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!

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*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!