Let The Races Begin: Part 12 of My Journey and Stovetop Baked Oats!

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Healing, it comes in many forms. For some, it’s a healing touch, comforting word, expressions of art or even a time of getting away from it all to clear one’s head. For others, such as myself, it’s not that easy. I’ve had to learn to heal as I go from one stressful and traumatizing situation to the next. I’m sure you all wonder if I’ve ever wanted my life to be any different. Of course I have! At the same time, more recently, I have learned that these trials are what have made me into who I am today. Without the stress, without the trauma, without the chaos, without everything that has happened in my life to bring me pain and to tear me down, I would not be nearly as strong as I am let alone have the knowledge and understanding of who God is in my life as I am and do today. No, I’m not saying that I’m in anyway shape or form perfect. I have SO far to go; however, I’m starting to see maturity birth in me as I have been more and more willing to except my circumstances, do what I can do to change them, press into God, find His strength through it all, and stop wishing my life was any different. My life is an example of how touch can cause pain instead of healing, words can tear one down to a point of feeling complete self worthlessness, and how the various forms of art that you use to heal can be torn down by others making you feel like you have no right to enjoy those things. The abuse that I suffered growing up physically, verbally, and the like along with being ridiculed and bullied as a child for liking to sing, act and dance… brought me pain in ways I can’t even begin to express. I guess you can kind of laugh with me and just call me the female version of the “Diary of Wimpy Kid.” What’s great about this is that it’s usually the wimpy kid to end up rising above by the power of God and changing the world for the better! I can only hope that my life has a powerful impact on at least a few people that I encounter during this brief moment in eternity. The main lesson I can learn from all of this is that when everything in life turns to pain, when every dream I have seems to just crumble and fall, there is one and only ONE source that I can rely on and that is Christ Himself.

Now, I left off in my journey last time where I had just had to leave my job due to lack of transportation and a severe injury. It was now time for God to strip away every bit of pride, selfishness, bitterness, everything that was not Him, and begin to build new strengths and characteristics I never thought I would ever have. Here goes with part 12 of my journey.

My Journey Part 12

So, there I was, jobless, fighting to regain my strength, and not sure of what the next day was going to hold. Each day, I forced myself to get up, get out of bed, pray and read the word, and yes … rebuild my ability to run again. One thing I witnessed during the season is God‘s providence! He always knows what we need when we need it! You see, just before leaving the grocery store, I had received a call from someone I did routine housesits for. She asked me to watch her home while she was out of town for a little over a week and then do another one for nearly a month right around Christmas. The second housesit for her would become the longest one I had ever done for anyone! The problem with this is, I would have to request time off right around Thanksgiving in order to do so because doing the job would require my not being away from the home for more than four hours at a time. I trusted God and excepted the job right away! After all, this woman had become very dear to me and so were her critters. I really didn’t want to see anyone else that she didn’t know he put in charge seeing is that she trusted me. Wow… this woman… a judge… trusted ME?! An ex drug addict… me? Yes! Truly God CAN redeem all things! Now, upon my leaving the job at the grocery store, it turned out I definitely had time to make sure that I was there for that entire housesit instead of having someone else take care of it. The first and shorter one was so refreshing! I spent most my time running and relaxing with the pup. Then I returned home and it was back to regular life where everything was a struggle. In the middle of it, my little sister reached out and helped mom and me. My sister… someone who had a kid of her own and barely had enough to take care of her self was helping us! I felt so awful! I felt like somehow I failed her! At the same time it was help… A few weeks passed and I was off to enter my next and longest housesit. This one took place over the Christmas season. Though I was very alone during this season, it was much needed time away from the craziness of life.

December 14, 2013 I FINALLY got to race again! I went to an event called “the Dam jingle bells” race hosted by a local family that has held a very special place in my heart! The feelings of being out on the race track again were incredible!

The energy of the people, the excitement of walking up to the start line, the quick push of my foot as I took the first step racing towards the finish, each moment of that beautiful course with views of the water as the clean crisp air filled my lungs all while adrenaline rushed through me like a wild fire… My spirit sang and soared! I was doing exactly what I was born to do! By the grace of God, I crossed the finish line and came in 1st in my age group! Fast… still… even though I hadn’t been racing for a while, God’s grace was on me!

On Christmas Day I went off with my mom, sister and nephew to enjoy one of my most treasured races! It was a gold rush five miler held in the Richmond hilltop area. When I arrived, I saw Big Al who automatically greeted me with a hug and a smile! I had called my godmother a few days prior and she said that she would be there, but come race day she was nowhere to be found! An anxiousness grew in my spirit. SOMETHING was off! I tried calling her a couple times, but there was no answer. I left a few messages, and prayed that she was OK. Meanwhile, the race had to go on! I stepped up to the start line, Big Al did countdown and… OFFFFFF I flew! Every step was such a blessing! The wind flowing through my hair, the pavement under my feet, my heart racing as I flew around each corner and up each hill all the way to the finish line to come in first place Female!!!! My first Christmas with my new nephew, and he got to see me finish what I love to do the most! “CONGRATULATIONS!!!” said Al! “You won!!!” “But my competition wasn’t here,” I said (meaning my godmother and a woman named Erica). “You STILL won!!!” He said! Then he continued to remark on how fast I came in for the 5 miles! It felt good, but at the same time everything just felt off without my godmother and godfather there.

Shortly after his congratulating me, Al took me aside, sat me down in his car and explained his concern to me about how I was doing. He was concerned that I left my job at the grocery store. He was just worried about me as a whole. I explained to him everything that had happened with my dad and the grocery store, and he encouraged me, like a dad, to find a way to pick up the pieces of my life and put it back together before it was too late! “get back into school,” He said, “ get another job, just don’t give up!” Those words, as encouraging as they were meant to be were better sweet to my ears! I didn’t want to do anything else but run! I was so tired of doing what everybody else wanted me to that I just felt like I needed a break from pushing myself. And looking back, I can see that his words were probably the wisest words I could’ve heard at that time. I’ll forever cherish that man and the impact that had on my life!

After the race, I went back to spend some time at the housesit with the dog, then it was out to my house to open presents and enjoy Christmas dinner with my family and a neighbor.

Just as I was sitting down for dinner, I received a call… it was my godmother. She explained to me that my godfather was in the hospital and that it would be best if I saw him as soon as possible. I knew that he had cancer, but I didn’t know how bad it was. For some reason, I didn’t realize how bad it was! I also knew that this call was serious because she had never asked me to see in the hospital before. Though we were close, she never called me unless it was important. That’s something I’ve always respected about her. I informed my mom about the situation, and we all dropped everything and went out to see them!

Upon arriving at the hospital, my godmother officially adopted me as her goddaughter. She told the staff that I was family and from that day on I have been called her goddaughter. For me, this is an honor I will cherish for the rest of my life. When I saw my godfather, they were preparing him to get to an actual hospital room. As I talked to him, he started talking running and told me my godmother was in her peak season for racing! Hahaha it was adorable how even in one of his most painful moments, all he could think about was my godmother and how much he admired her ability to run! I held his hand and talked to him a bit, and the walked out into the waiting room to spend some time with my God Grammy while my godmother and godfather got prepared to get him into a room. Once they had him settled in, my family and I went up to see him. We tried to talk as best as possible, but as it got late, we had to leave. Wow… the man who introduced me to my best friend and godmother, the man who watched over me at races, who would sacrifice his personal food preferences so that I could enjoy allergen free meals with them, who told wonderful stories of planes and cars and of his childhood, the man who cheered me on and coached me on my stride during races… the man who was like a father to me…. was dying! I didn’t know how to fully process it, so I stuffed my feelings in the back of my mind until I later found a moment alone to cry. I then went and said good night to my godmother and God Grammy, and I headed back to the house to get some rest.

The next few days and began to wind down and get ready to leave that housesit. I also beganto pray to the Lord because I didn’t know what I was going to do next about finances, and I really didn’t want to go home yet. Just two days before that job ended, I received a knock at the door. It was my dear friend and old landlord that had me caring for her husband before he passed! Apparently, her and her family were going on vacation and needed me to watch their property while they were away. The job would start immediately after I left the house sit that I was already doing! God heard my prayer! So… I gladly excepted knowing that God truly had my future in His hands!

Now, I’m going to leave off here for this week! BEFORE I go though, I’m going to give a recipe for simple stove top baked oats that I recently came up with! This is super simple and incredibly tasty. Also, since mother’s Day is tomorrow, it might be something you could make for mom for breakfast!

Stovetop baked oats

Oats

-1/2 plus 1 tsp rolled oats

-1 pinch baking soda

-1 pinch baking powder

-1/2 plus 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk OR water

-1/4 tbsp olive oil

Topping

-1/2 individual container Oikos triple zero vanilla yogurt

-1/2 Apple

-1/2 cup blueberries

Directions

Put oats, water/milk, baking soda, and baking powder into a blender and blend until smooth. Put Oil into a mini egg frying pan that has a lid I’ll put the link for the one that I have right here. Cook with lid on, on medium temp until baked all the way through. Flip the pan over to release oats onto a plate, top with the yogurt and fruit and serve!

In closing, I just want to say that I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Here’s to my mom who has been one of the greatest blessings in my life and who stood by me when most people wouldn’t dare be there for me! She’s my best friend, my rock, my everything!!!

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Keep Calm and Stay Golden

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photo credit worldcrops.com

Back again back again! What a week it’s been already! When I left off in my last blog, I was in quite a bit of pain. Monday I had to watch little guy while mom was at work, and the pain subsided briefly. Mom got home too late for me to go in and see Dr. Runco, and when she DID get home we headed to Fernandez Park to let little guy get some fresh air and play time. I went for a walk to see if the pain was something I just needed to walk out and as I headed back, the pinch in my left sciatic nerve became so severe, I could barely walk! In tears, I requested that mom take me to the ER. I’d had enough. There, they did a general overview, handed me an IBprophen, a muscle relaxer (which I reluctantly took),and a prescription for pain relievers and muscle relaxers. I headed to walgreens, got my pain relievers and ditched the script for muscle relaxers, why? Well, if you’ve followed my blog, you know that I’m over 7yrs clean from crystal meth addiction, so… as a recovered drug addict anything (other than the IBprophen) that can be considered addictive is not to be messed with unless absolutely necessary.  While I’m grateful for the help I did receive, I was REALLY bothered by the fact that they didn’t take xrays. I was, however, set up with an appointment to see a doctor at a clinic on Saturday. There, I was to meet with a doctor and head on a journey through the wonderful world of MRI,  and (should the Lord provide) chiropractic care (hopefully with Runco) mixed with physical therapy.
The following day (Tuesday) I went to see Dr.Runco to find that four of my vertebrae had been out of joint. He adjusted the issue, gave me clear instructions on how to recover and… I headed off to face the frustration of attempting to recover. The following morning, I attended the closing women’s bible/ book study… the whole time, my nerves were clenched. I was afraid to sit or stand too long due to the possibility of my muscles tightening and cramping. Meanwhile, I was fearfully anticipating a two mile recovery jog after class. Between the emotional and physical frustration and pain I’ve endured during this seemingly endless pursuit of healing… my mind and spirit were broken. I left class, braved up, headed out for a VERY slow two mile jog. Which, thankfully, went well. I then headed home to enjoy the remainder of the evening with my family.
Thursday, I headed out to Berkeley with mom to be able to get out and about while she was working. When we arrived, I headed out for a run! My body just felt… off. I guess that’s the only way to describe the way that I’ve felt while running for nearly 4 years now. While there have been many times when I wasn’t in pain, I honestly haven’t felt balanced and in harmony with my body for quite some time, and on Thursday… it worsened. The first two miles went ok… then, as I approached mile 3… a slight pulling in my left decided to flare up. I thought it might just be residual from the treatment, however… my spirit felt anxious and as I got closer to mile 4, the pulling became pain, I shortened my stride and soon slowed to a walk and headed to my mom’s car… heart broken. After she finished the account, we headed to the office of the property management company she cleans for to handle an errand… she headed in and as I waited for her, my heart continued to ache. Again, here I was nothing to show for the 31 years I’ve lived. Mom and I still struggling from day to day to make ends-meet, both of us hitting set backs left and right, and on top of it… MY HEALTH aghhhhhh! So frustrated, I bottled it up and got out to stand and give my body a break from sitting when a homeless man walked by wearing a “Cal” shirt that stated “Keep calm and remain GOLDEN.” Funny that’s really the hardest yet the only thing I needed to do. Stress kept trying to overtake my mind, not able to go to Runco’s office, awaiting my initial clinic visit through medi-cal… I was stuck!
Friday came, the pain was not so bad, but still there. More than anything, the emotional pain really ate at me. You see, over this past 4-5 years I’ve experienced 4 of the 5 of life’s most stressful events repeatedly along with the trauma caused through other various family events. At this point, I found myself beginning to question the goodness of God and I quickly (thank God for my mom who helped me with this) redirected my thoughts… psychologically .. I tucked myself into a ball in the back of my mind praying over and over for God to do something. Then I felt Him prompt me, “Child… walk it out.” I spent the majority of the day doing all that I could, meditating on scripture, going with my mom to run a few errands, reading the Bible, watched a movie, hung out on social media…. trying EVERYTHING to focus on something other than the waves I was facing. I headed to bed… cried out to God and said… “that’s it… it’s up to you. The enemy can take my body, shoot… he could even take my voice, but one thing he can’t stop is my heart that cries out in PASSION for the Lord.
Well, here it is… Saturday… I returned from my clinic visit and am now set up for xrays and an MRI and have been told to refrain from running until further notice. I will be consulting Dr. Runco being that honestly… I trust him and I want to get a well rounded perspective on this situation before I move forward in any direction. I truly believe that I will run and race again soon even though at this time it’s hard for me to stand, sit or run (sometimes even walking hurts) without pain that, at times, seems unbearable… yet, I’ll continue to trust God and His plan. His ways are not my ways… they are much higher. As for the other issues my family and I deal with on a day to day basis… well, I’m believing for God’s hand to move and heal the loved ones that need healing, restore the relationships that need mending, and to provide all things needed for us to move forward. In the mean time, I’ve taken steps (quietly) toward some positive goals to set my mind on. Stay tuned… you never know what the the Lord has in store. I pray that my story gives strength to those who are struggling by showing that no matter what, God is there… HE WILL come through! I’ll leave ya’ll today with a recipe for Apple Chips that I adjusted and made my own by adding a few twists! Have a blessed weekend!

PUMPKIN SPICE APPLE CHIPS
Ingredients
-3 Large Golden Delicious or Fuji Apples
-2 tbs organic, raw sugar
-1 tsp Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice

Directions
preheat oven to 200 degrees. line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut apples REALLY thin (too thick will make ’em too mushy). lay out apple slices on sheets in one, even layer. mix sugar with pumpkin spice and sprinkle 1/2 the mixture over the apples. Place sheets in the oven and let bake for one hour on the center rack. Take out, turn over the apples and sprinkle with remaining sugar and pie spice mixture and place them in the oven once more for 1- 1.5 hours or until golden and crispy! Place on a rack to cool, and store in a tupperwear container.

Solid Foundation

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Matthew 7:24-27

New King James Version (NKJV)

Build on the Rock

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Yesterday I jumped ahead and gave y’all some speed work both spiritually and physically. While confessions and proclamations over your life are wonderful ways to tap into the power of God and releasing your faith, allowing Him to create physical manifestation of His promises… however, without PROPER foundation in Him… those things are nothing. You can proclaim all you want and run around saying how much you really love the Lord and you can even go about doing various types of ministry, however… if your foundation/ relationship with God is weak… all those things will crumble to the ground. That being said… build your CORE! GET IN THE WORD! The sweet verses are wonderful to our eyes and ears, however, reading through the trials, the “begots,” the heartaches, the “boring parts,” is where a lot of the meat is… don’t miss out on a good thing! BE WELL ROUNDED!!!! Worship, pray (have REAL conversations with God), fellowship with other strong believers, AND (in the proper time) get out there and mentor other believers. Having a strong core in Christ is just like that house with a solid foundation… when the trials of life come at home, in ministry, ect… you’ll be strong and able to push through using the power of God. With a strong foundation/ CORE, the rest of your spiritual being will follow and overflow with strength into all areas of your life. Just like an athlete… You can put in the mileage, do the speed work, ect… however, your CORE is the most important part of your body… ALL MOVEMENT IN YOUR BODY STEMS FROM YOUR CORE!!! If you twitch, breath, raise your hand, ect… that movement involves using some area of your abdominal! In other words… if your core is weak, your athletic performance will be weak, leaving you prone to injury. How do you stay strong? By building it! That being said… here is a simple core workout for you to get started! DO KEEP IN MIND… WHILE I AM A CERTIFIED TRAINER, IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS WORKOUT OR ANY OTHER ON THIS BLOG, YOU ARE DOING IT AT YOUR OWN RISK… TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND BE WILLING TO TAKE BABY STEPS! IT’S ABOUT QUALITY NOT QUANTITY!!!!

1.) Pelvic Tuck x10 (THIS IS THE BASE POSE FOR ALL AB WORK… PELVIS MUST BE TUCKED WHILE DOING EACH EXERCISE!!!)

2.) The Dead Bug x10

3.) Basic Crunch x10 (hold each crunch for 5-10 seconds)

4.) Bird Dogs x10 (great for the entire core, front and back, as well as hp strength and stabilization)

5.) Supine Bridge x10-15

Now, while feeding the kitties at the house I’m sitting for… some of the gentlemen on the property were king enough to allow me to invade their fringe… being that they are what I call “Wholefoodies”(they shop at one of my fav places!) I was oober happy! While doing a fridge invasion I came across some yellow onion, beets, and red and green cabbage! I also tried some of their Grey Poupon (which I’ve never had before)… and this led me to an idea! I took the veggies bad to the motor home I’ve been staying in and… created the following:

Dijon Roasted Veggies

~1/3 head of green cabbage (cut into thick squares)

~1/3 head red cabbage (cut into thick squares)

~1/2 yellow onion (sliced into thick rings)

~1/4 head cauliflower

~1 small crown of broccoli

~3tbs Dijon mustard (or spicy mustard)

~1tbs honey

~1tbs either water OR red wine vinegar

~1/4 cup raw walnuts (crumbled)

Directions

Now, I like to roast my veggies in a very non-conventional manner! Preheat oven to 450, and take all the veggies (minus the onion) and blanch them by placing them in boiling water for 2-4 min. I then take them and put them into a mixing bowl with the onions. Mix the water or vinegar with the mustard and honey. Then, mix into the veggies and add the walnuts! If you like a more salty flavor, you may add a dash of salt. Place mixture on a cookie sheet that has been spray of LIGHTLY coated w/ extra virgin olive oil, and place the sheet in the oven and allow to roast until cauliflower is a golden brown color. Take out of the oven, allow it to cool and enjoy! You can get creative by adding some dried fruit like cranberries or rains, or even dice up half an apple. For extra protein/ omega 3 add some more nuts OR flax seed (like Trader Joe’s Roasted flax seed)! This is a nice, mid day… “I fell like a healthy snack” way to get some serious vitamins and nutrients into you diet with some flavor and flair! Enjoy and God Bless!