About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Off" Facebook Part One

Well, it's been a month since deciding to let Facebook go. Well, sort of. Actually, I'm still on it, even though I'm "off" it. I still keep in touch with people via messages and still have my honey page open. but that's it. I don't look at the news feed...AT ALL. I actually put a sheet/ blanket, my hand, anything to cover up seeing what's on News Feed.

If you are reading this you many either be a friend or some random person who stumbled upon this post in your google/bing search. Whichever, please don't be alarmed; I'm not going to bash Facebook or people still "on" it. In fact, a couple years ago, I went to a gathering once where the people were so full of their own "coolness" because they weren't on Facebook, it was nauseating. That somehow, that meant they had a life and the people on Facebook, by default, don't.

Never the one to shut up simply because I'm the only one that thinks a certain way in a crowd...I had no problem gently pointing out to all these very "cool" people that Facebook actually has a LOT to recommend it! The amount of encouragement I've received and I hope have given over the years can NOT be measured. The laughs and the rejoicing with, the prayers and the shared sadness over things that concern dear friends, distant friends, once upon a time friends, has been WONDERFUL. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

I miss it even now.

But, I found, that though there are some wonderful blessings of being a part of this sort of culture we call Facebook, I found my very soul was being distracted and even pelted by themes, thoughts and sometimes even lies I had to continually combat throughout the day. It was like I was putting myself in a lovely minefield time after time.

Until one day, about a month ago, a mine blew up and I didn't even know it until I leaned closer to the computer to understand what I was looking at, because my mind could not make sense of it. And when I finally realized what I was looking at, my soul trembled and cries came out of me that I haven't heard since I was in labor.

You know, I used to look at the news feed in Facebook about 3 times a day...at least. (And no, as far as time taken from my day, for me, that wasn't excessive. Trust me, I came from a place of "excessive" a number of years ago, thank you LORD!) Anyway, I loved it! I loved seeing what friends (close/distant/once upon a time) were up to and doing and where they were going...I loved sharing in the same! I loved praying with and being prayed for when needs arose. I even loved being in the know about politics and doing my own sticking my neck out instead of sticking it in the sand type promotion...but the thing is...we can't see these kinds of things and not be affected. In the space of less than a minute, my view of the news feed on Facebook was altered. (an aside: If that doesn't give great hope for the deep struggles of our lives, I don't know what does! In a moment in time, He can change us. He is ABLE...and it has to start with His Son.)

God says, "The Lot is tossed into the lap, and the dividing of it is of the Lord." 

I trust in the sovereignty of God, while understanding that though we are to be wise, we are NOT to be wise in the venues of evil. To that end, I believe I was never meant to see what I saw, to KNOW it in it particulars. It was a picture...it wasn't an event in my life. There is a huge difference. But because I was willful and na├»ve, I think the Lord allowed this breach...reminding me to be "careful little eyes...little ears...little hands...little feet."

A greater caution: listen to the warnings He gives along the way...there were so many, yet I shrugged them off. Had I listened, perhaps my now repulsed response to Facebook would not be so extreme. Perhaps I would have simply blocked certain persons and still enjoyed the many benefits I still believe Facebook can offer...I think it is a freedom we have that I can no longer enjoy. The fact of the matter is, I actually hate entering Facebook territory now. For those that know me...It's like having to answer the phone.

It was told to me that we need to know about this kind of evil in the world so we can better defend against it. My heart cries, we are not God. This fact may be one of the reasons He wrote Romans 16:19 "...but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil." Perhaps he also wrote it to keep us from feeling too much of "the weight of what [life] brings and the hurt that tries to grab..."

Getting "off" Facebook is FOR ME simply one more step in the process of releasing this world...because the truth that I cling to is...


"There Will Be A Day"
By Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth,
that we will enter in this rest with wonders anew

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

[Chorus]
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you're walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you've walked out all alone

[Chorus]

Troubled soul don't lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that's in store
Outweighs the hurt of life's sting

I can't wait until that day where the very one I've lived for
always will wipe away the sorrow that I've faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery this is why this is why I sing
 
 
"Off" Facebook Part Two will be brief and deal with what I do now with all this extra time I have on my hands! I Jest! Sorry, I still have the same 24hrs I always did...and they still get gone :) But there are things that I've learned and would like to share in being off the news feed! Will do so soon~ Thanks for reading! ~Alicha
 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Covert Affairs" not a review...not YET :)

Okay, so this is not a review, rather a thought rabbit trailed by the most recent episode. I will be reviewing it in time but for now I've got this to share...Was watching an episode today, WHILE working-out on my mini trampoline ;) , and was really bothered by one of the evil characters in the story, his words, position and power.

On the screen, Henry Wilcox, a character given almost God-like qualities, was boasting in these and I knew the moment my flesh started to draw similarities between my Lord and this evil man. But then questions came to mind "What's the writer's point here? Where is this going?"

Slight Aside: I've learned in the past decade, questions that challenge my faith are good because my faith doesn't depend on me...it depends on Him. And always, EVERY TIME, He answers. He alone is faithful...He tells us, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you."

Think about it, how do we draw near to people, break faulty assumptions and actually find out who someone is? We ask questions. Sometimes hard questions even if sometimes those questions are about something that may have a semblance of truth wrapped around a putrid lie and you need help figuring out what's what. You can not do this without the truth of God's Word. "For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword...piercing even to the dividing asunder of Soul and of Spirit and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Back to the episode in progress: Suddenly, in the middle of the argument, the man faltered in his verbal assault and shouted at his victim, "I held out my hand and pulled you out of the fire!"

At that line, the lies lost their grip and truth shined, dispelling the shadows.

I used to think God, being God, was there to pull us out of the fires of our lives and then the Big one at the end. But I've since learned God's endgame and it's NOT fire insurance. Please tell my you know that...I'm sure you suspected...Even I did.

For believers in the LORD. JESUS. CHRIST.,(each name is important to comprehend) our lives are to bring Him Glory, for our Betterment. That dual relationship of "His Glory, Our Good" is showcased perfectly by his Word.

He doesn't stand outside fires cheering us on or letting us get burned...he walks through the fire WITH us, promising we will not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon us...

What a beautiful contrast! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rebounding on a Mini Trampoline: Game plan for bodyshaping and weightloss:

Okay, so here's the deal...

Every time I get serious about getting in shape, 2 months into it, something happens! (JUST FYI ~despite some uninformed person's idea of body weight,  I'm only 5lbs outside the healthy weight range parameters and 12 lbs away from where I'd be pleased to be which is 115 lbs. I'm still a solid size 6 in a short frame. and I can still get into my size 4 shorts (rather tight though :) But, as we may all know, size 6 on a shortie might as well be size 10 on a tall person!)

So, this is what has happened each time:
1st time: got very sick
2nd time: got pregnant with my second baby girl
3rd time: got very sick (have since come up with a great tonic that helps nip these awful colds in the bud!
4th time: health issue came up but not sickness related
5th time (that would be now): I have hurt my right heel.

Now, every step can be excruciating, depending on the kind of day and activity level that day or the day before. I'm not sure what happened. May have happened by not stretching the way I should have after a run. I used to think stretching was for older people...it is and now I faithfully stretch!

I fell down some stairs about 6 months ago and landed heavily on that heel. But that seems unlikely as it was fine between the time I healed up and the time I got back into running. Sometimes it seems to be getting better, sometimes it seems to be getting worse. I've bought a cheap foot support to sleep with to keep my foot in an upright position and I NEVER go without some type of cushion on my feet. Right now, the pain seems to be in a holding pattern and somewhat manageable.

This I think is do to rebounding...or jumping on a mini trampoline! I've only been doing it for 4 days, 2x a day for 25-45 min. depending on if I'm going to the gym or not that day. But I'm really enjoying it! And unlike me sucking it up and forcing myself to go to the gym for an hour and dreading the horrific pain afterwards, I'm not in any worse shape after I get off the rebounder, than when I get on it...in fact, I'd say I'm a little better (except for swelling in the heel) when I get off. likely this is due to stretching of the leg and calf muscles while on the trampoline!

My game plan is as follows:

Eat normally with caution and 4 -5 glasses of water/white tea a day. (I'm never going to be a dieter. I think that's just a foolish way of setting yourself up, especially with a family to feed. Also, I'm not a big eater~I can have one or two chips and leave the bag, or not have any at all, not a big deal to me) I'm just watching what I eat a bit and being careful to add some protein to a carb when I have one. I'm not a big sweet eater, though I will say I've had to put the breaks on certain places like Panera's and Starbucks. Which, once I'm away from, I don't miss. I read the Hilton Head Beach diet and I believe my issue is my metabolism slowing down than anything. I actual take in less calories than I did 10 years ago...or just as many...only now I'm having weight gain. Oh and portions. I am going to try filling my plate to my norm and then only eating half of it, enjoying each bite. If I'm still hungry, I'll have the rest of the plate...but at least I'm eating with intention.

Work out on the rebounder at least 2x a day 6-7 days a week. Once in the morning while the girls are getting ready for the day, right after breakfast and once either after lunch or after dinner. Keeping the time between 25-45 minutes depending on what other activities I'll be engaging in that day.

I plan to go to the gym 3-4 times a week and then either 1-2 days a week walk or do something energetic with the girls. (Today we went outside in the rain for 20 minutes! It was really fun and spontaneous totally crazy :)

This sounds very involved, but doing this so far this week for 4 days, it's really be a blast and has added focus to my day. I have a lot to do...and I'm more aware of the time that ticks by!

Now, how do I feel rebounding? Wonderful! I have a Reebok  rebounder from Target it was around $35. It doesn't squeak at all and it doesn't cost $600-$900 for a high end rebounder.

I'm having fun, my skin looks radiant afterwards, I still have energy afterwards and knowing I expend more calories on it than running on a treadmill (or any other machine/or running outside) and that I'm naturally changing/shaping my core by even just being on the trampoline, just makes me want to get on it more! I love that I'm doing one of the best exercises for my body known to man!

I FEEL my muscles are fatigued (especially my butt and thighs) but there's no pain :) LOVING IT!

Next week's plan is to fatigue my lower body prior to one of the rebounding workouts by going up and down the stairs in an intentional way, not rushing, but concentrating on slow and steady. I'll give an update in about a week. I'm thinking to only check my weight every 2 weeks until I really see some changes in my clothes (which I've already seen some loosening...although I KNOW that's just water right now, still nice to feel!) Bye for now!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Local, Creamed, Raw Honey!!!

I'll be back shortly, just need to get a new endeavor underway!

So come on over and see what the buzz is about! ~

 http://mrsbeescreamedrawhoney.blogspot.com/

Have a great weekend!~A.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Flashpoint" TV Series Reviewed

I like to watch TV shows from Netflix's instant play while folding clothes or while cleaning an especially messy room...like my bedroom! :)  It's my "thing". Well, while doing my thing, I discovered a series which, to my utter amazement, has quickly become my favorite show...perhaps of all time!.

Flashpoint is a show created in 2008 and from what I can tell, has just finished it's 5th and final series brought to us by Canadian TV. The premise: Team One of the Strategic Response Unit (SRU) is a division of the police force (a cop show, people!) that is brought in usually during a crisis, such as a hostage is taken or a prison take over.

Now, I have never taken to cop shows. While I very much enjoy detective shows that are usually fun and endearing, like Monk or Murder She Wrote, I can't even think of one cop show I've even glanced at. They seem too "us" against "them" or too many times it's about underhandedly outwitting the criminal (like the Closer), leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

Yet, Flashpoint's premise intrigued me. I watched episode one, and I was hooked. But what I've noticed with some series, often the meat of the show shifts, the writers either lose focus or content, and so they start making the episodes about the characters' lives in a very soap opera type way. I'm thrilled to say this didn't happen with Flashpoint.

True, the episodes brought out elements of struggle and simple "reality" of living...making the characters real and believable. Otherwise, it'd have been like watching a comic strip of heroes, brave, amazing souls, without damaged lives of their own. To my delight, though, the writers never turned these life details into the story. They only used the details to flesh out each episode, and in my opinion, they did a superb job of it!

Team One of the SRU's motto: Connect, Respect, Protect.

Over and over the characters faced challenges, unknown elements, know facts that were misunderstood and yet they held to this motto to the letter. I have never seen a show so carefully show all sides of criminal behavior in an uncondoning way, seek to reach someone where they are at and then have such a high respect of life that even when the criminal becomes the hostage of a person who has every "right" to take that criminal's life, the focus shifts and the viewer (me) is confronted with his or her view of "Life" and the implications therein.

I must confess that Flashpoint's brilliant writing staff, and perfectly casted actors both of which has remain true to form through-out, has help me to confront some warped views of life and the value there of. A strange thing for a follower of Christ to realize and come to terms with as I've been inundated by the acting out of the team's motto during each episode time and again over the past few months.

I explore each aspect of the motto below and how it has impacted/challenged me personally. Feel free to read on if you'd like, but my review is done except to say, Flashpoint has done more than entertain me...it's inspired me.

Protect:

My inside chatter has been telling me something for a long time but until recently I haven’t recognized it’s impact in my life…lt’s been like a low hum, vibrating under all the regular chatter of my usual days.
 
It’s the lie that says life here on earth is a part of the curse. That the blessing of life is going home to be with the Lord when you die.
 
And although it’s true that all of the pain of life, the strife and heartache, will cease when we die, I’ve begun to understand that the life that God has given us here and now is the just the BEGINNING of the blessing of eternal life found in Christ.
 
You know, my oldest daughter is 7. She is alert and aware and incredibly curious. I’ve been cringing these past few weeks at every mention of the word “Abortion” or “Roe v. Wade” due to it’s 40 anniversary. I know that one day soon I will have to tell her, in the simplest terms what these words mean. For those who have walked this road, I’m sure it’s not like glossing over Santa Claus.It’s real and wrong and it’s reality is unthinkable…and it happens everyday, all day long in our land we call a “Christian Nation”.
 
But secretly, I think I’ve been “okay” with abortion because of this lie about life that has warped my mind. Because really, if the true blessing of living doesn’t come until after life on earth ends, then aren’t we doing all these babies a favor? Shocking that a Believer thinks that way, but that is the end of my thinking.
 
Flashpoint helped me realize this. Life is a blessing, not to be thrown away or tossed around lightly. It has value and impact and moments of extremes. It is to be treasured and protected.

Respect:
For a long time now, I have been growing, by God's grace, in the knowledge, understanding and correction to my behavior, that I have not always respected all people. I've picked and chosen who I'd give way to and who I wouldn't.

It isn't always clear cut either.

But slowly, as God opens the damaged places of feelings of inferiority in my heart to his healing perfect love...as I dwell in the hope and promise that I am a daughter in the Church of the First Born...I'm more able to act on the respect that God desires me to show to all people, young, old, rich, poor, sick, well, those in my own home and those that will never cross my threshold.

They are all deserving of respect. They are the image bearers of my God, my Lord and King. They are due the type of respect that honors their decisions as their own...and the consequences too. This is where a biblical understanding of "judge not according to the apperance of things, but judge righteous judgement" and our Lord's command to not have a condemning spirit, this is vitally important. This type of respect is a big part of loving the sinner, while hating the sin.

Connect:

I've been amazed by the writers for this show and their ability to tell the full story, for SRU Team 1 to pick at the "subject"'s (what they call the suspect) life. The faithfulness with which they gather and pursue all aspects of the subject's life, to get the big picture, all so they can relate better, and hopefully gain a better outcome than the one the subject has in mind.

I'm afraid, I can only liken it to Christ and his talk with the prostitute at the well. Of course, Jesus, being God, knew all things, but his drawing her out, connecting to her and then helping her face what she needed to, with the hope of what she actually needed present as well...I can only liken the character's words and actions in pursuit of connection with each threatening person in their world torn lives, as beyond beautiful and awesome to behold...indeed, it's Christlike. There is no higher compliment in the world for me to give.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Good/Bad ~ I finally GET IT!

You know that expression, "Take the good with the bad."

I finally understand what that means.

What I THOUGHT it meant was more of a compartmentalized version of the saying. Like, when bad comes your way, take it...because eventually good will come your way and then you take that too.

In a husband and wife relationship, likely any relationship, there is good and bad. What is my norm is to take the good when it comes and ride it high. Unfortunately for my husband, children and myself, when the bad comes, I'd take it and ride it low for all it's worth.

What I've recently discovered this expression actually means and a better phrase I believe: Allow the good to balance the bad.

You see, it is easy (for me) to think my husband is the most horrible person on the planet. I mean HITLER"S got nothin' on a guy that just ticked me off, pushed the wrong buttons, or turned the "blinding light" on for the 5th time that morning, all because he's been up for a while and thinks you've had enough "Zen" time.

How unbalanced!

What a misrepresentation of truth! My husband is a great guy, a fantastic salesman, someone who I believe literally can do ANYTHING he sets his mind to, a wonderful father a caring son and man in pursuit of the "how to's" of loving his wife!

It bothered me, the ferociousness with which I perceived and addressed every wrong! Like I'm going to stomp on it and squash it out. I'm not. I know I'm not and yet that's where I've let my emotions take me...into lies and deceit about a man I've melded my life to.

What has happened...this imbalance has pushed all truth from my mind when a difficulty arises and instead of dealing with the problem, issue at hand, I've perceived my husband as the problem and issue at hand and I do what I do with all problems...go into attack mode to fix it.

And we all know that's working well....NOT!

So it has been with a grateful heart, a heart needing to understand this for a great while, that I realized I need to remember the LOVING KINDNESS of my GREAT GOD, who gave me a husband with such amazing qualities that balance and even tip the scales back when things sometimes go south, as they most certainly do and will.

To keep my focus big and inclusive when dealing with relational hurts.

And didn't I vow to do just that, in sickness and health (the good and bad) til death do us part? How much easier it is when your husband is also seeking after the Lord! I'm blessed!

So what have YOU been learning about relationships??? Share below as you're led!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Comforted and Comforting, Happy New Year!

Taking down the tree this year came with a different sort of sound...My two year old wailing in the background!

I'll never forget that moment when she realized the tree was coming down and she let out a howl of despair. How were we to know? The child had barely glanced at the tree outside of a brief "Ohhhh!" when we put it up.

Well, for a time, no amount of hugs and assurances that "the tree will get put up again next year" and "Christmas is Christ, not Christmas trees" would work. Distraction was the key.

But I saw something of the magic, the essence, she'd experienced this year, the glimpse of a Light that went down with the tree. And I hate to admit to having, if not the exact expression of my daughter's feelings, than certainly the feelings themselves for nearly every Christmas I can remember...save this one.

There was always a sigh on Dec. 26th that had nothing to do with returning presents, or continued clean up from the day before. The wistful wish that the season would never end and the echoing chime of truth that's collected a bit of cloy over the years.

"Christmas is in the heart"
"Jesus is the reason for the Season"
"Let's keep the Christ in Christ-mas"
"Keep the Spirit of Christmas alive"

I can't tell you how many times I've forced myself to push beyond the feelings of loss and "Ho, Hum" the days and weeks just after Christmas.

That is, until this year.

As many of you know, I've been involved in a study on the book of Isaiah with a group called CBS. Back in early November, we got into Isaiah 7. There is a prophecy given there, one we are all so familiar with we could recite it in our sleep....and often do (figuratively speaking).

It was the person to whom the prophecy was given that caught me by surprise: King Ahaz.

King over Judah (the 2 southern most tribes of Israel), he'd turned the peoples hearts away from the Lord, doing what was evil in the sight of God.

We read the definition of his reign and gloss over it.

What many don't realize is the man, Ahaz, sacrificed HIS SON to a false god, in fire. There are so many things going on here that it's hard to focus. But as I wrapped my head around this one horrific sin of Ahaz, for the first time the true meaning of Christmas, the HEART of it, began to sink in and has "protected" me from the usual feelings of loss I've had after the season's passed.

It would be easy to dismiss Ahaz as cold and unfeeling and perhaps that's right. His heart really doesn't matter, because either way, whether the sacrifice of his son touched him or not, the fact remains Kings don't kill their sons. Unless they are certifiably mad, like the Herod of Jesus' day (of whom was this common saying, "it is better to be a pig in Herod's household than his son!")

As a self preserving rule of thumb, kings make as many sons as they possibly can...and endeavor to keep them safe in order to keep the kingdom in their lineage.

King Ahaz in particular. KNOW what HE knew. The Messiah was to come through him.

So, I think it fair to surmise, Ahaz must have seen GREAT GAIN in the sacrifice of his son. And I felt like a bird in a Sycamore tree watching as the prophet Isaiah stood before Ahaz. In a fraction of time, a moment sealed in the Word of God and my own heart, Ahaz knew intimately what few fathers can only guess at; he knew exactly what Abraham felt, yet without the relief, as the LORD declared to Abraham, "I will give MYSELF as a sacrifice."

And all at once the "Spirit of Christmas" came to me and I doubt it will ever leave.

For the first time, I gladly took down the Christmas decorations and looked at the empty spot where our tree stood with nothing other than observation and a question of "What did we have there before?"

No sense of loss. No wistful sighs. A season done, and into the next I carry with me two truths that came in the prophecy I've known since a child and now cherish as a Child.

Truth one comes from the prophecy in Isaiah: "Unto you (Ahaz, Alicha) a Child is born, Unto you a Son is given..." a promise given to a great sinner.

Truth two...The Heavenly Father, by the Holy Spirit, saw the hope of GREAT GAIN in sacrificing His only begotten Son. That "great gain" is me...that "great gain" is you.

And so, Christmas became for me this year in truth, what it has previously been to my heart only in theory and a sappy, fleeting sort of sentimentality:

The giving of The Son.

                                      *                              *                                *

May you read with understanding:

Isaiah 7:10-13 NKJV

10 Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”
13 Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.[a]

Isaiah 9:6-7

New King James Version (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.