Adventures in Boston Qualifying: My Journey Continues With Part 4

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Hey all I’m back again and I hope you all have had a wonderful week! Mine has been trying to say the least, however I’m learning to be grateful for the little things. I’ve really been trying to work on my attitude most of all. To be honest, it hasn’t been the greatest. I was hit in many areas… my body has been hurting and I went to see Dr. Runco. He had to adjust my hips, neck, lumbar, thoracic and other regions of my spine and legs. Facing each day has been a challenge. Between the pain and not having a vehicle and ether being stuck in my apartment all day or having to stay out with my mom all and/ or take the bus in order to get things done… my mind and body just feel worn and beaten. Don’t get me wrong, I love ❤️ taking the bus but the hill up to my house from the stop tears my body up. On top of it, it’s been a struggle to make ends meet at times. At the same time, I feel this gives me the perfect opportunity to really, truly trust God! In these moments, I’ve been able to make lists of things I’m grateful for, and lists of people and things to pray for. In these moments, I’m free to study the word and get to know God so much better than I EVER have before. So… I’m choosing to cherish them.

No, when I left off in last weeks post, I had fallen asleep and was getting ready to wake up to run my first marathon in Oakland, Ca in March 2011. Now, my journey continues…

My Journey Part 4

Marathon… for those of you who don’t know what exactly this is… let me clear up a little bit of confusion for you! A marathon is not a 5K, 10K, 1 mile, 10 mile or even 13 mile foot race. A marathon is the name given to a race with the precise distance of 26.2 miles. Anything outside of that range is given an alternate name such as 5K (3.107 Miles) 10k (6.214 miles), ultra marathon is anything greater than 26.2 miles. The list goes on… so, Marathon is not a name given to any other distance other than the 26.2. For more history and information on this event, please take a look at this article: History of the Marathon.

So, why was the marathon distance such a big deal for me? Well, it is estimated that approximately only 1% of the worlds population has actually run a full marathon. I thrived on distance, I loved distance! I wanted to challenge myself to really go the distance as a way of celebrating freedom from drug addiction! The training with long runs (which I increased in a very different way than most people do) followed by gluten free pancakes and eggs… hours of open road, clearing my head, praying, worshipping… such an incredible time of connection with God, nature, and my body unlike any other! Mix that with runner’s high and a sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving a new goal… mannnn! I was definitely doing what I love to do! Also, while in training for this event, the possibility of running in the Olympics at some point was brought up to me. I will talk more about this later.

Marathon morning, I woke up expecting to just see my mom in car. I was really hoping for just a peaceful event. My heart sank, selfishly, as I saw my troubled loved one sitting in the passenger seat. I quickly adjusted my attitude, chose to remain mostly silent on the way out to the start line, and just prepared myself mentally for the event that was to come. I remember nervously chewing an entire pack of gum on the way out there, fidgeting with my packets of gu to make sure I had enough, checking and double checking my shorts, stretchy pants that I wore underneath, and my purse to make sure that I had my ID and everything I needed at the finish line.

Upon arrival in Oakland, my heart began to race! This was it! I was really going to do this! The moment of truth, do or die, all the training, all the hard work, all for this moment! My mom dropped me off with everything I needed and I headed towards the restroom line to get prepped for the event. While there, I ran into a woman who is part of the “marathon maniacs” crew! She mentioned that she was only going to run the race slowly and stated that she ran marathons and ultramarathons regularly. Ultramarathons? I had heard about these events before. My pastor at the time had previously told me about Dean Karnazes ( lithe amazing ultramarathon man) and I had actually wanted to run one. I just never met anyone that actually ran them… FREQUENTLY! I felt two mixed emotions. 1. I was semi-prideful, wondering why she wouldn’t want to run fast. All I knew was fast running! I loved running at a competitive pace! No feeling like it! 2. I was in awe that a female ran these insane distances! I shook it off, completed my pre-race preparation, and headed off to the starting line.

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or those of you competitive athletes who are reading this, you will probably laugh because in all honesty, I had no idea how big of a deal the Boston marathon was let alone that there was a qualifying time for it. I seriously went into this race to simply run and finish it. I had no intention of placing or achieving one of the most coveted qualifications in the running world, a chance of possibly running Boston.

That being said… I walked up to the start line. Beyond nervous… While there, I saw people holding signs. Each had a different set of numbers on it. One of them said “3:00” another “3:30”… yeah, I did not do my homework! I had no idea what these were! I had no CLUE where to stand either! So, I walked confidently up to the 3:30 pacer, hoping I wasn’t standing in some designated spot. There I stood, nervously waiting for the start!

As I waited, I talked to a few people that were standing there. One person was talking about injuries, so I diverted my attention to something less stressful for my mind. I then talked to someone else who asked if it was my first marathon. I told him that was, so he told me to pace myself, stick with him, start at a slow speed, gradually increase the pace, then finish with a bang! As it just so happens, this was a man partnered with the pacer for the 3:30 mark. I then turned inward, and began to pray asking God to help me make it through the event. I just wanted to finish!

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y heart started racing as the countdown began! I could feel the energy from the crowd of people watching the event from the sidelines… ba dum.. ba dum.. ba dum…. then, race signaled to start, and we all headed on our way through the city of Oakland California! What an incredible journey it was! Around every corner, was a new portion of the city! I was able to view the beauty of the greatest cultural mesh pot cities in the country by foot!!!

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rowds were so encouraging as they watched from the sidelines! The energy from the people in the city was just so amazing! I even met someone who was running the marathon as his long run for an ultra marathon! He gave me some tips on prepping for ultramarathons, and we chatted a little bit. He then encouraged me to push past him and said to just keep going because I “was guaranteed qualify for Boston!“ Again, that Boston thing! Looking back, I feel so ashamed of not knowing anything about that incredible marathon!

The best part of this event is that I was asked by a couple people why I was running the marathon. I got to share my testimony with people as I ran! I got to tell them how God delivered me from crystal meth addiction and made me a runner for Christ! I told each one of them that my purpose for crossing the finish line was to meet my troubled loved one who was there waiting for me. I wanted to prove to her that her life could change too!

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ot closer and closer to the final 10K of the event, something that Kara Goucher mentioned in a Runner’s World magazine I had received in the mail a few weeks prior kept running over and over in my mind. She said that the last 10k of a marathon is like a whole new race! That’s when you have to take everything that’s left in you, and give it all you’ve got! That’s exactly what I did! The final 10k approached, my endorphins kicked in, the exhaustion I felt from the previous 20 miles seemed to dissipate, I popped a packet of gu and began to run as though I just heard the gunshot go off at the beginning of a 10K race!

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ush towards the finish line, I was again given me opportunity share my story! A woman in the crowd yelled out, “El Sobrante Runner!!!” “What?” I said. “ you run all the time by my house!“ this is a name I had been called before, and I was always humbled that someone would recognize me and give me a label. I was even stopped at times in the grocery store and asked why I ran. Each time, I used as an opportunity to share what God had done in my life. This time though, on the race field? I was totally humbled and in awe of opportunity God was giving me share his glory with yet another person! I slowed my pace for just a moment to give glory to God for all that he did and to encourage her to keep pressing on! She then told me to push my butt towards the finish line and cheered me as I went on ahead of her! WHAT A BLESSING!

The last 3 miles felt like the longest 3 I’d ever run! Suddenly, a young guy looked like he was going to give in. His legs were aching and cramping. I encouraged him to keep pressing on. I ran next to him and kept letting him know we were almost at the finish line, to keep his chin up, and that I was rooting for him! Shortly after that, began to get dehydrated and needed some fuel. I encouraged him to sip on some water, just enough to make sure he didn’t get stomach cramps and to take another packet of gu.

Soon, I started to grow weary. A woman who was like an angel came right next to me, cheering ME on, handed me gu, kept telling me to keep going and let me know as each mile passed. After the last mile, she ran on ahead of me and I pushed into finish at the incredible time of 3:32:06!!!

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a few seconds after I cross the finish, I heard, “Hey Romans!” I looked back, remembering that I had “Romans 10:14-15” on the back of my race shirt! “ I can’t thank you enough for encouraging me,“he said! “I never would have finished, if you didn’t help push me along! My legs were so tore up! I didn’t make my goal time though!“” but you finished right? That’s what matters! And it was only by the grace of God that I was able to help you! I’m so glad you finished, “ I said. He have me a big hug and we both went on to get our finisher medals and foil blankets so we could recover.

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st immediately, I saw my troubled loved one. Meanwhile my mom was trying to track her down because she had taken off with her cell phone! So, the family drama had already begun! I went on to take my pictures and decided not to let my home life destroy what was probably the greatest moment of my life! After I got my photos taken and grabbed a few snacks, we headed off to have Pho at one of the local restaurants. Thankfully, it was such a nice time enjoying hot meal with my family talking about my journey! When we headed home… it was time to face reality again. Just prior to the marathon, I begun to transition into a new job at a restaurant in Orinda. I headed home, hopeful about the new opportunity yet dreading having to sleep in a cold mobile home alone and worried about what might be ahead of us now that my troubled loved one had returned.

Again, I had to shake off the worry and focus on recovery! Soon, I was informed by Big Al that I had qualified for Boston! Still… I had no clue help major this was! Not only that, but I also found out that I was Second in my age group and had won a pair of skecher running shoes that I gove to my mom as a thank you for all she had done for me! So many great happenings mixed with so many uncertainties…. so the recovery process began.

Now, I’m afraid of gotten carried away with this post! As you can see, this race holds a very special place my heart! Once again, I’ll have to continue with the rest my journey in a later post. Thank you all for joining me and reading about the events that made me who I am today. As for my current situation, each day I’m thankful for each step that I take. My body aches, yet my spirit begs to be set free to run! I can only hope that God‘s hand will move miraculously to release me to do so! Yet, one thing that I learned especially from running the Oakland marathon… in life, you have to continue cheer people on. Even when you feel like your legs and your body can’t take it, you have to press on, finish your race, and help others do the same! No matter what the outcome of my life is. Whether or not I ever run or walk normally again, I have to choose on a daily basis be grateful for life and ask God for the grace to keep pressing on until my dying day! Until next time, have a great week!

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Refreshing times with good company as my journey continues with part 2 of my story

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Well, it’s been an odd yet blessed week to say the least. I’ve continued to press through each day regardless of physical ailments and just keep hoping. The wonderful thing is, there’s often blessings in the storm! This last semester was my final one CCC. Upon my exit of this fall term, I have fulfilled the requirements to receive not just one AA, but two AA’s and a STEM certificate and biological studies! This is a journey I’ll cover in better detail as I review my story. As a celebration of this success, my godmother invited my dear friend and sister in the Lord, and me to share a day at a very prestigious spa called Burke Williams in San Francisco! Honestly, I have never been so pampered in my life! Time in the Jacuzzi, sauna, 50 minute massage, all the provisions that were there… ugggh it was like heaven on earth!!! We then headed out for some sushi and window shopping! I got to explore Tiffany and co, where I found their new scent. (Just FYI, don’t smell it on the paper tester… You HAVE to smell it on skin)! It’s so wonderful! After all the fun, we all headed toward the BART and then went off to face our responsibilities for the remainder of the day. I closed my day with some time with my beloved counselor who I see more as a mentor/ trusted friend that I get to see every week. Then, I headed home and enjoyed dinner and some dark chocolate and almonds, which has become my new favorite dessert! The whole day was like a day of refreshing after sharing the first part of my testimony with you all of which was also probably one of the hardest parts for me to unwrap. Now, it’s time to continue where I left off. To those of you who have read the first portion, thank you for sharing in my journey! To those of you just joining me, feel free to look at my previous post to see how my journey ties together. One thing I will say before I begin is that I don’t want you all to feel sorry for me or pity me one bit. The fact of the matter is, life. brings. trials. Plain and simple. What I want you to do is to look at it and be encouraged to see how many times God has brought me through! My trials have given me strength and character that I would’ve developed no other way! They have brought me to points where I’ve been near the end of myself at times; however, I wouldn’t trade them for the world! I am who I am today because of them and because of Christ in me! Now… my journey continues…

My Journey Part 2

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV

http://bible.com/114/php.3.13-14.nkjv

I love how the Bible uses pressing on, persevering, and running towards a goal or prize to display a point of releasing the past and embracing all that God has for you! What I love even more-so is how true this is in my own life! It seems that so many times I’ve had to let go of what I thought I wanted and press on towards what God wants for my life.

Now, I left off in my journey with the phone call that I made to my mom and the ticket that she sent me to get on the greyhound bus and head toward Oakland, Ca to meet her. Just prior to my call, a friend of mine asked me what my New Year’s resolution was. I told them half heartedly that I wanted a roof over my head, to get clean, and a cat of my own. January 10, 2007 I got high one last time and was soon after dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in San Diego with just a couple of dollars in my pocket and a suitcase with one carry-on that held the scarce remains of the 23 & 1/2 years I had lived. My mind I kept thinking that this was a temporary visit. I wanted to believe so badly that I would end up returning to San Diego to wallow in the addiction that nearly killed me several times, BUT God had other plans!

As I got on the bus, a slight chill ran over me. I sat down next to the window and I stared coldly at the world outside, trying my best to choke back tears as thoughts of everything I’d been through ran through my head. “I’ll return… I’ll make some money and come right back,” I thought. Then, like a moment in a movie, the bus driver turned on the bus, the radio came along with it. That moment, the song “I’m coming home“ by Daughtry played. My gut sank, and my spirit knew that this trip was not temporary. It was permanent. It amazes me how life circulates and such familiar patterns. Here I am in another transition in my life, exiting the community college level, and the anniversary of my exit into freedom from drug addiction is just a few short days from now.

The bus took off and all I could think about was how to get a hold of some more drugs. During one of the pitstops, I asked the guy was sitting next to me if he had anything. Apparently, he had just finished his. Then, another man that overheard me said that if I got off on the next stop with him that we could make an arrangement. I automatically knew what he was talking about, but I was hoping that he would just take a trade for some items.

The next stop came, I got off the bus, and the man and I headed to a motel in Los Angeles. When we checked into his room, he made it clear that he was wanting something sexual from me. I begged him to let me trade him my cell phone for some drugs, but he refused. He started getting aggressive, and I panicked and began to cry and beg him to let me go back to the bus and go home. He gave me five dollars for a taxi and told me that I could just use my greyhound ticket to get back on the next bus going to San Diego so I could complete my journey. I quickly took the money, grabbed my bags and headed out the door.

The front desk called a cab for me. After they picked me up, we headed towards the bus station, and the toll meter showed that the cost of the ride was going to be more than what was given to me. I told the driver that I really needed to get back to the Greyhound station and he so graciously took the five dollars and let me off to catch my bus. Obviously Satan try to grab a hold of me again, but God’s grace came to the rescue!

On the bus, I encountered a few people who were kind and shared their food with me. The next morning, after staying awake all night, I arrived at the Oakland bus station earlier then my scheduled arrival (believe it or not), and called my mom so I could meet up with her. My mom showed up and there I was… smelling like trash and coming down from my last meth high. She just gave me a big hug! Truly, I was home.

During the ride to El Sobrante, we talked about life and what we both had been up to. I was honest with her and told her about the severity of my situation. That evening I asked if we go for a walk, and she invited me to walk up to a place called Kennedy Grove. During this four mile journey, I ran ahead of her about a half block and then ran back. I then reflected on my evening jogs in high school and how much I loved to run when I lived in San Diego before I became a drug addict. I then told my mom that I wanted to run marathons! It’s something I had always wanted to do when I ran in San Diego. I had talked about it a lot and just never did it. She let off a slight laugh, I look her and said that I wanted to at least become able to run up and down each hill that we passed as we walked. She smiled.

Those walks became our evening moments of stress relief. Each night, I would walk with her and sometimes my little brother would come too. I would run ahead a little bit and run back. One block of running became two, one mile became two miles and so on… then… One hill, became two hills and then countless others… I would lose myself in prayer and worship as I journeyed by foot through the streets, hills, and trails of El Sobrante and the many surrounding areas! Then, one day as I was running along side of the road, I came across a man named “Big Al” Who hosted races in the area. Thanksgiving day of 2008, I ran my first 4 mile race and came in second place female. From that point on, I began to run more races ranging in distances from the 100 on the track to a 50 K race in 2014. My journey in running quickly became a metaphor for my recovery. One day clean became two, then one month, a year and so on. Life‘s battles came at me like the mountains I climbed each day when I ran. One by one, by the power of God, I was able to face each giant.

(Picture on left is the very first straight of road that I ran on. Photo on the right bottom is me at my first race. Photo right top is me with”Big Al” at my first half marathon.)

Slowly my life began to come together. Within my first year of living in El Sobrante, I had been gifted a kitten for my birthday that I bottle fed raised, had a consistent place to live, had my first job in my new clean life at Hometown buffet in Pinole California and started making friends (two of which later adopted me as their Goddaughter). My New Year’s resolution had come to pass and then some! I began almost immediately to attend church as well as Celebrate Recovery meetings where I found the love and support from so many people that really helped me grow and become strong in my faith. Soon, I started attending college and dove immediately into the performing arts. It seemed that my life was allll coming together; However, my family life began to take a down hill turn.

A troubled family member of mine Who had already had a Trumatic visit with us prior came to live with us. Along with her came temperament issues as well as severe issues with addiction. Though I tried to rebuild a relationship with her, her lifestyle lead to major conflicts between us. These conflicts as well as her severe addictions lead to several police involved situations. Finally, her actions lead to her owing the wrong people money. She went missing for several days and… my mom received a call that is every mom’s worst nightmare… the police had received a call from my troubled loved one’s friend in New Mexico saying that my troubled loved one had been kidnapped… upon hearing the news… my gut sank and I fell apart. Through some careful questioning of her friends, my mom found out that she had been forced into sex trafficking in San Francisco in order repay a debt. The details of her situation I will keep very minimal as this is not my story to tell.

I used my anguish over the situation to push myself on my daily runs. I purposely ran around areas I knew that she frequented hoping for a sign of her. Family members from New Mexico came out to see if there was anything they could do to help find her, but it all seemed hopeless.

Finally, one morning it was dark and gloomy. I headed out for my morning run and it started raining. I pushed myself to the top of one of my favorite hills in a neighborhood and fell to my knees weeping, asking God why… begging Him to bring her home. Thankfully within a day, she showed up on the porch at my landlord’s house. Just one day before her 16th birthday, she had escaped. She was home. The problem is… what we thought was the end of that trial, was the beginning of a whole new realm of trials we never expected in our wildest dreams.

Now, this post has just gotten a bit lengthy and I feel that it’s a good place to leave off before I continue to share my journey with you. Again, I hope that in sharing my trails with you, you are beautiful to see God‘s hand moving intricately through my life. Though the journey has been dark at times, He has never failed me and never will. If there is anything that I have learned through all of this, it’s that just like the apostle Paul said, I have to let go of what lies behiynd and press on towards the fresh, new beginning’s they God has called me to. I hope you all have a great week, until next post… God bless and Happy New Year!

photo credit: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f9/25/8c/f9258cc4961be5763e60b81fed00892e.jpg

A little sweetness in bitter times

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Happy Sunday y’all! I hope things of been going well for you since my last post. My world things have been a bit challenging to say the least, however in the midst of my trials I’m finding strength in Christ, along with a whole lot of food inspiration! Best of all, I’m learning the true value of human life and seeing what really matters in life is not whether or not we achieve some earthly goal or possession. What matters is how much we love.
Now, since my last post I’ve continued to press on in school despite a lot of the giants I’ve been facing. For anyone who knows what it’s like to deal with PTSD while going to school you know my pain. For those of you don’t, it’s incredibly trying. For someone with PTSD things that are stressful to normal person are 2 to 3 times more stressful for that person. When stress hits it’s almost like chaos completely overwhelms your mind and you can’t think straight. Sometimes I flashback to a Trumatic experience in childhood or life in the middle of the day while I’m doing something and it can cause a panic attack. I’ve had to learn to focus inward and find peace in Christ in order to maintain my sanity. While I’m in the process of healing from it… when it rears its ugly head it’s not fun.

Along with PTSD I also have been battling the same issues with my back and legs. I stand in class, then I take moments of brief sit down time. This is all in order to make sure that I don’t get a back flareup.
Continuously standing in one place for too long has put a lot of pressure on the muscles in my legs, which later has an effect when I try to go for a walk to relieve stress. The stress from classes, life and the sitting that I still have to do from time to time has caused my psoas and iliacus muscles to be overly tight. The help that I need isn’t covered by my insurance, so I do what I can to get by on a day to day basis.

 

Finally, the stress of classes, health, finances, worries about my troubled loved one (and not getting to see her this week for her birthday)… chaos at home and trying to study through it finally just took it’s toll. Last Thursday I was rushed to the ER after I collapsed due to heart pain and chest pressure.
Now, I know that has a believer I’m supposed to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. I know that I need to find my peace in God. These things I try to do. Believe me, I do what I can to find my peace rest in him. What people need to realize is that sometimes no matter how strong someone is founded in Christ, life can become overwhelming. The enemy attacks whome he fears and he has definitely attacked my family and me. The thing is I refused to back down! I’m choosing to believe that God is working as always! Meanwhile, I’m off to another round of testing to find out if there’s a deeper issue. Since this is the second time within a year’s time that I’ve been admitted to the ER with heart problems, it’s time to take a closer look. And all honesty, my guess is that a lot of it has to do with my struggles with eating disorders over the years. Stress can do so much to you, but when you’re under weight it can kill you. While I’m currently just a few pounds from my weight goal given to me by my doctor… years of miss treating my body have taken it’s toll.

My point in saying all of this is to let you know that while people these days seem to focus on the damage that obesity can do to somebody, we also need to take a look at what being too thin can do to somebody. Eating disorders of any kind or not beautiful they. are. ugly., and this is the darkside of it. This doesn’t mean to go hackling at everybody who is super thin because some people are just naturally that way. However if you or someone that you know is struggling with malnourishment, any eating disorder of any kind whether it’s over or under eating… help them or get help for yourself ASAP! I can’t stress that enough! There are so many resources out there so many people who are ready and willing to help. For me, I found a lot of help through my support system which includes my mom and my God mom, my counselor, The ED community that communicates via social media, my church, my friends and so much more. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you decide to step out and show love to yourself by taking care of you.
Thank In closing I just want to let you all know this whole thing has really help me see how precious and fragile life is. Every moment that I get to snuggle with my cat who seems to know when something’s wrong, that I get to hold my little nephew, hug my mom, go to church, see my friends, go to school, go to work… every breath I breathe is a blessing and it’s an opportunity to love. Whoever you are that’s reading this whether you are battling with an eating disorder or battling with bitterness, unforgiveness, or just need encouragement to press on… take a deep breath right now and thank God for that breath. Look in the mirror and tell yourself how incredibly awesome you are as a creation of God. Get out there and forgive, forget the drama, quit hating on each other and fighting over stupid junk and just love on each other. Embrace your mom, your dad, your friends, your loved ones who surround you. Just love!
As always I tried to leave you guys with a delicious recipe to enjoy until my next post…. so…

Sweet potato À la mode

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*Ingredients*
-1 medium sweet potato
-1 pint of maple vanilla arctic zero ice cream
-1/4 cup slivered dry roasted almonds
*Directions*
Preheat the oven to 350° and bake your sweet potato for 45 minutes to a half hour or until you can poke a knife easily through to the center. Pull it out of the oven, cut down the middle, let the potato cool just a little bit, and scoop some arctic zero right into the center. Top it off with your slivered almonds and enjoy! I had a little bit of the pint left over after putting some in the middle of my potato, however I enjoyed the rest of it just because it’s too good not to indulge!

 

* Disclaimer (thank you Emily for reminding me of this): I am not a health professional, I’m training to be one. I do not have my license, so any advice I gave is merely on experience. In other words your health care provider is the best person to consult for any nutritional advice.

If the Shoe Fits… Wear it! New Semester and…new challenges!

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Two weeks of a break and… Time to head back to the learning cave! Haha! I’d like to say that my break was fullnof adventures and fun that I had all metally planned out, however… It was honestly full of going to various appointments to try to help find out what’s going on with my body… From blood testing to see if there’s cancer or an autoimmune disease to mesage therapy and chiropractic appointments only to land (the day before classes start) with both hamstrings aching! Ughhh! All I did was walk up a short hill in front if my house to my front door! However, I’m choosing to praise God anyway! Even though every ammount of strength seems to have been zapped from me in this battle with my health… I just know that somehow, this temporary prison that I’ve been in with my health will eventually fade and I’ll be set free. In the mean time…. I choose to press on. Despite the pain, despite the challenges… GOD WILL MAKE A WAY!
On an up note… Despite the fact that I wanted to go to my hometown to see a show that I was offered tickets to and I ended up spending most of my break either running to appoinments, working, or in bed trying to heal… The Lord blessed me with opportunities to have a little fun 🙂 in the area! I got to spend a day with God mamma getting some things prepared to get a certain ministry started and eating lunch. Then, this passed Sunday eve, the Reverand Donnie Moore came and spoke at our church and brought Marcus Semien (from the Oakland A’s) and his wife to share his testimony! The night was full of frying pann rolling, baseball bat breaking, word of God teaching, testimony shareing fun! What an amazing time of refreshment before I head into classes! On top of it… I was given clear direction for the ministry that I want to partner with to get things started (no, it’s not Donnie Moore)… It’s an organization that I’ll give name to when things unfold a little more! In the mean time… I’ll just say… If the shoe fits… Wear it!

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So, here goes… I’m heading into the next semester… Uncertainties still lingering, pains in my body that have still not been healed… Opting out of any and all fitness classes in an attempt to regain my health (kenesiology major yeah…) and trusting that if God wants me to work out, He’ll provide the therapy to help me get back on course. Until then… It is what it is. Besides… My Body is His temple. For me to force myself to do something that could hurt it… That’s disrespectiful to the God who created me! Here’s to a new semester and… Here’s a recipe for almond butter overnight oats!

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Ingredients

-1 empty almond butter jar with scrappings left inside
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2- 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choosing)
-1 apple chopped
-1/2 of one frozen banana sliced into coins
-1 tbs honey (or sweetener of your choosing)

Directions

Place oats, milk, apple, and honey int the jar. Place jar in the fridge overnight and in the a.m…. Top with frozen banana coins and enjoy!

Ya’ll have a blessed week… Until my next post (whenever that might be) may God fill you with joy no matter what season you find yourself in!

Finals and Life

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Finals… yes another semester has passed and so much has happened! The storm has raged off and on with my health,finances, and life in general…between seeing various practitioners to try to get my hip/ back issues resolved and random cold symptoms popping up consistently, mom’s car having some recent issues, my nephew bringing home colds from nursery and day care, my mom’s health causing worry, jumping from class to class, appointment to appointment, and a recent performance in the Hilltop Community Church Singing Christmas tree… man…. I’m surprised I can even think straight! I can honestly say that while I’ve learned to maintain peace (for the most part) amidst all the craziness and chaos, there HAVE been times when I’ve honestly just wanted to throw the towel in, times when I’ve asked God why in the world my life has had to be such a crazy struggle and why it is that so many times it seems like I’m so close to a breakthrough only to see it ripped from my hands leaving me weeping like a little girl who just had her favorite toy ripped from her hands never to be seen again. Then, I’m reminded… John 10:10 clearly states that satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but GOD gives life in abundance! Whatever satan has done, God will use to turn around for His glory (Romans 8:28), AND He will restore DOUBLE what was taken from me (Zechariah 9:12).  Waiting for my breakthrough hasn’t been easy, however… what keeps me pressing on is the little boy I get to watch grow on a daily basis! Ughhh! What a little fit throwing, letter learning, laughing, newly talking, adorable, heaven sent treasure of a boy! Makes every moment that I’ve had to endure the struggle worht it!

So, what do I do while I’m waiting for my breakthrough? Well, I’ve allowed God to work on me! You see… I used to complain about not having a car of my own. Now, I ask God to show me how to use the time I have while waiting for rides. I also have learned to be grateful for those who have sacrificed their time to help me get to and from school, work, appointments and the like. Also… with all the craziness going on, I began to bully myself with food. I neglected proper nutrition, and while on a house sit, my God Mother took me for a day at her gym where she kind of pushed me to get on the scale (something I’d avoided for a loooong time)… and… @ 85lbs, I’m surprised that I was even able to walk let alone, focus on my work! The moment I returned to my house sit, I got right to work on standing up to yet another person who has bullied me my whole life… the biggest bully of all… ME! Instead of a couple peaces of fruit and some yogurt for breakfast and stuffing myself with veggies and minimal amounts of protein, I began to include oats, other grains, healthy fats, chicken, fish, ect… to my diet. Amazing how quickly I felt the difference! I’m believing this is the beginning of great healthful changes! Also , I began to embrace what was before me… my family and school work! With philosophy as one of my classes, my eyes were opened to how amazing God truly is! I was given new perspective of how Jesus truly called us to live and connect with Him simply by taking a look at how other religions connect to their gods. Then I realized… those days that I spent, locked in the apartment, unable to leave due to injury… those days are days I spent in the word, and building my relationship with God. Had I/ ventured into this season without that… I would have been lead astray by the lures of those other religions and their gods… truly, it’s in the desert that we learn to trust Jesus. He pulls things out of us that no longer need to be, things that are separating us from His incredible love, He molds us, chases us, builds us into strong, magnificent creatures we never though we could be. It’s here that I’ve learned that in my weakness, HE is made strong! Every moment that I’m on campus, at church, or anywhere else for that matter is a moment in which God is showing His incredible power!  Finally, it’s in the waiting that our patience and faith is truly tested… will you believe that God will do what He said He will even when it appears like your whole world is falling apart? Really… the choice is yours! I leave you now with that thought and a recipe for low fat, sugar free french toast muffins!

H

*Ingredients (muffins)*

~two pieces of Trader Joe’s Vegan sprouted grain bread

~2 egg whites

~1/4 cup almond milk

~1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract

~2 drops liquid stevia

*Ingredients (icing)*

~2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

~1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract

~5 packets trader joe’s or now foods better steviastevia

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***Directions: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick olive oil baking spray. Cut bread into little squares. Mix all batter ingredients together and evenly coat bread pieces. Place pieces into muffin trays until biscuits are formed. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 min or until baked through. Pull out of oven and allow to cool. Mix icing ingredients and top to your liking!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and keep hope alive!

 

 

 

 

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Maaannnn what a crazy week it’s been! So much has happened, between a chiropractic appointment to having to switch to a physical therapist (as per my doctor and the lack of transportation to get to the chiro), getting ready to start classes, dealing with little guy and his tendency to throw tantrums the moment my mom attention is on anything but him (screaming fits early am off and on through the day he can be such a good boy… but… ughhh), and I ended up in bed and in pain for the better part of 3 days. My physical therapist took me in for an emergency appointment and helped me get back on track. All I can say is… with the crashing waves all around me…. I have to keep my eyes fixed on the only one Who can change any circumstance. Meanwhile, there’s always blessings in the storm! My neighbor has an extra cell phone line on her family plan soooo…. I now have access to a phone, plus she’s given me a laptop so I can apply for work, get school work done and…. connect to the outside world!

As far as physical therapy goes… I owe it to myself to try every avenue. While there are needs (ie: a podiatrist, orthotics, ect) I have to continue to trust that God knows what He’s doing. No, I don’t understand why I’ve had to endure the level of trauma and trial that I have, but I’ve said it time and time again… Romans 8:28… this will work out for my good. For now, I’ve completely surrendered every step from this point on. I’m in all honesty, just thankful that I woke up this morning and could get out of bed without pain for the first time in about a week.

In closing, I will say this… hold on to Christ! No matter what is happening around you, love God, show love to others, and TAKE CARE OF YOU because if you don’t take care of yourself…. well

No recipe this week… sorry ya’ll! God bless and have a wonderful week!

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!