an extension cord in a restroom, and juicing on picnic tables, you can juice at home or at work." No more excuses!







Vegetable juice can also play an important role in stabilizing blood sugar, a vital factor in appetite control, because it's very low in sugar. Sugar and foods like refined flour products (such as bread, rolls, and pasta) that quickly turn into sugar in your body cause spikes and dips in blood sugar. Now that's something to get excited about. When your blood sugar gets low, you can get ravenously hungry and sometimes grouchy. The sugar percentage of vegetable juice is much lower than that of fruit juice and the calorie count is up to 50 percent less, yet the juice succeeds in satisfying a sweet tooth. Amazing! This makes vegetable juicing an absolute must for successful dieting. Experiment with carrot, lemon, and ginger or a combination of carrot, Jerusalem artichoke, lemon, and parsley juice when a carb-craving hits. The juice jolt will give those cravings a knockout!







We all know about cravings that kick up the appetite for things like chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, or tortilla chips. Experiencing strong food urges for sweets or salty snacks can feel almost as overwhelming as getting caught in a big ocean wave. The most frequently craved foods are usually high in sugar and unhealthy fat—the stuff that packs on the pounds big-time! We don't eat these foods for their nutritive value but usually for psychological reasons such as depression, disappointment, stress, or boredom. Or we may suffer from conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or PMS that cause us to want to clean out the fridge from time to time. Whatever it is that has you craving high-carb snacks, feeding your body super nutritious juices can make a huge difference in overcoming the hankering.



Vegetable juice helps curb your cravings because it's broken down into an easily absorbed form of nutrition that your body can quickly utilize. That means it doesn't have to go through the normal digestive process, which takes time. You can pack in a lot of food when you're really hungry before your brain kicks out the signal that there's enough nutrition to burn for energy. It's estimated that juice is at work in your system within about thirty minutes. Your body is supplied with supernutrients in short order. The signal goes to your brain that you're well fed and you no longer have the urge to eat.











I've tried so many times to lose weight over the years. I've taken it off and put it back on more than once. The problem has been not being able to make a lifestyle change that I could live with and be consistent. I love to cook. I've found that I can get the same satisfaction out of choosing and juicing the right vegetables and fruit that I used to get from shopping and cooking. During the past three weeks, I haven't experienced food cravings that I used to when I tried other diets. I look at this as a healthy eating change, not a diet. I've already gone down one dress size and can see a difference almost daily! This is by far the quickest weight loss that I've ever experienced. I wasn't even trying for that initially; I just wanted to feel better first. I got both at the same time.



—Michelle







When you satisfy your body with alkaline-rich, nutrient-dense juices and foods and your blood sugar stabilizes, your appetite for junk food, sweets, and high-carb fare begins to fade away. You may notice that your fatigue vanishes and energy zooms. You will feel more like getting up and going in the morning, working out, and getting things done. Like so many other juicing enthusiasts, you may also notice that your focus improves dramatically. That's because your brain is being well fed. When you eat nutrient-depleted food, your brain doesn't get as much of the raw materials it needs to make reactions happen. Things misfire, and you walk around looking for your car keys for ten minutes when they're in your pocket all the time. Now you can say good-bye to brain fog!



As you can see, there are a lot of benefits with the Turbo Diet. What other program can offer all of this?







Let me first say a huge thank-you for all the work you do—for the books you've written and the many, many people you have helped, including myself. I feel very blessed to have been led to your juice book. I know I have embarked on a path that will be lifelong. I have been on every diet imaginable and every exercise program there is, and not one of them has had the impact on my life and my health like the information I got from you. I completed the liver cleanse and two weeks of the colon cleanse [from my book Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life]. It's amazing! I'm down 10 pounds. I'm loving every minute of the day—every mouthful of juice and food!



—Janice











Metabolism begins the moment we're conceived and ends the moment we die. It is a constant and vital process for all life forms, not just human beings. If metabolism stops, death occurs.



In humans, metabolism begins with plants. A green plant takes in energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis then takes place as the plant uses this energy and chlorophyll to build nutrients from water and carbon dioxide.



When a person eats the plants or meat from animals that have eaten the plants, he or she absorbs this energy in the form of carbohydrates, along with other nutrients. Then the carbohydrates are broken down so that the energy can be distributed to the body's cells.



Glucagon is involved in the distribution of this energy. It's an important hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Produced by the pancreas, it's released when blood glucose levels start to fall too low, causing the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. This raises blood glucose levels and ultimately prevents the development of low blood sugar. Glucagon also stimulates the release of insulin, so that newly available glucose in the bloodstream can be taken up and used by insulin-dependent cells.



The primary job of glucagon is to maintain stable blood sugar levels in the body by releasing stored body fat so it can be burned for energy. The pancreas, in response to protein, stimulates glucagon, which then stimulates the use of fat for energy. It shifts metabolism into a fat-burning mode and mobilizes the release of stored body fat from fat tissue directly into the bloodstream. This process allows muscles to burn fat instead of glucose for energy, converts dietary fats to ketones and sends them to the cells for energy, and releases fat from fat cells into the bloodstream for use. The result is effective weight management. When this system gets out of balance from consumption of too many simple and refined carbohydrates, we gain weight and find it hard to lose the extra pounds.







The Turbo Diet in a Nutshell



The Turbo Diet has payoffs with great dividends. I have personally witnessed people who have lost as much as a pound a day and without a lot of effort. There's no starvation, no deprivation.



Following are the basics of the program. (See the details of the complete program in chapter 7.) On the Turbo Diet, you will:



Drink two glasses (10 to 12 ounces each) of fresh vegetable juice every day. If you don't have a juicer and can't afford to buy one right now, you can get premade juices at juice bars. If you don't have access to a juice bar, then you can purchase premade veggie juices from the cooler section of your grocery store. If those aren't available, then you can choose low-sodium V-8 juice. (Keep in mind that if the juice is bottled or canned, even if it's kept in the cooler section of a store, it has to be pasteurized. The heat used in pasteurization kills the vitamins, enzymes, and that mysterious life substance that you can only get in high measure in raw foods. You won't get the same effect from these juices as you do from fresh ones.) When you travel or it's not convenient to take juice along, you can get green powder, carrot powder, and beet powder to mix in water. (See Appendix A.)



Eat a high-alkaline, low-glycemic diet. You will eat the largest portion of your foods from the alkaline-rich category consisting of vegetables, fruit, sprouts, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and super greens. The rest of your diet will come from vegetarian or animal protein and a small amount of whole grains.



Eat a large portion of your food raw—70 to 80 percent is your goal. Raw foods are loaded with enzymes and vitamins that are destroyed during cooking. Raw foods especially help you to lose weight.



Eat plenty of vegetables on this diet, especially the brightly colored veggies that are highest in antioxidants. It is recommended that you consume at least two to three servings of veggies in addition to your vegetable juices.



Eat small portions of lean protein—fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, and eggs (if you don't choose to be vegan). Make these organic and free range for the healthiest choice.



Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of purified water each day. You could add some cranberry concentrate or pure unsweetened cranberry juice to the water to improve flavor and help to get rid of stored-up water in your body. Cranberry is a natural diuretic, is helpful for kidney cleansing, and contains high levels of organic substances that are thought to have an emulsifying effect upon fat deposits.



Drink a cup of green tea every day. Green tea is thermogenic, meaning that it helps to improve metabolism. If the caffeine in green tea (only about one-third that of coffee) does not agree with your system, then choose white tea (still has a little caffeine) or herbal tea. It's best to avoid coffee as much as possible since it's very acidic. It can also cause irritability and difficulty concentrating. Although coffee does rouse one a bit, later on it causes a collapse of energy, which can make you want to eat fattening food.



Consume good fats such as avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, and virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil is a thermogenic; the liver likes to burn it. Contrary to popular opinion, it's a heart-healthy, slimming fat.



Avoid starches, refined carbohydrates, sugar, sweets, alcohol, and sodas, including diet sodas.



If you want the fast track, you can juice fast (some people call it juice feast) one day a week. That's where you drink just vegetable juices for a day. (See chapter 8 for the Turbo Diet Fast Menu Plan.) On these days you should drink around two quarts of vegetable juice. You could make one of the juice meals a raw energy soup (juice to which you add avocado; see page 144 for recipes) to help with energy and to stabilize blood sugar.



You will also exercise three to four times per week.







Sleep enough; sleep well. When we don't sleep enough or sleep well, our appetite-controlling hormones get out of whack and cause us to want to eat more, especially more carbohydrates. (If you need help with getting a good night's sleep, see chapter 5.)



Keep your colon moving. Constipation can contribute to weight gain.



Keep well hydrated. Some individuals end up in a state of chronic dehydration when they are trying to lose weight because they don't drink enough water; they are afraid of additional water weight. But they are actually hindering their bodies' ability to metabolize fat. A state of chronic dehydration will inevitably lead to weight gain. Being fully hydrated is a prerequisite to weight loss. To achieve successful weight loss, you must drink enough water so that your body is not in a state of chronic dehydration. When your body is in this state, you will not lose the excess fat very easily.



Keep a positive attitude. Never tell yourself that you can't do something like lose weight. Remove all negative thoughts from your mind; speak and think only positive words to yourself and others. If you have a 5-pound reduction goal by the end of two weeks, see those 5 pounds gone. Think about this in terms of what you want to weigh by the end of two weeks. How great will you feel when you are 5 pounds lighter? Guard against self-defeat. Don't let it get you before you even get started.







If you reach a plateau at any time during your Turbo Diet or you want to accelerate your weight loss and healthy lifestyle plan, you can cleanse your body, starting with the colon cleanse program and then the seven-day Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse, which are outlined in detail in my books Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life and The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health. A congested liver and gallbladder could prevent you from losing weight. Also, you may find it impossible to shed pounds until you cleanse toxins from your body, especially the organs of elimination. For example, toxins trap water and fat cells in pockets we call cellulite. Detoxing your body is the key to ridding it of these lumpy fat deposits.



When you've lost most of the weight you want, you can slowly add in more healthy carbohydrates, including whole grains, potatoes, squash, and fruit. Typically, in this phase, you will lose about a pound per week. If you eat too many of these higher carb foods or you splurge for holidays, vacations, or special occasions and gain weight, you can quickly lose the extra pounds by cleansing your body with the One-Day Vegetable Juice Cleanse and strictly sticking with the Turbo Diet.



One day you will celebrate the achievement of your weight-loss goals. Then you will be able to eat more healthy carbohydrates, but you will be in the habit of choosing the right ones by this time. If you eat too much and put on a few pounds, you can get right back on track by going back to the Turbo Diet. If you trip up and binge during a stressful time, you can schedule a vegetable juice cleanse day and flush out the toxins. This is the design that can help you maintain your ideal weight for the rest of your life.



Research Proves the Juice Diet Works!



Two university studies have shown that one to two glasses of vegetable juice a day promote four times the weight loss of non-juice drinkers on the same American Heart Association diet. Both studies were randomized controlled trials, each lasting twelve weeks.1



In the study conducted by University of California–Davis among ninety healthy adults between the ages of forty and sixty-five, it was found that each person who drank at least two cups of vegetable juice a day met their weight-loss goal while only 7 percent of the non-juice drinkers met it. Participants who drank either one or two cups of vegetable juice per day lost an average of 4 pounds, while those who drank no vegetable juice lost only 1 pound. The researchers also found that people in the vegetable juice groups had significantly higher vitamin C and potassium intake and a significantly lower intake of carbohydrates. Participants with borderline high blood pressure who drank one or two servings of vegetable juice lowered their blood pressure significantly.2



The vegetable juice drinkers said they enjoyed the juice and felt like they were doing something good for themselves by drinking it. According to Carl Keen, PhD, professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at UC–Davis and coauthor of the study, "Enjoyment is so critical to developing good eating habits you can stick with for a long time. . . . Vegetable juice is something that people enjoy, plus it's convenient and portable, which makes it simple to drink every day."3



The Baylor College of Medicine study involved eighty-one adults who drank 8 to 16 ounces of vegetable juice daily as part of a calorie-controlled, heart-healthy diet. They showed an average of 4 pounds lost over a twelve-week study period compared with those who did not drink juice and lost only 1 pound. Of the participants in the study, almost three-quarters of whom were women, 83 percent had metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of risk factors including excess body fat around the midsection, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and elevated cholesterol.4



It is estimated that 47 million Americans have some combination of these risk factors, placing them at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.5 That's why the low-glycemic Turbo Diet works so well for weight loss and can be especially helpful for people with blood sugar challenges such as those with metabolic syndrome.



Metabolic Syndrome



Insulin is a powerful hormone, its primary job being to push glucose out of the blood and into cells where it's converted into energy. It plays a critical role in blood sugar balance, weight management, and other important health factors. When blood sugar goes up, the pancreas releases insulin to deal with the sugar, but it often overreacts by releasing too much insulin. Then your blood sugar drops down, often way down, and so you eat more carbohydrates to bring it up again. The pancreas releases more insulin—and on it goes.



Things like alcohol; pastries; candy; ice cream; pie; cake; refined flour products like bread, bagels, pizza, and pasta; and starches such as white potatoes and white rice rapidly break down to sugar and quickly enter the bloodstream where it causes insulin to spike. "It doesn't take much . . . to cause your blood sugar to skyrocket," says Ron Rosedale, MD. He notes that one saltine cracker can take blood sugar to over 100, and in many people it can cause it to go over 150.6



As insulin becomes overabundant, the normal target cells in the muscles and liver will no longer recognize it. When this happens on a continual basis, insulin floats in the bloodstream much of the time. When insulin becomes the dominant, active hormone, it triggers a hormone imbalance that sets the stage for weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.







Even if you exercise rigorously, elevated insulin levels will not maximize fat burning. Still worse, elevated insulin levels will stimulate your body to store fat. Remember, this response is primarily the result of eating too many carbohydrates and not enough protein, fat, and fiber, which are found in complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.



The key to correcting this imbalance begins with controlling insulin levels. Whether or not you have any of the symptoms of insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, insulin control is vital for weight loss and maintenance. The low-glycemic diet with two glasses of vegetable juice per day is a good plan for you to control insulin response and maintain a lifetime of fitness.







Insulin carries glucose to the trillions of cells in your body. When you are insulin sensitive, your body will do a much better job of shuttling glucose (blood sugar) into your cells than when they are not sensitive to this hormone. The open doors of your cells allow this fuel to be used for energy. How easily glucose is shuttled into your cells defines how sensitive they are to insulin.



When your cells are not sensitive to insulin, insulin levels go up, and target cells will develop what is termed insulin resistance. When your cells are insulin resistant, your body must contend with extra "free-roaming" glucose that can't get into your cells. Some of this will be stored as fat and lead to weight gain. Without insulin sensitivity, you may struggle with your weight continually. Insulin resistance is thought to be one of the primary causes of overweight associated with metabolic syndrome.7



The Baylor College of Medicine study mentioned earlier involved a large percentage of participants with metabolic syndrome—a cluster of characteristics that include weight gain at the midsection, insulin resistance, low HDL, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides. If not corrected by following a low-glycemic diet, this syndrome usually evolves into diabetes. Most of the people with metabolic syndrome in the study lost weight when adding vegetable juice to their diet, four times the weight of others that did not drink juice. You can read more about this syndrome and how to correct it in chapter 5.







The standard Western diet produces inflammation. Inflammation produces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance produces weight gain. Weight gain produces inflammatory cytokines leading to more insulin resistance and more weight gain. It's a frustrating cycle. Insulin resistance starves the muscles, which react by sending signals to lower the metabolism to conserve energy reserves. Additionally, insulin resistance makes us hungry in an effort to feed our starving muscles.



Under these conditions, weight loss becomes almost impossible. We look overweight, but our muscles think we're starving. The sad fact is that many grossly overweight people are in fact starving. As a result of this starvation, we eat more and more food, but often we reach for the wrong foods—sugars, refined carbohydrates, simple starches, and unhealthy fats in response to brain signals calling for more nutrition. This impedes weight loss in spite of our best dieting efforts. As these conditions worsen, we may develop cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. The Turbo Diet halts the inflammatory response in its tracks, putting a stop to this cascade of unhealthy reactions, and turns the body around to a balanced biochemistry.







What Is the Low-Glycemic Diet?



The glycemic index (GI) has become a popular weight-loss tool based in part on the fact that high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels, cause the body to secrete excess insulin, and lead to the storage of fat. Originally developed to help diabetics manage blood sugar control, the glycemic index has become popular in the weight-loss market largely because it works so well. Researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients who lost weight with a low-glycemic diet kept the weight off longer than patients who lost the same amount of weight with a low-fat diet.8



The GI diet refers to a system of ranking carbohydrates according to how much a certain amount of each food raises a person's blood sugar level. It's determined by measuring how much a 50-gram serving of carbohydrate raises a person's blood sugar level compared with a control.



Virtually all carbohydrates are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response. But some foods raise it more than others. This response is affected by many factors, including the quantity of food, the amount and type of carbohydrate, how it's cooked or eaten raw, and the degree of processing. Each food is assigned an index number from 1 to 100, with 100 as the reference score for pure glucose. Typically, foods are rated high (greater than 70), moderate (56–69), and low (less than 55).







Over the four-day Thanksgiving vacation I decided to try your low-glycemic diet. I am sixty-one years old and have survived cancer five times as well as chemotherapy, radiation, and nearly two dozen surgeries. I have serious radiation burns in my abdomen. It's also contributed to arthritis in my joints and legs. I wanted to lose some weight, but the most surprising thing is that about three days after I cleansed my system of the simple carbohydrates, the arthritis pain began to leave. I have not experienced arthritis pain for nearly four weeks now. I have lost 10 pounds and feel 100 percent better. I have researched many comments about your plan (which included coconut oil) and find nothing but fabulous reviews. This is a simple, easy, effective plan to follow.



—Carolyn







Low-glycemic foods, especially raw vegetables, can help control blood sugar, appetite, and weight. Though helpful for everyone, they are especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Low-glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly, allowing a person to feel full longer and therefore less likely to overeat. Raw food experts such as Dr. John Douglas have found that raw carbohydrates such as the raw juices are better tolerated than cooked carbs. They don't elicit the addictive cravings that cooked foods cause. Douglas believes, as does the Finnish expert A. I. Virtanen, that the enzymes in raw food play an important role in the way they stimulate weight loss as they do in the treatment of obesity.9



On the Turbo Diet, you are encouraged to choose most of your carbohydrate foods from the low-glycemic index and a large percentage of those foods as raw. The foods on the recommended list on pages 128–137 are for the most part low glycemic and are nutrient-rich, not refined, and higher in fiber—like whole vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas).









Different carbohydrates take different pathways in the body after digestion. For example, some starchy foods are bound by an outer layer of very complex starches (fiber) like the legumes (beans, lentils, split peas), which increases the time it takes for them to be digested. So even though legumes are relatively high in carbohydrates, they have a lower glycemic response because of their complex encasing.



Carrots are another example of glycemic inconsistency; they're often referred to as a high-glycemic vegetable. If a person consumes 50 grams of carrots, which are required for the test, they've eaten about 5 cups of carrots. Not many of us would eat that many carrots, even when juicing them. And even in that high quantity, carrots are still in the low-glycemic category, just a little higher than many other vegetables.



There is also the antioxidant potential of foods to consider, meaning the amount of antioxidant nutrients a food contains, like beta-carotene and vitamin C that are abundant in many fruits and vegetables. In Chinese culture, carrots are often used as cooling medicine. Carrots, beets (both very rich in beta-carotene), and other brightly colored vegetables are especially important to include in our diet to prevent disease. These days many health professionals suggest we eliminate carrots and beets because of their glycemic rating, but the Turbo Diet does not exclude them because of their high nutrient and fiber content.







The Turbo Diet has eliminated foods that are higher on the glycemic index and foods that do not have fiber and turn to glucose rapidly. This diet also eliminates foods that aren't rich in nutrients. Also, fruit is limited in the beginning because of the higher sugar content and because many people suffer from yeast overgrowth (candidiasis), to which fruit sugar contributes.



Choosing low-glycemic foods that do not promote a rapid rise in insulin, and therefore do not promote fat storage, and foods that are rich in fiber and thus slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream are the Turbo Diet's wise choices for weight loss.



In contrast, higher glycemic index foods will trigger a rise in blood sugar, followed by a drop in blood sugar and a cascade of hormonal changes, which tend to make you hungry again quickly. The higher glycemic index foods are metabolized more quickly than low-glycemic foods. The blood sugar spikes of high-glycemic foods cause particular problems for people with diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, and metabolic syndrome.



Quality, not quantity, of carbohydrates is the goal of the Turbo Diet. The aim is to feel full by enjoying plenty of smart carbs—like whole vegetables, limited amounts of whole grains, and legumes—along with lean protein, healthy fats, and a little fruit. You will completely avoid the high-glycemic foods, which tend to be made with sugar and/or white flour and are often highly processed.



The Glycemic Index Review



The glycemic index was developed by David Jenkins in 1981 to measure the rise in blood glucose after consumption of a particular food. This index shows the rate at which carbohydrates break down to glucose in the bloodstream. Test subjects are given a specified amount (50 grams) of carbohydrates in a test food, and then their blood glucose is measured over a period of time to see how it is affected. The blood sugar response is compared to a standard food, usually white bread, and a rating is given to determine how blood sugar is affected.



Keep in mind that not all low-glycemic foods are healthy fare. Low-glycemic foods include candy bars and potato chips. These foods are not on the Turbo Diet because they are very nutrient depleted, contain sugar or turn to sugar easily, and lack fiber. You need to get the best nutrition for your choices. Likewise, there are moderate-scored foods such as beets and high-glycemic foods such as rutabagas and parsnips that are part of this plan because they are nutrient rich.



With this plan, there's no obsessing over the glycemic index either, just a basic understanding of the principles. Keep in mind that certain factors can change a score, such as the riper the fruit, the higher the glycemic index score. But always choose ripe fruits and vegetables over unripe; they are healthier by far. Adding good fat to foods can lower the GI score. And keep in mind that the GI response to any given food also varies widely from person to person. It can even vary within the same person from day to day.10 That's why it's so important to be able to listen to your body and determine how the foods you are eating are affecting you.









I lost 40 pounds mostly from around my waist over about a six-month period after I started juicing. I'm an athlete and used to working out a lot. But when I got a knee injury that prevented workouts, it became tougher to stay in shape. Then I started juicing every day. The weight just melted off without any effort. I went from a 38-inch waist to a 32-inch waist and from about 230 pounds to 190. I'm committed to juicing for the rest of my life.



—Dmitriy







Weight Loss on a Mission



Years ago when I was taking prerequisites for my masters of science program in whole foods nutrition at Bastyr University, I worked for a weight-loss center part-time as a nutrition counselor. I noticed that a number of people who entered the program looked healthy, meaning they had good skin color and tone and vibrancy—they were just overweight. Soon into the program, I noticed that though they were losing weight, they weren't looking healthier. I observed a loss of skin tone, skin color turning a grayish pallor, and a loss of energy and vitality. I was alarmed. Even as a student I knew that it was not just about dropping weight; it was about getting healthier. I quit the job, unable to promote something that I felt did harm.







Since I started juicing, my eyes are brighter and the pain in my left foot is gone! I could hardly walk before. I started juicing because I wanted to feel better and because I had lots of digestive problems. I had no idea that I would get rid of the pain in my left foot.



—Margo







When you embark on a weight-loss program, it should be about getting healthier along with losing weight. Whether you want to lose 10, 20, 50, 100, or even more than 200 pounds like Dave the "Raw Foods" Trucker, it isn't just about getting the weight off any way you can. I know people who have lost weight through drastic means and ruined their health in the process.



Losing weight with vegetable juices and the Turbo Diet is one way to ensure that you choose a weight-loss regimen that doesn't sacrifice your health. That's why I'm excited about introducing you to the Turbo Diet. I know what it can do for you. So many people have praised this diet because of the increased health and energy they experienced. And if they can experience these great results, you can too. You're off to a great start and a lifetime of fitness!



Review:
This book is packed with lots of useful information. The Turbo Diet plan makes lots of sense. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices give us nutrients that we need for healthy living and help us not to crave junk foods that make us put on excessive weight. Stay trim, healthy, and energetic... that's the goal and the expected result :). The book includes several testimonies, exercise plan, food addiction issue, emotional eating problem, healthy foods list, the Turbo Diet meal plan, recipes, resource guide, and more. I think I'm going to give the Turbo Diet a try once I can find my juicer (it's probably in one of the boxes somewhere in the garage).

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