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?

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R and R with cheese cake!

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Hello all… I hope your Christmas and New Years were brilliant! Mine were… well, a lesson in finding enjoyment regardless of what life brings! You see, winter break brought me to yet another season of having to mainly stay inside, at home (still not be to run outside or walk up and down too many hills and praying for provision for a car) and watch my nephew ( daycare owner was out of town and childcare coverage changed for my mom). So, outside of work, church and few outings with friends, I’very spent the majority of my break inside, trying to make the most of things.

As Christmas neared, we got a tree, my mom nd nephew decorated it (with a little help from me), then a day or two later, a family member was alerted about a pear tradition that involved child sacrifices being tied to the whole Christmas tree thing and…. that family member quickly took down the tree. Out of respect, I took down the little one in my room. I tried not to let myself dwell on our lack of tree but couldn’t help feeling disappointed. Meanwhile, I counted my blessings… the Lord provided ways for me to get some gifts for my mom, nephew and a few other people, and I got to spend a quiet day with my family.  The following day I was blessed with the opportunity to sing at a dear friend’s wedding and enjoy and amazing meal with them at the reception.

Days passed, I stayed home with little guy while mom went to work. I found ways to do some exercises and balance work to help relieve  stress from being indoors all day. I also found fun projects for me and little dude to do. This time has been very challenging for me, with battleing the urges to malnourished myself, I’ve fought through prayer and dedication to make proper changes… some days have been better than others, but hey… progress is progress. I’m now up 15 lbs from where I was and feeling much better energy wise!

As the New Year came and went, I begain to dread my time at home with little guy and actually looked forward to it. Getting to know him more, the hugs in the morning, bible devotionals, getting creative with his meals and actually making something he will eat and want more of (picky little eater ) brings joy to my heart.

Now, as the beginning  of  a  new   semester draws near… I’m battleing yet another injury. My hamstring tightened do to wearing old shoes at work and possibly some strength training I’d done, leaving me with a bit of an irritation, that along with financial struggles… praise God that’s  all I can say. I choose to continue to look at the following:

1.) God has the victory

2.) My nephew and I are now best buds

3.) Still making progress in proper nourishment

4.) Drawing closer to God (take THAT satan)

5.) Getting some real r&r before classes start

In closing, I just want to say that… life is what you make it. I can dwell on the fact that my running and fitness dreams have been repeatedly stomped on OR, I can say… “You know what…. life is a struggle at times… I’m going to embrace this season and make the most of it! I choose to focus on the many other blessings I have and praise God for keeping me alive and restoring my sanity!” Now for the recipe!

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Upside-down  Ellis Quark Cheesecake

Filling
-1 container vanilla bean elliquark

-1/2 tsp knoxgelatine

-2 packets #nowfoodsstevia

Crust
-1/4 cup pumpkin joe’s os or oat flour

-1 tsp traderjoes rice krispies

-1 1/2 tbs banana
Directions
Mix gelatine, stevia, and Elli quark together and leave it in the container. Place it in the freezer for about 15-25 min. Mash up the crispies and joes o’s in a bag using a rolling pin. Mash up the banana in a small cup with a fork. Add the cerial to the banana , mix thoroughly and place onto a flattened foil cupcake liner and flatten out until about 1/4 inch from the edge. Place in a toaster oven to toast until edges are golden. Set crust aside to cool. Once cooled, use a butter knife or spatula to remove. Place over top of Elli Quark container and…. DA da daaaaa!!! Upsidedown pumpkin crust cheesecake!

Merry Christmas! With Peppermint Mocha!

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Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Mannnn what an amazing year it’s been! Through so many trials and tribulations, times of joy and times of peace, times of loss and times of restoration… God has just been so good! With the year coming to a close and many new things on the horizon in the upcoming year, I wanted to just leave a quick post to say… No matter where you are in life… if you’re on the mountain top of victory, or if you’re in the desolate desert, I pray that you continue to keep pressing on, having faith that God is alive and working! For me, I’m in a place where it seems a lot of my dreams have crashed and faded. Battles still raging with my body, doing all I can to try to pick up the broken pieces of a shattered life and put them back together again only to watch them crumble time and time again. I now come to a point where I’ve had to ask myself… “Am I going to give into doubt and give up, or am I going to continue to believe even when all seems hopeless… pressing on toward new journeys and adventure, knowing that somehow, some way…. God is creating a masterpiece of this mess?” Well, my answer is this… I’ve stopped try to pick up the pieces by myself. I’m handing the pieces of this shattered life and giving it to the only One who can make all things work for good! I pray that if you’re in that shattered dream boat (Lord willing, you’re far from that horrific place) that you’ll hold onto the promises of God and choose not to give up or give in. Know that God is with you. Now, being that in the new year, I’ll be taking on school, work (still looking/ believing for employment), and setting up ministry, I will be taking my posts from 1 per week to 1 per month (possibly every other week).

Now, on to the main topic of faith… with the holiday season I know many people are struggling. There are a lot of lonely people, people who have lost loved ones, people who don’t have enough money to eat, people who go out to get loaded just to avoid the pain… yeah, the season that is supposed to be filled with joy isn’t always for many. However, let me share something with you! This year marks a bitter sweet season in my life. You see, it was last Christmas that I received the call that my God Father was in the hospital. We lost him a few months later. Also, I’m a gift giver… one of the talents the Lord has given me is the gift of giving. Honestly, I really LOVE to give! With my job situation being the way it is… I didn’t know if gifts would even be in my vocabulary this year. Mom and I had a small Thanksgiving dinner, which was perfect being that it’s just her, little guy (my troubled loved one’d child we are caring for), and me. I began to pray… yes I know that Christmas is not about gifts…. but I HAD to ask… I asked the Lord to provide so I could at least get a gift for my mom, little guy and my God mom and for provision for food and other necessities. This I did with my mom. Then, I reminded her of how God blessed us with not just one, but THREE whole turkeys last year! I began to praise God for what He’d already done  and… I remembered, He provided a house sit for me this month and thankfully, I was able to use some of it for gifts!!! Plus, my aunt ordered a Christmas, turkey dinner for us. This past Sunday, I went to see a friend perform at her church. The show was beautiful and after was a gathering in the fellowship hall where I met the pastor. A total divine appointment! We talked about running and I was given the opportunity to share my testimony with him . After, some members pulled out a bunch of food donations and told everyone to help themselves! I was blessed with TONS of salad and bread! Then, the pastor opened up the freezer and… He told me to help myself. Inside was a whole bunch of frozen turkey!!!! I went home with enough food to share with my neighbors! Also, while waiting with my friends for my mom to pick me up, my mom had received a call from the church. They had presents for little guy! When she arrived she had three wrapped boxes for him AND two cards for our family. One had money and the other a grocery card. Apparently the Lord placed it on some of the members hearts to help us out for Christmas! WHAT A BLESSING!!! So, whatever you have faith for ask God. Know that He hears your cry, release your faith and watch Him work. I leave you with this question… What are you believing God for? God bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS! On to the recipe!

*EASY PEPPERMINT MOCHA*

Ingredients

-24oz of brewed Starbucks Columbia blend coffee

-8 oz non fat milk or almond milk heated to the “start” of a boil

-2 tbs Ghirardelli Chocolate syrup

-2 tbs DaVinci Peppermint syrup

-Whipped cream (I use non fat)

-1 small candy cane (crushed)

-2 small candy canes (whole)

Directions

In two 16oz mugs, 1 tbs chocolate and 1 tbs peppermint syrup, add 12 oz of freshly brewed coffee along with 4 oz of heated milk to each cup and stir. top with whipped cream, crumbled candy canes and stick one whole candy cane along the side of the cup so the stick in in the beverage and the hook hangs over the outside. Sit back by the fire with some good old “Blue Eyes” or Buble Christmas music playing and… enjoy!

Sweetmint Hot Chocolate…and Praise Praise Praise

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1 Thessalonians 5:18New King James Version (NKJV)

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Have you ever been in a position where it seems that Murphy’s law seems to have flooded your life? Everything from financial struggles to family woes and health issues… your world seems to have hit the perfect point in the domino chain to set chaos off in every direction of your life and you’re standing there like… “Whhhhat?” Well…. yeahhh that is something I know all to well! Here it is, yet another week has gone by and this time… a midst the struggles I learned something that helped change my perspective, thus lifting my spirit and giving me hope despite what I face. You see… as we head into another holiday (Christmas), my family and I face the struggles with not being able to see my troubled loved one (due to her addictive behavior), my troubled loved one’s little guy (living with my mom and me) showing signs of aggressive behavior as he battles emotions he (as a 19 month old) can’t yet verbally express, the loss of a VERY treasured loved one (5th death I’ve experienced in the past year), mom and me being informed that we may have to do some major life changes in order to keep little guy (should my troubled loved one decide not to straighten up by March), my search for work, battles with the nagging injury that has put a damper on my running and racing career/ ministry, going to doctors, seeing a counselor to help me deal with the stress from the tidal waves that just seem to keep hitting my family and me… man… a few weeks ago, I found myself depressed and wanting to hide. I was angry with God, myself, the rest of the world and…. the Holy Spirit prompted me to look for a book that I had received from K-LOVE called “From Prison to Praise.” Right away,I (being the visual learner that I am) got a visual of where it was and I headed for my closet, pulled out this timeless classic and… began to read it for the first time. My breath was taken away! For about five years, I’ve had this book thinking I was supposed to give it to someone else, because, after all… I was never in the military… been to jail but not prison…. there’s no way that I could relate to this book! Or so I thought! Little did I know, I’d been in a prison to my circumstances. I’d allowed my attitude to be soured by my circumstances instead of seeing it through a Kingdom set of eyes. You see it’s true that the enemy can’t attack us without permission from God (Job 1:6-12). So, what do we do when that attack comes??? Think GIDEON! This man defeated a huge army with a minuscule army of his own HOW? He PRAISED! He trusted what God told him to do, reduced the number of men under his command and worshiped his way into victory by the power of God! When we praise God despite the impossibilities that surround us, your problems will fade and a sense of peace and joy will overtake you. Why? Because you’re taking your eyes off of your problem and saying, “God, I know this attack was not from you, but YOU DID permit it. For whatever reason You’ve allowed this, I choose to praise You and trust that You will work all things out for my good!(Rom 8:28)” Your problems may worsen, but continue to praise and somehow, some way… God WILL bring the victory! HOLD TIGHT CAUSE IT’S A COMMIN! In closing I’ll say this… while my troubles haven’t decreased…. my joy HAS increased. Financial problems still loom, issues with my troubled loved one… yup… still there, jogged 2 miles and felt the pain AGAIN, however what is no longer there is the sense of despair and anger. I now have peace, joy and hope knowing that God is in control and WILL come through! Be encouraged, be blessed and know that God is with you and with Him Murphy HAS NO LAW! Now, onnnn to the recipe!

Sweetmint Hot Chocolate (For two ❤ )

~Ingredients~

-2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-4 heaping tsp Hershey chocolate syrup

-1 See’s Candy Candy Cane (crushed)

-Nonfat whipped topping (I like this because it’s sweeter and has less calories than regular)

~Directions~

Place almond milk in a sauce pan and heat until it reaches a light bubble of a boil =) Add chocolate syrup and half of the crushed candy cane. place into two mugs, get some whipped cream going on the top and sprinkle crushed candy cane on top! Enjoy every last bit!