Family reunions

Family reunions can provide a great walk down memory lane, building memories and getting in touch with our past. Family reunions can also pose some emotional challenges. If you have a particular challenging family, you might want to prepare by reading John 15:12. I believe God was giving us this command, because he knew each of us would have family members who are not exactly lovable. I am reminded by this verse that God chose to love me because that is his nature, not because I was lovable. I now have the power to offer the same love and grace, especially to family members.

Family reunions can also provide an arena to “show off” our First Place recipes and commitment. My worst reunion memory is the year my sister and I went on such an eating frenzy we were physically sick at the end of the day. I now grieve a missed opportunity to focus on our loved ones instead of food, realizing that not only did we miss a great opportunity; we were contributing to a formula that shortens our lifespan.

Research into the biology of fat is turning up some surprising new insights about how obesity kills. New discoveries link fat to heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes because of the toxic mischief of a fat cell.

Experts are beginning to understand that they have been wrong in believing that obese people die young because they carry extra pounds. While the physical burden contributes to arthritis and sleep apnea, among other things, it is a minor hazard compared to the complex and insidious damage wrought by the oily, yellowish globs of fat that cover human bodies like never before.

A series of recent discoveries suggest that all fat storage cells churn out a stew of hormones and other chemical messengers that fine-tune the body’s energy balance. When they are spewed in vast amounts by cells swollen to capacity with fat, they assault many organs.

Dr. Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University states, “When we look at fat tissue now, we see it’s not just a passive depot of fat. It’s an active manufacturer of signals to other parts of the body.”

The first inkling that fat is more than just inert blubber was the discovery 10 years ago of the substance leptin. Scientists are amazed to find that fat maintains itself by producing a chemical that regulates appetite.

Fat tissue is now recognized to be the body’s biggest endocrine organ. Dr. Leibel estimates roughly 25 different signaling compounds with names like – resistin and adiponectin – are now known to be manufactured by fat cells.   He believes that more will be discovered.

May God bless you and your family reunion this summer.

Kay Smith
First Place Associate Director

Kay is the associate national director of First Place and has been on the First Place staff since 1987.

Kay is a popular speaker at retreats, seminars, Conferences, FOCUS Weeks and Workshops across the country. Kay is the First Place food exchange expert and writes a monthly article in the First Place E-Newsletter on nutrition. She also was a contributing writer to the Today Is the First Day devotional book. Her delightful personality and love for people endears her to everyone she meets, and they quickly become her new best friend.

Kay and her husband, Joe, live in Roscoe, TX. They have two children and five grandchildren. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit, and the three oldest grandsons are all involved in numerous sporting events, which Kay and Joe attend as often as possible.