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!

 

 

 

Winter Break and food victories

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Love… That’s a word that’s been on my heart this season. With the semester now at a close… So much to say… The trials I faced through the past few months were, at times frustrating and brought me nearly to a point of dropping classes all together. Yet’ one thing kept me pressing on… LOVE!
Let me be more specific for ya’ll. Since my last post, I found myself so crunched timewise between school, work, Choir, volunteer work at the church (halloween carnival) doctors/ Chiropractic appointments, ect. all while trying to manage the pain I’ve been in off and on and maintain a family life that doing anything outside of it was nearly impossible. I found myself completely staying away from any form of exercise (including ab work) simply because my body was hurting and I really have felt the need to heal. This was such a huge challenge for me! With pressures of classes, I found I needed an outlet and God provided one! I soon began to draw!
Without going into too much detail about draining trials I’ll say this… They included further blood testing to find out why my white blood cell count is still low, an injured pet that we ended up having to seek financial support for help to cover, a situation I needed to fix one my car, news about the horrific shape my troubled loved one is in and more… Between that and the war in my body…. I barely had the strength to press on through finals. However, there are always blessings in the storms of life! At the Halloween carnival, Alex Ramon’s assistant (Megan Doyle) hooked up the sweetest care package full of my favorite college snacks and drinks! Also, my modern day pen pal, Emily (who I hope to one day meet), sent a huge care package for my family and me full of food and clothing AND bible study materials! Plus… People at random from my church reached out to help. It’s incredible! Always, just when my family and I needed it!
Now… Here it is… Another break, and yes… The stress of school and struggles landed me in bed off and on  for the first few days. Knowing that there’s help out there, just praying for the miracle of provision to get it…. I continue to do what God has placed before me, taking one step at at time, trusting that He knows best! The love for my troubled loved one and for her little one that mom and I care for is truly helps me press on! With that, I’ll share some food victories with y’all. Also, before I go…

Food victories:

1.I got to try a new brand of cereal called Purely Pinole, which I TOTALLY love!

2. Oatmeal for lunch… and no… I didn’t work out during that time, so it was a BIG victory. It was a combination of Trader Joe’s gluten free oats and Rachel’s overnight oats (both the Purely Pinole and the Rachel’s were gifts from my dear pen pal Emily which were sent in a beautiful care package).

3. I started ditching my obsession with fat free yogurt for lowfat yogurt and kefir.

4. The Sunday before Christmas, I enjoyed fellowship at my God mothers’s church where they provided a meal of spanish rice, steamed veggies with EVOO, cod baked in EVOO, and salad… for me.. this was a big step out in social eating. Also, it was a BIG victory!

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In closing, I have a few questions for you…

What is your favorite part of Christmas?

What’s you favorite Christmas carol?

What do you do when it seems that nothing seems to go right in life?

Do you have any New Years resolutions?

Peanut Butter Revelations and Kettle Corn Treats!

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“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”… I remember singing this song as a kid, however… I never really knew what God’s love is until more recent years. This week, as I was making my lunch, I got a revelation as to why. You see, I was making an almond butter sandwich to take with me when a childhood memory came to the forefront of my mind. I remembered when there was this peanut butter commercial on tv and the mom would put a heart on the peanut butter, close the sandwich, and when the kid got to school… He’d open the sanwich and there it was! I begged my mom to do the same for me. The thing is… Throughout the day, my lunch bag would get tossed around so much that by the time lunch came around, I’d open my sandwich and find a bunch of peanut butter and jelly mush! I asked my mom why she didn’t make the heart, and she swore up and down that she did… It just got messed up by all the tossing around of the days events. Isn’t that what it’s like with God’s love? He places the imprint of His heart on our lives, but the trials and messes of life’s circumstances seem to blot out any sign of it.! For a better idea of where I’m coming from see the following links:

My Story Begins

Into the Wilderness

My Journey Continues

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Since those past blogs, so much more has happened… Things that have brought me to my knees time and time again, questioning how a God that loved me so much could allow these things to happen. In the midst of the chaos that filled my mind… I heard His still, small voice speaking to me saying… “I love you my child!”  So, while making my sandwich, I decided to put a heart in the almond butter and, in going to eat it, I didn’t check to see if the heart was still there. I simply enjoyed every bite and thanked God for His amazing love towards me! This week… I’ve decided that… Despite the pain I’m dealing with and the uncertanties I face… I refuse to doubt the Love of God for me. So much at stake… My health, School, work, finances… There are days when walking is painful and I’ve honestly feared I might not walk properly again (fear is NOT from God) and days when I feel like any moment I could run another marathon… The mental trauma that the lingering health and family issues have caused… Wow… All I can say it that it’s truly by the grace of God that I’ve made it this far! As classes continue, I just finished my first solo in church choir, Harvest carnival coming up along with practices for the singing Christmas tree… Each step… I’ll continue to take in faith knowing that no matter what tomorrow holds… God holds every moment! So, today… I just want to assure you that no matter what you are facing… No matter what life has brought you through… Know that there is an amazing God who loves you! These trials are temporary… Life in Him is eternal! If you are temoted to doubt God’s love for you… Just ask Him to show you! When I do this… I find his heart shaped fingerprints all over my life through the love of family, friends, brothers and sisters in the Lird and in little things in the scenery around me! He never fails to show His love!
Now, as anyone who has followed my posts for any ammount of time probably knows… I love me some sweet treats! Sssooooo… I leave you all with a recipe for healthy kettle corn!

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Healthy “Kettle Corn”
-Ingredients-
1/3 cup trader joe’s popping corn
Olive oil cooking spray
Trader joe’s sea salt
2-3 stevia packets (or sweetener of your choice)

-Directions-
Place popping corn in air popper and let kernals pop. Place popped corn into a sealable container, pray lightly with cooking spray, close the container and shake. Spray again with cooking spray and close the container and shake it up again. Add sea salt to tase and 2-3 pakets of stevia. Close the lid, shake it up and enjoy! I hope ya’ll have an amazing week!

Sweetness in bitter times!

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Mind crammed! That’s the best way to describe what I feel right now. Wow, this whole semester has been a total ride of faith for me. Between studies , blood testing, doctors appointments , MRI , house sitting , work… I found I lost the taste for fun in life. In a session with my counselor she asked me what I did for fun and I laughed ! So, she encouraged me to identify the things that I enjoy and make a way to do them…. easier said than done! However, I took her advice and decided to pray and ask God to open up doors for me to do things like reaching out to the ministry that I’ve been wanting to work with and support , and come up with new recipe ideas. Boy was He quick to answer! The following weekend I began a house-sit. Now, my blender at home had just broken and a lot of the ingredients that I need to make my recipes were running at an all-time low along with my finances. Fortunately, the people I was house-sitting for we’re very generous and allowed me to pick figs from the garden, get fresh eggs from their chickens, and enjoy whatever was in their fridge and pantry! Plus, they had a Vitamixer (morning smoothie heaven)!$! So… Off to work I went on studies and baking! The outcome? A recipe for cookies which I’ll share at the end of this post! That weekend I also decided to give myself a break and despite the physical pain that I was dealing with I sat down with the dogs and enjoyed a viewing of “Dirty Dancing!” It felt like being a kid again! I got to hang out with the most curious looking hairless dogs and a house full of loads of other animals (including snakes, turtles, frogs and fish)! It was like being on a farm! After the weekend was over, I packed up my things and headed home to face the week.
In the midst of studies I felt an urge to contact the woman who heads up the ministry I mentioned a few posts back! Now, it’s time to reveal the name of that nonprofit! If the shoe fits wear it right? Well, the shoe is called The Glass Slipper! It’s an organization that helps people who have been sex trafficked find restoration! From the moment that Donnie Moore had mentioned them at my church, I had totally fallen in love! Right there, the heart of everything I’m going to school for right before my eyes! Upon contacting her , she informed me that she and some of the girls we’re going to go to an A’s game that Reverend Moore had invited them to and they had a ticket that they would like to share with me! What an honor! I quickly accepted and that Saturday I went out to Oakland , met up with the girls and enjoy the game of baseball followed by worship and testimonies from players on both teams that play that night! Plus Donnie Moore and his team performed feats of Strength!

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That night as I walked away, all I could think is after seeing those women and knowing what they’ve been through… Seeing that there’s hope for them… It gave me hope! I want to do what the glass slipper does for women! The girls and I parted ways with a promise to keep in touch, and Lord willing work together soon on a project that is yet to be revealed.
On the way home I remembered that I saw a certain Greyhound sign from the freeway! So , I got off the freeway made an extra effort to charge my phone, and took a picture of myself in front of the very Greyhound station that I got off the bus at on January 11th of 2007. For the first time in almost 10 years I visited the very place that my mom welcomed me with open arms , coming out of a homeless drugged-out situation , smelling like trash, and coming down from my last meth high… I wept and thank God for delivering me!

20160910_184724Despite the daily physical pain that I deal with in the trials that I’ve faced… His grace is what has kept me from going back into the mess that I was! By His grace , I no longer have to pick up a pipe or do a line to find refuge from my trials. I can pray to him, I can seek His face, and I can trust but no matter what tomorrow holds, whether or not I ever receive the healing that my heart so desperately desires, whether or not I ever see any of my dreams come true… ultimately life is fading. All that truely matters is knowing that I’ve lived a life that brings His light to others…
That being said… Here’s some good news… Test results came in and… NO CANCER! Testing for various other things such as thyroid disorder and celiac , at least the heavy part is out of the way and off my shoulders! meanwhile, the battle with physical pain continues! My muscles acting up, along with having to visit the chiropractor several times having a hard time just trying to make it through each day I’m going to continue to trust the Lord! So, questions for you!
First off, while the eating disorder I’m currently recovering from is called orthorexia, which is what has led to a lot of my digestive issues , in stepping into recovery I’ve had to step out of fear and eat things that I before I would consider taboo… Are there Foods that you’ve ever considered taboo or been afraid to eat?
If so have you have your face your fear? How?
Also, is there something that you’ve been desiring to do but have let fear stop you from doing it?
finally, what are some things that you like to do that are fun and help you enjoy a break from the stresses of life?
All being said onto the recipe! Until I post again… God bless!

Almond Butter Cookies

1 & 1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 egg 2 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
half a teaspoon of salt
Half teaspoon cinnamon
Half cup of Georgia grinders honey roasted almond butter
Two packets of Justin’s Maple almond butter
9 packets of Zing stevia

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix wet ingredients and dry separately, then mix together. Place spoonfuls (about 2-3 tbs full) of cookie batter onto a cookie sheet leaving about a 1.5 in space btween each. Place in oven for 15 min or until baked to your liking… Enjoy warm with some froyo or… Let cool and enjoy with a morning cup of joe!

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Smoothie Time in the Rabbit Hole

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One of my favorite stories growing up is “Alice in Wonderland.” No, I’m not talking about the move… I’m talking about the book. The movie is adorable, but book… just really captures Alice’s adventures in such an incredibly descriptive way that the  the reader has so need for physical images, for the image comes clear inside of the mind without need of any visual assistance. This is definitely one of the few books I wouldn’t mind reading over and over again!

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(photo credit http://entertainmentdesigner.com/)

Right now, I feel like I’m Alice… falling down the rabbit hole! Why? Well, this white rabbit that I call my vision for career and ministry as dashed off before me and headed down his crazy rabbit hole, and of course like any dreamer who has a dream does… I went a chasin! Then…. chaos hit. Every time I’ve turned around there has been some sort of resistance! Any time I’ve made any progress in an area of life… things begin to happen to smack me down. My running and racing dreams… shattered before my eyes just as my PRs were improving, my acting dreams… well… I’ve just never really had the boldness to step forward to try to see if they could come true. This dream of building a non profit (for which I go to school for)…. welll… This semester, it’s taking every bit of energy I have, mentally, emotionally, and physically to press on. The pains in my body, trying to get proper treatment only to be put through a blitzkrieg of chaos and end up in pain again…. chaos at school, home, ect… I’m praying that somehow… God will help me through this mess!

I honestly have kept the severity of my health situation very quiet because… well, why tell my readers who really can’t help? Then, I realized that opening up could probably help ya’ll choose to press on through things you might be battling… so here goes!

For quite a while now, I’ve been battling issues that have made it hard to walk at times. I get up in the morning and HAVE to put on shoes or slippers before my feel hit the ground or else my hamstrings tighten up making it painful for me to walk. There are several imbalances that have lead to me struggling at times to sit, stand, walk, lay down, and even shower without pain and/ or discomfort. While I’ve sought out treatment, even with the funds raised through the before mentioned gofundme that a dear friend of mine set up…  I’ve only been able to start treatments, but not really finish or get to the core of the situation. I have to take extra care in bending down to get things, can’t pick my nephew up, can’t push a grocery cart, have not been able to workout to rebuild strength and balance and have to constantly be aware of how I stand and walk while doing anything. To top it off… I battle PTSD from the abuse and various forms of abused I’ve dealt with, losses I’ve faces, constant high pressure situations I’ve dealt with, health issues (including the injuries that I battle) that have at times… made it hard for me to just pick up and keep moving. Finally, I’m in the process of having the doctors run a series of tests to find out if I’m dealing with an autoimmune disorder or possibly cancer… all this at just the beginning of a new semester! So… down this rabbit hole I continue to fall! While I DID drop my Drama class in order to keep my focus on classes that are degree applicable…. Getting my head in the game has really been challenging for me.

Don’t get me wrong…. I’m not saying this to complain… I’m simply saying… I’m choosing to press on, despite how my body feels, despite the family drama that I face, and despite the fact that my mom and I are barely hanging on financially. Trusting that at the end of this seemingly endless rabbit whole.. past all the crazy encounters with the distracting characters that try to throw me off course… past the war with the queen of hearts… there’s a victory in the name of Jesus. Somehow, some way, I’ll make it through this. Seriously… handing everything to Christ at this moment in time and knowing that even if He calls me to walk away from classes… He’ll have another door opened for me. So, as the clock ticks and the last day to withdraw without receiving a “w” approaches… I pray, continue to study, and wait on the Lord!

As I wait, I choose to enjoy the great things that that Lord has provided like… movies with mom and Tye Tye (my little nephew and apple of my eye) with Frozen yogurt and popped corn

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smoothie bowls

and…. good ol Georgia grinders almond butter!

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PLUS… a huge victory… from 86lbs to just breaking 100lbs… hey… God is good! Please, spare me the “you can have some of mine” comments… Nothing personal, but that’s a trigger! All being said… I hope whatever giants you face, you find the strength and courage to face them head on! Until next time…

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” ~Ephesians 6:10~

Put on your armor and know that the battle belongs to the Lord!

and of course… here’s a recipe to get your mornings going!

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Fig Berry madness!

Ingredients

~1 cup frozen blueberries

~1/2 cup frozen blackberries

~ 1 scoop of superbeets powder

~1/2 – 2/3 cup water or almond milk

~ stevia (or sweetener of choice) to taste

~ 2 fresh figs cut into 4ths

directions

Place all ingredients into a blender, leaving the figs to the side. blend until smooth and top with the chopped figs. You can add protein powder if you like or eat some eggs or cottage cheese on the side… get creative!

 

Ya’ll get out there! Live, love, enjoy your life!

 

Physio, English, Drama and Beyond!

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So here it is the beginning of a new semester and of course a whole new all the stressors! Issues with health (back and legs along with testing for cancer and autimmune difficiencies), trying to push through the chaos of getting my books and figuring out how to get my homework done through leaping over the book hurtles, financial strggles, doc appointments, work,… Yes… Another pressure cooker! However, I’m learning that trusting God is at the utmost importance! In this season, I’ve taken a survey of the past few years of my attending college and realized how many times, despite the madness that has engulf my life, that God has shown through at just the right time. He ALWAYS makes a way for me to eat, get school work done, and get to where I need to be when I need to be there!
As for my schooling… For the first time in a long time I’m genuinely looking forward to tackling my courses! Physiology, English, Acting 2… Yup… This makes for an amazing semester! I’m notorious for staying away from ratemyprofessor.com unless I give a review. Why? Well, I’ve learned that looking over someone else’s opinion of another professor can often give preconcieved ideas about them without truly looking at the fact that in essence… They could very well change their approach to teaching from semester to semester. Also, it takes the joy out of trusting that God will help me get the schedule that best suits me. So, what do I do? I pray that God will guide my school work and course selections and He hasn’t failed me thus far!
Meanwhile, in the midst of the chaos… Victories have come. I’m getting closer to a healthy weight which has been a major mental challenge and have been actually feeling closer to God than I have in a long long time. I was also given the opportunity to share my story at a recovery meeting at my church and… Through that, the Lord helped me totally see myself and my loved ones through a whole new set of eyes! As for food… Weeeeelll a wonderful new friend of mine (check out her blog beautyinchristthebook.com) totally blessed me and sent 2 jars of georgia grinders flavored almond butter! I smell some baking coming up!

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That being said… No recipe today, just some encoureagement… Know that whatever you’re facing… Know that God is with you. Trust Him, even in the little details and know that He always brings blessings in the midst of the storm! Also, make sure you check out Georgia Grinders nut butters AND imperfect produce (a friend of mine BLESSED my family to a weekly subscription). Imperfect produce takes the fruits and veggies that don’t look like the average store bought ones (yet are perfectly edible) and delivers them to your front door! Not only that, but if you post an IG picture of the funkiest fruit in your delivery that week and tag them… They hook up a family in need with fruits and veggies. Such imperfect perfection if you ask me!
Y’all have an amazing and blessed week… Month… However long until my next post! God bless!