lemons become lemonade and citrus salads! ;)

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Take Hold of the Promise

Inside each one of us is a dream… a dream of being a success and an inspiration in a field that helps bring you to life. For many of us, that dream is planted in our hearts early on as a child. Then, as we grow old, we either lose sight of that dream because life and it’s trails have put a damper on it OR we chase it like it’s the last bus of the night. my dreams as a child were to become an actress and an Olympic athlete…. I can honestly say that I have gone through periods of time when I’ve chased those dreams like a hungry lion and times when I let life swallow those dreams whole! In the mix, I found a balance… Matthew 6:33 states that if we seek first the kingdom of God, HE will add all things unto you… so, I’m sure there are some of you thinking… “well, my goals are more along the lines of getting a promotion, losing weight, learning how to dress better, getting out of debt. How does this apply to me?” My answer is this… no matter how big or small a goal or dream is, it’s important to God because it’s important to you. He doesn’t want you to lose sight of you goal. However, HE will not put up with it becoming an idol in your life. Seeking Him first will help keep Him center stage, and through that, enable you to hear His voice so you can make the proper advances through doors He wants you to go through. Take each step with diligence being faithful with the little and you’ll soon be ruler over much! (Luke 16:10, Luke 19:17, Matthew 25:21) If you are weighed down by life’s trials, working in a job that keeps you dull and lifeless, unable to fully make the best of what God created you to be… Ask God to show you how to turn the mess into a message. Ask Him to show you how to change your perspective and to open doors for you to use the giftings you have to improve the company you work for or to open doors for you to move into a new position where you can either get a new job or start your own company that will have you useing you’re full potential. In a nutshell… like the old saying goes… “when life deals you lemons, make lemonade!” That being said, I’ll leave you with some tips on making simple adjustments to everyday eating habits and workout tips that fit into your everyday “busy” life so you can reach the small goals and move

onto something bigger! No matter what how big or small your goal is… keep your eye on the promiser (Jesus Christ) & He’ll show you how to get to those promises!

Simple adjustments to clean up your diet:

-switch from soda (including diet soda) and start drinking more water and fruit juice

You can even add sparkling water to juice =)

-switch from white bread to sprouted grain and whole wheat breads

-switch out your white rice for brown

-CONSUME MORE LEAN PROTIEN! Like chicken, turkey, lean fish, lean red meat,  ext

-keep packs of dried fruit and dry roasted or raw nuts in SINGLE SERVING packs (your can create you’re own mini snack packs from bulk nuts and dried fruit) keep these on you instead of candy bars.

-double up your servings of veggies at meals and cut your starches in half. -use olive oil instead of butter

-steamed and fresh veggies without butter and other unnecessary additives

-sea salt instead of regular table salt.

-Apple sauce or mashed bananas in baking recipes instead of butter

I’ve got a hole lot more of these tips, so… stay posted! Now, here are some tips to help you get your workout on no matter how busy you’re day might be:

– Park far away from the store when you go shopping. Do a quick walk or casual jog up to the store

-take your poor dog for a walk already! Lol

-while watching tv, get up during commercials, do a jog around the block, 10-20 push-ups, get your ab workout in, 25-100 jumping jacks, or jog in place

-while at your desk do some tricep dips, talk to your boss about getting a stand up desk (if you don’t already have one) and do calf raises, leg lifts, ect.

-on your lunch break, go for a walk or a run

-get a gym membership to a gym that is on your rout to work… 😉 this way it’s always calling your name

How to keep yourself clean and nice looking (guy or girl):

-ladies, keep a bag w the following somewhere of easy access for you

° dry shampoo (ready to use on the go)

° body wipes (keep you clean and fresh, always good to keep on you

° mini makeup kit

° portable blow drier and or straightener/ curling iron(you can even find battery operated ones

° extra hair ties and travel hair spray or gel

° extra clothes (gym clothes and shoes)

° water

° healthy snack

-guys

° dry shampoo (ready to use on the go)

° body wipes (keep you clean and fresh, always good to keep on you

° portable blow drier (you can even find battery operated ones)

° travel hair spray or gel

° extra clothes (gym clothes and shoes)

° water

° healthy snack

Now… onto this week’s recipe!

Citrus poached salmon salad and green tea, cherry lemonade!

Salad feeds 4

-2 to 3, 6 oz atlantic salmon steaks (depending on how much protien you are wanting)

-1/2 cup water

-1/2 cup oj

-juice from 1 lemon

-1 clove minced garlic

-sea salt

-pepper

-1bag washed spinach

-1/2 bag washed arugula

-1/2 finely sliced red onion

-1/2 bundle asparagus

-3/4 cup dried cranberries

-1/2 cup dry roasted, slivered almonds

-1 can drained mandarine oranges

1/2 cup orange muscat vinegar (trader joes)

Directions:

In a pan, bring water, oj, lemmon juice to a boil. Add salmon steaks, cover and bring to a simmer. Let poach for about 4-7 min then flip and cover. Let them poach for 5-8 min or until thoroughly poached. Drain and set asside and let cool until room temp, then set in fridge to chill for 1&1/2 -2 hours then flake and set aside. Preheat oven to 400°,Coat cookie sheet w olive oil cooking spray, rinse asparagus, spread out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle sea salt (to taste). Let roast for 10 min. Set asside until room temp and chill for 1& 1/2- 2 hrs. You can prep this while doing the salmon.

Next… toss the spinach, arugula, dried cranberries, mandarine oranges, almonds, salmon and vinegar together, salt and pepper to taste and SERVE! You can garnish with some sprigs of parsley, lemon and/or orange slices

Green Tea, Cherry lemmonade (serves 4)

-2cups water

-5 fresh lemmons, juiced and set aside

-2 cups 100%, unsweetened, cherry juice (trader joes)

-1/2 to 3/4 cup clover honey

-4 bags of sencha green tea or 4 scoops unsweetened matcha green tea powder

Directions

Bring water to boil. Let sit for 1-2 min before adding tea bags or powder (green tea is fragile and will burn if put into boiling water) if you used bags, let them steep for 3 min. Take bags out, add honey, mix well and let chill in fridge for 1 hr. Take out of fridge and add cherry juice and lemon juice add ice and serve. You can slide lemons and put them in the pitcher for looks and even add a few cherries… make it fun! Imageer for looks and even add a few cherries… make it fun!

Have a great week!

Restoration

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Jeremiah 31:3-4 NKJV

 

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.

 

There comes the time in life, when often times we feel that everything around us has crumbled, and that God has forgotten about us. However, God’s love is never failing. Do know that whatever your circumstances are, God sees you and love you as you are, He cares about you , and wants to restore you. you see, after my god dad passed….things were in a whirlwind. I was helping my god mom get the funeral together, practicing the music she wanted me to sing, training for up coming races and… still unsure of how in the world I was going to make ends meet. The funeral came.. it was a time of true remembrance of a wonderful man… my heart ached and yet was comforted by the blessed gathering of so many loved ones. The next day, my God Family and I ran a race… one member was actually running their first 5k with her precious baby girl!…where was the restoration aspect of this? At the finish line was the joy of getting together with my mom, sister, nephew, God Mom and family and enjoying one another’s company! Placing, reaching new folks, demolishing old prs mean nothing if you have no one to share our with! The day was full of pictures, laughter, and the joy of sharing success with those I love. You see, as I mentioned in previous posts… I didn’t have the best family life. I grew up around a very dysfunctional environment. The only real, SOLID person in my life was my mom. So, in this season, God has totally restored what the enemy ripped off! I have a great relationship with my mom, sister and nephew, a brother (who lives elsewhere) who I love, a relationship with my step siblings (even though my mom is no longer married to their dad) and… the blessing of my God Family with whom I’ve shared good, enjoyable, argument and stress free meals with, and have seen true, loving, faithful marriages that have stood the test of time! Wow! Do I really need to say more? So today, I’ll give you this… whatever heart ache you’ve experienced, whatever loss or family tragedy you’ve dealt with, cry out to God and ask Him to heal your heart and bandage up your wounds and He will (Psalm 147:3). If you feel abandoned by friends or family… ask Him to restore what was taken. He sets the lonely in families and restores double for our trouble. (Psalm 68:6 & Zechariah 9:12). In closing today, I will leave you with some tips on recovering from racing and a recipe for one of my favorite things to drink… smoothies!!!!!

 

-Race recovery

Recovery from a race starts the moment you cross the finish line. hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Grab WATER ASAP! Sports drinks are great, however, make SURE you get 8-12oz of water before you consume anything else. Muscles need hydration to properly recover! make sure you quickly walk around, find a place to stretch CAREFULLY, and make your way to the nearest refreshment station. somethings I love to go for at the refreshment stations are:

-bananas+peanut butter + 1/4-1/2bagel=Perfect combo of carbs, protein, and potassium. 

-fresh fruit

-fig newtons +peanut butter or nutella

-trail mix

I do try to stay away from eating a lot of junk like cookies and iceream UNLESS I have just finished a half or full marathon.

When I leave the race, I try to get some sort of red meat in (yes… I eat burgers, but I bring sprouted grain bread and order just the meat and veggies). Steak is a bit more pricy, however, it is packed with protein and nutrients that will help you rebuild your red blood cells. If you are vegan.. get some sort of vegetable protein and iron asap! The day after any event, I usually try to take it easy by rather doing a short jog or walk and, yes… even take the day off (I generally try to take one day off a week). REABALANCE… here’s a link to some exercises that can help improve balance and keep your hips, back, and and strong: http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/5-core-exercises-that-increase-stability-and-running-efficiency?page=2

Finally… the day after any event, protein is crucial! I like egg sandwiches, oatmeal with freak yogurt, fish, ext…Make sure to replenish yourself with lots of fluids as well! Again… taking the day off after a race can do wonders for your body… just make sure you don’t just lounge around… use the time to clean or, walk… keep your body moving so you don’t end up getting stiff. 

 

On to the recipe!

 

Recovery Delight Smoothie

-1 cup almond milk

-1/2 cup pure, no sugar added cranberry juice

-1/2 cup blue berries

-1/2 cup strawberries

-1 handful spinachleaves leaves

-1tbs flaxseed

-1to 2 schoops of your choice of protein powder

-1to2 tsp of sweetener of your choice (I prefer to keep in unsweetened)

 

Directions: put almond milk and cranberry juice into blender or vitamixer, turn on low mixing level, slowly add other ingredients, then, gradually being up to the highest mixing level and blend until desired consistency!

comfort food

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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

 

In today’s post, I’ll continue with a brief log of my journey along with a recipe for a healthy comfort food meal and ways to keep yourself motivated to grow you spiritually and better you’re physical fitness.

Now, last week… things began to wind down for my God Dad. At the hospital just about every day I was with my God mother… all I could pray was, “Lord, I’m asking for you to do a miracle… at the same time…. I surrender to Your will! Whatever it is…. at least keep him comfortable!” My heart ached as I saw my God Mother, so lovingly dedicated, at his side at just about every waking moment. He began to be a little more alert… and some hope sprang in my spirit. Then, on Tuesday evening, as my God Mother and I were leaving, I felt prompted by the Lord to have her sing “I will run to you” by Hillsong with me to him. As I left the room… so she could say good night, I heard her sweetly say… ” I love you sweetie pie … I love you sweetie pie!” A peace came over me and we headed out to help her mom get into the house and to meet my mom so I could go home. When I got to my house, I prepared for bed… so peaceful… wow…. and something told me to remember the words I told my God Mother… “you can call at any time. No matter what hour.” Just as I finished praying, the phone rang… my God Dad had been taken to ICU…. my mom was sick from overwork at this time… and was reluctant to take me, so I told my God Mom. Then, when I hung up the phone, heard my mom say, “you want me to take you down there?” My heart leaped as I got ready and headed out the door. When I arrived at the hospital, the on duty doctor said he would more than likely make it through the night. She told us we could stay, but we were better off going home, getting some rest, and his doctor would be in, in the morning and would be able to better assess the situation. I wept as mom and I drove home. The next day, I trained, got ready and headed out. When I arrived, my God Dad was gazing half into eternity and half into my God mother’s face. My God Mom had me go over to his side and talk to him. As I opened my mouth, a river of tears poured poured out, and all I can remember saying is, “thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being the only real dad figure I ever had, for encouraging me, for being at my performances and races and for complimenting my stride, and China house visits, and for introducing me to my best friend, and…” The tears just kept pouring. “I promise I’ll take care of her(my God Mom)… I promise!” While the doctor told us it could be hours, days, weeks… something told me to say all I needed to say. Within a matter of hours, a total sense of peace, filled the room. Warmth, as if the entire host of heaven had come to visit filled the room. I sang “we are standing on holy ground.” Then, his sister and brother in law needed to leave due to the emotions they were feeling, my God mom’s mother stayed behind a curtain to keep her from having to see him go through this phase… my mom went down to the car, and…. my God mom’s sister stood by my God mom’s side as she held my God Dad’s hand. I sat on the other side and watched the monitors, praying for a miracle. The room grew warmer with heavenly presence…. so peaceful as my God Dad gazed so lovingly into my God mom’s eyes… and.. As if she knew heaven was trying to take him home, she and her sister began to share stories with him of the things they loved about him. And… then…. my God Mom said… “I love you sweetie pie… it’s ok (she began to weep)… everything’s going to be alright…! I love you sweetie pie!” Then, like someone slowly pulling the blankets off of me in the dead of night, the room slowly grew incredibly cold…. he flat-lined and… his face was drained of the life that once filled it. Still looking so lovingly into my God mom’s face… his spirit was gone. We all wept. Shortly after, my mom came back and the Lord put Psalm 116:15 on her heart

 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.”

What more can I say… while I still have no clue how the Lord will provide for me at this time (being that I’m not needed as often to care give for my God mother’s mom)… I have a sense of peace, knowing that, I’m in the perfect will of God. Nothing can replace the moments spent with my God Family. I praise God that He opened the door for me to be there when I was needed the most. honestly…. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Now, in times of morning, people either push God away, or… we draw closer to HIM. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8… in times of sorrow…. cry out to God and tell him how you feel. He desires for us to call out to Him, for comfort. Even if you don’t know Christ yet, times of trial… are a perfect time to ask Him into your heart. John 3:16-17 says that God loved us all so much that He sent His son into the world, not to condemn us, but so that if we choose to believe in Him, He could give us eternal life.. what have you got to lose? 

As far as being physically active… fitness is proven to positively effect the brain… endorphins will help you remain positive. Set a goal to walk, run, go to the gym, ect for a set amount of time. Make sure it’s a light goal to keep you free of added stress… Now… for food. In times of mourning comes… comfort food!!!! The following is a recipe for healthy comfort food that will fulfill your craving, but won’t leave you feeling guilty.

 

~Baked “fried chicken (or turkey)” with mashed potatoes and greens.

 

*Chicken (or turkey)

-4 free range boneless/ skinless chicken breasts (or two dressage boneless/ skinless turkey breasts cut in half

-1 free range egg & 1 white

-1/2cup h2o

-1/2 cup oat flour

-1/2 cup Brown rice flower

-1tsp basil

-2tsp fine sea salt

-1tsp garlic powder

-1tsp lemon pepper

-olive oil cooking spray

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°. Mix egg, egg white and water together and set aside. Mix flour and spices together and place in a Ziploc bag. Dip each breast piece in the egg mixture then put in Ziploc, seal, and shake until pieces are completely covered. Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray, place chicken on sheet, cover with foil, bake for 30 min, uncover and bake for another 10-15 min ir until chicken is white all the way through.

 

*Greens

-2 cups fresh, washed spinach

-2 cups fresh, washed kale

-1clove garlic

-sea salt (use your best judgment).

 

Directions

Steam spinach and kale. Mince garlic and mix in, toss in some sea salt to taste and… set asside

 

*Mashed potatoes

-2 russet potatoes

-1/2 head of cauliflower

-1/2 cup non fat Greek yogurt

-1/2 cup chives

-1&1/2 tbs basil

-sea salt to taste

-pepper to taste

 

Directions

Wash and peel potatoes, steam potatoes and cauliflower untill tender/slightly mushy, drain out water, out in mixing bowl, mash, add yogurt, use electric mixer and whip it up! When they are light and fluffy, slowly add chives and seasonings.

 

Serve each item up and… you’ve got healthy comfort food! You can also treat yourself to some low fat rocky road or Image.low fat/ fat free froyo! 

Have a blessed . Week!

why worry? Get creative!

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Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV

 

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

 

Over the past few weeks, with the visits to my God Dad at the hospital, care giving (my God mother’s mom), church, training, and racing, all while relying on others and public transportation to get to and from places… I had no time for real grocery shopping let alone energy for weekly food prep. While I WAS able to make a few healthy meals to take to the hospital and share, I was put into a position that blessed me with an opportunity to get creative with what was available to me. Normally, I like to plan my meals and make things ahead of time if I know I won’t be at home much. However, with being at the hospital 5-12 hours a day and running errands w my God mother… well…. there just was no time. So, eating at the hospital, getting treated to fabulous lunches at restaurants, and grabbing a quick bite from a local convenient store our grocery store became my options. Some might look at this as a disadvantage, however… for me…. it was a blessing in disguise! You see, in meal planning, it’s easy to get caught in a routine and a nutritional rut. You can end up eating a lot of the same things over and over which leaves the body needing other sorts of nutrients. Being that I try to avoid taking to many supplements to ensure I get my nourishment from my food… this can become a hazard. So, in the bitter-sweet time I spent at the hospital over the past six weeks, I learned how to truly trust God to provide the the nourishment I needed from places He saw fit! Thus, leading to the topic off this blog… why worry? Get creative! For the most part, my God mother, her mother and I either went out to a restaurant or ate at the hospital. So, I’ll start by sharing tips on eating healthy in a hospital! The tips shared here can also be used if out on a buisness trip or vacationing… Again… get creative!

1.) Vending machines usually carry nuts, yogurts, sandwiches, water, and electrolyte beverages… Stick with those, and you be on the right track!

2.) Cafeteria usually has some sort of veggies, fruits, eggs, healthy cereal, salad bar (@least, doctors medical had one), ext… be sure to ask the cooks if they have steamed veggies and lean meats, sick with those options along with tea and fruit juice and you’ll be good to go!

 

Now, on to restaurants…

Most restaurants (including McDonald’s) have healthy selections So…

1.) Scan over the menu to see if they have good, healthy sandwiches and/or salads.. Mabey even a small fruit salad or yogurt parfait.

2.) Instead of dressing for salad, ask for lemon slices and squeeze them over your greens

3.) Ask if they carry brown rice

4.) Ask for steamed veggies and meat (ie: fish) with no added sauces, salt, ext…

5.) Stick with juice, water, tea… ext

 

Convenient stores…

1.) Usually carry nuts, yogurts, trail mix, granola bars, milk, oatmeal, ect… grab carb + protein for a quick, healthy on the go snack or meal

2.) Again… Stick with fruit juice, tea, water, electrolyte beverages and you’re good to go!

 

Grocery store

1.) Grab a small box of lettuce, some pre-diced veggies, cottage cheese, flip top can of tuna, or a can of beans (I keep a can opener in my backpack), hard boiled eggs (trader joes sells bags of them), dried fruit, and some dry roasted nuts along with a plastic fork… grab a lemon and squeeze over the top…. you have a nice, protein loaded salad.

2.) Grab oatmeal, some milk, have some oatmeal for dinner (most hospitals and hotels have microwaves)

3.) Grab Canned tuna with a flip top, Greek yogurt and crackers of your choice. Mix the tuna with 1/4 individual serving container of yogurt (save the rest for a snack later in the day) and you have one of my favorites… tuna salad and crackers.

3.) Grab an odawalla bar and a yogurt for a quick.”pick me up”

4.) Grab canned veggies with flip tops to keep on you

5.) Believe it or not… baby food! This is an old body builder trick! Keep jars of lean meats and veggies in your car and/or bag in case meal time comes and you just can’t slip away.

6.) Eggs… if you have several people with you, you can grab a 1/2 doz box to share…. the hospital might actually be kind enough to place them in a fridge (until you finish your visit) I found out, you can actually make a microwaved (something that is last resort for me) scrambled egg by placing it in a cup and microwaving it for a min (make sure to check on it and stir every few seconds)

 

Now, onto working out… keep an extra pair of gym/ running shoes with you. You can take a 15min- hour long walk or jog just about anywhere. If your not in a safe area, walk around the hospital or hotel (some hotels have gyms)

2.) Take a few minutes to yourself and go into the restroom… lay hand towels on the floor, Do some pushups, ab work, ext .

 

Now last, but MOST IMPORTANT!!! Get your spirit fed!

1.) Hospitals have a chapel… go, get quiet… pray, read… 

2.) Meditate on the word while out and about… pray and talk to Him wherever you are. God is everywhere, don’t keep Him in the chapel box. Even if you need to go to the restroom and hide out for a moment. Do so!

3.) Most hospitals and hotels have bibles handy… Grab one up and, get your soul fed

4.) Be willing to reach out and minister to others. It’s one thing to feed your spirit, but quite another to help another find the right path. In doing so, I often find the Lord also reveals new insights to me.

 

With all this being said… I will leave you with this…. life is a journey often filled with unexpected turns. Go with the flow of the Spirit of God, ask Him how to keep a healthy, well balanced life style throughout all seasons… and just watch… you’ll truly begin to enjoy the ride! Be worry free, peaceful, and flexible, and God will do great things!

Triumph in Tragedy

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As promised, I’ll continue to share my journey along with blogs about faith, fitness, and food… so today, I’ll share an update with y’all about my journey. I left off (in my last update) working for my best friend (God Mom) and her family as a caretaker for my best friend’s mom while my God Dad (my best friend’s husband) is in the hospital. There was talk about her mother possibly going into a home which would mean I would no longer be working for them. However, the Lord made it possible for her mom to stay home and… I still have the joy of working with them! With my God Dad’s health worsening… we continuously pray for a miracle. Weather or not I’m on shift, my heart desires to be around the family as often as possible… his kidneys have shut down, the fluid builds up in his frail body… doctors say there’s only days left. I weep as I watch my God Mom endure so much pain. 35 years of faithful marriage all truly comes to “till death do us part.” All of my soul believes for and begs the Lord for a healing miracle for him… just one more lunch as a family, just one more of his incredible stories… Lord… PLEASE! Along with this, there’s home life. My poor mom busts her butt day in and day out just trying to make ends meet… so hard she has gotten sick at times. Meanwhile, we try to enjoy every moment we have with my beautiful sister and nephew. These moments with my loved ones mean more than I could ever express! My nephew gets bigger by the day. He’s matured rapidly…. such a little love! The times I share with my mom, sister, and nephew watching movies at home, visiting my God Dad,and running errands are irriplaceable! Then, there’s races… I mentioned in my last update that only God knew when my best Gid mom and I would race again… well, since then, the Lord opened the door for me to run a10k on the 18th of January, and the following weekend… I ran my first half marathon in over a year! Both races were done with my God Mom and both had brilliant outcomes!!!! Praise God! So, I consider this triumph in the midst of tragedy. Again… I continue to train in faith and allow God to open the doors. With some major goals in mind… I prayerfully take each step. With my future still uncertain, the only thing that remains clear to me is… I pray that my life is a life that gives a true aroma that is pleasing to the Lord, that my loved ones never go a day without knowing how much they truly mean to me, and that those who see my life from the outside witness the power of God move in mighty ways. In closing, I will say that… no matter what you’re dealing with, know that God it’s there, He sees you and will meet you wherever your at and help carry you through! Call out to Him, and her He will draw near! GOD BLESS & do know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His great purpose! (Romans 8:28)