Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Surrender Sung by Joy Williams

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pray It Off July 22, 2010 The Paradox of Surrender


The Paradox of Surrender: Finding Strength and Wisdom in the Struggle
by Robert Rossel, Ph.D.*

I met with one of my favorite clients yesterday — a very deep and animate soul, a student getting an advanced degree in one of our local therapist training institutions— who shared an experience that touched me deeply. She is a bit of a psychic who frequently anticipates phone calls or animals crossing the road. She told me that she had one of her premonitions —a premonition that an animal was going to cross the road as she rounded a corner and over the crest of a hill, as she drove to our session. She slowed her car, ready to break. As she cleared the hill and could see her way ahead, she was surprised because it appeared that nothing was there, no deer, moose, or other animal that she was accustomed to seeing when she had those premonitions. But something told her to slow down even more, almost to a complete stop. As she did this a little furry mouse scurried across the road, its legs all a blur, its little ears sticking up in alert attention, its whiskers alive with kinetic energy.

She pulled over and started sobbing, filled with a complex mix of sadness, joy and a deep recognition of the subtle energies of the web of life surrounding her. She was aware as she seldom is of – what shall we call it — mouse consciousness, sensing its fear, its vigilance, its close-up mouse-view of textures, sounds, smells and vibrations, all the things that are such a basic part of its experiential world.

I am not exactly sure why this story woke me out of a deep sleep this morning and why I was filled with an impulse to write it down. I guess it has something to do with our current life situation, its noise, frenetic pace, and shallowness, and a call to pay attention to the deeper currents of life that surround us, currents that we are often too numb, too distracted, too busy, to sense or notice.

The "greater intelligence" our current life situation requires of us today is not just about paying attention to the "important" things that call upon us to notice, the distractions and preoccupations of our all too busy lives, it is also calls on us to stay connected deeply to the animate world; the trees, animals, earth tones and earth smells, the things the mouse knows. It is in our ability to pay attention, to sense beyond knowledge, to notice that our world is alive, animated with energies and possibilities that we easily miss if we don't pay attention.

It is also in our ability to connect with the mundane aspects of our lives, doing the dishes, making our beds, "doing the laundry," in Jack Kornfield's (2000) words. It is an invitation to awaken to the full spectrum of life's possibilities—the good and the bad – dark currents as well as joy, noticing everything that surrounds our life. To enter mouse consciousness we must slow down, breathe, and listen deeply to each other. We must listen to the silence between the words, and, above all, as we would with any innocent child's vulnerable self, be very respectful as we listen and respond. Eckhart Tolle, in his brilliant book, The Power of Now (1999) speaks of the importance of attending in this open way, discovering in this presence a way to free ourselves from the attachments of the ego that create suffering. As he says (1999: 79-80):

"Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature. Have you ever gazed up into the infinity of space on a clear night, awestruck by the awesome stillness and inconceivable vastness of it? Have you listened, truly listened, to the sound of a mountain stream in the forest? Or to the song of a blackbird at dusk on a quiet evening? To become aware of such things, the mind needs to be still. You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as all your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. Your total presence is required."

In understanding this quality of presence, I am reminded of a client of mine who had just successfully finished the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii—a 54 year old woman who came to me because she had panic attacks in large crowds in the water and was afraid of being eaten by a shark – and how learning to surrender the ego in the moment-by-moment practice of mindfulness helped her deal with her panic and get through the race. I am amazed by her story and how she used the experience to transcend the ego through mindfulness and surrender—hardly the mentality one would assume is associated with the Ironman Triathlon. My client loves the poetry of Rilke and reminded me of his poem, "The Man Watching the Storm Approaching," translated by Robert Bly, that we had shared in a session shortly before she left for Hawaii. Here is the poem (Rilke, 1993: 298):

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend
I can't love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age;
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight with is so tiny!
what fights with us is so great!
if only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers in the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers' sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who so often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.


She told me about the utter calm that came over her while practicing mindfulness as she rubbed the cramp out of her arch toward the end of the swim and was able to finish the swim and get on her bike. Then she described the powerful crosswinds that literally blew many riders off their bikes and how again she used mindfulness to stay present and centered on her bike. Rilke's poem was particularly meaningful to her during this part of the race. She showed me photos taken of her as she ran across the finish line, and spoke of the amazing support she received from a multitude of people who where still there in the wee hours of the morning to welcome the runners home. The whole experience was a testimony to the power of mindfulness, the middle way, and the power of surrender.

But the connection to nature and the larger mind we establish through presence and surrender require constant practice—things like trance, mindfulness, dance, yoga, play, centered "belly" breathing, prayer—define the conditions where this connection to flow and presence is likely to happen but they in no way guarantee that it will happen. I think presence and the ability to surrender create the conditions where awareness opens up to currents that are always there but from which we are often distracted because of the imperiousness of our egos and because we become attached to particular fixed positions that shut down our capacity to surrender and be in the flow of our experience. I have found more and more that things begin to happen in therapy when I am able to sit with the discomfort or anxiety that invariably comes when I cut loose from my attachments to particular expectations or desired outcomes and look for the surprises that come into the field from the margins or gaps in experience. Subjectively, I sense this presence and connection with the larger mind when I find myself inexplicably chuckling at things that are said or done—the feeling tone and emotional quality of the interaction is playful and dead serious. What is said often has a poetic quality and perceptions open to make room for color, texture, vibrational qualities, and an increasingly rich and multi-layered non-verbal connection.

Far too often our associations with surrender and mindfulness suggest a kind of passiveness or resignation, having a distinct negative connotation, like giving up, becoming passive and fatalistic, or failing to rise to the challenges of life. In therapeutic situations, surrender has similar associations until one experiences the paradoxical transformational power of surrender, a power associated with letting go of struggle and resistance to change.

It is the simple but profound realization that one can learn to yield to rather than oppose the flow of events in one's life. There are many examples of this paradoxical transformation of perspective that come to mind from my clinical practice. I have come to see it as one of the most reliable indicators that therapy has begun to work. One of my clients, we will call him John, discovered the power of surrender when, after months of struggle with profound grief and unhappiness over the disintegration of his marriage, he finally let go of his resistance to this change in his life and the related story of loss and victimization to which he was fiercely attached. It was then and only then that things truly began to move in the therapy. He began to accept some personal responsibility for things that had gone wrong in his relationship with his wife. He began to open to some of the gifts in his suffering, a softening in his relationship with his kids, an awakening of a deep spiritual connection to life, the dawning of a new perspective on life that made room for irony, humor, and a deeper field of vision.

Pema Chodron, in her wonderful book, Start Where You Are (2001: 8) echoes these ideas when she says:

There is a saying that is the underlying principle of tonglen and slogan practice: 'Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself.' The Tibetan word for pride or arrogance, which is nga-gyal, is literally in English, 'me victorious.' Me first. Ego. That kind of 'me-victorious' is the cause of all suffering. In essence what this little saying is getting at is that words like victory and defeat are completely interwoven with how we protect ourselves, how we guard our hearts. Our sense of victory just means that we guarded our heart enough so that nothing got through, and we think we won the war.

The armor around our soft spot—our wounded heart – is now more fortified, and our world is smaller. ... The words defeat and victory are so tied up with how we stay imprisoned. The real confusion is caused by not knowing that we have limitless wealth, and the confusion deepens each time we buy into this win/lose logic… Realizing our wealth would end our bewilderment and confusion. But the only way to do that is to let things fall apart. And that's the very thing that we dread the most—the ultimate defeat. Yet letting things fall apart would actually let fresh air into this old, stale basement of a heart that we've got.

Surrender in therapeutic contexts is most importantly associated with a deepening connection with soul and some form of spiritual awareness and practice. Often in therapy surrender is the gateway through which this deeper, more vital, connection to life begins to come about. Before that, spirituality often is something only read about, talked about, and thought about in an abstract, disconnected kind of way, if that. In surrender life suddenly is filled with new-found vitality, soulfulness and depth. This animation of soul, in turn, is capable of touching other lives, emanating a new kind of spirit, a new vibrational frequency that literally transforms the relational field, a silent but intense presence that dissolves the unconscious patterns of thought and action in others it touches.

In my own life I have come to associate this new enlivened vibrational frequency with what I call "life as a living prayer." I have completely given up thinking of prayer as a way to get what I want or make something happen. I now feel that prayer is much less about asking for help, blessing, and other things we are attached to and more about entering a process of surrender and letting go. Indeed, I think the essence of prayer is the surrendering of attachments. The process allows us to join with something much larger than ourselves that can take us beyond fear and beyond hope, both of which are attachments that keep us in the small mind and the small self. This is one of the links I see between prayer and meditation as spiritual practices. When I pray I don't so much change the world as I change myself. It is a process which allows me to shift into a "being with" mode of being, a place where I can move out of my isolated individual-holding-up-the-world consciousness to a sense of connection at the deepest level to a much larger reality—a place of mystery and not-knowing that forces me to let go and trust in that not-knowing.

Prayer also allows me to let go of my arrogance and attachment to outcomes. When I pray I stop trying to control my life and instead begin to wonder at the being of my life. Naomi Reiman, in her wonderfully moving book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, beautifully expresses this humility that connects one to the very large. She says (1996:244), "Prayer is a movement from mastery to mystery. I used it [she is a M.D.] to pray for my patients. These days I pray for myself, too. Sometimes I pray for compassion, but more often I pray for harmlessness, the great spiritual quality embodied in the Hippocratic oath. As a human being, I know I can never hope to have the depth and breadth of perspective to know whether any of my actions will ultimately harm or heal. Yet it is my hope I may be used to serve a holy purpose without ever knowing. So sometimes, before I see a patient I offer up a little wordless prayer: Understanding the suffering is beyond me. Understanding the healing is, too. But in this moment, I am here. Use me."

Her humility and honest sharing strikes me as rare in medicine. It is very moving to witness her openness to the fact that healing, if it is to occur at all, is likely to be deepened as we begin drinking in and trusting the deep currents of the larger mind. Spoken and enacted prayer has become an integral part of my work as a healer as well. This is what I mean by "life as a living prayer." Later in the book she shares a wonderful Sufi tale that speaks to the humility of surrender and enacted prayer in a beautiful way (1996: 245-246):

There is a Sufi story about a man who is so good that the angels ask God to give him the gift of miracles. God wisely tells them to ask him if that is what he would wish. So the angels visit this good man and offer him first the gift of healing by hands, and then the gift of conversion of souls, and lastly the gift of virtue. He refuses them all. They insist that he choose a gift or they will choose one for him, 'Very well,' he replies, 'I ask that I may do a great deal of good without ever knowing it.' The story ends this way: The angels were perplexed. They took counsel and resolved upon the following plan: Every time the saint's shadow fell behind him it would have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow. As he walked, behind him his shadow made the paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clear water to dried-up brooks, fresh color to pale children, and joy to unhappy men and women. The saint simply went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without ever being aware of it. The people respecting his humility followed him silently, never speaking to him about his miracles. Soon they even forgot his name and called him 'The Holy Shadow.'

To me this is a very comforting tale that allows me to see the value in surrender and the mystery and power of the therapeutic relationship as a living prayer, a power that goes beyond attachments to specific outcomes and cultivates a vital connection to the larger mind and the practice of surrender. In saying this I am not talking about relinquishing any techniques we know or the special knowledge we have. Rather, I am talking about a particular kind of presence that allows us to go on even when we have no idea what we are doing, a trust in our ability to "be with" and tune in to an intelligence larger than our own. This special kind of presence is far from passive or lacking in thought. It only means that the "doing" of therapy becomes nonreactive, in the same way Akido or some other martial art embodies the unique power that comes only when one learns not to resist the opponent's force, but, instead, to yield and overcome.

This kind of active non-doing, a practice the Taoists call wu wei, when fully understood and mastered, opens an intense presence capable of transforming people and situations. It is a presence that connects mindfulness and soulfulness in such a way that active non-doing becomes fully engaged in the larger mind and in the larger relational field. I believe that soulfulness cannot exist without mindfulness, but dwells someplace between the mind and the heart and adds something extremely vital and animating to the experience of mindfulness. Soulfulness seems to come from outside of myself whereas mindfulness comes from within and is dependent on ongoing practice, attentiveness to body and breath, and an ability to see beyond the polarities and contradictions of the conscious mind. Soulfulness, as I experience it, is a gift freely given by the gods. I do nothing to create it, deserve it, or even invite it. And yet, there it is, often when I least expect and, in retrospect, come to see that I most needed it. Together mindfulness and soulfulness fill life with presence, taking us to an entirely different place of being, a place that one would hardly think possible, and yet, paradoxically, a place where we lose ourselves, our self consciousness, our fear of making mistakes, our self-doubt, and the need to "perform." Finally, it is a place where we are able connect to play, joy, mischievousness, abandon, and bliss.

In talking about this unique kind of presence, it is useful to look briefly at play as something that defines its special qualities. I recently ran across a quote from the eminent British psychoanalyst, D.W. Winnecott, " . . .psychology takes place in the overlap of two areas of playing, that of the patient and that of the therapist. . . .The corollary of this is that where playing is not possible then the work done by the therapist is directed toward bringing the patient from a state of not being able to play into a state of being able to pay." (Playing and Reality, 1982: 38) I remember reading this statement years ago when Winnecott's influential book first came out. I was intrigued—the statement rang true—but I also knew that I didn't fully understand it. It hit me almost like a koan—I meditated on it for weeks. The present consideration of the unique quality of presence found in surrender and self-abandon seems to provide a rich context for considering it once again.

Playing defines a relational field where there is an immediate connection of body, mind and spirit in experience, where being is a context of becoming, where consciousness of self and other are woven together in an intersubjective dance, where language vibrates with meaning—in short, playing is a place where creativity and spontaneity dwell. When I am playing I am not self-conscious. My actions and sense of self are experienced as free from the grip of rigid thinking and negative sponsors. I can share and receive without needing to judge. At the same time I recognize the underlying seriousness of what I am doing. I can laugh from a place of deep recognition and connection with something I recognize is much larger than myself. This larger self is experienced as safe and comforting. Curiosity guides my actions and opens space for deep listening and unguarded receiving. A relational connection between differences feels natural—play allows the letting go of fixed identities and the embracing of complementary truths. In play I move beyond reactive responding and choose to be where I find myself. Playing awakens relatedness and the ability to stay in the present and open to the rhythms and somatic resonance of embodied knowledge, the sublime form of presence I previously called, enacted or "living prayer." Restoring the capacity to play is restoring the connection of mind and body in the unique dance we previously called, mindfulness and soulfulness. This is why laughter and play is contagious. If one person is interested in playing it is difficult for the other not to play. This is also why play and humor are integral to healing.

Finally, to conclude, surrender is the path through which we most directly reclaim our humanness. Surrender allows a discriminating way of knowing and seeing that transcends the circumstances of our conditioning and makes room for inspiration, novelty, and genuine insight. This potential for brilliance and decisiveness is always there and a natural gift inherent in our humanness. Unfortunately this capacity for freshness, novelty and inspiration is far too often obscured by pain, suffering, and distress. One of the core challenges of therapy is the task of awakening the recognition of our essential human goodness and brilliance. Perhaps the most important gift that comes with the discovery of paradox of surrender is the awakening of our connection with these qualities. I was recently reading some of Chogyam Trumgpa's early writing about the "primordial dot" which was his articulation of I call the tender human core at the center of our being. As he said in Great Eastern Sun, (1999:27):

There's always the primordial dot—that spark of goodness that exists even before you think. We are worthy of that. Everybody possesses that unconditioned possibility of cheerfulness, which is not connected purely with either pain or pleasure. You have an inclination: in the flash of one second, you feel what needs to be done. It is not a product of your education; it is not scientific or logical: you simply pick up on the message. And then you act: you just do it. That basic human quality of suddenly opening up is the best part of human instinct. You know what to do right away, on the spot—which is fantastic. That is what we call the dot, or basic goodness and unconditional instinct...

Basic trust is knowing that there is such a thing as that spark of basic goodness in all human beings. The Buddha taught us that life is suffering. It is difficult to honor the currents and impulses flowing from our tender core when so much of life seems to conspire to sink us and pull us into despair as we awaken to the great suffering in and around us. The challenge that the path of surrender offers is the challenge of learning to remain awake and work with suffering without being sunk and discouraged by the continuous and relentless way the human situation pulls us into despair. It is easy to succumb to the distractions society offers in warding off suffering; things like addiction, consumerism, and rigid categorical thinking. Those of us who are not completely pulled into these distractions recognize the value of being on the path of surrender in resisting their seductive pull and the false promises they offer. In the same book, Trumpka talks about "renunciation" as an integral part of warriorship and as a particular skill that must be developed lest we become pulled apart by the deep currents of sorrow we touch when our tender human core is fully awakened to the suffering it sees and feels. Renunciation as Trumpka uses the term I associate with the active process of surrender, it is surrender used as a discipline taken into life. I believe the active use of surrender ultimately must be explored and fully exercised if the full potential of therapy is to be recognized. It is the aspect of surrender that allows the learnings of therapy to be brought into the world. As he says (1999:36):

Seeing the basic goodness in oneself and seeing the sadness of the setting-sun possibilities [by which he means all the distress, pain, suffering and ignorance we see as a part of the human condition], one is willing to make some kind of sacrifice… The negative aspect of renunciation, so to speak, is what you reject or avoid. In this case you are rejecting self-indulgence, purely pleasuring yourself… What you accept, on the positive side, is the development of genuine warriorship.

There are many specific lineages or traditions of warriorship that are available to be explored in therapy. What remains important is that therapy explicitly strive to be an instrument that puts one on a path of warriorship. Being a warrior, among other things, is a disciplined way of "holding your seat" and staying with the breath when you find yourself in the midst of great suffering—your own and that of others. It is a disciplined way of being fully, genuinely, and personally present wherever you are, sharing compassion and great kindness with others without giving away your self.

*http://www.seishindo.org/articles/rob_rossel1.html
PHOTO:http://www.cmchurch.com/images/prayerrequests/manpraying.jpg

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pray It Off July 22, 2010 The Principle of Surrender



The Principle of Surrender* by Chip Brogden

In our daily life we come up against situations that we cannot overcome in our own strength, or with our own wisdom. We need a strength and a wisdom that comes from Above, that comes from Beyond, that comes from Another outside of us and yet rises up from within us.

If you are truly born-again then you have experienced this at least once in your life, in at least one area of your life. At least once you have come to recognize your inability to save yourself, and so you surrendered to Christ and trusted Jesus to do in you and through you what you could not do on your own. That surrender was, in essence, “taking up the Cross” with respect to your salvation. I have died to saving myself. I cannot save myself; and since I cannot, I will not. I will only trust in the Life of the Lord to do what I have (at last!) learned that I cannot do.

This is what is means to “embrace the Cross” in the area of salvation. And we see that when the death to Self is thorough and complete – that is, when we stop trying to save ourselves and cast ourselves upon the grace of God, then God raises us from the dead. That which was impossible before is now accomplished by God. We are thankful recipients of His grace, and He receives all the praise and the glory since we have done nothing and He has done everything. This is the principle of the Cross.

It does not matter what your situation is; the Cross is sufficient. If the Cross is the power of God for salvation, then the Cross is also the power of God for your relationships, your spiritual growth and development, your life’s purpose, your encouragement and strength, and your victory over everything which hinders and distracts and comes against you. At one time in your life you learned you could not save yourself – that was the work of the Cross.

Now, accept the work of the Cross and learn that just as you could not save yourself, neither can you love God, love your neighbor, forgive those who have sinned against you, cast out devils, be a bold witness for Christ, or fulfill your destiny in your own strength. Just as you once relied upon Christ to save you, so now you must rely upon Christ to live through you every day. Just as you continually rely upon Christ for salvation, so you must continually rely upon Christ for everything else.

“As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord…” That is the Gate. “…So walk in Him.” That is the Path. If you can admit defeat, if you can surrender yourself over to God in the area of “salvation” then you can (and should) do the same thing in every other area of your life. Walk in Him as you received Him: by unconditionally surrendering to His Will, His Purpose, His Power, His Lordship. Embrace the Cross! The sooner the better!

When we cease doing what we cannot do, then He begins to do what we cannot. This is the fruit produced by those who are truly born again. Our works are not religious works at all, they are simply the works of Him Who now lives in us. When we cease struggling and surrender to crucifixion then He comes forth in power and glory to raise us from the dead. This is what it means to be a Christian and a disciple of Jesus.

A brother came to me who suffered from a bad habit. He had tried every means known to man to break himself from this habit. No stone was left unturned. First he tried all the “Christian” cures: prayer, fasting, binding and loosing, exorcism, positive confession. He had made vows to God and had threatened himself with dire consequences if he ever broke his vows. But break them he did.

When all these attempts to address the problem spiritually failed, he tried some psychological remedies: visualization, counseling, psychotherapy, self-help courses, motivational speakers, natural remedies, prescription drugs. He even wore a rubber band around his wrist so that he could snap it against his skin whenever his thoughts began to go astray. In this way (he had been told) the pain would interrupt his thought patterns and he would “snap” back into reality. He had red welts on his wrist from snapping the rubber band over and over.

Obviously the rubber band trick wasn’t working. In fact, nothing had worked. This is the condition he was in when he sought me out. “I have tried everything, and I cannot break this habit! What else can I do?” he asked.

“Let me repeat what I just heard you say,” I answered. “You said you cannot break this habit.” He nodded. “Then you asked, ‘What else can I do?’” He nodded again.

“Listen to what you just said,” I replied. “You said, ‘I cannot… what else can I do?’” He didn’t understand, so I tried again. “What you are saying is, ‘I cannot, I cannot, I cannot.’ Then, in the same breath, you are asking, ‘What else can I do?’ And the answer is: nothing. There is nothing else you can do. You have done it all. So if you really believe that you cannot do it then stop trying to do it. Every time you try, you are expressing a belief that you still think you can do it. Clearly you cannot.”

He thought on this and said, “Yes, but if I stop trying, then it will surely defeat me.” I answered, “You are already defeated. Now you must admit your defeat so that you can overcome. What do you have to show for all your trying? Nothing but a series of disappointing failures. Do you see that if you cannot, then all the trying in the world is pointless? If it is impossible for me to lift 1,000 pounds then I should not even attempt it. This habit is 10,000 pounds to you. Can you lift it? No. Do you still think you can? Then God will allow you to keep on trying, and will wait for you to give up trying. Sooner or later you must learn to stop trying to do what you cannot do.

The purpose of these multiple failures is to teach you one thing: you cannot. If you will learn this lesson then it is worth failing a thousand times. If you have truly learned it this time then go to God and tell Him that you quit. Tell Him that you have tried to do it your way but you are powerless. Surrender it all to Him. Give up trying and admit that apart from Him it cannot be done. Go to the Cross and die with respect to this thing and see what God does with it.” He thought on this and wanted to disagree but his experience had proved that the more he tried the more often he failed.

Then something happened. He finally saw that there was no use in trying to do what he could not do. “I cannot,” he said, “Therefore, I will not!” A new hope had dawned within him: he saw that “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Lk. 18:27).

But now he understood that in order for God to do what is impossible for man to do, man must first realize that it is impossible for man to do it! He saw for the first time that God can do more for him in five seconds of “giving up” than he could do for himself through a whole lifetime of “trying.”

So together we prayed, and his prayer went something like this: “Today, Lord, I am finished. I give up. I have tried everything and nothing has worked. This is impossible with me, but not with You. With You all things are possible! Therefore, I trust You to do what I cannot do.

If you do it then I will overcome; if You do not do it then I will forever be defeated. Just as I trust in You to save me, so I trust in You to overcome this thing. I cannot, but You can.” Without realizing it, this brother had embraced the Cross. He “died” to all his efforts and God “raised him from the dead” with a tremendous deliverance.

Embracing the Cross is not a once-and-for-all act, but a daily attitude of knowing our insufficiency in order to know the sufficiency of Christ. Jesus asks us to take up the Cross “daily” (Lk. 9:23) and Paul said “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31). Since we daily meet with temptations, tests and trials, so we must daily affirm and re-affirm who we are in Christ: the crucified, dead, buried, resurrected, ascended and seated Branches of the crucified, dead, buried, resurrected, ascended, and seated Vine.

As disciples, we take up the Cross daily, which means we are always in a state of surrender and submission to the Lord Jesus, constantly forsaking our own way for His Way. This moment-by-moment yielding to Him is summed up in this saying: “Not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20ff).

* http://theschoolofchrist.org/articles/the-principle-of-surrender.html
PHOTO: http://www.kandle.ie/2008/09/17/the-cross-a-sign-of-hope/

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pray It Off July 22, 2010 The Struggle of Surrender



The Struggle of Surrender*

By: Kristen L. McNulty

A few years ago I had to take one of those personality and aptitude tests for a class that I was in. When the results came in, my answers reflected that I'm a problem solver. No surprise there. I've always been the 'if something is broken, fix it' type of person, but lately that trait hasn't been such a good thing. In fact, it has been a source of seemingly endless frustration because what happens when I'm faced with a problem I can't fix? And it seems like there has been an awful lot of those lately.

From family circumstances to my health to certain aspects of ministry, I've been facing so many problems with solutions that I cannot implement or organize or even come up with on my own.

So I'm left in a place I don't like- pushed up against the wall with no obvious source of escape. It is in this place I am faced with a choice: do I keep fighting on my own or finally surrender it to the only One who holds all solutions?

As much as I'd like to say that I surrender, that often isn't the case. I push and climb and search out every avenue; then when there is nothing left and I am completely exhausted, I take my first look up. It's looking up that I find a sovereign God who looks past my stubbornness and see His broken child. It's also there that I can finally lift up my hands and let go. Let go of unfulfilled expectations. Let go of broken relationships. Let go of my sickness and my sin. Let go of myself.

As my grip is slowly loosened, the weight that I have been carrying is taken away and I can begin to relax as I watch God work. Sometimes this is a fast process, but often times it is extremely slow one and requires a lot of stepping back and re-surrendering over and over again. The process also requires us to have a different focus in our vision because sometimes God's solutions are hard to see because they look so differently from our own.

Jim Elliot once said: "God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him." Surrender is our way of leaving the choice with God and He honors our surrender with His solutions. Like an artist painting a masterpiece, He sees the whole picture before He even touches the canvas. One day, we too will see the whole picture. The paint may be blotched in the areas we refused to let go of, but our God can make beauty out of everything- including our mess.

So today I'm standing with my empty hands stretched towards heaven. Tomorrow I may try to fill them again, but through this struggle of surrender God is faithful and patient with this child of His. He is also willing to accept any problem. All we have to do is admit that we don't know the solution and finally let go.
*http://www.madradioshow.net/impact/impactsurrender.html

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 7/15/10 How To Exercise While Sitting at Your Computer



How to Exercise While Sitting at Your Computer*

For most office workers, being glued to their desks while typing away at their computers for an average of 8 hours a day is already a part of their normal routine. However, sitting at the computer all day may not exactly be good for the body, as it can bring about back aches due to bad posture and eye strain, among other effects. On the other hand, being in a desk job does not have to be an ordeal for your health. If you are one of those people who have to be at a desk all day long, there are some simple steps that you can follow in order to improve your posture and keep your health in check.

Observe the proper sitting posture in a good chair that is designed for desk work. Your back should be straight, your shoulders back, and the top of your monitor should be level with your eyes. If you have to look down or up, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Also, make sure that your wrists do not lay on the keyboard or on the mouse pad (unless you have a pad with a wrist rest). This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Keep your legs bent at the knees so that the knees are only slightly higher than your hips. Feet should be flat on the floor or on a step stool.

Do simple stretching exercises. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.

Neck: To stretch your neck, flex your head forward/backward, side to side and look right and left. This can be done almost anytime to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neck. This could cause damage to the joints of the neck.

Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward for around 10 times, then backward. This helps release the tension off your shoulders.
Arms and Shoulders: A good stretch for your arms and shoulders is to brace your hands on the edge your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point towards your body and lean forwards, hunching your shoulders. Take this a step further and push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.

Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.

Ankles: Roll your ankles regularly. As with your wrists, roll the ankles in a clockwise motion 10 times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation, and prevents that tingling feeling you can get when blood circulation is cut off, also known as "Pins and Needles".

Chest: Notice if you tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. This stretch is moving your body the opposite way to being hunched and you should feel a good stretch across your upper chest.

Abdomen: Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this for every few minutes all day long while you are working at your desk. You can also perform Kegals while sitting.

Calves: Stretch your calves. While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. Repeat after about 10 minutes later, and continue doing this routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves, and will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle-aged computer users.

Stand up every half hour to walk around a bit. This will ensure the continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and would keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. If you can afford to take longer breaks, take a short walk outside your building, and use the stairs instead of the elevator to go down. Aside from giving your legs and heart a good workout, you would be able to take in fresh air as well.

Give your eyes a break from focusing on your screen. Every 30 minutes or so, shift your focus from the computer screen and scan around other subjects in the room, such as a window, clock, desk, or door. This helps promote eye movement and lessens chances of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique to relax your eyes would be to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.

Take advantage of the downtime created by rebooting or large file downloads. Get up and take short walks around your floor. If you can afford to do it and do not have much co-workers around who would be bothered, try something more ambitious such as doing a few push-ups, sit-ups, and/or jumping jacks.
Do exercises with the help of a few tools.

Acquire a hand gripper. They are cheap, small and light. When you have to read something either on the screen or on paper, you probably won't be needing to use your hands very often, so use this opportunity squeeze your gripper. It is an excellent forearm workout.

Acquire an elastic band (also cheap, small and light) and use it to do the actions mentioned above (i.e., when stretching your arms, do it by pulling apart the elastic band). This will stretch and work the muscles slightly.

Invest in a large size stability ball or stability ball-style desk chair, and sit on it with back straight and abs firm. You burn calories stabilizing your core and body on the ball. While the actual stability ball is more effective, the chair is a more viable option to use in an office environment. While sitting or talking on the phone, you can bounce or do basic toning exercises. Use the actual ball form in moderation when typing, as this is probably not the most supportive seating to prevent carpal tunnel and tendinitis.

Take a few deep breaths. To work your abdominal muscles, hold your stomach for a few seconds when breathing in, then release when breathing out. If possible, get some fresh air in your lungs by taking a walk outside, as mentioned in a previous step.

Have a bottle of water by your side and make a habit of drinking some every half hour. If you do this consistently you will begin to feel more alert. Take trips to your water refilling station to refill your jug or glass, so that you can also walk around and exercise your legs at the same time.


http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-While-Sitting-at-Your-Computer
Photo: http://agmem.malaga.eu/opencms/export/sites/default/agmem/recursos/es/modules/destacados/images/computer1.jpg

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 7/15/10 5 Ways to Share the Gospel



Jesus, Light of the World* This is one light that will never go out.

By Fr. Tom Forrest, C.S.R (Continued)

“What Can I Do?” Five Ways to Share the Gospel

1) Pray. Devote a part of your regular prayer time to interceding for one or two people whom you think God wants to touch. Be persistent, and trust that the Lord hears you. Also, develop the habit of listening to the Spirit and getting used to his promptings.

2) Forgive. Nothing robs us of our joy and dims the light of Christ in us as much as resentments and lack of forgiveness. It may take time, and we may need to keep going to Jesus for healing and guidance, but it is worth it. Perhaps you can begin by just telling him that you’re ready to be made willing to forgive and bless.

3) Help. Wherever possible, be willing to go out of your way to help people in need. From the local homeless shelter to the neighbor who is sick and would like a kindly visit, there are so many opportunities to share the light and love of Christ without saying a single word. Over time, your witness of loving service will open doors.

4) Smile. Check yourself in the course of the day: “Am I at peace right now? Do I know that the Father has my life in his hands? Can I give over to the Lord any anxiety or frustration?” The more you demonstrate the freedom and peace of Christ, the more your witness will touch others.

5) Share. Don’t be afraid to talk about your faith when the opportunity arises. Talk from your personal experience of how God has touched you, protected you or your family, or given you grace in a time of difficulty. Talk about how your experience of salvation in Christ has freed you from sin and given you confidence in the love God has for you.

Let Your Light Shine!

Do you believe that you can be a living miracle in your neighborhood? This is the vision God gives us--to work together to be a light in this world of darkness. This is where we’re supposed to be going, and we’re supposed to be able to see the way because each of us is helping to illuminate the way for one another. This vision is not like that other vision called television, where you sit passively observing silliness and worse, and going out and doing nothing. No, this vision is an invitation. It is an opportunity, a calling from God to go out and do something great for God, to do something great with God and with each other for the salvation of the whole world.

We must understand that before everything else, our own lamps must be lit with the unmistakable glow of the holiness of Jesus Christ. That’s the light that leads the way. When people meet us, they have to be meeting Christ in all of his love, in all of his goodness, in all of his holiness. They must be seeing the Holy One of God in us. That’s what we call witnessing. It’s the highest form of witnessing, to glow in this world with the goodness and holiness of Christ. We cannot waste time hiding the light under a table, putting it under a bushel basket with what is an absolutely false humility. We must let that light shine, and we must cry out with Mary, “God has done great things in me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).

Be a Saint. If you have ever had the privilege of being with Mother Teresa, before you left her, you would have naturally said, “Mother, please pray for me.” And before she left you, she would have said to you, “Please pray for me.” But then she would have added something else: “Pray that I do not damage the work of God.” I remember being with her at the first worldwide retreat for priests. A sister from Ireland was asked to accompany her and take care of her, but she couldn’t do much for her. Mother Teresa wouldn’t even take a cup of tea, she lived so simply. But this sister had the chance to talk with this well-known, recognized saint. So she asked, “Mother, when they introduce you and they call you a living saint, how do you feel?” Mother Teresa replied, “That’s what we’re all supposed to be. And when they say it, I just let it go in one ear and out the other.”

There’s another story about Cardinal Suenens from Brussels. Once, he was in Rome attending the canonization of a saint from Belgium. After the Mass, a reporter asked him, “What is a saint?” And Cardinal Suenens said, “A saint is a normal Christian. Our trouble is we’re all too abnormal.”

Now I loved Mother Teresa. I counted her a real friend. But I have one complaint about her. Do you want to hear what it is? I have only one complaint: It’s not enough. Every single one of you should be doing in this world exactly what she did, shining with the light of Christ, letting the light of his holiness, his goodness, love, his dependence upon the Heavenly Father light the path for others. Be a people of light. Bring your light together, and shine together. During this new millennium of grace, lift up an absolute storm of prayer for the darkness to be swept away and for the light to shine.

The Battle of Prayer.

I want to tell you a story from Scripture that says how you should pray. This is a story about the people of Judah being called together to prayer in a time of battle. Let me give it to you in a paraphrase from 2 Chronicles 20 “All of Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, with their wives, and their children. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord in worship. And the Levites stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. Jehoshaphat, the king, appointed some to sing to the Lord, and some to give praise. They sang and they thanked God for his mercy and enduring love. They came to Jerusalem, to the house of the Lord with harp and lyre and trumpet, and they won the battle.”

We can win the battle, but it will start with prayer. We have to be seen as a people of prayer. We have to be known as a people of praise when we go out to do battle. We have to learn to work together in a world where even husbands and wives can’t stay together. Children and parents can’t stay together. But we as a people of God, as the church of Christ, must shine in our togetherness.

Be a Miracle.

Now if we were in New Orleans, and we all walked outside and walked across the Mississippi River, right on top of the water, that would be impressive. But do you know what that gets? Not much more than chicken feed. If we did that, we’d only be working a miracle. That’s not enough for Jesus. He says be a miracle. Be a miracle of oneness, of unity. Be the one body of Christ. Be the local church. Help each other so that the world can believe, so that the world can see that the Father sent me.

In order that the world might see, be united as one body. And then let your light shine in the world. When was the last time you wrote an article for the newspaper? Write one. Send something in to a magazine. Talk about Jesus on the street corners. You don’t have to have a guitar, but if you’re out there, smile. And if somebody says, “You look different because you’re smiling,” be ready to answer. Scripture says, “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Do you know what hope means? It means I’m going to have a great tomorrow. If I think I’m going to have a rotten tomorrow, that’s despair. But we can have hope. In your universities, in your factories, in your office buildings, in your ball parks, in every big city and every tiny town of the world, bring light, bring joy, bring happiness. But before anything else, let the light of Jesus Christ’s holiness shine in you.

Holiness and Evangelization.

In his great document The Mission of the Redeemer, the Holy Father says that there is an intimate connection between our call to holiness and our call to evangelize. When we bring our light into the mission field, we have to make sure it’s shining with the holiness of Jesus. What does that mean? It means that if you skip the mission to evangelize, you’re no saint, and it means that if you’re no saint, you won’t do a great job at the mission. You have to do both.

Can we let the Holy Spirit bring our lights together? He’s good at that. His light can shine within us, and as we come together, this combined light is capable of illuminating the whole world. If we do that, we will see the light of Christ spreading around the world. Let’s make this our goal, so that we can see the great prophecy of Isaiah 9:2 come to pass: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. And on those who live in the shadow of death, light has shined.”

The name of that light is Jesus Christ. You are a people of the light. Now carry the light. Be kind, be loving, be angels, messengers, people, children of the light, and I’ll see you some day, and together we will see the face of God in the light of the Lamb. Amen.

Reprinted from The Word Among Us. Please visit their website at: www. wau.org
PHOTO:http://rlv.zcache.com/be_bold_share_the_gospel_tshirt-p235849556164223157qm0a_400.jpg

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pray it Off Meeting 7/15/10 Jesus, Light of the World


Jesus, Light of the World

This is one light that will never go out.

By Fr. Tom Forrest, C.S.R

I want to tell you a story about something that happened to me a long time ago. I had to take a plane trip from Boston to New York City. I got on the plane, and everything began to progress in the usual way. We got clearance from the tower, moved away from the gate, rolled out onto the tarmac, and then stopped moving. And we sat there, and we sat there, and we sat there. Finally, I looked out the window and what I saw was absolute darkness. There wasn’t a single light on in the airport. All the lights had gone out. Then the pilot came on the speaker system and told us that not only were there no lights in the airport, there were no lights anywhere in the city of Boston, anywhere in the state of Massachusetts, or anywhere in the New England region of the United States.

It was the “Great Blackout of New England.” That whole corner of the United States, where sixty or seventy million people lived, was suddenly without light. So, I had to get off the airplane and with great care find my way back to the house where I had been staying. There were no street lights. Traffic was jammed up at every corner. No electric trains were working. There was very little security protection for the people on the streets. Elevators in skyscrapers stopped wherever they were, most of them between floors. People had to walk down from the top of the highest buildings in the world, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety; even one hundred floors, to get out on the street and try to get home.

Restaurants couldn’t serve meals. Shopping malls and movie theaters went totally dark. People couldn’t get to the hospitals. Mothers about to give birth had great difficulties. Doesn’t that sound sad? But that’s not the worst. Wait till you hear how sad it gets. For thirteen or fourteen hours, that whole area of the world was without television. How sad! What were they going to do with their lives? How could life be worth living without television? Best-selling books were written about this great blackout. They even made a comical movie telling the story. And for years and years afterward, the people of that area shared with each other their personal experiences of where they were when the lights went out. That’s how powerful an impression the darkness made on them.

People Trapped in Darkness. Now, dear people of God, there are many people in this world, perhaps countless millions, who live their whole lives in darkness. Why? Because they are living without the light that has come into the world. They are living without the light whose name is Jesus Christ. I’m not just talking about places like Africa or China where there isn’t a strong Christian tradition. I’m also talking about the West. In Europe and the Americas, the light of Jesus Christ is fading. In Ireland, for instance, for the first time in its history, people are saying that young people aren’t coming to church. And in the United States, statistics show how relatively few come to give God Almighty even one hour of the 168 hours he gives us every week.

We had better take notice of this fact because we--let me rephrase that--because you have the job of getting the light back on. It isn’t enough to say, “Well, we have Jesus Christ in our history. We have Jesus Christ in our art, in our music, in our literature.” No, we have to get the light of Jesus Christ shining brightly again in human hearts. And we have to start with our own hearts.

Living without the Light. Being without spiritual light is far worse than being without physical light. Without the light of Christ, we have no protection. The devil loves the darkness. He’s called the “Prince of Darkness.” Without the light of Christ he is free to kill our hope and fill us with fear. Without the light of Christ, we are unable to move forward, unable to grow in holiness as God calls us to. Without the light of Christ, we are spiritually paralyzed, just as those planes on the tarmac, those cars on the streets, those trains in the city, and those elevators in the buildings were paralyzed without the light.

Without the light of Christ, our human actions have no traffic lights. We have no red light saying, “stop,” to our selfish passions, emotions, and self-interest. Even more importantly, we have no green light telling us, “go, get moving,” in accomplishing the good works that God created and destined for us. We have no red light saying, “don’t do evil,” and no green light saying, “go, produce fruit in abundance.” Without the light of Christ, human beings are engulfed in the utter darkness of egotism and selfishness. Do you know what the selfish person wants? He wants the right to be the only selfish person on earth. He doesn’t want anybody around him to be selfish, but he thinks that being selfish is his right. What a sadness!

Another darkness is resentment. If you have any resentment in your heart, please be healed of it. It does you more harm than the person you’re resenting. It’s poison in your life. Bad memories, bad relationships--this is the darkness for so many people. Greed is another one: wanting more than you could ever use. Imelda Marcos was said to have had three thousand pairs of shoes. I calculated that if she were a centipede, she could put on a new pair of shoes every day for two months. There’s also the darkness of addictions. What a horror in our world! People are addicted to alcohol, drugs, food. What are they hiding from? They’re trying to hide from the darkness, but they only enter into it more and more deeply.

Longing for Peace. For so many people, the darkness in their hearts makes it impossible to say, “I have peace. I have enough.” What a blessing peace is! This is what evangelization is all about. St. John called Jesus the light that shines in the darkness, then he went on to say that Jesus is the light that darkness cannot overcome (John 1:5). Jesus, and only Jesus, can fill our lives with light.

Have you ever lived through a hurricane? I have several times while I was in the Caribbean. During a hurricane, it’s as if your whole world is filled with darkness and wind and rain. But when the hurricane passes, it blows away with it every cloud in the sky, and the sun comes out again. After so much fear and worry, the world is filled with light. That’s the way Christ should come into our lives, bringing us beauty, bringing us color, bringing us goodness. Well, like John the Baptist, each of us must be a witness to the true light that gives light to every man. Our job is to turn the light on in this world so that people can walk in light and never return to darkness.

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied what would happen when the Messiah came. He said that the Messiah would shine on those who sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79). This isn’t the death that ends our time on earth. It’s the death called sin, the death called fear. This is what you must be doing as an evangelizer. And it’s your mistake and your sin if you don’t get at it. Zechariah’s next words tell us what we have to do: We must guide people’s feet into the way of peace. That’s what we do when we bring light into someone’s life. Now, if you’re in utter darkness, you won’t see where to put your feet. You won’t know where to walk. But the light shows you the pathway, and Scripture says the path takes you to peace.

How many people in the world are hunting for, yearning for peace? All the alcoholics, all the drug addicts, all those mad, mad, shoppers who think material things will give them peace. No, the Prince of Peace gives us peace. Jesus calls himself the Light of the World, the Light of Life (John 8:12). He doesn’t give light to your streets, he puts light, color, joy, happiness, and direction into your very life.

Live as Children of the Light. How good Jesus is to us! This is how he expresses his mission: “The Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18). Who are the blind? They’re the poor people we’re talking about, the people who are spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically blind. They have no understanding of where they came from, where they are right now, or where they should be going. They are emotionally paralyzed. But Jesus said, “I have come to the world as its light to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the darkness” (John 12:46).

Oh, it’s so beautiful, it’s such a wonderful, kind thing to do. We give it a fancy name--evangelization--but it really means bringing sight to the blind. What an incomparable act of love and kindness to light the pathway of someone who is lost in darkness! What an act of love it is for us to proclaim with Paul, “There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are the light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8).

It’s not that you have to go from darkness to light. It’s more than that. You have to go from being darkness to being light in this world. Paul goes on: “Well then, live as children of the light. Awake, O sleeper! Arise from the dead”--from the darkness of the tomb--“and the light of Christ will shine upon you” (Ephesians 5:8-14).

This is why we call the gospel good news. We can walk in the light. Without any doubt, evangelization is the supreme Christian service of teaching the spiritually blind to cry out like that man in the gospel, “Lord! That I might see!” (Mark 10:51). And so many blind will see if they just cry out those words.

Open the Eyes That Are Blind. Jesus wants us to come together so that our light shines brighter and brighter. The most beautiful film I have ever seen depicting evangelization is a Protestant film called The Miracle of Taxilla. Taxilla is the name of a hospital in Pakistan. It is the very best eye hospital in that country, and it’s staffed primarily by two Christian doctors: a man from England and a woman from India. These two doctors are not there to make money, but because they want to share the love of Jesus Christ.

As the film begins, a Muslim man comes walking to the hospital, guided by two friends because he can’t see a thing. When he comes into the examining room, one of the doctors shines a flashlight into his eyes, and there is no reaction. The light doesn’t penetrate at all. Then they operate on him, and we see him leaving the hospital with bandages covering both eyes, accompanied once more by his two friends. A day or two later, the man comes back to have his bandages removed. After taking off the bandages, the doctor waves his hands in front of the man’s eyes. And we see a beautiful smile come on this old man’s face. He lifts up his eyes, and tears begin rolling down his face. He can see!

In this film, the doctor and the staff tell why they are doing this work. Out of love for Jesus, they want to repeat the kindness of Christ who walked from town and village giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. And as you see a man who is blind begin to see, not only do you see tears running down his cheeks, but you put your hand to your face and find the same happening to you. The film ends with this man leaving the hospital, but now he doesn’t need his two friends to help him. As he walks away, he turns back and sees the two doctors, and he waves, and he goes home.

We Are Carriers of the Light! What a kind thing to do--to give sight to the blind! But this is your job. Your job is to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ. This world of darkness seems to use more lights than it could ever need: the lights of Broadway and Piccadilly Circus, the lights shining out of television sets and shining down on movie screens, the lights hanging over the streets of perversion in our major cities. But none of it is real.

We are carriers of the real light, and when we give sight to the spiritually blind, what can they see? Sometimes, for the very first time in their lives, they can see the greatness of the love of God for them just as that Muslim man did. They can see, perhaps for the first time in their lives, something that God has always seen in them: goodness, because God is bringing that goodness back into the light, back to life. They can see their value as beloved sons and daughters of God. They can see the goodness of others when before they were looking at everyone in the world and thinking that all of them were only evil and bad. They can see the truth that can set them free. And someday, because you brought them into the light, they will see the face of God.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). That’s giving sight to the blind. And if you do that, if you make an effort to do it, if you give up a little bit of time, you will see results. Here’s Jesus’ call to Paul: “I have made you a light to the nations, a means of salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 26:17-18). And he tells each of us that we must speak the words of Christ now. We must be the light of the world.

Turn On the Power. Now we all know how big a job it is to get the power back on in this world of darkness. It’s a big job because the devil seems to have all the power. Even some Christians believe he really does have all the power. As soon as they see a problem, they give up. They say, “What can we do? After all, we’re only human.” But in Jesus Christ, we humans can be divinized; we can be made like God.

Now my little light, your little light, all by itself could never do this job. That’s why the Holy Spirit wants us to work together. Every one of you is an utterly distinct, magnificently unique work of the creative mind of God. Each of you has your own particular light. But if we want the world to see, we have to bring our lights together and become a people of the light, shining with the wonder and beauty of Jesus Christ. We have to be lamps, burning with the light of Christ.

What do you do with a lamp? Well, Jesus tells us what not to do with it, even though too many of us do it anyway. We shove it under the table and hide it. No, Jesus tells us to place it on the tabletop, “so that those entering the room can see” (Luke 11:33). It’s up to you. And if you don’t do it, there’s someone out there who won’t see because you didn’t let your light shine. In order that the whole world can come to see, our lamps must come together, resplendent, as Scripture says, like a city on the mountaintop, shining like a beacon light at sea, leading people to the safe harbor, Jesus Christ.

Now, throughout Scripture, God calls us to be nothing less than light to the world. Each one of these is a phrase from Scripture: angels of the light, messengers of the light, children of the light. Do you see the emphasis? We’re called to be people of the light, disciples of the light, until we all one day come together. I’ll see you there, in the heavenly Jerusalem, where “there will be no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God gave it light and the light was the Lamb and the nations shall walk by that light” (Revelation 21:23).

Reprinted from The Word Among Us. Please visit their website at: www. wau.org

PHOTO:http://www.freewebs.com/creationsforchrist/JEsusPurpleWorldwm.jpg

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jesus Will Still Be There – Point of Grace

Things change
Plans fail
You look for love on a grander scale
Storms rise
Hopes fade
And you place your bets on another day
When the going gets tough
When the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough

Chorus: Jesus will still be there
His love will never change
Sure as a steady rain
Jesus will still be there
When no one else is true
He'll still be loving you
When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there

Time flies
Hearts turn
A little bit wiser from lessons learned
But sometimes
Weakness wins
And you lose your foothold once again
When the going gets tough
When the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough...

Chorus (2X)

When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pray It Off 7/8/10 The Ubiquitous Food Log



I said I would talk for 5 minutes on "The Food Log" but it is acutally 2:38 so give it a watch - it can change your life!!

PHOTO:http://www.freewebs.com/wwathome/mm_food_diary1.jpg

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 7/8/10 1400 Calories A Day Plan



1400 Calorie Week 1 Combination Meal Plan*


Monday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1478 Fat: 38 grams Protein: 61 grams Carbohydrates: 208 grams Sat Fat: 6 grams Chol: 65 mg Sodium: 1978 mg Fiber: 22 grams

Breakfast
FRENCH TOAST,
1 serving
MARGARINE-LIKE SPREAD,
40% fat
1 tbsp
(50 calories)
PANCAKE SYRUP,
reduced calorie
1 tbsp
(25 calories)
COFFEE
1 cup
MILK, 2% 1 cup

Lunch
ITALIAN SALAD W/ DRESSING
1 serving
PARMESAN ANGEL HAIR PASTA
1 serving
CANTALOUPE, RAW
1 cup
cubed
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
1 cup

Dinner
EASY MEATLOAF
1 serving
MASHED POTATOES
1 serving
MIXED PEAS & CARROTS, CANNED
1 cup
DIET SODA
12 fl oz

Morning Snack
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free
APPLE 1 small

Afternoon Snack
GRANOLA/CEREAL BAR, ALMOND
1 bar
(80 calories)
almond & brown sugar, crunchy, LOWFAT
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Evening Snack
CHOCOLATE COOKIE, NON-FAT
1 cookie
(50 calories)
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Tuesday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1487 Fat: 36 grams Protein:73 grams Carbohydrates: 208 grams Sat Fat: 6 grams Chol: 96 mg Sodium: 1568 mg Fiber: 20 grams

Breakfast
FRUIT SMOOTHIE COOLER
1 serving
COFFEE, BREWED, 1 cup

Lunch
LIGHT CHEESE RAVIOLI FROZEN ENTREE
(260 calories)
SALAD, TOSSED, W/O DRESSING
1.5 cups
SALAD DRESSING, CREAMY RANCH, LIGHT
2 tbsp (70 calories)
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Dinner
LEMON PEPPER RED SNAPPER
1 serving
"HOME ON THE RANCH" STYLE VEGETABLES
1 serving
SOUTHWESTERN JALAPENO CORNBREAD
2 servings
MARGARINE-LIKE SPREAD
40% fat 2tbsp (50 calories)
DIET SODA
12 oz

Morning Snack
BANANA
1/2 medium
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Afternoon Snack
CARROTS, RAW
1 cup
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Evening Snack
WATERMELON,
1 wedge
LEMONADE DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Wednesday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1462 Fat: 41 grams Protein: 79 grams Carbohydrates: 167 grams Sat Fat: 11 grams Chol: 167 mg Sodium: 3300 mg Fiber: 17 grams

Breakfast
CEREAL
1cup
(109 calories)
BANANA
1 medium
COFFEE
1 cup
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Lunch
HORSERADISH AND ROAST BEEF SANDWICH
1serving
GRAPES
3 oz
red or green
VEGETABLE SOUP
1 serving
ready to serve, can
DIET SODA
12 fl oz

Dinner
SPAGHETTI AND TASTY TURKEY MEATBALLS
1 serving
FRENCH BREAD DOUGH
1 slice
(60 calories)
refrigerated, crusty, 1" slice
MARGARINE-LIKE SPREAD, 40% FAT
1tbsp
SALAD, TOSSED, W/O DRESSING
1.5 cups
SALAD DRESSING, ITALIAN, DIET
1 tbsp
(15 calories)
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
1 cup

Morning Snack
COTTAGE CHEESE, 2% MILKFAT
1/2 cup
(90 calories)
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Afternoon Snack
CELERY RAW, STRIPS
1 cup
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Evening Snack
POPCORN, AIR-POPPED LIGHT
1 cup
(30 calories)
LEMONADE DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Thursday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1455 Fat: 40 grams Protein: 59 grams Carbohydrates: 309 grams Sat Fat: 9 grams Chol: 52 mg Sodium: 2159 mg Fiber: 24 grams

Breakfast
LOWFAT "CHEESY" CHEESE DANISH
2 servings
ORANGE JUICE PLUS CALCIUM
4 fl oz

Lunch
BAGEL W/ PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY 1 serving
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbps. jam/preserves
GRAPES
3 oz
red or green
PRETZEL RODS
10 rods
(110 calories)
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
1 cup

Dinner
CHICKEN QUESADILLAS
1 serving
BLACK BEAN SALSA
1 serving
VEGETABLE STEW
1 serving
CELERY RAW, STRIPS
1 cup
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
1 cup

Morning Snack
YOGURT, LOWFAT
4.1 oz
(118 calories)
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Afternoon Snack
CARROTS
1 cup
DIP, RANCH, LIGHT
2 tbsp
(70 calories)
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Evening Snack
CHOCOLATE COOKIE, NON-FAT
1 cookie
(50 calories)
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Friday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1425 Fat: 42 grams Protein: 67 grams Carbohydrates: 163 grams Sat Fat: 9 grams Chol: 152 mg Sodium: 3324 mg Fiber: 23 grams

Breakfast
PLAIN BAGEL
1 bagel
(156 calories)
CREAM CHEESE, LIGHT
1 tbsp (35 calories)
MILK,
2% 1 cup
COFFEE
1 cup

Lunch
SPAGHETTI & TASTY TURKEY MEATBALLS
1 serving
LOWFAT CAESAR SALAD
1 serving
DIET SODA
12 fl oz

Dinner
"JUST LIKE THANKSGIVING DINNER" TURKEY, BREAST
4 oz
(120 calories)
cooked, honey roasted, skinless
STUFFING, CORNBREAD, MIX
1/4 cup
(90 calories)
prepared
SWEET POTATO, BAKED W/SALT
1/2 medium
(59 calories)
baked in skin (2" dia, 5" raw)
GREEN BEANS W/ALMONDS, FROZEN
2/3 cup
(60 calories)
CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH
1oz
canned
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Morning Snack
CRISPBREAD, RYE
1 wafer
(92 calories)
crackers, crispbread, rye
VEGETABLE JUICE
6 fl oz
(35 calories)

Afternoon Snack
BANANA
1 medium
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Evening Snack
WHIPPED BLUEBERRY DELIGHT:
BLUEBERRIES, FROZEN
1 cup
(unthawed)
LITE CREAM TOPPING, NONDAIRY
2 tbsp
(16 calories)
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX,
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Saturday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1440 Fat:35 grams Protein: 67 grams Carbohydrates: 185 grams Sat Fat: 5 grams Chol:99 mg Sodium: 1677 mg Fiber: 15 grams

Breakfast
HAM AND EGG SCRAMBLE ON ENGLISH MUFFIN
1 serving
ORANGE JUICE PLUS CALCIUM
8 fl oz
COFFEE
1 cup

Lunch
CHICKEN SALAD PITA SANDWICH
1 serving
SWEET POTATO, BAKED, UNSALTED
1 small
(59 calories)
GREEN BEANS WITH ALMONDS, FROZEN
2/3 cups
(60 calories)
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Dinner
MARINATED FLANK STEAK
1 serving
GRILLED HERB TOMATOES
1 serving
CARROT, FROZEN
1/4 cup
BAKED APPLE
1 serving
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz
1 cup

Morning Snack
PLUM
1 fruit
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Afternoon Snack
GRAHAM CRACKER
1 serving
(118 calories)
MILK, 2%
1 cup

Evening Snack
CHOCOLATE PUDDING
1 snack(100 calories)
LITE CREAM TOPPING, NONDAIRY FROZEN
1 tbsp (8 calories)
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz
sugar-free

Sunday

Basic Nutritional Summary: Total Calories: 1431 Fat: 38 grams Protein:75 grams Carbohydrates: 188 grams Sat Fat: 3 grams Chol: 98 mg Sodium: 2240 mg Fiber: 30 grams

Breakfast
MULTIGRAIN CEREAL, oatmeal
1/2 cup (133 calories)
COFFEE
1 cup
ORANGE JUICE PLUS CALCIUM
4 fl oz

Lunch
TUNA SALAD PITA SANDWICH
1 serving
CAULIFLOWER
1 cup
SALAD DRESSING, RANCH LIGHT
2 tbsp
(70 calories)
SPICY FRENCH UNFRIES
1.5 servings
DIET SODA
12 fl oz
STRAWBERRY RAW
1 cup

Dinner
BROCCOLI FLORETS, FROZEN
3.3 oz
florets "Deluxe"
20 MINUTE GARLIC ROSEMARY CHICKEN AND BROWN RICE
1 serving
GREEN TEA (BREWED)
8 oz I cup
LOWFAT CAESAR SALAD
FRENCH BREAD DOUGH
1 slice (60 calories)
MARGARINE LIKE SPREAD
40% fat 1 tbsp (50 calories)

Morning Snack
ORANGE
1 small
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
8 fl oz sugar-free

Afternoon Snack
CRACKERS, REDUCED FAT,
6 crackers
(60 calories)
reduced-fat, classic golden cracker
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
8 fl oz sugar-free

Evening Snack
BLUEBERRIES, FROZEN
1 cup (unthawed)
LITE CREAM TOPPING, NONDAIRY
2 tbsp (16 calories)
MILK, 2%
1 cup

1400 Calorie Week 1 Combination Shopping List

CANOLA OIL
CHICKEN BREAST, BONELESS
6 breasts
GARLIC POWDER

ROSEMARY, DRIED

BROTH, CHICKEN, LOW SALT
''Low-Sodium''
10.5 oz
BROWN RICE, INSTANT
BERRY BLEND DRINK MIX
BLUEBERRY, FROZEN

BROCCOLI FLORETS, FROZEN

CHEESE, LOW FAT, slices
COFFEE, BREWED, PREPARED
CRACKER, REDUCED FAT
CREAM TOPPING, NONDAIRY
FRUIT PUNCH DRINK MIX
GREEN TEA
MULTIGRAIN CEREAL, HOT, DRY
ORANGE, ALL VARIETIES, RAW (2 oranges)
MILK, 2%
APPLE, RAW (2 apples)

TOMATO SOUP, CONDENSED
ONIONS, RAW (2 large)
EGGS
PEPPER, BLACK, GROUND
CANOLA OIL SPRAY
WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
TOMATO PASTE, CANNED, NO SALT
1.00 can
SUPER LEAN GROUND BEEF
32.00 oz.
GRANOLA/CEREAL BAR, ALMOND
BUTTER SPRINKLES
MILK, SKIM
POTATO
3.00 lbs
MARGARINE-LIKE SPREAD, 40% FAT
PANCAKE SYRUP, REDUCED CALORIE
PEAS & CARROTS, CANNED
OLIVE OIL
ANGEL HAIR PASTA
PARMESAN CHEESE, GRATED
VANILLA EXTRACT
CINNAMON, GROUND
MIXED GRAIN BREAD

SALAD BLEND, ITALIAN
SALAD DRESSING, ITALIAN, DIET
CHOCOLATE COOKIES, NONFAT

SALTINE CRACKERS
CORN FLAKES
SALAD DRESSING, RANCH, LOW-FAT
SALAD, TOSSED (1 bag)
YOGURT, SUGAR-FREE, FROZEN, LOW FAT
BANANA (2 bananas)
DIET SODA

APPLE JUICE
YOGURT, PEACH, FROZEN, NONFAT
SNAPPER, RAW
24.00 oz
LEMON JUICE
PARSLEY, RAW
LEMON PEPPER SEASONING, NO SALT
BROCCOLI, RAW
CARROT, RAW
DILL WEED, DRIED
LEMONADE DRINK MIX, SUGARLESS
PEANUT, HONEY DRY ROASTED

CORNMEAL, YELLOW
WHEAT FLOUR, ALL-PURPOSE
SUGAR, GRANULATED
BAKING POWDER, LOW SALT
SALT
BUTTERMILK, CULTURED, LOWFAT
CORN, WHITE
sweet, frozen
JALAPENO, RAW
FRENCH BREAD DOUGH

SPAGHETTI PASTA SPAGHETTI SAUCE
PARSLEY, DRIED.
BASIL, GROUND
WHOLE WHEAT BREAD
TURKEY, GROUND
(1 lb)
GRAPES
VEGETABLE SOUP
BEEF ROUND, EYE OF, ROASTED, SLF
(3/4 lb)
RYE BREAD
HORSERADISH, PREPARED
CATSUP/KETCHUP
ICEBERG LETTUCE
PICKLE, DILL
COTTAGE CHEESE, LOW-FAT (2 cups)
POPCORN, AIR-POPPED
MULTI-GRAIN CEREAL
SOURDOUGH BREAD, LIGHT
GINGER, GROUND
CARROT
PLAIN BAGEL
JAM & PRESERVES
PEANUT BUTTER
ORANGE JUICE PLUS CALCIUM
CHICKEN, CANNED
meat only w/broth
1.00 can
MONTEREY CHEESE, LOW-FAT
shredded
CHILI PEPPER, GREEN, CANNED
CHILI POWDER
TORTILLA, FLOUR
(7-8'' dia)
SOUR CREAM, LESS FAT
PICANTE SALSA
ZUCCHINI
SUMMER SQUASH, RAW
GREEN PEPPER
CELERY, RAW (2 bunches)
ONION, RAW
CARAWAY SEED
TOMATOES, RED, RIPE, RAW
PRETZELS, LOWER SALT
YOGURT, LOW FAT, 4 oz
CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH
canned
CRISPBREAD, RYE
GREEN BEANS W/ALMONDS, FROZEN
STUFFING, CORNBREAD, MIX
prep

SWEET POTATOES
TURKEY, BREAST
VEGETABLE JUICE
CREAM CHEESE, LIGHT
RAISINS, SEEDLESS
CARROT, FROZEN
BEEF FLANK, RAW
1.00 lb
VINEGAR, RED WINE
THYME, GROUND
HOT PEPPER SAUCE, RTS
ONION POWDER
PLUM

PUDDING, CHOCOLATE, NONFAT
Snack pack
PICKLE RELISH
WATER CHESTNUTS
MUSTARD
YOGURT, SKIM MILK (16 oz)
SALAD DRESSING, 1000 ISLAND, NONFAT
EGG SUBSTITUTE, LIQUID
MUSHROOM, RAW
HAM LUNCH MEAT
sliced, extra lean
ENGLISH MUFFIN, MIXED-GRAIN
ITALIAN STYLE CHEESE, LIGHT
grated
MOZZARELLA CHEESE
natural, fancy shredded, Light
GRAHAM CRACKER
LIGHT CHEESE RAVIOLI FROZEN ENTREE

* http://www.caloriescount.com/week1_1400_combo.aspx#

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pray It Off Meeting 7/8/10 Diets Don't Work



This Just In: Most Diets Don't Work By Sally Squires



Before you make a new resolution to join an organized diet program, consider this: A University of Pennsylvania study finds a high cost per pound lost and very limited evidence for long-term success of any of nine popular diet programs studied. Oh, yes, and large proportions of people-sometimes more than half- drop out within months of beginning the programs.

If you want to achieve a healthier weight, "the first step is to try to do this on your own," said Thomas A. Wadden, director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at Penn and co-author of the study, which appears in this week's Annals of Internal Medicine. "If that doesn't work, then get assistance."

Backed in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Wadden and Penn physician Adam Gilden Tsai reviewed 1,500 weight loss studies of adults and zeroed in on 10 commercial or self-help programs.

Using those studies, plus additional data supplied by the programs themselves, the team examined nine plans: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, L.A. Weight Loss and eDiets.com; the self-help groups Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) and Overeaters Anonymous (OA); and three medically supervised commercial programs, Optifast, Health Management Resources and Medifast/Take Shape for Life.

"With the exception of one trial of Weight Watchers, the evidence to support the use of the major commercial and self-help weight loss programs is modest or nonexistent," the team concludes. "Controlled trials are needed to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of these interventions."

Price is likely to put many of the programs beyond reach of those trying to achieve a healthy weight, the study found. The medically supervised programs, which also provided food, cost the most, ranging from $840 to $2,100 for three months, or "about $50 per pound lost," Wadden said.

Jenny Craig cost $1,249 for three months, including all daily food. Both Weight Watchers and L.A. Weight Loss cost about $170 for three months, while Ediets.com was $65, TOPS $26 and OA had no charge.

While the study found little evidence to prove that most commercial or self-help weight loss programs work, here's what experts say can help you to achieve a healthier weight by doing it yourself :

Pace yourself. Sure, it's tempting to start changing all your habits at once, but Wadden and his colleagues have found that doing too much too soon can be a program for failure. In fact, behavioral studies suggest that new habits begun at the same time are also more likely to be abandoned at the same time. So it's best to spend the first two weeks getting some of your eating habits in order. "Then introduce exercise in the third or fourth week," Wadden said.

Keep records. Yes, you may feel like an accountant, but studies show that recording daily eating and exercise increases your chances of success. Susan Burke, vice president of nutrition services at eDiets.com, notes that participants who record the food they eat on their site fare much better with weight loss than those who sign up but fail to log on regularly. "Unless you use it, you're not going to lose it," she says.

Make big changes in small steps. To foster a sense of mastery over your new habits, begin with something you know you can do. Maybe you want to decrease calorie intake: Start with a level that isn't too onerous -- say, 1,800 calories per day this week, then drop to 1,600 daily next week and so on, until you reach the appropriate level for the weight loss you want to achieve.

Revel in your progress instead of obsessing about your long-term goal. "Focus on what you achieve," Wadden said. "So celebrate the 10 pounds lost, even if you need to lose 70 pounds. You can only feel miserable about the latter and, hopefully, somewhat proud of the former."

Be the turtle, not the hare. Plenty of weight loss programs and best-selling books promise quick success. But losing pounds too fast can raise the risk of gallstones, constipation, cold intolerance and hair loss. Plus, quick weight loss doesn't give you the chance to make the fundamental lifestyle changes necessary for long-term success. About half a pound to two pounds per week is considered a safe rate of weight loss. It takes a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose a pound. But things don't always go according to plan: Hormonal fluctuations and water retention can sometimes slow the scale's decline even when you do everything right. One of the last contestants to be booted off "The Biggest Loser" reality television series lost two pounds in a week -- and she was working full time at losing weight.

Reward yourself. Most people forget to give themselves a good pat on the back for reaching an interim goal. Just make sure that reward isn't food. Think about renting a movie you've always wanted to see; go to a concert; buy a new CD; get a massage or new workout shoes or clothes.

Enlist support for your efforts. "Recognize that you need a supportive atmosphere to be successful with weight loss," said Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientist for Weight Watchers. "So turn to co-workers, family or friends for help."

PHOTO: http://solecollector.com/live/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/WeightScale.jpg

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Without Rules There Is Chaos



Pray it Off (PIO)



1. Before beginning any exercise or weight loss programs Holy Family and Pray it Off insists you clear it with your physician and Pray it Off, as a prayer group, has no liability for any sports/diet related injuries or illnesses.

2. PIO is NOT a diet it is a lifestyle. Motto- Eat less, move more and pray.

3. St. Pio is our intercessor.

4. Every Thursday 6:00 – 7:00

5. Please Sign In on the yellow pad and I will weigh you in that order.

6. If you come in late (get your packet) and then quietly go to your seat.

7. Bring a Three Ring Binder Weekly and Keep your Pray it Off Prayer and St. Pio Intercession HANDY as we begin and end with those prayers.

8. No Chatter During Presentations.

9. Must hand in Food Log each week. You will NOT be weighed without it.

10. Must wear a name tag.

11. Read One Bible Chapter Per Week.

12. Read complete packet when you get home.

13. Commit to Attending Weekly

14. Must call/email if you can’t attend, preferably well in advance

15. Confidential Group.

16. Prayer Box for Intentions/Ideas for Meetings.

17. Lending Library Cart.

18. If you use the elevator please make sure the upstairs/downstairs doors are securely shut.

19. Small Groups should follow the agenda and each member should try to participate. It should not break into small conversations within the group.

20. Please REFRAIN FROM PERFUME/COLOGNES.

Artwork: http://static.briansolis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/rules_1668_1668.gif