Sunday, July 31, 2011

Snap Out of It!

Dear Ladies,

In a self imposed cold like stupor lately and that nasty spirit won’t seem to flee? Some may call this state depression or funk. No matter what we call it, it's time to snap ourselves right out of it and lay a hold of the promises of God. What are you seeing right now and with which eyes?

Yesterday my husband and friends were talking about being healed, but walking the process out. For both main characters in our stories, it was a two-year process. The discussion of tenacious and laborious times of waiting and being a one-eyed faith walker almost caused them not to see what the Lord was doing. Their healings did come. Their spiritual eyes were clouded on their journeys, though they had faith, and their natural eyes were still seeing the same vision: sickness and poor health. This scenario applies to most any topics, such as marriage, financial, and personal problems.

Sometimes our narrow vision keeps us from seeing what is really going on. We are too busy finding all of the reasons why it cannot be; the sight of the small blessings and signs along the way are being smothered.

Don’t get me wrong. What you and I are going through right now is real and painful, but the message is the same. We have to stand firm and snap out of the stupor. So, as I get ready to leave for church, I brush off this spirit of stupor and I put on the garment of praise. I open both spiritual eyes, and I line them up with the Word. I remember that my God can do anything!

It’s time to shake it off and wake up!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taking a Seek-cation

Dear Readers,

I am taking a vacation with my husband, but will return in two weeks. I have no idea if I will have internet access via my laptop. My goals while I am gone are the following:

Jesus Time

Rest and relax

Walk the beach

Hubby time

Work on my book

Eat healthy

Read some books and His word


Listen to the CD: R.A.W (Revival, Alive, Within) by Steve Swanson

Brainstorming with Don on our new couples blog

I am a firm believer in pressing in and feeling refreshed in the Lord. It’s time like these when we are busy that I have to stop, get away, set myself apart, seek God, and listen to Him. So friends, though I am not too far away, we are far enough away where we can do just that.

Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek (NIVV).

Matthew 6:3 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (NKVJ).

In Christ,

Ileana Reich

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obsessions, Confessions, and Revelations at Midnight

Where does our mind roam? Where does it obsess? What does the Bible tell us to do? It tells us to think on things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy not food, worry, white noise, etc (Philippians 4:8). Matthew 6:25 (a) says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink..”

I write the following entry not to condemn anyone but tell you what the Lord revealed to me about my relationship with food two nights ago at midnight. This revelation relates to any unhealthy obsession you may have such as alcohol, gambling, and or people. So, please read on!

I had just spent four hours on my new blog: Keeping It Real On the Winds of Real Worship. I could not sleep. I swam laps and then talked with my son. I swam some more. I then made a chicken salad sandwich with chips. I went to the couch to sit, and then I was pulled to the TV. I should have known something was up because I began to ponder a recent post I made about cutting the DVR shows I saved. Some of my shows were still there; new ones had occurred. What could one show hurt I thought and questioned? Boy, did I get an answer!

I can say relationship because I had a relationship with anorexia and bulimia in my teenage and young adult life. I had a relapse with anorexia in my late twenties. I have had relationships with many obsessions: God, work, family, and music. Some are unhealthy. It's unhealthy when food is your life! When all you think about is what you will eat next and how you will burn those calories? How many laps will I need to swim? How many push-ups? It's painful taking a walk down memory lane.

While eating disorders are complex and this blog does not explain or delve into their symptoms, causes, and or treatments, it is important to understand that many people who obsess over things are comfortable with themselves, others, or something that has happened to them. This blog goes deeper than the diagnosis and is about the relationship one can have with food.

Obsession can put people on edge and cause them to be anxious. For some, it’s the TV that has to be on. Why? I think it’s to fill either an empty space or an uncomfortable space. Is food my friend and comforter or Christ? Again, it’s about the relationship with food. It has taken me years to uncover the patterns or coping skills I learned when I was a young girl desperately trying to make my way through childhood and young adulthood safely and quickly. Food became my faithful friend; it was always there, and it never talked back when I threw it up.

I have always likened my obsession and relationship to someone with alcoholism because we are always thinking about the object or item. When can we have it next? Or, we are not going to have it. We have to wait to have it. How can we control it? Limit it to one day a week, and the obsessive thinking goes on and on and on! We can be so wrapped up in it. Some more than others! I might add this is an exhausting cycle.

We gladly, more often than not, run and spar like hamster on a never ending wheel, but how come we hardly ever get off? I have this picture turned to the right because this resembles or brokenness and dysfunction. Over the years I have faced many dark moments deciding if I wanted to hold onto dysfunction or let healing and life come. This was a long journey of prayer, counseling, reading books, teaching healthy eating classes, and learning to find balance and learn what is healthy. I have learned to love and accept myself.

God is revealing the strongholds that keep me from living a life of freedom in Him. If we are not comfortable in silence, there is something amiss, unaligned, or off within us. This needs to be addressed and fixed! I am finding new life in Christ, and I am overcoming my obsession. Just when I think it’s gone, God reveals another layer or buried stronghold that I need to understand, overcome, and release.

Here is what happened: At midnight, I did not want to think about anything at all. I realized that it meant that I did not want to quiet myself and be still in the silence. The TV, sandwich, and chips were my check-out ticket. I am not saying there is anything wrong with checking out from time-to-time, but when it is because of running, fear, or denial, it’s no good!

How we need silence and quiet time. The droning sounds and activities of life cloud our space, but we need silence to think on things. When and if we get there, we need to decide on what we are going to focus on. If we focus on the wrong things and we end of getting upset, sad, or frustrated, why would we come back to that silence? Some crave the negative vibe and feed this monster too. Anger is another addictive obsession. Any way you slice it; the word tell us what to think on.

The following scriptures are helpful in learning where to put our minds and thoughts:

Joshua 1:8

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous

and successful.

Psalm 1:2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 48:9 Within your temple, O God,

we meditate on your unfailing love.

Psalm 77:12 I will consider all your works

and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Psalm 119:15 I meditate on your precepts

and consider your ways.

Psalm 119:23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,

your servant will meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

It’s something to think about!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Coming: A For-Couples- Only Blog

Dear Readers,

I excited to announce that my husband and I will be writing a For-Couples-Only blog! While I wrote about this in my book’s introduction in March and held it in my heart, the idea was birthed yesterday in car conversation. God is good!

We plan to pair this blog with our marriage class that we will be teaching in the fall as part of our life group at Gulf Coast Assembly of God in North Port, Fl. It will be based on the bookHis Needs Her Needs, by Dr. Harley to start, but will continue on after the class ends. It is our desire to bring hope and faith to couples and allow for reconciliation, forgiveness, healing, and new health/life in the couples we touch.

While I cannot get my husband to include the cliché “keeping it real” in the title like the other three blogs I write, we will be able to reach an audience that may not otherwise come to class and or enter a home. In fact, we may be able to reach the unchurched by doing this blog.

Everyone can improve their marriage. Joining this blog or class does not necessarily mean you have a failing marriage. It means you are going to take a step and enrich what you already have. It means you are going to take time for one of the most important relationships you have next to God and your children. Think of it like an investment. the more you put in; the more you get out of it! The more you will grow!

Also, people who miss class can get the notes from the blog. Comments can be made. People can contact us via email. Another option is Skyping with people who need marriage support. We hope to help support couples work through issues in their marriage, as well as assist them in growing and enriching the marriage they already have!

We plan to write each week about something the Lord puts on both of our hearts from a his and her perspective in addition to our course notes. In short, we are really excited about this blog. You do not have to attend the class to read the blog; however, you can join, read, comment, grow, and follow this blog.

Our class plans to take place on Mondays from Sept. 9th to Dec. 12th and meet @2800 Pan American Blvd. North Port, Fl @ 6:45 PM.

If you want me to email you the blog link once it is created please email us. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email us. If you plan to attend the course in person, you can register for this course by by emaling me now Spots are limited!

There will be no cost for this course. We will ask each couple to sign-up on a snack calendar and evenly take turns providing an inexpensive snack.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stealing Time

Today I feel impressed to tell you that you need to take a little time for yourself. I know for some of you making this time will take serious planning and seem like it’s just too much trouble. But I promise you; it will be worth it!

I remember when my kids were little, and I used to go to praise and worship practice every Thursday night. I enjoyed music and praising the Lord, but this was also “me time”. I had to arrange a babysitter often, but it felt so good to get a way for a few hours. Looking back, I see the need for taking a break or removing myself from the hustle and bustle of it all and chill out. More importantly, stealing time away, despite how brief or extended it is, can make or break what you have left to minister to your family. I think it is crucial to your ability to minister to your family in the most effective manner. We are no good to anyone if we have no reserves. We are no good to ourselves if we have nothing left. Remember it’s about having time away to relax and not about how much you spend! Since I must practice what I write, I went and had some of my own “me” time today. I feel so much better!

That’s right! Today I went to Get Well Therapy today and had a massage! Sue Wesolowski is my licensed massage therapist (#MA47155) who did a fabulous job working out the knots and tension ridden muscles in my neck, shoulder, and back. The last time I had a massage, it was twenty years ago! It’s been too long and time for me to do this more often. I’d say something like at least once a month will do! Right now they are running an awesome special that she will honor if you tell her my name, Ileana Reich, and that you read about me in my blog. Here is her great deal: $20.00 for a half-an-hour and $35.00 for an hour. These are their summer specials. They are located at 3161 Harbor Blvd Suite B. Please call Sue @ 941-286-3382 at make an appt for Tues. or Fri. She starts at 8:15 AM and takes her last appointment at 6 PM!

If you’re not the massage type, the following are a few ideas to get you thinking:

· When everyone goes to bed, take a bath and light a candle. Read your favorite book or sit there and just soak in the silence. Some women like to play soft music too.

· Get your coffee, cocoa, or tea one step from being “button ready” and your favorite book. Get up 15-30 minutes before your house awakens. Leave the stuff on the counter and floor. It will be there later. Read your Bible and pray. Sometimes it is good to just sit, relax, and thank God.

· If you have a spouse, take a walk with yourself or a friend before everyone wakes up or after everyone goes to bed.

· Arrange for a few friends to get a sitter club together and take turns watching the kids. You can go out on a date-night, girls-night out, or other activity you love to do, such as shop or get a bite to eat.

· Join a cheap gym that has a daycare.

· Visit a spa in your area and have a manicure, facial, and or pedicure, etc.

· Go to a park.

· Go to the beach.

· Go shopping.

· Meet a friend for lunch.

· Fall Breakaway/ Ladies Retreats/ Marriage Retreats….

I caution you to try to do something by yourself and soak in the “me” time. Too often we hear the words from the pulpit to give and serve. These are true Christian attributes that one should strive to do, but the Bible also tells us to be a good steward. It used to feel awkward when I would think this way. I’d feel guilty for thinking about taking time for myself. Before long I became aware that I was giving myself away to everyone around me; I had little left for my husband. I began to reevaluate my priorities. Changes were in order!

What about you? Do you need to make some changes? Do you cringe at the idea of “me” time? If you do, examine your heart and ask yourself why. I truly believe that we need to love ourselves, and this means taking care of ourselves! We also need to do more forgiving and releasing of ourselves and our actions. This is also a love decision we make towards ourselves. Why is it we are quicker to ask God to help us forgive someone, but we do not ask God to ask Him to help us forgive ourselves? If we want to be whole, we need to take care of the whole person and not just parts. Take time out for yourself. Discover a part of you that you never knew existed!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'll Have some Tear Soup Please

Dear Ladies,

I woke up this morning with a lot on my mind. I was thinking about the impression that Kristin Parks, a Godly woman, left with me yesterday. We spoke and fellowshipped last night and talked about how her unborn daughter who was diagnosed with Achondrogenesis, which is a lethal form of dwarfism and there are no recorded cases of babies surviving it. It has been a little over a month since Carina went to be with Jesus. You’re probably wondering why I am writing this blog, but I tell you there are many reasons. I suspect there are reasons I am not aware of, but God is. Ironically, this was one of our topics last night. Moreover, Kristin has inspired me before, and I have always looked up to her as a woman of God who takes her calling seriously, loves the Lord with everything she has and goes through, is the best mother and wife I know, and trusts Him completely. She is the author of the blog: Choosing Carina: She is also the author of the book: To Be Loved by You.

Some of the key points of our conversation last night and this morning revelations’ are as follows:

· Your life speaks. In reflection, we are an open book to be read by many. I am thankful that she has chosen to write her blog and tell her story. As I read her blog, her words inspire me to live my life to the fullest I can in Him.

· Your story needs to get out. In reflection, we talked about how her story is important on many complex levels and topics. She talked about putting her blog in chapter form. I told her that it would be awesome for anyone in her situation to have that book in their hands, though HOW she lived and is living through her trial that she embraced and trusted God is also a story. Yes, the chapter blog idea is a good one, but there is more. I believe that she is going to be speaking to both small and large audiences about the faithfulness of the Lord and His people.

· Some people don’t know what to say. In reflection, I felt so much pain when I thought about what she was going through that I did not call her. I did not want to cause her any more pain, but the truth is her blog inspired me to pray for her and to ask God to make me more like her. Even when I separated or held back, she ministered to me.

· She poured her husband a glass of water without him even asking. Okay, this might not seem like a big deal, but she did not get up to get herself more water and then get him a glass. She got up to get him water because his glass was empty. I did not even notice the smoothness of this. She asked where the water was. I told her where the Brita container was, and then I marveled that when she sat down, …. her glass was empty. I asked her about it. Again, here is an example where she lives her life unto the Lord. She is also a wife who takes care of her husband. I thought this morning about in the Bible where it talks about the ones that did not minister to the people in need. Lord, I want to be more like her Lord because she is more like you!

Every woman has a story to tell. Some stories are more powerful than others, but in honoring my friend, Kristin Parks, I wanted to help her get her story out! I believe that her blog and life will inspire you too! Kristin told me about a book called Tear Soup last night. The story book teaches people to understand the grief process. Last night she told me that sometimes we need to pull out some bread to go with our tear soup. I guess that is part of what last night was.....Even tear soup is manna from heaven!

Might you consider asking her to speak at your church or event?

Below is an excerpt from her blog: Don't Forget the Manna

Friday, June 3, 2011

Don't Forget The Manna

I'm starting to read this book called, "The One Year Book Of Hope." In the introduction, the author has also just lost a child. She asks her sister-in-law how you get through the loss? How do you get through the grief? Her sister answered, "Manna." Such a perfect answer!

When the Israelites were wandering the desert, they had to depend on God daily for their sustenance; manna. Just as they had to depend on it daily, so do I. I have to depend on Him daily to get me through my grief.

I tend to be a "ritual" person. I get up, get Autumn's breakfast, fix Ken his lunch, day starts pretty much the same. The middle sometimes changes, but it doesn't vary much. Being ritualistic is not what will get me through my day. I need the manna. And the thing about manna is, you can't store it up. Just as the children of Israel couldn't store it up. They needed a new supply daily. I am determined to remember my daily need for Him. Only His word and His strength are unchanging.

Don't forget the manna.

Thanks for reading the entire entry! I hope it inspires you to love the Lord with more of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. If she can do it, so can you and I! Ummmm...I'll take a cup of that tear soup Lord.