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

from trials to many victories… recap of my final semester at CCC

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Achieve… as humans, this is something that we are born and created to do. We were made to create, and to inspire. The problem is that so often many of us get far too caught up in achieving rather than just living and enjoying our lives. I am definitely guilty of this! Those that know me know that I tend to go overboard in this area. Thankfully, this semester I learned a bit about balance.
If you read my last post, y’all would know that I went into the semester not knowing how I was going to make it through. My body was in pain, I was struggling to make it through 8-14 hour days on set (as an extra on a tv show)… I went back to the chiropractor that was helping me while I was racing competitively, Dr. Runco. After my first visit with him, my body was recovering from all of the improper work that had been done to it prior to my visit with him. I was in the kind of pain but I don’t wish on my worst enemy. As the days went on, my body began to heal. With weekly visits, I found I was able to walk more and be more physically active than I’ve been in over a year. What a blessing!!! Days on set and at school became easier for me to face. I even started running a little bit here and there.

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As the semester went on, I ended up working more on set than I was at my job at Kmart. I was also given the opportunity to spend three days on the set of a movie as an extra. My childhood dream to be an actor was coming to life! The problem is, in the middle of it I started to get overly concerned with whether or not I would ever get a SAG voucher or become a member of the union. I stopped focusing on the blessing that was right in front of me. Rather than doing it because I loved it, I began to do it to get something out of it. When I realized this, I quickly adjusted my attitude and continued to enjoy my days on set despite the fact that I didn’t get a voucher. Besides, I was getting treated like a princess! I got to work on set, got free catered breakfast, worked my butt off, met amazing people, got free catered lunch, free snacks all day, got to be a part of a huge production, and went home feeling like I could still do more! I knew this is the job I wanted! For now, due to disclosures I have signed, I’m not at liberty to say which productions I was working on. If and when I am released to do so, I’ll let you all know!

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Now, shortly before the semester ended, my car broke down and ended up being irreparable….. when I started to freak out about this, I began to look back on the many times that God has brought me through. I pressed on, finish the semester, and then finally I am now a college graduate with two AA’s and a STEM certificate in biological studies! Closing the semester off with a bang, I was given the blessing of playing one of the lead roles in my church’s Christmas show, AND was given four tickets (from Alex Ramon) to see him perform at the Lesher performing arts center. I was able to take my godmother, her new husband/my new godfather, and my sweet sister in Christ Irena! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate such an amazing year!😊😊😊

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Now, I face a semester of no classes! I’ve decided to take some time back and recover, rejuvenate my spirit, and hopefully focus on family, friendships, and enjoying life! People have asked me why I’ve decided to do this, and my answer is that I want to be an actor… also, I want to be able to have friendships and possibly a relationship. While I’m in classes, I don’t have time to focus too much on my nephew and my mom and those who mean the most to me! 2018 is the year that I want to spend giving as much love to the people that I care about as I possibly can. So, I plan to do just that! I hope you all have a merry Christmas! Remember, no matter what you’re facing, you can get through this! My life is testimony of it!

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When fear foods become favorite foods; my journey to weight restoration.

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* disclaimer! I am not a healthcare professional. I would highly advise  seeking out a medical help before attempting any method of recovery.*

Summer break is here!  What an incredible semester it has been! Out of every semester I’ve had in college I will say that mentally and emotionally was one of the most challenging!  Just before midterms I found myself completely overwhelmed between the stress of classes, a promotion at work, and health issues … my body had had enough! For the entire semester, Outside of school and work,  I found myself in bed either sick or in pain.  It was honestly like being inside of a mental prison.

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Earlier in the semester I had battled another heart issue that sent me to the ER. I later found out that it was due to an infection caused by part of a tooth left in my head by a previous dentist along with what is known as refeeding syndrome.  Refeeding syndrome is when someone with an eating disorder begins to gain weight and introduces new foods into their system. The body reacts in shock and various things can occur that can be detrimental to someone’s health.  For me, my heart felt like it was going to explode. Literally, it felt like someone reaching from my back, grabbed my chest and squeezed my heart. However, that’s the price I pay for hurting my body through malnourishment.  As I mentioned in my last post I was dealing with a lot of muscular issues, and I finally had to stand up to myself. I took a professor’s advice and dropped a course that was incredibly stressful which postedponed my summer graduation (for my AA). thankfully I did that because had I stayed with it there’s no way I would’ve been able to keep up with classes. To be honest, by the end of the semester I was so done with looking at books that it was hard for me to focus on my assignments let alone remember half of what I read. Thankfully, by the hand of God I made it through!

Meanwhile, I began to get really, and I mean REALLY serious about my recovery. After doing some research  on the topic, I came across an Instagram picture posted by someone who is been a huge icon in the recovery community, Miss Julia Grigorian from dropsofjules.com  in the picture she stated that she was going to do a blog post about the method that she chose for recovery and why she would definitely do it again. I quickly went to the post, read it, scanned over some of the other posts that she talked about that method in, and did a Google search  to find more information on the pros and cons of using it.  That method was the Minni Maud method.  The details  of this method can be found at your eatopia  . Anywho,  I was praying and I didn’t know exactly how to approach this. Due to years of restriction, my body had developed sensitivities to various foods like wheat, soy, etc. however, the night that I decided that I was going to do this, my neighbor came over and asked my  mom if she would like a pizza for my nephew and her.  She gladly excepted and told him what toppings she wanted. He offered to buy me some as well. I kindly turned him down explaining that I had food sensitivities (excuses excuses).

That evening, I was scheduled to talk with my dear friend Emily about weight gain and the side effects on her podcast.  Inside, I wanted so badly to be free. Here I was trying to recover and setting example for those in the recovery community as well and I could not even get myself to eat a piece of pizza! I had eaten a salad and was going to eat something a little heavier afterwords for dinner. However, I was really craving that pizza!  I was craving it so bad, I could almost taste the pepperoni and sausage! Anxiety set in  and I began to text back-and-forth with Emily to prepare for the podcast. I told her that I was dealing with the food fear,  she asked if she could call me, and when we talked she was so kind and helped to calm my nerves.  We went into the podcast, and prayed afterwards. When we hung up the phone, I went straight in to see a pizza delivered at on my kitchen table! The first question I asked my mom was if I could have a piece and she smiled really big and said , “of course!”  That one piece turned into 2 1/2 pieces of pepperoni and sausage pizza. For dessert, chocolate cheesecake! There, begin my true entry into real recovery !

In the days following that I found myself eating  500-600+ cal breakfast two  300+ cal snacks, 500 to 600+ cal lunches,  and 500 to 600+ cal dinners allll followed by 350-400+  cal desserts!  Or some days that I eat 3000 cal, some days that I ate well over that, and some days I just slightly under.  I’ll be honest, the weight came on really fast along with depression, headaches, and exhaustion.  My body was not used to having all those things and was quickly trying to adjust. I found out later in researching that the exhaustion and headaches are due to the body trying to heal.  I could feel an internal burning, like a furnace had been turned up inside of me. I found out that it was also part of recovery because my body had to speed up my metabolism in order to be able to fully except all the calories that were being taken in!  Finally, after just two weeks of doing the method, I had finally reached the weight that my doctor wanted me to be at, even a few pounds more.   While I am now currently technically weight restored,  certain things still are not functioning and the way that they should  (my period is still MIA), so I’m trying my best to stick with it. I will be honest and say that I’ve had some days where I haven’t had the 2,500 -3,000 cal  that I should still be having until that takes place. However, I’m finding that I have a lot more freedom mentally that I’ve had in years! While don’t do any exercises outside of what my physical therapist has prescribed for me,  I still enjoy food that I wouldn’t even touch when I was exercising !  I have returned to eating gluten-free because I feel that’s what my body needs.  With that I’ve decided to keep eating pancakes, high calorie salads loaded with goodies,  dark chocolate, lots of popcorn, gluten-free cake, and much more.  Since I’ve gone back to that the headaches have seem to go away.   That being said, I want to continue with this until I know my body is ready to move on!

For any of you are reading this, if you’re seeking out a recovery method, I highly recommend this one. It does require that you refrain from all exercise. However, you have to remember that in exercise you’re tearing muscles and your body has to repair them. So, if you’re exercising when you’re trying to recover and have nothing to repair your muscle  with, then you’re defeating the purpose of exercise and ultimately destroying your body. Something you might want to think twice about. Again I’m not a healthcare professional yet, I am going to school for that, and I highly recommend that you speak with your doctor before attempting this.

Now,  before I go I’ll share something I’m currently struggling with. While I have reached a good weight, I desire to be able to work out again. My physical therapist and Chiropractor want me in the pool  to help me regain balance and strength. Also, the strength exercises at my physical therapist has given me have caused my body to hurt at times.  I’m currently facing a summer where I would very much like some freedom in my body and be able to swim and work out again. I face the following giants in the way:

1.)  muscular issues. There’s treatment that I need that my insurance does not cover.  I currently don’t have the finances to cover it.

2.)  I need access to a good pool with good amenities such as a hot tub and sauna so that before and after I do swim therapy, I can treat my muscles with kindness so they can heal properly. A gym membership like that is quite costly.

3.)  my mom and I both work, however we are facing some financial difficulties. It’s not always easy to purchase things that we need on a daily basis.

Being said, I’m requesting prayer that the Lord either supernaturally heals me with that he provides the things that I need to get the treatment and the access to the facilities for me to be able to get my balance and strength back. Also, prayer for provision for my family and me. Ultimately,  I believe that someday I’ll run again. Please pray  that if the Lord wills, that He will release me to do so!

Another struggle a face, is body image. My body has swelled because of recovery and a lot of my clothes don’t fit me properly.  Please pray that the Lord helps me endure this and make it through to full recovery!

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Before Minnie Maud (left) Thigh gap After Minni Maud (right) Thighs touch, pants don’t fit, but definitely worth it!

Now, off to another amazing vacation! This time it’s the longest vacation I’ve had from school! Lord willing, it will be full of amazing adventures !

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!