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.

Dare To Dream With Maple Carrot Cake!

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I was reading this quote this morning in a devotional, and it really struck me how God has planted these tiny seeds of faith and passion in my heart for the ministry that I’ve mentioned before which is human trafficking. Through that passion He’s ignited a fire to help keep me pressing on!

Think about it. Is there anything that you’re so passionate about or you want to give a shot but you’re so afraid to step out and do it?

I found myself, in the past, pulling back because of the war that I face continuously on my life in order to proceed. The constant battle in my health which resulted in another issue this week, the days that I spent in bed in pain, the times of my family barely could make ends meet, the pressure at school, the pressures at work and the horrible things that I’ve experienced there (right down to a man coming through my line and touching himself inappropriately as I was cashiering), as I’ve said many times before there have been times that I felt like I was going to completely throw in the towel, however, it’s when I took that leap of faith and given my dreams all that I’ve got, praying my way all the way through it, that I’ve seen more passion and energy coming through me to accomplish things that I’ve never been able to accomplish before… all by the power of God!

So, today aside from the aspect of recovering from what has been a lifetime of off and on nutritional abuse (both under and over nourishment) aside from the stories of my current trials and struggles (because I mean you think about it who out there isn’t struggling?), aside from this journey that I called life that I’ve invited you along for the ride hoping that somehow my story will help you find peace in the hands of God and courage to press on… today I want to encourage you (despite the giants that face you) find your passion because as a famous quote says:

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Yes, that was probably the world’s longest run-on sentence! Thank the Lord for blogs that allow one to break free from being too picky about grammar and sentence structure!

Anywho, I’m not going to run around saying I’ve done anything great because I haven’t. All I’ve done is take a step faith trusting that God will lead my way. I can tell you I’ve been afraid most of the way through, in pain most of the way through, and struggling most of the way through. Yet, you see… it’s through those struggles, pain and trials that I’m continuing to learn and see that in my weakness, God is made strong!

That being said, I now leave you with a recipe for a carrot cake mug cake that I came up with for my mom’s birthday!

Maple Carrot Cake Mug Cake

Ingredients

– 2 1/2 tablespoons oat flour

– 2 tablespoons grated carrots

– 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

– 1/3  teaspoon baking soda

– 2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk

– 2 1/2 tablespoons  Justin’s maple almond butter

-1 egg

– 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Directions

mix ingredients. Place in mug and place mug in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes on high heat. Take it out of the microwave, drizzle it with a little make both syrup and serve.  I added a packet of wholesome foods Stevia to the mix for extra sweetness! Mom loved it , Little Dude loved it and I loved it!

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I hope y’all have a blessed weekend! If you get an opportunity to try out mug cake, please let me know what you think.  Just so you know I can’t take all the credit for this recipe because I went online and searched over several different recipes. One from land o Lakes as well as Yummily  and I found that most of them are quite  similar. I made minor adjustments and this was the outcome!

 

 

 

When Two or More are Gathered…

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Matthew 18:20

 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

 

Over the past few weeks, in my quiet time,I found myself yearning to feel the presence of God. I tried starting out with prayer and worship, just prayer, and even continued straight to my daily reading. Though I’m sure He has been with me… my spirit was longing for a deeper connection. On Sunday, in Bible study, we closed with intense prayer and laying in of hands. Finally… I felt His Spirit gently wash over me for a brief moment! The next morning, I found myself in my room trying to press in to find I was edgy and distracted. I walked out to the kitchen and mom and I began to discuss a situation that was sort of weighing on us. That’s when it dawned on me… take it to the cross! As my mom and I entered in, the anxiousness in my spirit dissipated. We worshipped a little, and I headed in my room and was FINALLY able to focus and press in. Wow! As I was reading, the Lord reminded me of a time when I was about 5… it was the first time I’d ever felt His presence. I was at Glad Tidings (now known as Lake Tahoe Christian Fellowship) & was in a room off to the side. I got a turning sensation in my stomach, then the chills… I ran into the sanctuary where my mom and some of the other adults were doing intercessory prayer. The presence of God was so thick and so breath taking! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that incredible feeling. In looking back on this, I was reminded of the verse that stays when two or more are gathered, His presence is there… wow. So that was the answer… days, nearly weeks of asking God for more of His presence to find that I needed to step out of my isolated prayer den (which is good to have when properly balanced) & into an area of fellowship and allow His Spirit to move with power. So, this week… I want to encourage you… mix it up… don’t let your spiritual life become stagnant and stale. If you tend to press in alone… grab someone you trust or ask the Lord to provide the rite people to pray with you and build fellowship. There is truly strength in numbers! That being said… I’ll go ahead and work this into fitness and nutrition.  

If you tend to go hiking, running, biking, or even to the gym alone, try to create a buddy system by going with a friend from time to time. This will both keep you safe AND create a different atmosphere that will help motivate you to either train a little harder and fix a plateau or even give you new ideas and perspective for the days you train alone. Here’s an example of a buddy workout that can be done with a partner. 

Buddy Intervals

-go to a park that has some good running or walking trails. Do a good 5 to 10 min brisk walk to warm up. Mix in some dynamic stretching (I’ve added links to examples in a few past blogs). Then, as one person walks, the other jogs ahead for 1/4 mile, then turns around and jogs back to the person walking. Then switch. The person who was walking runs ahead 1/4 mile then back. Next, you increase the distance in quarter mile increments, switching off. One person walks while the other person jogs or races ahead. Do the switch off 3x to start. When you increase in endurance, do the switch up to 5x then, cool down! Make sure you stretch out and stay hydrated! Be safe… HAVE FUN!

 

 As far as nutrition… try to find people who are aiming for healthy eating habits and try to create an accountability system. This way you have someone to keep you headed in the right direction and vise versa! This can also be a great way to share recipe ideas and tips to stay on track! Now… This week’s recipe…

Strong Chord Gluten Free Cinnamon Pecan Twists

 

Twists

-2 1/2 cups oat flour (this can be bought or made by placing oats into a blender or food processor and blend until a nice flour is made)

-2 1/2 cups brown rice flour

-1/2 cup organic cane sugar

-2/3 tsp salt

-2/4 rapid-rise yeast

1/8 tsp baking soda

-3 cage free egg whites

-1 cup water

-1 tbsp 2% milk

-2 1/2 tbsp non fat Greek yogurt

-2 1/2 tbsp low fat butter spread

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/2 cup chopped, raw pecans

 

Cinnamon Topping

-1/2 cup organic cane sugar

-2tsp cinnamon

 

Directions

In a separate bowl, breast egg whites until slightly fluffy, almost meringue like. Slowly mix in water, milk, Greek yogurt, and butter and vanilla extract. In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Slowly mix liquid with dry ingredients until smooth dough is made. Lay out on smooth, floured surface and useing a rolling pin, roll out into a rectangle, smoothing out until dough is a 1/4 inch thick. Take pecans, sprinkle evenly over top and use rolling pin to gently press nuts into dough. In another bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar for topping, and set aside. Take dough, and useing a knife, cut into strips 1/2 inch wide. Take strips in sets of 3 and braid them. Lay strips 2inches appart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Set in oven for 30 min with a pot of boiling water. Take twists and boiling water out and sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture. Preheat oven to 325 and bake for 15-20 min. Let cool and enjoy!