Thankful and blessed! Need I say more?

Standard

Hey ya’ll! Sorry for the late post. To be honest… I had a post written and ready last Sat. While awaiting the approval of and individual mentioned in it… I came to realize something… why was I going to drain everyone with the crazy ups and downs of my week ONCE MORE? I mean, sure, it might help others see that, yes there are people struggling in their day to day lives… however… does that really help? You see, I COULD continue to go on and on about Dr. visits, the need for physical therapy and access to other strength and balance training (which medi-cal doesn’t cover)  financial woes, my recent loss of someone very dear to me, a Dr. telling me I might have PTSD, the physical ailment that has left me in severe pain at times, my troubled family member who’s been spotted like big foot in various places in the Bay acting inappropriately (of course people come and tell us about the  sightings), the stress of the holidays coming and not getting to spend them with my troubled loved one, the worries connected to what she’s involved with and the condition she’s reportedly been in, her son (who mom and I foster) finally making the connection between the voice that calls on the phone and the mommy holding him in the pictures on our fridge battling with emotions connected to his loss, the stress and strife in my household that I do my best to avoid like the plague, the challenge to get to and from places without my own car… blah blah blah blah blahhhhhhhh…. when, the reality of it is… I’m blessed. I found in these times that my relationship with God had grown by leaps and bounds, some of the most precious and incredible friendships have been healed, restored, built, and even just began to be planted. In all honesty… I lead a life that to many would be considered a meager existence, however… I wouldn’t trade it for the world! That being said, here are some amazing things that I have to be thankful for just over this past week and a half:

1.) I made the call to my Grandma (on my dad’s side) who I thought was angry at me for placing the restraining order on my dad only to find that we both were sobbing tears of joy at the sound of each other’s voices… what a blessing!

2.) (definitely a tie for first place) I got to see someone very precious, hug them, sing to them and tell them how much I love them just less than a day before their passing. What an honor!

3.) I have my mom, who has always been there and supported me… what a jewel!

4.) Mom and I have the privilege of helping raise little guy and watching him grow so beautifully.

5.) The chiropractor that I go to is one of, if not, the best practitioner in the area and has been a TOTAL blessing and is helping get back to well… Lord willing… running and racing

6.) A good friend of mine and I decided to pick up a project for ministry that we set aside for far to long, thus restoring a semi broken friendship and… in the long run, will hopefully bless some folks. Only time will tell.

7.) I now have medi-cal and the Dr. they set me up with quickly helped me identify some hazardous eating habits that I’ve battled off and on and we’ve begun to focus on getting me back on track.

8.) I get to perform for two events this coming month!

9.) I have an incredible best friend, God mom, running mentor who has shown me how valuable friendship is and has honored me with the privilege to be in her life!

10.) I have an amazing church family that has continuously reached out to and supported my family and me.

11.) THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL… I have Jesus Christ! No sickness, injury, trial or tribulation can take His Spirit from me. He has the final say in my family, friendships, health, finances… In Him, miracles can happen! Just believe!

Today, I will leave ya’ll with a little something I came up with myself! I hope ya’ll enjoy!

11399_10201854340959182_2597644332336570108_n

Pumpkin Harvest Butter

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients
-1 & 1/2 cup homemade pumpkin 1 15 oz can of prepared pumpkin
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-Juice from 1/2 medium lemon
-1/4 cup apple juice
-1/2 tsp (heaping) Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup clover honey
(any TJ’s products are usually best purchased at TJ’s or Amazon.com)
Directions
Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, bring down to a simmer, let it simmer for 25-30 min, stirring every few min. Set aside and let cool. Store in a mason or jelly jar, enjoy on toast, pancakes, peanut butter sandwiches (instead of jam), as drizzle for your fro yo, you can add to homemade milk shakes, I add it to my nonfat Greek yogurt to make pumpkin pie yogurt … get creative and ENJOY!!!

From Numb To Love <3 Victories with Cookies =0)

Standard

Numb… I guess that’s the best way to put it. After all that’s happened the battles I’ve faced…. I found myself feeling battle worn and literally numb. This week has been a week of challenges that have been tough ones to face, however, I found hope in the midst of my raging seas. The week started with xrays and me watching little guy again being that my mom could not afford child care. My attitude, this time, was much different. Instead of waiting for my mom to have to ask me to care for him, I offered. I couldn’t stand watching my mom struggle financially, carrying the weight of my unemployment and having to take me to various appointments all while not having enough income to cover her own need alongs with food for the household. I was out of foodstamps and the least I could do was take some of the financial pressure off by handling childcare regardless of my medical situation.

With days spent at home with little guy, the Lord began to teach me about love. He showed me how to relate to little guy and how to handle discipline (time outs) in love. I pushed aside my worry about pain, picked him up, held him, hugged him and tickled him cause that’s what being a little kid is about… being loved. Little guy and I ended up having a lot of fun watching veggie tales, laughing, and learning new words. Yes… he had his moments, but God helped me push through, in love regardless of the physical pain I was in at various times. Still unable to see DR. Runco until I get the results from my x-rays and MRI… things were a little iffy, however, by the grace of God I had no need for any pain reliever.

Another thing the Lord showed me (which began last week)… I was living in a constant state of fear. This fear was keeping me back from my life. There are so many things I desire to do (ie: go to school, work, get out on my own, continue the running ministry, ect.) however, I was in serious bondage to fear. I was afraid to go to school because I’d tried before and when my family and I lost our home in 2011 along with the matters concerning my troubled loved one, I suffered severe trauma and ended up having to drop everything just to attempt to find some sort of grounding. I was afraid to go out and try to work again, because of all the times I’d failed. This week, a MAJOR fear was reveled… I was afraid of people… REALLY… I mean… can you blame me? A friend of mine I worked with at a grocery store last year took me to breakfast and coffee. This was the first time I’d hung out with anyone outside of my God family and a few church events in almost a year, and I found myself nervously itching and on edge!!! WOW! When I recognized what was going on with me, I started to look back over the past few months…  every day… I was detaching myself from the emotion of each day, so afraid to love or be loved, so afraid to talk to people, waking up everyday… just trying to make it through each moment, praying to God that something would change. WHen, in reality, what needed to change was me!

I began to press into the Lord even harder! I told Him … “this may be the life that I’ve been given, and I may not like how things currently are, but I choose today to enjoy it! I surrender my health, family, friendships, ministry, finances…. I surrender it all to You! Thank you for another day Lord. No matter what, I choose to thank you!” I woke up the next morning, and right off the bat I had to make the decision to have a good day. The moment I did that, it’s as if a veil was taken off of my eyes. For the first time in a while, I began to feel again. I mean REALLY feel! I started seeing my mom, little guy and our lives through different eyes. The Lord also re-stirred the hope that I’d had a few weeks back when I’d left the harvest carnival/ magic show at Hilltop… I began to see that if I truly want to go back to school, I can. If I want to continue to run and race… I can, I just need to allow myself to heal and take in every bit of care that I can get to get me balanced and in top shape again. Ministry, I can do… Love… I CAN DO… be loved… Yes… that too! Work… I’ll dust myself off and try try try again! Why? Because I AM A CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH KING! AND IN HIM I CAN DO ALL THINGS!!! What do you know… After some prayer, thought and talking with my upstairs neighboe… I began to take steps in the direction that I feel the Lord is calling me. Will it be school, work, how will I return to health… well, stay tuned as God begins to unfold. For now… it’s all rather “hush hush” (as they say on Veggie Tails =)

Now, as we head into the weekend, I just want to encourage you… no matter what you’re facing.. weather it’s fear of failure, seemingly impossible circumstances, loss of job, loss of a loved one, broken relationships, broken dreams… GOD IS BIGGER!!! HE IS STRONGER!!! JESUS (FIRST AND FOREMOST) has been there and paved the way, having suffered every imaginable pain including death so we could be free to live!!! Today, I’ll close in a prayer and… of course, leave you a recipe to fill your taste buds with =0)

Lord,

I thank you for all that you’ve done for us! You know the things that the person(s) reading this is (are) dealing with. You know the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, and still…Heavenly Father… you’ve seen the FINISH LINE! I pray that You would stretch out your hand and comfort them! Send forth your Holy Spirit along with Your angelic hosts into their lives, homes, and every place they dwell to bring healing in their minds, bodies, relationships, hearts or any other place needed, to rescue the loved ones of theirs that need you, to bring provision where there is lack, hope in hopelessness, freedom from fears and bondages and peace that surpasses all understanding! For those who are unsaved, I pray that you will rescue them, help them to find you I thank You Lord that you ALREADY have the victory! I give this now into Your hands to act according to Your will! In your Son’s Heavenly name I pray…Amen!

Now, for the recipe

IMG_20141107_165925 (1)

SMALL BATCH GLUTEN FREE BANANA NUT BREAD COOKIES
(makes 7 cookies)
~Ingredients~
1 cup brown rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup organic raw sugar
1/4 heaping cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup crumbles wall nuts (optional)

~Directions~
Preheat oven to 350° spray a cookie sheet lightly with butter flavored cooking spray. Place 7 spoonfuls of dough evenly onto sheet (may make more or less depending on scoop sizes). Bake for 10-15 min (or until edges are slightly golden brown) on MIDDLE oven rack. Set out to cool and serve with your morning coffee or fresh out of the oven with some vanilla fro yo and caramel drizzle!

Keep Calm and Stay Golden

Standard

IMG_20141101_155942
photo credit worldcrops.com

Back again back again! What a week it’s been already! When I left off in my last blog, I was in quite a bit of pain. Monday I had to watch little guy while mom was at work, and the pain subsided briefly. Mom got home too late for me to go in and see Dr. Runco, and when she DID get home we headed to Fernandez Park to let little guy get some fresh air and play time. I went for a walk to see if the pain was something I just needed to walk out and as I headed back, the pinch in my left sciatic nerve became so severe, I could barely walk! In tears, I requested that mom take me to the ER. I’d had enough. There, they did a general overview, handed me an IBprophen, a muscle relaxer (which I reluctantly took),and a prescription for pain relievers and muscle relaxers. I headed to walgreens, got my pain relievers and ditched the script for muscle relaxers, why? Well, if you’ve followed my blog, you know that I’m over 7yrs clean from crystal meth addiction, so… as a recovered drug addict anything (other than the IBprophen) that can be considered addictive is not to be messed with unless absolutely necessary.  While I’m grateful for the help I did receive, I was REALLY bothered by the fact that they didn’t take xrays. I was, however, set up with an appointment to see a doctor at a clinic on Saturday. There, I was to meet with a doctor and head on a journey through the wonderful world of MRI,  and (should the Lord provide) chiropractic care (hopefully with Runco) mixed with physical therapy.
The following day (Tuesday) I went to see Dr.Runco to find that four of my vertebrae had been out of joint. He adjusted the issue, gave me clear instructions on how to recover and… I headed off to face the frustration of attempting to recover. The following morning, I attended the closing women’s bible/ book study… the whole time, my nerves were clenched. I was afraid to sit or stand too long due to the possibility of my muscles tightening and cramping. Meanwhile, I was fearfully anticipating a two mile recovery jog after class. Between the emotional and physical frustration and pain I’ve endured during this seemingly endless pursuit of healing… my mind and spirit were broken. I left class, braved up, headed out for a VERY slow two mile jog. Which, thankfully, went well. I then headed home to enjoy the remainder of the evening with my family.
Thursday, I headed out to Berkeley with mom to be able to get out and about while she was working. When we arrived, I headed out for a run! My body just felt… off. I guess that’s the only way to describe the way that I’ve felt while running for nearly 4 years now. While there have been many times when I wasn’t in pain, I honestly haven’t felt balanced and in harmony with my body for quite some time, and on Thursday… it worsened. The first two miles went ok… then, as I approached mile 3… a slight pulling in my left decided to flare up. I thought it might just be residual from the treatment, however… my spirit felt anxious and as I got closer to mile 4, the pulling became pain, I shortened my stride and soon slowed to a walk and headed to my mom’s car… heart broken. After she finished the account, we headed to the office of the property management company she cleans for to handle an errand… she headed in and as I waited for her, my heart continued to ache. Again, here I was nothing to show for the 31 years I’ve lived. Mom and I still struggling from day to day to make ends-meet, both of us hitting set backs left and right, and on top of it… MY HEALTH aghhhhhh! So frustrated, I bottled it up and got out to stand and give my body a break from sitting when a homeless man walked by wearing a “Cal” shirt that stated “Keep calm and remain GOLDEN.” Funny that’s really the hardest yet the only thing I needed to do. Stress kept trying to overtake my mind, not able to go to Runco’s office, awaiting my initial clinic visit through medi-cal… I was stuck!
Friday came, the pain was not so bad, but still there. More than anything, the emotional pain really ate at me. You see, over this past 4-5 years I’ve experienced 4 of the 5 of life’s most stressful events repeatedly along with the trauma caused through other various family events. At this point, I found myself beginning to question the goodness of God and I quickly (thank God for my mom who helped me with this) redirected my thoughts… psychologically .. I tucked myself into a ball in the back of my mind praying over and over for God to do something. Then I felt Him prompt me, “Child… walk it out.” I spent the majority of the day doing all that I could, meditating on scripture, going with my mom to run a few errands, reading the Bible, watched a movie, hung out on social media…. trying EVERYTHING to focus on something other than the waves I was facing. I headed to bed… cried out to God and said… “that’s it… it’s up to you. The enemy can take my body, shoot… he could even take my voice, but one thing he can’t stop is my heart that cries out in PASSION for the Lord.
Well, here it is… Saturday… I returned from my clinic visit and am now set up for xrays and an MRI and have been told to refrain from running until further notice. I will be consulting Dr. Runco being that honestly… I trust him and I want to get a well rounded perspective on this situation before I move forward in any direction. I truly believe that I will run and race again soon even though at this time it’s hard for me to stand, sit or run (sometimes even walking hurts) without pain that, at times, seems unbearable… yet, I’ll continue to trust God and His plan. His ways are not my ways… they are much higher. As for the other issues my family and I deal with on a day to day basis… well, I’m believing for God’s hand to move and heal the loved ones that need healing, restore the relationships that need mending, and to provide all things needed for us to move forward. In the mean time, I’ve taken steps (quietly) toward some positive goals to set my mind on. Stay tuned… you never know what the the Lord has in store. I pray that my story gives strength to those who are struggling by showing that no matter what, God is there… HE WILL come through! I’ll leave ya’ll today with a recipe for Apple Chips that I adjusted and made my own by adding a few twists! Have a blessed weekend!

PUMPKIN SPICE APPLE CHIPS
Ingredients
-3 Large Golden Delicious or Fuji Apples
-2 tbs organic, raw sugar
-1 tsp Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice

Directions
preheat oven to 200 degrees. line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut apples REALLY thin (too thick will make ’em too mushy). lay out apple slices on sheets in one, even layer. mix sugar with pumpkin spice and sprinkle 1/2 the mixture over the apples. Place sheets in the oven and let bake for one hour on the center rack. Take out, turn over the apples and sprinkle with remaining sugar and pie spice mixture and place them in the oven once more for 1- 1.5 hours or until golden and crispy! Place on a rack to cool, and store in a tupperwear container.