Trust the Lord with all your heart… lean not on your own understanding

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Here it is… Yes… Another week has gone bye, and what an incredible journey! Last week, my God family and I went to the fair, and enjoyed some good ol fun! A quick visit to my doc and I got the clear to race over the weekend. The next day, as I reached into my fridge for some oj, I heard and felt a slight pop in my lumbar region. I shrugged it off thinking it was just my back settling. Saturday came and I was scheduled to volunteer at a race event however, I was also advised to come prepared to race. We showed up at the double dipsea (a race that is sold out every year) there just happened to be someone who gave up their entry. From the beginning, I felt the Lord prompt me to stick to my volunteer commitment. However, the kid in me went up to one of the directors and  asked if I could run. As it turned out, they were still too full, and they also needed volunteers… Another lady offered to let me take the bib number of someone who really didn’t want to race and do a transfer, but I felt I needed to just stick to what the Lord prompted me to do. So, I enjoyed my day by getting the recovery food prepped, setting up finisher medals, cheering and handing out medals to the finishers! What a joy! Meanwhile, I was carb loading for my focus event, the 2014 woodminister 9mile. This was to be the final event to wrap up a three race series (Tilden tough 10, Lake Chabot half marathon trail challenge, and Woodminister) called “The Triple Crown.” After a long day of volunteering, I went home, got some rest and… Sunday morning, my mom and I headed to my God mom’s house and we all headed off to the event. What a beautiful and challenging course. The first portion was up a hill covered w roots, stairs and rocks. Then crazy twists and turns through the Oakland trails, and down steep hills full of roots and rocks! At about mile 7, I felt a not so friendly tug on my left sciatic nerve… I presses on finding I nearly had to hunch over to be able to finish without feeling the tug. Ughhhhhh! Noooo! I crossed the finish and was so blessed to know that I got to not only run the Tilden event (which I’d wanted to do for several years) but the Lord helped me complete the Triple Crown Series. My God mom and I watched the top 15 finishers get their awards (this race wasn’t divided in male/ female or age categories) then headed off to get to church. All I kept saying is…” I may not have finished in the top 15, but praise God that I got to run Tilden like I’ve wanted AND got to run the series!”  As my mom and I headed out, I remembered I needed to give something to a fellow running team member. I headed down, and someone stopped me and told me to grab my award… “what? My award?” Apparently my god mother and I both placed in the series… Wow!!! What a blessing! Isn’t that just like God, how He checks our attitude when it appears we may have not hit the mark… Then He blesses us! What an HONOR! We headed out to my God mom’s church and… Went off to celebrate and take her mom home. Monday, it was off to face  reality. I went for a run to feel out the tug I felt in the race. I then asked a fellow church member to help me get to my doctor. I went out there, he adjusted me and said I could run lightly the next day. So, the next day, I headed out… However, my body just didn’t feel right. That eve, I met with some clients I’d been working with (personal training) , and as we were stretching… I felt a tug. NOT COOL. Yesterday, I tried to jog it out to find I was all wobbly, I felt unusually tired, something just wasn’t right. My god mom was kind enough to make time on the anniversary of her marriage to her recently deceased husband to take me to see my doctor again… There, he adjusted me and this time told me to take a few days off.  We then went off to enjoy dinner to remember my god dad and his faithfulness to my god mom. we ate at Hotel Mac with his beloved hat and photo on the table.. Wow… What a day! Now.. here it is, day one of rehabilitating and in this I will be very honest… I truly believe that God has called me to run and share with others how God can take a wretched mess that I once was and create a mighty warrior for Him. In the mean time, my battle is this… I have been in several accidents and had work injuries that built up over time. Currently without health insurance and am seeing a Chiropractor who seemed to be getting less and less enthusiastic about helping me without my being able to really pay him much of anything (which is totally understandable) I wake  up in the morning, carefully stretch, do my ab work, carefully take each step throughout the day. Even on days when I feel my best, I have to watch every move I make… The pain I’ve endured at times… I can’t even begin to explain. However, something happens when I run… Its like it just goes away. Afterward, standing too long hurts, sitting to long hurts, and if I take a shower early in the day… My foot hurts, so I wait till eve.  If I had it my way, I’d have the resources to get properly rehabilitated. If I had it my way, I’d live in an area that made it easy to find a job and provide for myself. Actually, if I had it my way… Life would be altogether easy. Yet, the decisions I’ve made over time have brought me to this point. No car, no phone of my own, 31 living with mom and just trying to live one day at a time knowing that somehow, someway, something amazing will come of all of this. So, with this… I leave you by saying… I choose today to be joyful, I chose today to be there for those I care for and love, I choose today not to question why all this is happening… I choose to trust and obey. In this time of recovery,one question remains… Do I continue to run the race spiritually and physically for Christ. Or, do I surrender my dreams and hang up my Asics  and say good bye to it all… Only time will tell.
 The following is a recipe for muffins that I found on Pinterest. Do note, this is not my recipe. However, it looks so delicious, I just couldn’t help but share!

Blueberry Almond (Date-Sweetened) Muffins Recipe
 Makes 6 muffins
Ingredients
 1 cup brown rice flour
 1/2 tsp baking soda
 1 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
 7-8 large dried dates
 ~ 1/2 cup almond or soy milk*
 1 1/2 TB flax seeds, coarsely ground
 1 TB lemon juice & 1-2 tsp zest
 1/3 cup applesauce
 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with liners. Place the dates in a small blender or processor. Pulse until the dates are finely chopped. Add the applesauce to the dates and process or blend until the mixture turns into a smooth paste

2.Combine all of the wet ingrdients: mixture from step 1, almond/soy milk, lemon juice + zest, and vanilla extract. Add the ground seed to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Set aside.
3.Whisk together brown rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the wet ingredients from step two to the dry ingredients. Mix until the ingredients are just combined. Add the blueberries and almond slices. Stir gently. Using a ice cream or batter scoop, divide the batter into 6 muffins cups/liners. If you’d like, you can sprinkle some raw almond slices on top.
4.Bake on the center rack for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the muffin pan midway to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to cool in the muffin tin for about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow the muffins to cool completely.

The muffins are yummier when they are allowed to cool completely. Once cooled, you can really taste the sweetness from the dates. They actually taste better the morning after! So enjoy them for breakfast the next day or as a tasty snack. They make great healthy snacks for kids too!

*Cook’s Note: I am using Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour. Depending the the type of gluten-free flour, and even different brand of brown rice flour, you may need to adjust the liquid added. The batter should look like really soft, whipped butter. And it should settle nicely into the muffins cups when you give the muffin pan a gentle tap on the side. Additionally, don’t skimp on (or skip) the lemon juice and lemon zest!!! They make all the difference in brightening up the flavor. Lastly, don’t forget to keep the muffins in an airtight container or saran-wrapped if you are planning to enjoy them the day/morning after!

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Family trials and celebrations. Plus, something for the little ones!

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Last week, I left y’all hanging with a little suspense. 🙂 sorry about that! The tides began to rise as situations with my troubled family member rose which brought concerns about her precious little one… The details of this, I still need to keep in the unknown until God reviels His plan. All I will say is… My decision is this… All children deserve the best childhood that God could possibly give them. I am currently asking the Lord how I can go about doing my part to make that happen for little guy. In the mean time, I was preparing for my first double race day (am 10k and first USA track and field 5,000meter track event) in celebration of my recently departed God Dad’s birthday… The emotions of my family trials along with my worries for my God Mom, And… A trip once more to the doc. I pulled an Abraham. I told God, that since the first event was considered “treacherous” I would forfeit upon His request. So, I laid my 10k hopes on the altar on Thursday, and… Friday… I felt the Lord prompt me to do the 5k at the same event instead. So, Saturday… My running family and I headed out. The am course was the very last course that my God Dad had gone to last fall to support my God Mom… So, this was a perfect race to celebrate his memory.As we headed to the start line… Peace! We jetted off and up a 1.5 mile hill that was mostly climb, switch backs, roots, rocks, and at the top… An aid station. Then, again… I was a superhero… Flying fearlessly back down to cross the finish! Tears streamed down my face when I thanked the race director… What a blubbering baby! As the rest of the family finished their events, we quickly gathered around a cake and candle and sang happy birthday to my God Dad one last time. It saddens me now that I missed his last birthday… Never take for granted the ones you love. Soon after, my God Mom and I were headed to the track event. She ran 5 events and received Golds in each! WOW! I ran my first 5,000 meter and, well as always I will keep the outcome to myself. Before we left, I got to meet an elite Para Olympic athlete who showed me that determination… (plus a whole lotta faith) can move some serious mountains! After those events, we made a few stops and closed the day at Chevy’s (my God Dad’s birthday restaurant) to celebrate and… The opportunity to run ANOTHER event the next morning arose. We prayed about it, got the ok from God Grammy and…headed out to do the father’s day run in Pleasanton! What an amazing adventure!!! After, a trip to church and… A burger to celebrate with my God Family and my amazing mom  🙂 All I can say is… That phone call after my first two events on Sat, the one after the 10k on Sunday, the birthday celebration for my God Dad…the joining over a celebratory burger… These are moments that cannot be replaced.  Live, love, cherish those you hold dear and no matter what keep your faith! This week, since I mentioned the little one in my family, I’ll include a nice little treat that is of a healthier nature for your little ones… You may even want to try it yourself! 

Ingredients
-1 package low fat honey grahams
-1 container nonfat or low fat vanilla Greek yogurt
-1-2 sliced bananas (you can also add berries or sliced apples)

Directions
Get a square 2-3 inch deep baking sheet. Place a layer of graham crackers. Scoop about 1 cup of Greek yogurt and spread evenly over crackers, and place a layer of sliced bananas over the yogurt. Top with another graham cracker layer, then another 1cup layer of yogurt. Finish by topping with sliced bananas and your choice of berries, sliced apples… You can even add a little drizzle of Hershey chocolate syrup to make it more of a desert. This should serve about 4-5 kids.
So… In closing I will say this… Enjoy life, no matter what it brings. Embrace today and this very moment… Why? Because truly, that’s all we have. The future is in God’s hands and is up to Him to handle and unfold.

celebration through trials

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Hey all…here I am too share more adventures! So, with the ending our my birthday, June 2, it seemed like the celebrating just didn’t stop! What a blessing! From getting treated to my favorite restaurants and a jelly belly factory visit (where I stocked up on my favorite treats) to learning to use my birthday as a day to not only get blessed but to also find a way to serve and bless others I was again on the go but in a good way! Meanwhile, family stuff stirred up again. Concerns with my troubled family member continuing to loom .. along with another flair up that I’m currently dealing with… all I can say is, I will continue to press on! This pain will not last forever, I will continue to focus in the good things God it’s doing. Somehow, someway something brilliant well come off all of this! Due to some surrounding circumstances, I will have to keep this week’s post short. However, I DO want to give you a recipe for a semi healthy sweet treat!

 

*Toaster Peanut Butter S’mores

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Aside

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a]whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3
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So here it is, another week gone bye and WOW… what an adventure! I left the house sit last Sunday and my “birthday week” began and… poop hit the fan! Monday, my god mom and I headed to Marin to do a race to see were my 10k fitness was at in order to properly adjust my training and so she could aim toward a personal goal of her own. What a treat! While I love trail races for the clean air, scenery, and the feel of adventure. . There’s just something about road races that has always ignited a fire in me! The only down side is, I had a flare up and ran in a bit of pain. However, every step was worth it! Afterward we went to view the brand new Rosie the Riveter exhibit and headed to grab a bite to eat.Tuesday ruled around, my body was in more pain … I pushed through, unable to see my doctor, in the mean time was preparing for my first double race weekend (a 10k race on Sat and a 1/2 marathon on Sun). Funny thing is… there was peace. Wednesday came. .. more pain. My mom couldn’t take me to my doctor and I showed up at the track where my god mom mentors at… She knew something was up and I finally broke and let her know. She quickly agreed to take me to see my doctor between track and the track and Field awards ceremony that eve! PRAISE GOD! On the way there, my god grandma started having anxiety. Being that she is 88 and has dementia… that was NOT cool! I went into the doctors office, he fixed up a few things and said I could only proceed w the 10k if I felt 99% by Friday.  Yikes…. my heart sank. You see my mom had FINALLY decided to train to do her first 5k race which was being held at the same event with the 10k I was signed up for. I wanted so badly to get to race! However, I surrendered it to God. I told the Lord I would only proceed if He willed it. As my god mom and I headed back for the awards ceremony..  worries about my god grandma set in… the awards ceremony was amazing! I got so inspired just seeing how hard those kids work in their scholastics as well as their athletics. The hearts, dedication and determination that each of them have is something that will mark my heart forever! As we headed home, we got my god grandma into the house safely, however… it wasn’t easy. I stayed over so I could be there to help them out the next day and enjoy some time at the fair. I woke up the next morning to find my god grandma was having a really hard time getting up and out of the house which was a really bad sign. When we got to the fair, we got to enjoy it, however, my god grandma was arched over in her chair looking weepy. She insisted that she was having fun, so we tried to help her enjoy it the best we could. Getting her home and into the house was rough. I went home afterward and prayed she’d be ok. As the week came to an end, I was scheduled to help set up the event that my mom, god family, and I were scheduled to run. I felt good… was careful with the tasks I carried out .. 99% so… press on! That eve, I went to a relative’s house to help get her to her graduation ceremony to find she was M.I.A. mom and I waited and waited and soon a neighbor helped us find her. She was loaded… a total mess, and her baby boy… sick. The easy thing for me to do would be to go off on her and tell her how she was ruining her life… but I felt it best to just show love with firmness. Inside I wept. It was this time last year that my her baby was only a month old,she was newly drug free and we were enjoying real family time, eating at my favorite restaurant on my birthday. As I watched her receive her diploma, the Lord continued to impress the importance of magnifying the good in her life. It was His job to deal with the rest. Meanwhile, mom and I decided it was best to take her baby to the ER after the ceremony…. wow… the waves just kept coming! At the hospital, I waited in the car and tried to get a nap in. Not easy considering my worries for little guy. My mom and rekative came back at nearly midnight to tell me he’d picked up something viral and would be fine in a week. PRAISE GOD! After dropping her off at home, mom and I went home to get a few hours of rest and get up for the race! When we showed up at the event, my mom went to the 5k window to get her bib only to find out they accidentally registered her for the 10k… she’d only run a little over 4 miles in training, but decided to ahead and go for it! It was such a blessing to see her so happy like a kid again! W net up with my god family and… headed to the start line! What an incredible event!!! I ran around the course feeling like a superhero! All the hard work, speedwork, long runs, tempo runs, ect… I actually saw the fruit! Regardless of my personal results… I have to say I was first off given the honor of cheering my mom in, taking her finish line photo, and got to give her the finisher’s medal! What an HONOR! Second, I got to run… very few people know the real details behind the battle that has gone on with this and all I can say is .. I praise got for every step I take, for every training run, for every race…. without God, it all would be impossible! With God all things are possible! We corralled with my god family and enjoyed some refreshments. Then, it was off to the Cal Berkeley track with my god mom and grandma to watch the track and field team do their events! Again… I was blown away! The determination those kids have to push through personal difficulties, injuries, ect to become conquerors! The best part… they came over to share their victory with my god mom, and though I’d only been to a few of their practices… they came over and thanked and hugged me for my support. What a blessing! You never know what it means to someone to just be there a few times for a few moments to support them. The giving of time truly cannot be given a price tag! The reward… is a feeling of sentimental value that I will cherish forever. As my god mom and I left the stadium, we continued to fuel for the next days event… one that would carry emotions both bitter and sweet. You see, in 2011, my god mom and dad had invited me to go to this event for my birthday. Funny, because the event is just as old as I am! This year, as I was running the course… I the hills seemed smaller than before in comparison to the ones in my more recent races. A race that I once went on and on about being so difficult wasn’t nearly as hard. Kind of like life. When you go through a series of trials without the proper training, the hills seem impossible. When you go through the harder seasons and go through the proper training, and go back through the original trials that one seemed so tough .. they become like mole hills! Pushing up each hill and flying down the other sides, around each turn… what an adventure! The beauty of the course… breathtaking! The bitter sweet part? Well, when I ran the race in 2011, my god dad was at the 1 mile mark and cheered me on saying “1 mile to go! Push it in! Push it in!” After the finish we all went to visit my god grandma who was in a senior rehabilitation home at the time then ate at what would become my all time favorite restaurant for the first time. This time around… I almost began to cry as I raced over the bridge and envisioned my god Dad cheering me on… until that moment, I didn’t realize how much his recent death still effected me. I pushed in to the finish hearing cheers from my god mom’s sister and my god.grandma!!!! Victory!!! Wow! It never seizes to amaze me how despite the trials I’ve had, God has always been there, providing support, encouragement, and love while helping me press on to victory. The best part? My birthday meal at my favorite restaurant with my mom, god Mom, god grandma, and… my god dad’s hat set as a memorial… surrounded by love =) So, this week… whatever trial you are facing.. count it all joy. Embrace and magnify the good, glean from and trust God through the bad, encourage those who need it and… surrender what you can’t control and watch the God of wonders work miracles! Have a blessed week!