Aside

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a]whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3
IMG_20140603_115050
So here it is, another week gone bye and WOW… what an adventure! I left the house sit last Sunday and my “birthday week” began and… poop hit the fan! Monday, my god mom and I headed to Marin to do a race to see were my 10k fitness was at in order to properly adjust my training and so she could aim toward a personal goal of her own. What a treat! While I love trail races for the clean air, scenery, and the feel of adventure. . There’s just something about road races that has always ignited a fire in me! The only down side is, I had a flare up and ran in a bit of pain. However, every step was worth it! Afterward we went to view the brand new Rosie the Riveter exhibit and headed to grab a bite to eat.Tuesday ruled around, my body was in more pain … I pushed through, unable to see my doctor, in the mean time was preparing for my first double race weekend (a 10k race on Sat and a 1/2 marathon on Sun). Funny thing is… there was peace. Wednesday came. .. more pain. My mom couldn’t take me to my doctor and I showed up at the track where my god mom mentors at… She knew something was up and I finally broke and let her know. She quickly agreed to take me to see my doctor between track and the track and Field awards ceremony that eve! PRAISE GOD! On the way there, my god grandma started having anxiety. Being that she is 88 and has dementia… that was NOT cool! I went into the doctors office, he fixed up a few things and said I could only proceed w the 10k if I felt 99% by Friday.  Yikes…. my heart sank. You see my mom had FINALLY decided to train to do her first 5k race which was being held at the same event with the 10k I was signed up for. I wanted so badly to get to race! However, I surrendered it to God. I told the Lord I would only proceed if He willed it. As my god mom and I headed back for the awards ceremony..  worries about my god grandma set in… the awards ceremony was amazing! I got so inspired just seeing how hard those kids work in their scholastics as well as their athletics. The hearts, dedication and determination that each of them have is something that will mark my heart forever! As we headed home, we got my god grandma into the house safely, however… it wasn’t easy. I stayed over so I could be there to help them out the next day and enjoy some time at the fair. I woke up the next morning to find my god grandma was having a really hard time getting up and out of the house which was a really bad sign. When we got to the fair, we got to enjoy it, however, my god grandma was arched over in her chair looking weepy. She insisted that she was having fun, so we tried to help her enjoy it the best we could. Getting her home and into the house was rough. I went home afterward and prayed she’d be ok. As the week came to an end, I was scheduled to help set up the event that my mom, god family, and I were scheduled to run. I felt good… was careful with the tasks I carried out .. 99% so… press on! That eve, I went to a relative’s house to help get her to her graduation ceremony to find she was M.I.A. mom and I waited and waited and soon a neighbor helped us find her. She was loaded… a total mess, and her baby boy… sick. The easy thing for me to do would be to go off on her and tell her how she was ruining her life… but I felt it best to just show love with firmness. Inside I wept. It was this time last year that my her baby was only a month old,she was newly drug free and we were enjoying real family time, eating at my favorite restaurant on my birthday. As I watched her receive her diploma, the Lord continued to impress the importance of magnifying the good in her life. It was His job to deal with the rest. Meanwhile, mom and I decided it was best to take her baby to the ER after the ceremony…. wow… the waves just kept coming! At the hospital, I waited in the car and tried to get a nap in. Not easy considering my worries for little guy. My mom and rekative came back at nearly midnight to tell me he’d picked up something viral and would be fine in a week. PRAISE GOD! After dropping her off at home, mom and I went home to get a few hours of rest and get up for the race! When we showed up at the event, my mom went to the 5k window to get her bib only to find out they accidentally registered her for the 10k… she’d only run a little over 4 miles in training, but decided to ahead and go for it! It was such a blessing to see her so happy like a kid again! W net up with my god family and… headed to the start line! What an incredible event!!! I ran around the course feeling like a superhero! All the hard work, speedwork, long runs, tempo runs, ect… I actually saw the fruit! Regardless of my personal results… I have to say I was first off given the honor of cheering my mom in, taking her finish line photo, and got to give her the finisher’s medal! What an HONOR! Second, I got to run… very few people know the real details behind the battle that has gone on with this and all I can say is .. I praise got for every step I take, for every training run, for every race…. without God, it all would be impossible! With God all things are possible! We corralled with my god family and enjoyed some refreshments. Then, it was off to the Cal Berkeley track with my god mom and grandma to watch the track and field team do their events! Again… I was blown away! The determination those kids have to push through personal difficulties, injuries, ect to become conquerors! The best part… they came over to share their victory with my god mom, and though I’d only been to a few of their practices… they came over and thanked and hugged me for my support. What a blessing! You never know what it means to someone to just be there a few times for a few moments to support them. The giving of time truly cannot be given a price tag! The reward… is a feeling of sentimental value that I will cherish forever. As my god mom and I left the stadium, we continued to fuel for the next days event… one that would carry emotions both bitter and sweet. You see, in 2011, my god mom and dad had invited me to go to this event for my birthday. Funny, because the event is just as old as I am! This year, as I was running the course… I the hills seemed smaller than before in comparison to the ones in my more recent races. A race that I once went on and on about being so difficult wasn’t nearly as hard. Kind of like life. When you go through a series of trials without the proper training, the hills seem impossible. When you go through the harder seasons and go through the proper training, and go back through the original trials that one seemed so tough .. they become like mole hills! Pushing up each hill and flying down the other sides, around each turn… what an adventure! The beauty of the course… breathtaking! The bitter sweet part? Well, when I ran the race in 2011, my god dad was at the 1 mile mark and cheered me on saying “1 mile to go! Push it in! Push it in!” After the finish we all went to visit my god grandma who was in a senior rehabilitation home at the time then ate at what would become my all time favorite restaurant for the first time. This time around… I almost began to cry as I raced over the bridge and envisioned my god Dad cheering me on… until that moment, I didn’t realize how much his recent death still effected me. I pushed in to the finish hearing cheers from my god mom’s sister and my god.grandma!!!! Victory!!! Wow! It never seizes to amaze me how despite the trials I’ve had, God has always been there, providing support, encouragement, and love while helping me press on to victory. The best part? My birthday meal at my favorite restaurant with my mom, god Mom, god grandma, and… my god dad’s hat set as a memorial… surrounded by love =) So, this week… whatever trial you are facing.. count it all joy. Embrace and magnify the good, glean from and trust God through the bad, encourage those who need it and… surrender what you can’t control and watch the God of wonders work miracles! Have a blessed week!

Advertisements
Aside

Image

 

As a week closes up and I get ready to leave the houses it, i’m relieved yet saddened to be going home. You see… at home, I have the warmth of being around my mom, The relief of getting to be around my own cat, and the security of being in my own home. However, along with that comes facing reality. I go back to a place that seems so far away from everything, no transportation of my own, The everyday grind of trying to make ends meet, and yet somehow there is peace. While here, The enemy kept playing with my mind. Old, familiar faces kept coming across my path reminding me of all the times I tried one thing or another and failed. I began to be angry with myself for not being better off than I am now, for all the self-hatred in the past, the bad relationships, failed friendships, failed attempts at financial success, failure, failure, failure….. Wow!!! Here I was, alone to either sit in this and drown or grab a hold of God and rise up! Then, as I was going over a lesson in my Bible study I was led to Isaiah 54:4…. Lord began to speak to me…. A friend of mine I was spending time with was talking about her regrets and about all the times that she had messed things up. I begin to tell her house in Christ she is a new creation and gave her a big sermon on how the word she speaks about herself have so much power. I assured her that she did not need to be so hard on herself, because God loves her God sees her and cherishes her…. She’s a new creature in Christ! God is doing something and has some amazing things in store for her! Funny thing is, I was preaching to myself! I went to the house I was house sitting at and began to cocoon up, and press into the Father. I apologized for complaining even though in all honesty I do still have a lot more than many others. I let his love washover me, and let Him speak His words of love and encouragement to my spirit. So, this week I want to encourage you, that no matter what you’re going through…. Embrace this hill, embrace your situation! Ask God to lead you and help you be an encouragement to someone else… And through that you’ll see your situation and a whole new light! Now, I truly feel hopeful! For it is God who works to make the impossible possible! The reality of my home going, no longer bothers me! I go home knowing that no matter what tomorrow holds, God has a very best in store for my family and me. Besides, in Christ above all I am blessed! For this weeks recipe, and serving up something amazing for memorial day! Time to barbecue!!!!!

* grilled mahi-mahi with lemon zest accompanied by brown rice pilaf grilled and summer squash… And you get to wash it down with sparkling lemmon berry hibiscus tea!

~TEA
-4 hibiscus tea bags (Peet’s coffee and tea has an amazing blend)
-2 cups boiling water
-1 25.4 oz bottle of whole foods sparkling strawberry lemonade
-1/2 cup fresh blueberries rinsed
-1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Directions
Steep tea bags in boiling water for four minutes. Pull them out without squeezing the water out of them (squeezing will make the tea aesthetic). Put in fridge for one hour to chill. Add sparkling strawberry lemonade, blueberries sliced fresh strawberries…. And your tea is ready!

~Brown Rice Pilaf
-1 cup long grain brown rice
– 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
-2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-1 shallot minced
-clove garlic crushed
-1tsp crushed parsley
-1/2 tsp lemon zest
-sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions
In a medium sauce pan, Cook the rice in olive oil until slightly toasted. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth along with the seasonings let it come to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 10-15min or until tender.

~Grilled mahi mahi with lemon zest
-2 5 to 6 oz mahi mahi filets
-1tbs olive oil
-2tbs fresh squeezed Lemmon
-1 tsp Lemmon zest
-1 clove crushed garlic
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp parsley
Directions
cover A portion of your grill with foil, and let the grill heat up Marinade your fish seasonings place on grill and cook on each side flipping about every five minutes until slightly golden on the outside and flaky.

~Grilled Summer Squash
-1 yellow crook-neck squash sliced into circles
-1 zucchini squash sliced into circles
-sea salt and/or pepper to taste
-olive oil cooking spray
Directions
Spray a piece of foil w olive oil and carefully place on grill… And heat the grill. Place squash on foil, season lightly and let grill until slightly golden on each side and… You’re done

Now… Set your plates up, and enjoy your Memorial Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside

armor-of-god

Ephesians 6:12-18

 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

 

    Going through the waves of life… it’s seemed at times like the crashing waves just keep coming. However, I believe that God’s glory will be seen in my life… I believe that somehow some way… He will pull my family and me through the wreckage and into victory. In the midst of all of this, I’ve learned that we are truly in a battle. Have I looked at the lives of others and wondered why success has come so easily to them and why it seems they live in some untouchable territory of blessing… yes. However, my life, as of now, is a result of years of choices made out of a victim mentality. Through this, God has shown me that in seeking Him, I can walk in victory. So, today I want to encourage you to press in. No matter how hard things may be for you, or even if your life is one of the seemingly “untouchable blessed” lives… keep yourself guarded. We live in a world that is physical, but there are powers and principalities working both for and against us in a realm that isn’t physical. SO… wake up every day… thank God that you opened your eyes, get into prayer, and put on your armor. As you go through your day, try to keep some sort of reminder on your phone or by wearing something (ie:bracelet) or keeping a note in front of you so you can remember to pray mentally or out loud through out the day as the Spirit leads. This… has helped me at many points of my journey, and I’m positive it will help you.

These past couple of weeks, I’ve kept my posts minimal… for reasons that will soon be reveled. That being said, I’ll cut to the chace get get to rapping this up by giving you a list of food items that help protect your body and immune system (just like there are 6 pieces of Spiritual Armor). Each item has a hyper link to information about the benefits they have for your immune system and/ or other healthy advantages to consuming them. Then, I’ll share a recipe for a recipe to keep you healthy and mentally sharp!

Now, in training for races (especially those of high mileage), I found that immune system can often break down a bit, so keeping optimal nutrition is of THEEEE utmost importance so, I try to keep the following in my diet:

1.) Garlic

2.) Sweet Potatoes

3.) Red Bell Pepper

4.) Broccoli

5.) Salmon or Cod

6.) Blueberries

The recipe for this week… Grilled Salmon with sweet roasted veggies! Here, I used most, but not all of the foods listed above. I used red onion instead of bell pepper… I hope you get to try and enjoy this!

OMEGA SHIELD DINNER
INGREDIENTS
Salmon
-4 Salmon Steaks (preferably wild caught Alaskan)
-1Tbs olive oil
-2Tbs fresh squeezed lemon
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp rosemary
-1/2 tsp basil
-1 clove Garlic, minced
Veggies
-1 good sized crown of broccoli (rinsed and cut into “mini trees”)
-1/3 head cauliflower (rinsed and cut into “mini flowers”)
-1 lg sweet potato (cut into circles, then cut in half)
-1 Med Red onion (cut into rings)
-1 small package blueberries
-3 tbs clover honey
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-3/4 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Veggies
Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Put hot water, honey and sea salt together into a bowl and mix until honey and salt is dissolved. WITHOUT the blue berries, put veggies into a mixing bowl and coat with honey mixture. Place on an oven sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray and place in oven for about 20- 30 min or until they are of a desirable texture. Set out to cool for about 1 hour or until they hit room temp. Place in fridge for a half hour, then toss together with blueberries. You can begin to grill salmon while veggies are in the fridge.

Salmon
Mix olive oil, lemon juice, orange juice, sea salt and rosemary in a small bowl and follow the instructions in this video on how to grill perfect salmon! Use the sauce in my recipe as he instructs! Garnish with a some twisted lemon and orange slices and serve with veggies!

I hope y’all have a blessed week!

Knowing your gifts

Aside

Image

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10

We were all created by God for a purpose. What was that purpose? It was for us to become little images of Him, bringing honor and glory to His name in all that we do. I believe that when God made us, He took different traits of His being and personality and placed them in various ways in mankind. Many of His traits are displayed in spiritual gifts given to each of us. (I Corinthians 12:7-11). We as humans become fulfilled when we recognise those gifts He has given us, cultivate them, allow them to grow properly, and use them in a way that bring honor and glory to His name. So, today, I’ll share some some ideas with you on how to come to recognise your spiritual gifts and also transfer this lesson into the realm of life I personally love to share with others.. getting to know your body in regards to nutrition and exercise so you can nourish yourself and exercise yourself in ways that benefit you and your lifestyle best. I’ll close by hooking you up with a recipe for something delicious to sink your teeth into!
Now, in the body of Christ, we are all given 1 or more Spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:7-11). An individual who does not know what his or her gifts are and/or how to cultivate and use them can end up feeling insecure and left living without truly reaching out there God given potential. How do you find and cultivate these gifts? The following is a list of suggestions that will helpfully will help you!
-Get in your prayer closet and ask the Holy Spirit to give you guidance.
-Get in the Word and ask the Lord to show you passages that will help you identify your giftings
-Ask the Lord to provide people/mentors to help you point out/recognise various gifts and will help you cultivate and use them in a way that truly ignites pain and purpose in you, thus inspiring others.
-Volunteer!!! Try out different areas of service like childcare, youth ministry, choir, grounds keeping, prayer team, homeless outreach, ext… don’t limit your idea of ministry to the walls of church and generalised ideas of what ministry should be.
-Ask the Holy Spirit to show you giftings you use in everyday life and how you can use them in the lives of your friends, family, and community.

Remember… it’s not how much you get our there and serve, it’s about the quality of service. Ask yourself if you feel peace or strife. Strife is usually a good sign that you’re in the wrong area. Serving without being called/lead by the Spirit to do so can leave you too spread out and drained. When you feel a peace and things flow without tension and strife, you’re more than likely doing the right thing. You may get tired, but not drained and you’ll feel useful. You’ll be using the gifts that God had given you and you’ll be a true blessing to others while living in fulfillment of your purpose and calling.

Now, onto nutrition. Not knowing your body’s neuronal needs is just as bad as not knowing you’re spiritual giftings and needs. It can leave you drained, under or overweight, malnourished. These things can lead to ask sorts of things like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, ect. There are many diets and nutrition programs from low-carb to right carb/ right protein, nutrasystems to Jenny Craig, clean eating to juicing, macrobiotic to “everything in moderation.” The following is a list of ideas on how to find a nutritional program that works best for you:

-Always check with a doctor and/or nutritionist before starting ANY new nutritional program
-Be willing to try new foods
-know your body. If somethin makes you feel tired, drained, groggy, super anxious, unfocused, abnormally irritable… take those as signs that whatever food caused that is something to avoid consuming.
-keep a food/fitness journal. This will help you keep an eye on how many calories you burn, what fuel you put in, and how your body reacts to various foods and exercise. There are various online ones you can do for free =) there are even some for your smart phones like livestrong.
-Get around people who are well balanced in their eating and pick up some tips from them.
-know your sport! Knowing how/& what your physical activity triggers your body to burn will help you in finding the proper foods for optimal performance! (Someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle should avoid eating like someone who bikes or spends a lot of time working a physically demanding job)
-READ, READ, READ! Inform yourself! There are all kinds of books on nutrition and healthy living!
BE CREATIVE and enjoy what you eat! While food IS fuel, you should be able to enjoy it as well!

Now, find your workout! There are many kinds of fitness from yoga, tai chi and pilates to biking, swimming and running to weight lifting.. the list goes on!
Finding the right workout that fits your personaly, lifestyle, interests and motivates you to keep pressing forward with it is very important! Here are some ways to find one (or more) that suits you!
-Always check with your doctor before adding or changing a fitness routine. This will make sure that you are trying out things that work with your level of fitness and will improve your health.
-find out what time of day works for you.. no excuses! If a full-time working woman with a family can find time to train for marathons (ie:my mentor), anyone can learn to take 20 min to an hour at least 3 times a week to improve their fitness, or even add some pushups, walking and ab work somewhere in each day (I’ve made notes on working out and the busy life in a recent blog).
-find out if you like working out at home, at the gym, or outdoors and what works best with your lifestyle!
-try a free gym pass! Many gyms (like 24 hour fitness) offer free passes from 1-10 days that enable you to try out many, if not all, of the various aspects of the gym. This way you can find classes, weights, machines, ect that you may enjoy. This is not something to take advantage of. The passes are to be used strictly for the purpose of funding the RIGHT gym and workout for you’re needs.
-Rent or purchase some at home DVDs, bluerays and/ or equipment. Renting gives you the opportunity to try it before you buy a it. Also, many mail order equipment will allow you a trial period. You don’t like it, you can return it.
-try working out alone, with a friend, and in a group. This will help you bring a little flavor into your routine and keep it lively.
-try working out more than once. Many times people really don’t enjoy working out, so they need to push themselves (not to hard) to get up and active. Eventually, after time, the benefits will pay off, and the joy of it will set in. Like Winston Churchill once said, “never, never, NEVER give up!”

Now, the food!!!
*Sprouted grain individual pizzas with “tomacco” sauce, topped your way!
Now, it seems many people these days have issues with various types of foods.so, in this recipe, I use sprouted grain English muffins since sprouted grains are grains that have not been processed so, the gluten is not exposed and red bell pepper instead of tomatoes since some people have tomato allergies. This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients
-4 Ezekiel bread English muffins
-3 red bell peppers
-1/2 to 2/3 cup carrot juice
-1 tsp McCormick Italian seasoning
-olive oil cooking spray
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
-Your choice of toppings.
Directions
Preheat oven to 400° Take bell peppers, seed them, spray with olive oil set on a cookie sheet and put in oven to roast for 10-15 min or until tender. Take them out and place in a blender, add 1/2 cup of the carrot juice, blend on med speed and build up to a high speed until it becomes a desirable consistency and add more carrot juice if needed. Turn off blender, add Italian seasoning and sea salt and blend on low until thoroughly mixed and set aside. Next, turn oven down to 350° spray a cookie sheet with olive oil, cut the English muffins in halves and place them on the sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Put 2-3 tbs of sauce onto each piece, sprinkle with mozzarella and toppings of your choice, put them in the oven for 10 min (or until baked to your liking), serve and enjoy!