Nutrition for Baby-Boomers a Guest Blog Post By Grace Beckett

Zweibach and Peace is very happy to welcome back blogger Grace Beckett to our nook.  Grace published a month ago on the theme of infant and childhood oral care.  You can read her previous article at:  We hope you will enjoy the following article on another important health topic – nutrition for the aging population.

Baby boomers – Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – are believed to be one of the most active generations until their time. However, this generation increasingly seems to be facing health problems like high-cholesterol, high blood pressure as well as diabetes. One of the main causes was found to be obesity which was surprisingly a problem not commonly found in their parents. It is important that this generation takes note of its nutritional needs to battle diseases and stay healthy.

Changes in your body

Baby boomers are a generation who believed in diet fads, but remember, with age your body experiences several changes. Decreasing levels of growth hormones means less muscle development and the tendency of your body to accumulate more fat. Cells and organs function less effectively as you age. Some of the organs that will slow down with age are kidneys, reproductive organs, the brain and the lungs. However, the right nutrition will help your body function better and age slower.

Dietary needs

Baby boomer nutrition chart should include the basic dietary guidelines along with a special approach to eating right and including exercise as part of their regimen. When it comes to baby boomer nutrition, many of them think that they can get their nutrients through supplements instead of their diets. Reduce calories and avoid unhealthy fats from processed food. It is also a good idea to include good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados. Sometimes however, you may have to take certain supplements as your body loses its capacity to absorb certain vitamins and minerals from your diet.

Increase fiber intake

The aging body will benefit substantially with more fiber. An increased fiber intake will lower cholesterol and slow down the absorption of sugar. Increasing fiber consumption will also reduce your dependence on over-the-counter laxatives. Eating more fruits, vegetables, seeds, oats and whole grains will add more fiber to your diet. However, drastically increasing fiber intake is not a good idea. Make sure you slowly increase the intake and eat only as much as your body can handle.

Nutrition education

Baby boomers need to be conscious of not only what they eat, but how much they eat.

With declining metabolic rates and less energy requirements, boomers also need to reduce their calorie intake. Since retirees eat out less, it is important to be able to comprehend the nutrition labels especially on processed food packets. It is important to note the levels of sodium, because too much sodium can cause fluid retention, leading to blood pressure build-up, serious heart conditions and stroke. Head to the nearest library or search the internet to access government websites that provide literature on nutrition education. You can also take the help of a dietitian who can create a personalized baby boomer nutritional chart according to your body’s requirement.

About the author

Grace is an expert associated with The Boomer Way – a website offering baby boomer products, resources and other tips to age gracefully. She writes extensively on aging and ways to fight it.

The Biggest Party of Your Life – Revelation 5 Sermon

Photo Credit: Pat Marvenko Smith

To listen to the audio recording of this message please go to:… it is the very last one (scroll down the page: 2014-06-22, the sermon picks up at approximately 18 minutes into the worship service)

Context: Today, our sermon focuses on the book of Revelation, but since we haven’t done a sermon series on this book, I thought it would be helpful to give a quick, 2 minute summary of what’s happening before we get into this chapter.

Revelation is the very last book of the Bible. What I love about this book is that it shows the culmination of what the whole Bible is about. It’s a type of literature called “Apocalyptic” which refers to the end times and the foretelling of the future. The book of Revelation shows what heaven is like and what God has promised to all His children – to all of us who love Him and do His will. Heaven is the end result for all of us here. Heaven is what God desires all of us to experience. From the beginning of time in the book of Genesis, we see how God has set the stage for our relationship with Him and in Revelation we see how even after death this relationship does not stop but keeps on going. All of us here today face hardships and difficulties, but God has promised that because of His love and mercy towards us – not because we are worthy or deserving, that in the end of time good will triumph over evil and there will be no more pain or grief or sorrow. So that shows us that there is cause for a party!!

The first three chapters deal with individual letters to the various churches in the geographical region highlighting their strengths and also encouraging them in their weaknesses to serve the Lord. Chapter four sets the stage for heaven and gives us a rich description of what heaven looks and feels like. Then once we are in heaven, the events of Revelation 5 take place and my sermon picks up.

Body: All of us have experienced important celebrations. Baptisms, graduations, weddings, child dedications, ordinations, and anniversaries all provide us with ways to celebrate the meaningful events in our lives and to thank God for what He has provided us with. These milestone events serve as ways for our community to join together in an important event rather than just leaving us to engage with the event on our own.

In the 5th chapter of the book of Revelation, we are introduced to another very important type of celebration. That of worship. No one has been found worthy to open the scrolls except for the Lamb of God. The one we call Christ – the anointed one. When the Lamb is found, there is a giant celebration in recognition of His worth even before the scrolls are opened.                  

At L’Arche we do celebrations very well. Every occasion is an opportunity to practice gratitude for being part of a community of friends, to wish someone well on their next steps after leaving the community, and to foster relationships with members of the house. I was really blessed during my year at L’Arche to experience many birthday and going away parties.   During these occasions, we all go around a circle and recognize the worth of the individual we are celebrating and the unique gifts and strengths they bring to our community. This is an incredible practice especially when we are recounting the gifts of Hsi-Fu (a non-verbal man who is completely dependent on assistants) or of a core member who may at times display difficult behaviours. It reminds us that within the tension of not always knowing how to respond in love, we are deeply indebted to each resident at L’Arche for accepting us and showing us their love and care.

Parties at L’Arche are also a special time for the assistants who live and work among the adults with developmental disabilities. Birthdays are always important times for me. Throughout my life I have always sought ways to use birthdays as a way to foster already existing friendships and to create new relationships. Yet even though I’ve had some pretty cool birthday parties including surprise ones and panda themed cakes, my 23rd birthday at L’Arche is one I will never forget. Going around the room and having each person tell me what gifts I bring to L’Arche was both humbling and encouraging. It reminded me how many tasks I overlook are so important to the lives of the core members. To me, helping someone with bathing is no big deal – it’s all part of the daily routine of self-care I assist them with, but to the individual receiving the bath it is a way to share in our common humanity. To me, reading a bedtime story to a resident who has Down syndrome is a fun and relaxing way to end off the evening, but to Darryl it’s an important time where I affirm his worth and make time for him even though the demands at the house can be heavy at times.

Many of us have experienced celebrations recognizing the worth of certain individuals before. The Nobel Peace Prize, the Oscars, and even graduations are all times when we recognize the academic achievements, humanitarian efforts, and entertainment milestones of both ordinary and famous people alike. If we get excited about these events that generally only happen a few times in a life time, imagine how much more impressive it must have been to view the Lamb of God getting recognized for something only He could ever accomplish.

At the beginning of the fifth chapter a request goes out: find someone who is able to open the scroll. Although everyone begins scouring the entire throng trying to find that one individual, even the most saintly person is found lacking to even look at the book. Finally, one is found who can do this action. Interestingly enough, He is not the most handsome, most popular, or the strongest, for God does not judge based solely on who people appear to be to others. Rather, He is a Carpenter’s kid who was persecuted during His short 33 years on earth, and yet who now reigns victoriously with His Heavenly Parent.  

The act of finding the worthy one, alone, seems to be of highest importance to those who gather around. This celebration is a giant heavenly party. The Bible speaks of thousands of angels gathering together and signing in unison a chant about the greatness of the Lord. Those of us who have heard Mennonite 4-part harmony or others who have heard a brilliant choir have only experienced a taste of what this heavenly music must have sounded like. The voices must have been more rich and vibrant than anything imaginable. The song must have floated through the air on a melody more exuberant than any orchestration ever written. Think about the most wonderful concert that you have ever attended and try to magnify this experience by a million.

The main theme of this song is extolling God’s worth. The song, although short, actually hosts a great image of God and God’s connection to humanity. The song simply states, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.”

The book of Revelation was written during a time when emperor worship was rampant in society, not so much because of religiosity, but more-so because of politicism. To worship the emperor implied that one honoured and respected him and was willing to serve him at any cost. To the early Christians, this type of theology did not line up. The early Christians believed that only God was worthy of our thanks and praise and so they took a stand against what was happening by only conceding to bow to the Almighty Creator – Jehovah God. When the Christians blatantly refused to acknowledge the emperor in the way that he wished, persecution became a quick and easy answer to solving the problem.

So, when John pens that the lyrics of the song referred primarily to God’s worth, this was a radical concept. The phrase “you are worthy” was generally only kept for Roman Emperors who received this as an affirmative phrase from their subjects when they returned home from battle. When the living creatures, the elders, and all the saints proclaim that Christ is worthy, they are quickly shifting this power from the Emperor’s hands into God’s. John is extolling the God who throughout history has shattered nations with one blow, has parted the Red Sea with His magnificent hand, and has spoken every creature into being. Although terrifying, this God is also full of compassion. Although serving justice, this God also offers mercy towards all who revere Him. John acknowledges this God as being more impressive and more powerful than any other lesser god.

In our own lives, we also face the temptation of whose authority we want to be under – God’s or the world’s. Our world beckons us to applaud leaders and the political arena of our day. Our society thrives on being powerful, beautiful, magnificent, and successful. It asks us to choose to honour the gods of technology and romance often at the expense of our true Lord. Our society pulls us away from Christ’s reign by imputing into our minds the concept of the “self-made man or woman” who comes by everything through his or her own power and hard work alone.

This is once again where the beauty of L’Arche comes in, for at L’Arche our core members (adults with developmental disabilities) come just as they are. They are truly an example of self-acceptance and self-love. They love and accept me for who I am despite my own imperfections and false image of myself, and it is in this loving embrace that I begin to love myself more and I begin to view the world differently. A year ago I may never have experienced the vibrant colours of a newly budding flower as much as I do today. 5 years ago, I never would have understood the magnificence of simply being with someone – whether verbal or not, the sheer magnitude a hug can mean, or the smiles a simple joke could produce. God, in His infinite love and mercy has given us so many small blessings in our lives – sunsets and sunrises, creation, music, dance, and song. He has taught us how to live and be in community and how our fulfillment as humankind can only be imparted through the love and care of others whether romantically or in friendship. And yet, it’s also so incredible to think that what we experience here on earth is simply a foretaste of the heavenly and eternal reality. We think we’ve got it good here, just wait until we see Christ face to face. We will worship Him all day every day. We will never lack anything. The Scriptures even tell us that there will no longer be the pains of this world, but that we will know others and be known by others so completely – just like Christ knows us and loves us today.

This passage provides some very important worship questions for all of us.   Why do we go to church? And how do we go to church? Do we go out of a sense of obligation or of trying to show others that we are pious? Do we approach the throne room of God by trying to over exert ourselves? Are we secretly resentful that we are here rather than sleeping in or doing some other worthwhile activity? And what does it mean to worship after all?

Worship is any act of giving God worth. It’s about the condition of our heart when we go through each and every activity. If your viewpoint is that you truly want to honour God in every aspect of your life and to proclaim God as more important than the culture, then any activity engaged in can be an act of worship. Baking cookies, playing with the neighbourhood children, reading a book, writing a paper, how you choose to engage with social media, and going to church can all be equally valid ways of learning what it means to give God worth and then actually following through on it.  

When we worship God with a light heart rather than a heavy one we also join in the throngs of proclaiming God’s infinite wisdom and might. When we acknowledge God’s power over ours we are saying that God alone is worthy – it is not because of anything that we have done or by means of our own achievement that we enter into God’s Kingdom, but rather solely because of who God is and what He has done.

We are not told how long this particular scene in heaven lasted – a few minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Time likely does not have the same meaning in heaven as it does here on earth, but still, we have no concept as to how long the elders praised the Lamb for being worthy to open the seals before He actually did it. What we do know is that there was a giant party in heaven. A group of believers down through the ages who gathered together to sing and chant this song of praise to God.

C.S. Lewis once wrote in his book, “Mere Christianity” that time loses its limitations in the heavenly realm. With God it is still 1922 and also 2016. Revelation also tells us that this song included everyone in heaven, on earth, in the sea, and under the earth all proclaiming the song together in a loud voice. With this concept in mind, it is possible that people who lived thousands of years before John walked the earth joined their voices with our voices and the voices of those not yet born in this hymn of praise to our God.

It was a giant party including every Christian who ever walked this earth and whoever will walk this earth. As we assemble before God in worship today we are given the choice of whether we want to join in to this song or not. Whether we will choose to approach worship begrudgingly as simply a Christian duty or whether it will become so much more to us. As we go from this place, let us be encouraged by the worth of our God who alone is able to open up the most hidden and sealed places of our lives and to put our trust in Him as we await the day that we will one day continue to sing this heavenly song when we are seated with Him in heavenly places.


The Essentials of Success

successThe following blog post is written to the graduating class of 2014 as part of the “Most Marketable Skills Campaign” that is put on by Webucator (an online learning company that helps individuals gain skills to further improve themselves).  This blog post will fall under the “Ask Webucator Series” that is currently being hosted by this organization. This month, Webucator is focusing on Microsoft as it is an important skill for almost all jobs and almost all employers require a working knowledge of this software.  To celebrate, Webucator is offering FREE self-paced courses on Microsoft to help others acquire knowledge and skills.  You can check out the courses here:

To the Graduating Class of 2014,

Congratulations on your hard work and perseverance. Many times people see high school or college/university graduation as simply a stepping stone, something that you have to do in order to get some place in life, however, it is really so much more than that. Graduation is a time of celebrating the fact that four years of learning really is a long time and that the skills you have made and the friendships you have developed during these years will stay with you for the long term.

My life looks radically different 5 years after graduating from high school and 2 years after graduating from university. Although I recently took a course called “Self-Care and Ministry” in which our professor encouraged us to create a five year plan for our lives, in reality if you asked me five years ago what my life would look like today,  I really would have had no idea.

Since graduating from high school I first attended Bible College then followed it up with seminary and now have aspirations for moving on to my PhD in Theology. I’ve held various jobs during these years that have really challenged and inspired me, though some have been less than glamorous. Finally, I landed myself a more permanent position for the year with L’Arche Daybreak (an intentional community for adults with developmental disabilities close to Toronto, Ontario). It is through my work at L’Arche that I have distilled some key learnings about what success entails which I would like to share with you today.

The first thing you should know about success is that although everyone defines success slightly differently, there are many key elements that are included in almost all of the definitions. Our culture prides itself at being the best at everything at any cost. It is an unfortunate reality, however, that some people are willing to sacrifice the very things that should matter most in their life (for example close friendships, dating relationships, family, and their own health) in order to achieve whatever means they feel they have to achieve in order to “be somebody.” In reality, success is knowing who you are and what is important in your life and working within your gifting to be the best person YOU can be, not someone else.

At this stage in my life I have gone to countless job interviews just as you likely have done or will do. When I go to a job interview, I simply decide to be myself. I figure that the employer will have to be working with me all year so I never say answers just because it is what they want to hear. This may sound odd as many of us are conditioned to be try to please others, however, I have found that the majority of employers have respected my honesty and I have almost always been able to receive the jobs I have applied for.  If I do not get the job I wanted, rather than becoming disappointed or comparing myself to the individual who did receive the position, I just remind myself that not receiving the job is not a reflection of my character, but rather points to some key difference in personality or fit the organization is looking for, then I go on to apply to another job that would be a better option for me.  I almost always send a follow-up email to the employer thanking them for their time in the interview and asking them what I could improve on in the future.  There have been at least two examples in my life when I have done this and the company hired me on because they could see I was interested in improving on myself and really wanted the position.  What employers are looking for is not some canned response you found online, but rather an honest opinion about how you feel about the values of their organization.

An interview is really an opportunity for the employer to get to know you, to hear about your strengths and what you can potentially bring to their business. Success involves first knowing who you are, but secondly knowing what your gifts are. All of us have different gifts and no one gift is more important than any other gift. Perhaps you have the gift of art, writing, or mathematics. Or you might be an excellent teacher, musician, or entrepreneur. Being confident in your gifts without being a show-off about them is what brings success in the working world. Sometimes people are shy to talk about their gifts because they don’t want to come off as bragging, however, if you are able to claim your gift without making others feel bad about not possessing the same skill, you will actually find that many people will agree that you have that gift rather than chastise you for being a show-off. You will also find that the more confident you are in your gift, the more recognizable it will become to others.

The second thing you should know about success is that if you want to attain it, you must be flexible. As I mentioned previously, 5 years ago I had no idea that I would be working with adults who have developmental disabilities. I never trained for this field, never studied psychology, and never even volunteered with people who have disabilities. Yet, now that I am working at L’Arche it is a great fit for me and I can’t think of anything else that would have made me happier this year. I can’t say that I am planning to be a long-term L’Arche employee, but I can definitely vouch for the fact that all the lessons I have learned here have been extremely worthwhile.

Successful people use every experience as an opportunity to grow no matter how difficult or challenging it may be. If you recently graduated you may not be able to find a job in the exact field you studied right away. This may be for a variety of reasons and it does not reflect your value as a person if you cannot land full time employment a month after graduating. In certain jobs, more experience or more maturity (age wise) may be required. I have had a few jobs that have been in my field, but prior to that I worked many minimally paying jobs in order to help offset the high cost of university tuition. Yet even though I never received any intrinsic value in making telemarketing calls or in doing maintenance, I have learned that if you want to eventually succeed in your own field, you need to develop and maintain a strong work ethic whether or not you really feel passionate about what you are doing. You need to remember that you are never “above” any type of work, especially because even for a minimal job you may eventually need the employer to write a reference letter for you and you want it to sound good. Working in something other than your field also keeps you humble and can provide a different perspective for you. In almost all jobs the skills are transferrable and working with people provides continued confidence and social skills. Yet, at the same time as you are accepting a job to gain experience and to pay the bills, I would also recommend that you remain passionate about your field and still try to get some experience in the direction that you want to be headed in. Almost all employers value volunteerism highly and in many cases volunteer references are deemed as equal or similar importance as paid work references. You can also feel free to put volunteer experience on your resume. So, if you are having difficulty landing a paying job in the field right away, I would recommend that, if possible, you try to make an effort to at least volunteer at a similar organization that shares your values for a few hours a week. In fact, there have even been times when I have started as a volunteer at an organization and they have hired me back for the summer or even offered longer term employment because I had already developed a working relationship with them. If you are a volunteer, remember to apply the same work ethic you would to paid work rather than to take it easy, because that is how you will make a great impression on your supervisor.

Lastly, success means knowing what you want out of life. Since we were young children we have been asked by teachers, parents, and church members, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” At age four the answer was fairly simple. I want to be a firefighter. I want to be a doctor. I want to be an actress. Small children are a great example to us of the fire that should still be igniting our souls and guiding our steps. To a kid, nothing is impossible and so we can dream big dreams. However, as we get older the reality of life and of school sets in and we begin to doubt that we ever had what it took to be a nurse, a teacher, or a lawyer. Yet, a successful person knows that there is great truth in having a goal and working towards it. At the same time, the successful person must be aware of their own limitations (such as personal health challenges, academic difficulties in certain areas, or conflicting personality traits) and still be able to work with rather than against the difficulties in their lives.

Although having a good career is very important, knowing what you want out of your life is so much more than just knowing whether you will work for The UN, a non-profit, or the World Bank. Knowing what you want out of life also includes knowing how family fits into the picture (whether or not you want children and how children will fit into your career), how much time you will want to pursue other passions and hobbies, and the geographical location that you want to live in. You must be sure of where you want to be headed without being so inflexible that you refuse to leave your city of choice if there are better opportunities elsewhere.

So, to re-cap: success is knowing who you are and what your gifts are. It’s being so sure of yourself that you can be confident in what you are good at without feeling like you are a show-off. It’s being honest about what you want out of life and not being afraid to share your passion and dreams with others. Success is also about being flexible and being willing to accept every opportunity regardless of how challenging or frustrating it might be as a learning experience and a chance for growth. Employers love young adults who are vibrant, dynamic, and passionate about what they have studied and learned in school, but they also value (perhaps in an even greater sense) individuals who are committed, dedicated, and have good morals and who will build up the already existing team that is there. I hope that you will find your niche in the marketplace and that you will truly excel in all that you do.

Death and Rebirth – the Castle Story

  The following blog post was written for State of Formation Online in response to this month’s theme of rebirth.State of Formation Online is a blogging collective of young up-and-coming scholars who enjoy musing about ethics, theology, and academics.  They are largely ecumenical and interfaith and range from chaplains  to Imams.  To view the original post visit:

The following story, regardless of how bizarre and strange it may sound is entirely true. No part of it is made up. Once upon a time, I lived in a castle. The castle was made of pride, arrogance, and disbelief. The castle had high walls not allowing anyone else entrance into it unless they first walked past a knight in shining armor and a fire breathing dragon. The castle also was staffed day in and day out by handsome butlers, frivolous maids, and the best tutors in the land. Yet, even though the castle was gigantic, I was the only one who lived in it.

This castle became my safe haven. My sanctuary, and rarely did I venture out of its protective gates. All around me I could hear the noises of city life, the skipping and frolicking of young school children, and the occasional dog barking, yet, rather than engage I chose to shut all this noise out.

The castle was gigantic, but yet I was the only one who lived in it and that could get lonely at times. My butlers and waitresses did a good job, but they could not fill the hole in my heart needed for friendship, laughter, and light-hearted jests.

This is the castle I lived in my whole life until one day I died. It may sound strange, but there never came a time in my life when I questioned what was truly happening outside the castle until the day that I was pronounced dead by the court doctor, Dr. Love-Kindness. Dr. Love-Kindness was the most well trained physician in the whole Kingdom of Greed and yet although he lived within the vicinity of Greed, he himself was a doctor who always practiced equality, justice, and mercy. Dr. Love-Kindness was married to a famous religious leader, Mrs. Gold-Heart. Mrs. Gold-Heart lived a life of service to everyone regardless of their socio-economic background, their apparent abilities or disabilities, and their ethnicity. It was from Mrs. Gold-Heart that Dr. Love-Kindness had acquired his passion not only for medicine but moreover for helping people in ethical ways and his desire to see the gates of the palace open so that love come flow to and from it. Yet, although at many times Dr. Love-Kindness suggested this to me, I simply shut out his words as being completely void of meaning.

Once upon a time, I died, and it is in that death, that a mysterious rebirth happened. You see, outside of my self-enclosed castle of cynicism, doubt, and self-seeking, lived a poor peasant boy who always begged me to come out of my room. He used to sit just underneath my window, playing his little harp and making up little ditties. Although never musically trained, that much was apparent, his voice was not half-bad and he did have a knack for rhyming schemes. Once I heard him venture closer to the front of the castle begging the knight to let him in. The knight turned him away. “Please,” the boy begged “I have no bread and I am starving. Yet inside this castle lives a princess who has all the food she could ever want and more. Please. If she will only spare a loaf of bread, I will be full and leave you all alone.” I heard the dragon snorting fire. It was in this moment that my heart gave way and I died.

I did not die a physical death, but I died the death that all men and women must die. I died to myself. In the Christian Scriptures, the Apostle Paul writes that the old man must be put to death in order that the new man may live.[1] What is this old man made up of? Pride, deceit, and the work of the flesh. What is the new person made up of? Love, gentleness, and compassion. Paul writes that the person who lives by the Holy Spirit must also keep in STEP with the Holy Spirit.[2] That means never going too far ahead of God’s plan for his or her life nor staying back in the comfortable space when God is nudging them forward.

You see, all of my life I considered myself a Christian. I was brought up in the church, acted like a good little church girl, and did all the necessary things to present a good image of who I was. Yet, as all people must come to realize, at the core of who I was, I was not seeking the betterment of society but only of my own self. In order to experience the fullness of my potential, I had to unlock the gates of my heart, to slay the dragon of envy and bitterness and to unarm the Knight of malice. Instead, I had to open up my heart to the poor, the least of these, and the broken-hearted. Instead of a palace of mortar and brick I needed to surround my Kingdom with the flowers of peace and forgiveness.

This story is entirely true as bizarre as it may sound. Every single thing happened in it just as I have written it. Not a single word is made up. Once upon a time I died, however, I did not stay dead, but was resurrected to a new life and to new possibilities. Once upon a time I left my castle, ventured into the scary and unpredictable world, and chose a life of service and humility instead of honour and dignity. Yet, once I chose the life of service, I began to see that as I emulated Christ, my life solely began to change for the better. I noticed I had more friends. I noticed I started making more of a difference, and I noticed that all around I felt happier.