Thursday, February 17, 2011

Made To Crave DVD series by Lysa TerKeurst

Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

The participant’s guide and DVD arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago as part of Lysa Terkeust’s blog tour.  “Catchy title,” I thought as I placed it in my “review pile” – which is quickly becoming an avalanche waiting to happen.  At that point, I wandered into the kitchen between writing projects and clicked open a can of Diet Coke (I love that clicking swoosh sound, don’t you?)  And then I opened my pantry door to scour the shelves for a snack, a bag of Baked Doritos stuffed inside a wicker basket.  For those that know me from high school and college, you may recall that my favorite snack was  Doritos with French Onion Dip – always in ready supply in my dorm room.  At that time in my life, I was able to indulge and not even gain a single digit on the scale.  Oh how I miss that incredible metabolic rate of my youth!

Now, after stepping on the scale today, I decided that maybe I should take a peek at that Made to Crave book that came in the mail.  I even signed up for the 21 day Challenge.  The book and DVD participant’s Guide do not include recipes and daily menu guides, but they do provide heaping servings of “meaty” wisdom and questions to help us create our own life recipes for healthy eating and healthy living by turning to God instead of  food. 

Lysa writes: “When it comes to healthy eating, most people try to fix their how-to first.  What’s missing is the want-to.  Fixing our want-to provides the foundation that enables us to make lasting changes.  What is creating the most desperation in our healthy eating journey?  That’s what we need to fix first.”

I am a foodie, and as host of Kitchen Chat, I love food.  Yet, I will be the first to confess that I have used and continue to use junk food as a quick fix treatment, i.e. large doses of chocolate bars for those crabby days, crunchy bags of chips for those stressful days and gallons of caffeinated diet drinks for those “How-am-I–going-to-get-everything-done-while-I’m-feeling-so–tired” days. 

Lysa writes, “We are not to flee food.  We need food. But we are to flee the control food can have over our lives.”

God is the Master Chef of comfort food.  I look forward to taking the first steps on this Made to Crave journey.  Will you join me?

Find out a little more about the book from Lysa herself:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Out of the Ballpark

Grab some Crackerjacks and head to the “ballpark” for Chicago Children’s Theatre World Premiere of  Dan Gutman’s Jackie and Me. This inspiring story about Jackie Robinson reminds us that there’s a hero in all of us.
You will learn how Jackie Robinson broke through racial barriers in baseball during 1947. Enduring personal threats and indignant treatment, Jackie Robinson didn’t retaliate.  Instead, he perfected his game and paved the way for other African American ball players to join him in the Major League.  He was the first African American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  Jackie Robinson was a Civil Rights hero and also a loving father.  His daughter, Sharon Robinson shares life lessons from her famous father in several books she wrote. On a Jackie Robinson baseball card reproduction that is available at the play, Sharon highlights the Nine Values of her father: Courage, Determination, Teamwork, Persistence, Integrity, Citizenship, Justice, Commitment and Excellence.

The impact and influence of Jackie Robinson’s life continues its legacy.  Former Cubs player, Doug Glanville was at the play to celebrate and recognize his hero’s life.  His son’s middle name is Robinson.  Doug touts some impressive stats as a batter and an outfielder.  In game 3 of the 2003 NL Championship series, he hit the game-winning triple in the 11th inning for the Chicago Cubs.  He accumulated 1100 hits and a 293-game errorless streak. This Ivy League academic wrote an inspiring book The Game From Where I Stand which is available in paperback on March 29th.  He also is a baseball analyst for ESPN.

Celebrate National Black History Month and see “Jackie and Me” in Chicago. Kids 15 years and younger can write a 500 word essay about “How Does the Jackie Robinson Story Inspire You.”  One Grand Prize Winner will get four box seat tickets to the Cubs vs. Padres Game and four box seat tickets to the White Sox vs. Angels game along with four tickets to “Jackie and Me” along with some other great prizes.  For details visit and click on “Jackie and Me” for essay contest information. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

5 Tips for a Lasting Marriage

On February 16th, Dave and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. How did so many years fly by in such a short time? Years that have been blessed with joyful milestones such as the birth of our two daughters, my husband’s Congressional campaign, my first published books and many other celebrations. And years that have been marked with sorrow such as the death of my parents, the death of Dave’s mother, and the death of my brother, Randy. However, Dave and I have journeyed through the ebbs and flows of life together for twenty years.

What advice would I offer to newlyweds or others in the process of life’s journey with a spouse? I am not a marriage expert. Believe me, I have made more than my share of mistakes. However, I can share from my heart the five key tips for a lasting marriage that have worked for me:

Friendship: Dave is my best friend and confidant. Love and chemistry of course are essential, but a genuine friendship is the lifeboat which will help navigate any turbulent waters. I love Dave and am still deeply in love with him, but I also like him. He’s the first one I want to call and share any news. As best friends, we want the best for each other.

Acceptance: From day one, Dave knew about my being “domestically challenged” i.e. I keep an organized mess in the house. Laundry is clean but remains in a big stack in the laundry room. Meals sometime leave a lot to be desired, i.e. I am not Julia Child. And a lot of papers still need to be filed. Dave doesn’t deride me for this shortcoming, but rather he helps me sort through the piles and fully accepts me as me.

Encouragement: Marriage is a life partnership, and it’s important to encourage each other to find and pursue his/her God-given purposes. Dave fully supported my difficult decision to leave the corporate banking world and stay home with our girls. Although he married a New York City banker, I am now an inspirational writer. Dave encourages me when I get those frustrating rejections from publishers, and he takes care of our girls when I travel to writing conferences to pitch another book. I, too, fully supported him in his decision to quit his job in 2005 and run for U.S. Congress. He is such an amazing and talented man!

Communication: My mother’s favorite verse for relationships was always Ephesians 4:15: “Speak the truth in love” It’s not what you say, but how you say it. I confess…. Sometimes I “speak the truth in love” at a higher decibel level than I should, but I speak it. Dave’s mom wrote some poignant advice that I saved from my bridal shower: “Remember, cherish every moment together and always talk over differences.” And try to not go to bed angry with each other. Also, communicate with each other during the day or by email. That way, you can leave a sweet message when the pot roast isn’t in the process of burning, and the dog hasn’t jumped on the kitchen table trying to gobble up the appetizers.

Connection: Connect with each other as a couple. So often our name tags of “Mom” remain on all day and night. That is an extremely important name tag to wear, but it’s important to put on that name tag of “Wife” and spend time with your husband. Go on a date. It’s fun to reconnect as a couple. Remember, at one point it was just the two of you and after the kids are gone, it will be the two of you again. Make sure you preserve, foster and grow connecting points with each other. Also, connect with yourself. Put that name tag on that says “You” and explore and nurture your separate identity and interests. And most important --- Connect with God as a couple and individually. His love is what ultimately binds our marriage. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

What are your tips about marriage?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reflections on Reagan

No matter where one falls on the political spectrum, I think everyone can agree that President Reagan was a great encourager who left a lasting legacy of patriotism in the United States of America.  I will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of actually meeting him.

President Reagan has always been my husband’s hero.  As a young teen, Dave volunteered in Illinois for Reagan’s Presidential Campaign.  In honor of his hero, Dave and I named our oldest daughter, Melissa Reagan McSweeney.  When Melissa was two months old, Dave and I flew from New York to California to briefly meet with former President Reagan for a photo opportunity.  As a new mom, I was nervous about the long trip and about meeting a U.S. President.   However, President Reagan immediately put me at ease with his gracious demeanor.  He apologized for not being in a suit to greet us, but he was scheduled for a round of golf. 

President Reagan was genuinely pleased to meet Melissa, and my sweet baby didn’t even squirm or cry.  Sitting behind his desk, President Reagan signed Melissa’s baby book!  He commented, “I must date this to make it an official document.  President Reagan showed Dave and me the photos lining his bookshelves and reminisced about horseback riding alongside Queen Elizabeth.  His eyes sparkled whenever he spoke about his wife, Nancy.  President Reagan enjoyed speaking with Dave about world events and even invited us to sit down on a sofa for an extended visit.  An aide entered the room to remind him of his schedule, but President Reagan remained seated and continued to share his childhood stories about growing up in Illinois.   Pleased that both he and Dave had grown up in the Land of Lincoln, President Reagan reminisced about being a lifeguard in Dixon.  After this incredible meeting, President Reagan walked us outside his office and gently touched Melissa’s cheek.  “Goodbye, my little baby,” the 40th President said with a smile.

This life moment will be what I recall and treasure on President Reagan’s 100th birthday

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update from Blizzard 2011 - We survived!

My daughter took this from our kitchen window:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blizzard Wizard

Facing up to two feet of snow in Chicagoland, the epicenter of what is being tagged as an historic blizzard, I am getting prepared for the storm by putting together a blizzard box.  Reaching out to Twitter and Facebook friends, I asked for the  “best advice” on how to become a blizzard wizard.

First, I must say that I have a deeper appreciation for those pioneers and forefathers who braved blizzards without grocery stores, hardware store, internet resources and portable butane heaters.  Hats off to you!

Here are some great tips from everyone across the country:
•    One high school friend said “Move to the South!”  Great advice.  I miss those warm winter days in Birmingham.  It’s 57 degrees – a very warm Spring day in Chicago.

•    Put extra food in a laundry basket.  It’s portable and located in one place. One dear friend of mine actually has supplies on hand to make her own wheat bread! I plan to video tape a Kitchen Chat session in which she teaches me how to grind wheat! And don’t forget food for your pets in that basket, too.

•    Change the batteries in your flashlights and make sure you have plenty on hand.

•    Diane said to pop popcorn and put it in plastic containers.

•    Pamela Cools wrote a great article about facing power outages:

•    Make sure you have all of your prescription meds at hand.

•    Here’s a great one from my brother: Before a power outage from blizzard, choose a “warming room.”  Take advantage of the time before losing power and turn up the heat so that room will be toasty – even consider putting a space heater (with proper precautions of course) in that room to make it even warmer before losing electricity.  Keep provisions in that room, i.e. your blizzard box.

•    Louise said that  LL Bean and others have an all in one which includes a cell phone charger, radio and flashlight. And that  M & Ms would be a must for her blizzard box.

•    Remember to create some fun memories with your family and friends!  This can be great together time.

What would you put in your blizzard box?

Friday, December 31, 2010

And the winners are ...

Just a quick post to let you know who the winners are for the last few giveaways:

Jane Seymour book, Among Angels : Cecil

Dawyn Meehan book, You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (And OTHER LIES About Pregnancy and Childbirth): Alana

Please send my assistant Amy ( your mailing addresses and we'll get those sent right out!


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