A Defining Question

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this woman and her journey is incredible! I hope y’all read this and are encouraged!

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Over the past week or so, my brother has gotten really into our family’s history. My ancestry. Genealogy. And I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty awesome. We’re talking 16th century London – ancestors who were contemporaries — and practically neighbors – with Shakespeare! But soft…

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But I think it’s really fascinating how all of these DNA tests have broken out on the scene: Ancesty.com, 23 & Me – we all have this deep longing to know where we come from. Who we are. Which, I can tell you right now, no answer to any DNA test is gonna answer that doosey.

I spent a long time trying to answer that question: Who am I? Because recovering from an eating disorder forces you to answer that whether you like it or not. You’ve spent years merely existing as a shell of yourself – gone are your passions, dreams, ideas, personality…

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A little sweetness in bitter times

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Happy Sunday y’all! I hope things of been going well for you since my last post. My world things have been a bit challenging to say the least, however in the midst of my trials I’m finding strength in Christ, along with a whole lot of food inspiration! Best of all, I’m learning the true value of human life and seeing what really matters in life is not whether or not we achieve some earthly goal or possession. What matters is how much we love.
Now, since my last post I’ve continued to press on in school despite a lot of the giants I’ve been facing. For anyone who knows what it’s like to deal with PTSD while going to school you know my pain. For those of you don’t, it’s incredibly trying. For someone with PTSD things that are stressful to normal person are 2 to 3 times more stressful for that person. When stress hits it’s almost like chaos completely overwhelms your mind and you can’t think straight. Sometimes I flashback to a Trumatic experience in childhood or life in the middle of the day while I’m doing something and it can cause a panic attack. I’ve had to learn to focus inward and find peace in Christ in order to maintain my sanity. While I’m in the process of healing from it… when it rears its ugly head it’s not fun.

Along with PTSD I also have been battling the same issues with my back and legs. I stand in class, then I take moments of brief sit down time. This is all in order to make sure that I don’t get a back flareup.
Continuously standing in one place for too long has put a lot of pressure on the muscles in my legs, which later has an effect when I try to go for a walk to relieve stress. The stress from classes, life and the sitting that I still have to do from time to time has caused my psoas and iliacus muscles to be overly tight. The help that I need isn’t covered by my insurance, so I do what I can to get by on a day to day basis.

 

Finally, the stress of classes, health, finances, worries about my troubled loved one (and not getting to see her this week for her birthday)… chaos at home and trying to study through it finally just took it’s toll. Last Thursday I was rushed to the ER after I collapsed due to heart pain and chest pressure.
Now, I know that has a believer I’m supposed to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I know that I need to find my peace in God. These things I try to do. Believe me, I do what I can to find my peace rest in him. What people need to realize is that sometimes no matter how strong someone is founded in Christ, life can become overwhelming. The enemy attacks whome he fears and he has definitely attacked my family and me. The thing is I refused to back down! I’m choosing to believe that God is working as always! Meanwhile, I’m off to another round of testing to find out if there’s a deeper issue. Since this is the second time within a year’s time that I’ve been admitted to the ER with heart problems, it’s time to take a closer look. And all honesty, my guess is that a lot of it has to do with my struggles with eating disorders over the years. Stress can do so much to you, but when you’re under weight it can kill you. While I’m currently just a few pounds from my weight goal given to me by my doctor… years of miss treating my body have taken it’s toll.

My point in saying all of this is to let you know that while people these days seem to focus on the damage that obesity can do to somebody, we also need to take a look at what being too thin can do to somebody. Eating disorders of any kind or not beautiful they. are. ugly., and this is the darkside of it. This doesn’t mean to go hackling at everybody who is super thin because some people are just naturally that way. However if you or someone that you know is struggling with malnourishment, any eating disorder of any kind whether it’s over or under eating… help them or get help for yourself ASAP! I can’t stress that enough! There are so many resources out there so many people who are ready and willing to help. For me, I found a lot of help through my support system which includes my mom and my God mom, my counselor, The ED community that communicates via social media, my church, my friends and so much more. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you decide to step out and show love to yourself by taking care of you.
Thank In closing I just want to let you all know this whole thing has really help me see how precious and fragile life is. Every moment that I get to snuggle with my cat who seems to know when something’s wrong, that I get to hold my little nephew, hug my mom, go to church, see my friends, go to school, go to work… every breath I breathe is a blessing and it’s an opportunity to love. Whoever you are that’s reading this whether you are battling with an eating disorder or battling with bitterness, unforgiveness, or just need encouragement to press on… take a deep breath right now and thank God for that breath. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how incredibly awesome you are as a creation of God. Get out there and forgive, forget the drama, quit hating on each other and fighting over stupid junk and just love on each other. Embrace your mom, your dad, your friends, your loved ones who surround you. Just love!
As always I tried to leave you guys with a delicious recipe to enjoy until my next post…. so…

Sweet potato À la mode

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*Ingredients*
-1 medium sweet potato
-1 pint of maple vanilla arctic zero ice cream
-1/4 cup slivered dry roasted almonds
*Directions*
Preheat the oven to 350° and bake your sweet potato for 45 minutes to a half hour or until you can poke a knife easily through to the center. Pull it out of the oven, cut down the middle, let the potato cool just a little bit, and scoop some arctic zero right into the center. Top it off with your slivered almonds and enjoy! I had a little bit of the pint left over after putting some in the middle of my potato, however I enjoyed the rest of it just because it’s too good not to indulge!

 

* Disclaimer (thank you Emily for reminding me of this): I am not a health professional, I’m training to be one. I do not have my license, so any advice I gave is merely on experience. In other words your health care provider is the best person to consult for any nutritional advice.

When Nothing Makes Sense, Eat Chocolate and Keep Going

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I remember the first time I heard of Murphy’s Law. I was working in San Diego at linens n’ things in the Carmel Mountain shopping center. Things just kept going wrong for this lady who came through my line and she said, “you know that’s just like Murphy’s Law for me anything that can go wrong will.” At the time I didn’t really think anything of it. As time went on, however, I began to see that it times in life I can be quite true. One thing goes wrong and it starts a domino effect of continuous drama and trauma. More recently I have tried to remain as positive as possible. The thing is, this week everything finally just took it’s toll. Situations with my trouble love one brought up all the motions and dramatic memories of witnessing her being abused. The guilt that festered deep inside me for not stepping in… only to find when I spoke to my counselor recently about it she assured me it really that was nothing I could do without having harm inflicted on me, and that I really needed to forgive myself. With more recent events that have happened with her, finding out that she’s turned to harsher drugs and is now homeless… my heart aches! Knowing that everything in me wants to help her, however when I’ve done that in the past it’s caused me to fall into a dangerously codependent relationship with her that’s completely unhealthy. That being said I’ve had to make very clear lines to only be willing to be there and help her should she truly be willing to get up and change. Now, I find that the way to show that I love her to continue to go to school so that I can eventually help people like her who really want to get their lives right and to pour as much love as I can into her little one that my mom has adopted. The process has been trying, to say the least. I found myself trying everything I can to self heal and get rid of this pain. From seeing a chiropractor, physical therapist, and even doing the exercises in the book that was recommended to me called “Pain Free” only to find myself in utter pain.  With the treatment that I need so close but just out of reach, I felt nearly hopeless at times. Knowing that there is a remedy, however my insurance doesn’t cover it has just been a portion of the battle. Here it is just the beginning of the semester, I’m not even halfway through I’m so close to just giving up. Praying every step of the way. I know God is working but it’s so hard to see through the storm.  Right here right now I’m choosing  to praise! On an up side… I’be been gaining weight, and still maintaining good grades in school. I was recently promoted at work, was given an opportunity to share my story on my dear friend’s blog, and have opened my new business called Messenger Gear in which I sell clothes and jewelry to help raise funds and awareness to stop human trafficking. All being said and done, amidst my suffering I’m still seeing God work in mighty ways. I may be in pain now, but this can’t last forever. I’ll leave you today with a link to miss Emily Swanson’s blog and podcast series, some reviews of my recent food adventures, and a peek at the clothing line!

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One of my favorite new food addictions has been dark chocolate! Theo makes thee best sea salt almond dark chocolate bars PLUS Trader Joe’s has hit my sweet tooth just right with their cacao nibs!!!

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Aloha bars? … yesss please!

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Froyo with almond slivers and smothered in Hershey sugar free chocolate… yeaaaas!!!!

Now, onto the link to miss Emily’s blog post! Be sure to check it out and subscribe to her new podcast series!

http://beautyinchristthebook.com/darkness-light-healing-podcast-2/

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Finally… Messenger Gear! You can catch this new line on instagram as @messenger_gear the first round of shirts and jewelry will be giving a portion of the proceeds to help an organization called “The Glass Slipper” in which rescues women from sex trafficking! Be sure to also like my page on facebook!

 

Thank y’all for dropping in and sharing my journey with me… until next time… keep pressing on!

Love and my thoughts on the matter! Plus … chocolate swirl mug cake recipe!!!

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Back again and here it is the beginning of a new semester! I’ll be honest, I went into it feeling absolutely fried! Between physical pain, a serious battle with the cold flu thing that just does not seem to want to go away, financial struggles, family stuff, starting a new business, promotion at work, and the start of a whole new round of classes… It took me just about everything in me to take my first few steps on campus!

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(Photo from favim.com)

It’s almost like that senioritis that everybody talks about hit! Especially being that this is my final semester at the community college level. However, I asked the Lord to help me push through and here I am feeling hopeful yet a little skeptical at as to how to approach my studies… at any rate I thought I would talk about a subject that I haven’t really spent too much time on in this blog. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner it seems suitable to me to talk a little bit about love.

Now, if anybody knows my story you know that my life has been full of a lot of heartbreak and I always seem to chase Mr. wrong instead of letting God bring Mr. right, and it seems that people I’m not interested in (not that I’m better than anyone, just not interested) are the ones to show an interest. I’ve also somehow attractive these weird stocker creepy guys or the ones that make the claim that they need someone to take care of them.

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(Photo credit Disney pictures)

Nothing personal gentleman but that’s not a way to view a lady I’m not here to take care of you. Relationships are a partnership. You take care of each other. Then there’s the good guys (cough caugh… a guy I crossed paths with recently 😍😍😍/ not sure if he’s a believer) that I would be interested in, who are faithful, God-fearing, and not to mention good looking that I come across and for one reason or another I’m terrified to even look at the wrong way!
Whhaaatttt????
Now, for a long time I’ve had the sense that I enjoy being alone. The fact of the matter is I really enjoy having my space and not having to worry about if someone’s going to be angry or upset if I don’t call them at a certain time or pick up my phone at a certain time or meet with them on a certain day. For me right now I have a lot of responsibilities as it is with church, school, work, Family, etc… that when I do get a moment alone I like to just isolate myself in my room and either listen to some music or just get some peace and quiet. Any guy that would get involved in my life would have to be believer in Christ, goal oriented and driven, understanding of the life that I lead and the physical pain that I battle off and on, open and willing to share with me his weaknesses and allow me to help if and when is I can, and understand that I’m not here to wipe his butt I’m here to be a partner in life. In other words, I’m not into having a relationship unless there’s a potential for marriage. Put it this way single, saved and celibate.
My message to anyone really bummed about spending Valentine’s Day alone, focus on the people and the things that you do have! I’ve literally spent the past 12 years without a valentine. I honestly only dated one guy in the past 10 years and that relationship only lasted a little over a month. I’ve been celibate for 10 years and I intend to keep it that way until married. For me, Valentine’s Day has been a day to focus on Jesus and what he’s done for me and all the people that I do have in my life: Mom, nephew, God mamma and her new hubby, close friends and church family. Truly that’s were true love does exist. I’m currently working on loving myself and letting my love for God and myself shine through to other people. I’m honestly a work in progress. As for love right now as in having a relationship with a man kind of love? Well, that’s entirely up to the Lord. It’s not that I’m not open it’s simply that I’m not open to anyone that God would not have for me. God is not going to talk me into: 1.) someone who does not love God. 2.) someone who will ask me to abandon the dreams and goals of God is placed in my heart. 3.) someone who is manipulative, or stalking 4.) someone who expects me to take care of them without being willing to do the same for me. 5.) someone that I’m not physically and emotionally attracted to (sorry but both components do you come into play) 6.) someone who expect me to make his life my soul priority. 7.) last but not least, someone who is going to take me away from my family. My family means the world to me and this includes my God family. Plain and simple.
In a nutshell, God doesn’t want me in another bad relationship. He wants me in a relationship that will shine forth in a way that will show a testimony of His redeeming love, goodness and grace
So now you know my stance on love. I hope this helps any of you out there who are dealing with loneliness. Remember that above all the best companion you can have is God and if you can’t stand to spend time with yourself, you really don’t have a good relationship with yourself therefore you are going to have a healthy relationship with others.

Nowwww onto a new recipe that I came up with! I have been a really hooked on mug cakes lately, and the following is a chocolate brownie swirl mug cake that either you can eat alone with some coffee on Valentine’s Day, or you can make two or three and enjoy it with your loved ones or over a candlelight dinner with that special someone! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day Chocolate Swirl Mug Cake!!!

*Ingredients*

-2/3 cup mashed baked sweet potato or canned pumpkin
-2 egg whites
-1 tbs vanilla yogurt
– 3 tbs oat flour ( oats ground in a blender)
-1/8 tsp baking soda
– cinnamon to taste
-1 tbs coco powder
-5-6 packets stevia
– 1-2 tbs almond butter

*Directions*
Set almond butter aside to use as icing, then mix dry and wet ingredients separately, leaving The Coco out for last. Then mix the two sets of ingredients together once it’s there early mixed split it into two parts adding the Coco to one part. Greece and nicesize coffee mug with olive oil or cooking spray place one of the sets of ingredients into the cup and swirl the other set in so you’ll get that chocolate and orange swirl place it in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes until it’s completely turn the cup upside down onto a plate and drizzle the almond butter on top. You can also sprinkle a packet of stevia over the top for added sweetness (hmmmmm)!

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Lessons in pushing myself too hard

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Have you ever found yourself just completely throwing yourself into something you’re passionate about while juggling responsibilities in life only to find yourself completely drained? Yeah… those of you who’ve been joining me in this blogging journey can probably tell that when I find something I love to do or am passionate about, I tend to drive every part of who I am into it. That’s exactly what I did this winter break! I got right to work as soon as I pulled my butt out of the sluggish mode that I was in and began working on the ministry project that I have been trying to complete for quite some time now. Along with that came a promotion at work, car issues, financial issues and the mental battles with gaining weight. By the time Sunday (today) came… I was done! It took most of my strength to suck it up and get to service today, however… I found that when I just get to church and get some good fellowship I often feel a lot better! While I totally felt uncomfortable in my own skin being that I’ve gained some lbs and haven’t really been able to work out to get some time and muscle with it… I was encouraged by my brothers and sisters which is what the body of Christ is! I found that when I’m going through something and I have time with my church family, Ill find great lessons and blessings come my way such as:
1.) there are often times when I’ll come across another brother or sister in the Lord that needs some encouragement or prayer. Focusing on someone else’s needs usually takes me out of the mental cage that my personal trials tend to place me in.
2.) praise and worship usually helps life my spirit! Singing to the Lord is something I’ve done since I was a child. It’s in my darkest times that I’ve found ushering His presence in with worship gives my soul more comport than anything else I can do.
3.) someone will usually come across my path that has a word of wisdom or encouragement for me. While I love to encourage and exhort others, sometimes the encourager needs to be encouraged
4.) I’ve often found that the Sunday message contains some serious soul food that I need to gnaw on.
5.) while I’m a bit of an introvert, being around church family can be really refreshing especially after a week of working on my business/ ministry alone, dealing with stresses at home, dealing with guests in the retail setting (at work), and pushing through studies (when in school mode).
Now, here I go again… into another semester already feeling drained of every resource while feeling really uncomfortable in my own skin, however… faith is not about knowing exactly how things will work out. Faith is taking steps that you feel God has called you to take, despite the odds you face and trusting that God will provide your every need along the way! That being said… no recipe today, just a note… what ever goal or dream you have and are pursuing… don’t let it rob you of moments with the people who matter! I’ve been blessed during this break to spend a lot of time with me nephew who (even though he’s going through a toddler phase) has become the little apple of my eye! Watching him grow is probably one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever been given! Until I blog again! God bless and thank you to all of you who have joined me in this journey!

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Dare To Dream With Maple Carrot Cake!

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I was reading this quote this morning in a devotional, and it really struck me how God has planted these tiny seeds of faith and passion in my heart for the ministry that I’ve mentioned before which is human trafficking. Through that passion He’s ignited a fire to help keep me pressing on!

Think about it. Is there anything that you’re so passionate about or you want to give a shot but you’re so afraid to step out and do it?

I found myself, in the past, pulling back because of the war that I face continuously on my life in order to proceed. The constant battle in my health which resulted in another issue this week, the days that I spent in bed in pain, the times of my family barely could make ends meet, the pressure at school, the pressures at work and the horrible things that I’ve experienced there (right down to a man coming through my line and touching himself inappropriately as I was cashiering), as I’ve said many times before there have been times that I felt like I was going to completely throw in the towel, however, it’s when I took that leap of faith and given my dreams all that I’ve got, praying my way all the way through it, that I’ve seen more passion and energy coming through me to accomplish things that I’ve never been able to accomplish before… all by the power of God!

So, today aside from the aspect of recovering from what has been a lifetime of off and on nutritional abuse (both under and over nourishment) aside from the stories of my current trials and struggles (because I mean you think about it who out there isn’t struggling?), aside from this journey that I called life that I’ve invited you along for the ride hoping that somehow my story will help you find peace in the hands of God and courage to press on… today I want to encourage you (despite the giants that face you) find your passion because as a famous quote says:

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Yes, that was probably the world’s longest run-on sentence! Thank the Lord for blogs that allow one to break free from being too picky about grammar and sentence structure!

Anywho, I’m not going to run around saying I’ve done anything great because I haven’t. All I’ve done is take a step faith trusting that God will lead my way. I can tell you I’ve been afraid most of the way through, in pain most of the way through, and struggling most of the way through. Yet, you see… it’s through those struggles, pain and trials that I’m continuing to learn and see that in my weakness, God is made strong!

That being said, I now leave you with a recipe for a carrot cake mug cake that I came up with for my mom’s birthday!

Maple Carrot Cake Mug Cake

Ingredients

– 2 1/2 tablespoons oat flour

– 2 tablespoons grated carrots

– 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

– 1/3  teaspoon baking soda

– 2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk

– 2 1/2 tablespoons  Justin’s maple almond butter

-1 egg

– 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Directions

mix ingredients. Place in mug and place mug in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on high heat. Take it out of the microwave, drizzle it with a little make both syrup and serve.  I added a packet of wholesome foods Stevia to the mix for extra sweetness! Mom loved it , Little Dude loved it and I loved it!

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I hope y’all have a blessed weekend! If you get an opportunity to try out mug cake, please let me know what you think.  Just so you know I can’t take all the credit for this recipe because I went online and searched over several different recipes. One from land o Lakes as well as Yummily  and I found that most of them are quite  similar. I made minor adjustments and this was the outcome!

 

 

 

New Years with Turkey Soup!

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Well…. here it is, the New Year and… so much to be grateful for! Yes, me… the one who is scrapping cans and bottles together to buy food and gas is GRATEFUL. Why? I’m alive, I have family, friends, school, work… plus… I woke up this morning. I really have been fed up with stressing on little things. It seems every time my family and I have even begun to get ahead, we get knocked down. We see advancement in finances and health… then BAM… HIT! I got up this morning and was like, “you know what God… My life is not anything like what I wanted it to be. My body hurts, my spirit longs to walk, run, and race freely, my family and I are barely getting bye but You know what? Compared to others in poverty stricken countries… I’m filthy rich! So, I’m going to thank You for the MANY times you’ve shown up and sent provision, for the fact that I can worship You freely, and for the fact that I’m even breathing!” Then, this weight was lifted off of my shoulders! Why?

Matthew 6:19-21 – Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

In 2016, I kept focusing so much on what I didn’t have that I’d forgotten to stop and enjoy the many things I do have… I got so focused on “storing up riches” and trying to get financially stable that I’d forgotten that all of this is all temporary.

That being said, I want to just encourage you… whatever “resolutions” you may or may not have, keep a Christ perspective. Ask the Lord to show you what HE wants you to have as resolutions and to help work through you to build His kingdom for the benefit of others. For me, this means drawing closer to Him, asking Him to help me continue to build the vision He has instilled in my heart and to use my life for His glory.

This year, I was blessed with the honor of singing backup for the amazing Linda Jackson at our New Years Church service! That woman is absolutely incredible! What an honor to share the stage with such a beautiful legend.! I then wen home and enjoyed some sparkling cider with mom and nephew and… went to bed at 11:30… hahaha!!! Honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Great fellowship and time with my loved ones… what more could I ask for?

Short post today, however… I’ll go ahead and leave you with some food victories and a recipe for some tasty turkey soup! I came up with my own recipe while trying out my new slow cooker that I got for Christmas (thanks Mommalou)!

Food victory… theo Dark Chocolate bar!!! This sucker is almost gone and has been such a delicious treat! Something I didn’t even allow myself to have when I was working out/ active and all I can say is… boy was I missing out!

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Sparkling cider… yes… this was a victory, because when you are restrictive, even things like sparkling apple cider can become huge phobias!!!

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Turkey Soup Recipe:

Ingredients

~1/2 turkey carcass

~4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

~1 cup chopped turkey

~4 chopped carrots

~5 stocks celery Chopped

~1/2 white onion

~1 clove garlic minced

~1/2 teaspoon bay seasoning

~1/2 teaspoon sea salt

~1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

~Rosemary to taste

~ Water to fill line

(Cook rice separately)

~1 cup brown rice

~1/3 cup broth

~1 and 2/3 cup water

Directions

Place carcass in slow cooker with vinegar and water to fill line. Set cooker on high for 3 hours, then place on low for 7 hours (overnight). Strain broth into an extra bowl  pulling all remaining turkey off the bones. Place bowl in the fridge over night. Pull bowl out and scoop off layer of fat from the top, place broth in slow cooker with seasonings, turkey, and veggies and set on high to cook for 2 hours. Then cook on low for 2 more hours or until veggies are tender. Meanwhile, place rice, broth and water into a pan to cook on the stove. Follow general rice cooking procedure for this.  Keep the soup and rice separate even in storage in the fridge, it will keep the rice from soaking up all of the broth in the soup. Put them together when you’re ready to consume!

What made this soup taste the best was that while making it, I did a bible study by Kevin Swanson (thank you miss Emily) with my mom. So, I was preparing fuel for our bodies while we fueled our spirits!

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I hope y’all have an amazing year! I’ll post as time and inspiration provides! God bless!