A Reason to Rejoice

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


   





I live in California, but I have a ton of family in Arkansas. The home above belonged to my sister's sweet cousin, Bethany ( my sister and I share different dads). Her husband, nine year old son, and herself were hiding in the bathroom while the tornado took over their house. You see that room left standing? That's the bathroom. The only room left standing is the room they were in. 

I know..my jaw dropped, too. 

I'm rejoicing that the Lord protected their family. They may have lost all their belongings and their home, but it is so apparent that the Lord so graciously spared their lives. 


This, my friends, is a reason to rejoice. 

We serve an incredible God.



If you wish to donate money to help them recover from this loss, they're accepting donations here.











Working out and being Healthy

Monday, April 28, 2014




I read the above quote in a book, and I quickly whipped out my iPhone and wrote it down. Quotes aren't something that generally inspire me. I'm more inspired by scripture and rightfully so, but this one did something to me. 

I used to hate hard things. In my past, I've definitely been someone who doesn't do something, just because it's takes way more effort than I want to give. Eating healthy and getting into better shape is something that I always looked at as hard, and something that took so much effort patience that I just didn't have. 

The truth is that eating well and working out aren't complex things, they're actually very simple--we make it hard. 

We complain that it's too hard to get in shape, we're lazy, but then we turn around and complain how out of shape we are and how badly we want to fit in those jeans, but we can't. We totally can, though. We have control over what we kinds of foods we eat, how much we eat, and if we choose to be active or not. 

We can't blame our body being out of shape on anyone other than ourselves, and that's just a harsh reality. 

We've all grown so accustomed to living for the moment, instead of looking ahead to how this moment will eventually effect our future goals. Isn't it funny that something as simple as a cookie can be more important to us than reaching our goals in that moment of weakness? 

We just have to be honest with ourselves, which is never an easy thing. I know it isn't for me. 

Now that I've totally depressed you all ( I certainly hope not), I wanted to share some of the steps that I've been taking to reach my goals.



 1. I changed my thoughts.  I started realizing just how much control I have over the way I feel, look, and what I eat. I started being real with myself. We make the process of getting in shape and eating better so much harder than it is. Our biggest enemy when it comes to this, and the number one thing getting in our way is ourselves. This is a really important step, because without this step, you won't be motivated for what follows.

 I so wish that I could magically snap my fingers and be in the best shape of my life, but it doesn't work that way. Just like the quote I mentioned above--there are no short cuts, but being in shape, eating healthy, and taking care of this body that the Lord so graciously gave us is totally a place worth going.



2. I changed my diet. I drastically changed my diet. I went from being a vegetarian to turning around and becoming full-on Paleo. Paleo has forever changed the way I look at food. I swear my stomach was instantly flatter when I completely cut out gluten and processed foods. Give it a try, friend. I promise you won't regret it and you'll feel amazing.  If you want to know more about Paleo, check out the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.


3. I changed my workouts.  My workout's used to consist of going to the gym, getting in a ton of cardio (or running outside), and lifting lighter weights with more reps. This wasn't giving me the results that I wanted. A lot of people in the Paleo community are very much into Crossfit style workouts. These type of workouts focus on compound movements, as well as lifting heavy. After doing a ton of research, I also realized that all that running I was doing was not doing much for me, and that I would likely get more results from doing high-intensity intervals when it came to cardo. The only time I run now is after my workout, and I'll do sprints and then get on the ground and do X amount of sit ups, then I get back up, sprint again, and drop back down and do more sit ups. I repeat this until I can't do it anymore. This gives me much more of a workout than running 3 miles ever did, and it's not as hard on my body.

The workouts that I follow are from Jen Sinklers Lift Weights Faster book. The book also came with  Eat Better Faster and Cook Better Faster, by Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites and the author of the book Practical Paleo that I mentioned earlier.



These workouts are done in circuits, so for example you'll do the following:

 Dumbbell Squats, Double rows, Alternating One Leg Squats, Mountain climbers with a push up.

 You'll do each exercise 8 times, then you'll start over and do each one 7 times, etc...

By the time you're done, you'll feel like you just ran 10 miles, but you're not running, you're lifting weights.



4. I Quit caring so much about numbers. This is probably the hardest step. I don't know about you, but when I'm trying to get in shape, I want to step on that scale several times a day and see my number go down. This is detrimental! I can tell you that recently my pants have been fitting so much better--even though the scale isn't showing the number that I'd like it to. Don't obsess over the scale, because what really matters is that you can see change. 


5. Be Patient. This is probably the most important step that I've had to take. Being patient is not something that comes easy to most of us--especially when it comes to getting in shape. Often times losing weight and getting in shape at a slow and steady pace will result in you maintaining your weight for the long hall. It's not fun when you're losing like half a pound a week, but it'll be so worth it in the end.

We also have to remember to not only be patient with our body as we're trying to change it, but to also be patient with ourselves. There is going to be times when we "fall off the wagon," so to speak. But you know what? We can just get right back on! We're all human and sometimes we'll give into that glorious cookie. Oh well! Don't let that set you back, just keep moving forward.




What steps have you taken to get in better shape?










Fun Giveaway!

Friday, April 25, 2014




  In celebration of it being Friday, and the fact that I just love you all dearly, I have teamed up with Courtney from A+Life and several other bloggers to do a super fantastic giveaway!

We're offering our lovely readers a $25 giftcard to Starbucks! 

    It was super easy for me to say yes to this giveaway, because if you're anything like me, Starbucks is something that I can easily spend way too much money on throughout the week. In fact, I've had to cut back on my Starbucks lately, because I'm trying to be a good steward of my money. You can blame Dave Ramsey for that ( if you don't know who that is, look him up and you can thank me later...)

Fun fact: I actually used to work at Starbucks. I like to take every opprotunity to tell people that, because I think it's just a really fun job; it was good to me.



















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What a Lovely God we Serve.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014








I've always been a Christian, and I've always felt like the Lord had a tight reign on me all growing up, but there came a time in my life when I realized that my heart had changed. I no longer wanted to live for myself, rather I wanted to live to bring glory to the Lord.

I began to understand His sovereignty, and understand that just because Romans 8:28 says that "He'll work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" doesn't mean that it'll be our version of good--In fact, it might break our hearts and bring us pain.

But we know that God see's this for our good.

Maybe someday we'll understand why the Lord allowed certain things to happen in our lives that hurt and sting so badly, but rest assured, He see's this for your good.

My mom passed away March 15th 2008. It was sudden and it was so, so, so hard. When someone that close to you dies, you want to know where they're at, and you want to know for sure.  This began a battle for me. I went through phases where I was completely content, knowing that my mother now rested with the King of Kings. But then there were times where I doubted and I wondered if Jesus was even real; if all this was real.

I was 19 when she died, and it wasn't until I was around 23 that I really started to see God for who He really is: loving, compassionate, full of grace and mercy, sovereign.

I began to have a desire to walk in obedience. A real desire.

I started realizing how sinful I was, and I started really understanding that this sin, well, it just doesn't work.

Sin doesn't work.

Around this time in my life is when I met my dear Rory. Rory was stable and solid in his faith. He set an example for me, and still does to this day. It took a few unhealthy relationships for me to find this one, but this one...it's here to stay.

This morning I started remembering where I was and where I'm at now. How much growth I've seen! The Lord is so faithful to complete the work He started.

The Lord has taken this heart of stone, and turned it into a heart of flesh.

I pray that each one of you reading my blog will be encouraged and know that God never stops growing us into who He has called us to be. When we fall down, He'll pick us right back up.

What a lovely God we serve.





A Case for Raw Milk

Monday, April 21, 2014





 I've mentioned this on here before, but I'm very interested in Holistic Nutrition. I'm currently taking an online class on just that, and there seems to be a bit of a debate on raw milk vs. pasteurized milk. Is it good? bad? Shoot, this could even be something that you actually have never thought about before.

Before I go on my little tangent, I want to start off by saying that I do still have regular half and half in my coffee when I go to Starbucks, or when my coconut milk isn't with me. This is the only time that I ever drink any dairy. I'm honestly not a huge fan of milk in general, but I do buy raw dairy products when I make it to the Farmers Market. Im not perfect, and I know what it's like to enjoy the taste of store-bought milk as opposed to raw, but I'm working on bringing more raw milk into my diet, as opposed to store-bought, just because I know the health benefits are so much better.

With that said, let's jump into why I believe raw milk is the better choice:




Milk you buy at the grocery store ( or drink in your Starbucks) is hardly milk.  

And here's why:

The milk we buy at the grocery stores has been pasteurized. This is when they heat up the milk to a high heat to kill all the possible germs and bacteria in the milk.  This sounds like a good thing, right? Well, it has it's pro's and con's. When milk is heated up to a high temperature, it's actually killing a ton of the nutrients that we would like to get from milk; it's even killing the good bacteria that we need. I'm not saying that factory-based milk is completely void of nutrition, but it certainly isn't anything in comparison to raw milk.

Another thing to take into consideration is what the cows are eating, because what they eat will determine what nutrients we get from the milk. The majority of factory farms feed their cows grains ( and lord knows what else!); this is not what cows are supposed to be eating. Cows should be eating grass! Why? This is what cows would be eating if they weren't in a factory, and this is what will keep them healthy. Not only that, we're getting more NUTRIENTS because they're not eating crappy food.

The majority of the milk that you buy at the grocery store has also been homogenized. What's this, you say? Well, when milk is natural, the fat particles, or the cream, will separate. Because of this, factories homogenize their milk to make the fat particles shrink to be more uniform with the rest of the milk ( basically so there isn't any separation in the milk). Often times they even skim off the cream on the top and take out most of the fat; this is actually where we get the term " skim milk" from. Interesting, eh? Taking off the fat might seem appealing to those people who are scared of fat, but really, we're missing out of a ton of fat-soluble vitamins when we're not getting that fat--vitamins A and D.








 Bottom line? We're totally not getting the bang for our buck by drinking conventional milk. So why aren't we drinking Raw milk? Because people are scared of getting sick from it. From what I've read, only 1 in 6 million people actually catch something from drinking raw milk. That's a stinkin' small percentage if you ask me! Most of the raw milk that we buy is from local farmers who know a heck of a lot about the right way to raise their cows; what to be feeding them, etc...



                Here's what I want to know: what do YOU think about raw milk? yay or nay?





The Easter Bunny Didn't Die for You

Thursday, April 17, 2014


  Yesterday I was in Target getting some Easter things, and I started thinking about how, just like Christmas, Easter has become a huge corporate holiday full of toys, easter eggs and candy. It makes me so sad to think that the huge thing that Christ did for us--literally being nailed to a cross for us, is totally forgotten.



Mark 15: 21- 34

And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 

And they brought him to a place called Golgotha ( which means place of skull). 

And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh but he did not take it. 

And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 

And it was the third hour when they crucified him 

And the inscription of the charge against him read, " The King of the Jews."

And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left 

And thos who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, " Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!"

 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying,  " He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the Kind of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." 

Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. 

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, " My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"


Please join me this week in remembering Jesus, our awful sin, His amazing grace, and the precious gift he gave us when he gave us the Holy Spirit. 

I don't want to forget. 










Giveaway!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hi, friends! Today I am guest posting over at Courtney's blog A + Life , so you should definitely go check it out. She is such a sweet girl, and I know you'll love her blog. Plus, her little girl is seriously adorable. 

Now onto some exciting news! As some of you know, I really enjoy sewing. I don't really get around to doing it too often, just because my life is so busy. But because I love you all so much, I made a bow clutch last night specifically to give away to one of my readers! 







I love this bow clutch, because you can use it as a clutch when you don't feel like using a purse, or you can use it as a makeup bag!

All you have to do is follow the instructions below and you'll be entered to win. 

Also, if you're interested in me making a custom one of these for you, just contact me, and we'll work something out :)




**Giveaway is closed**



Friday Five.

Friday, April 11, 2014

                               

               1// I made this clutch last night, and there's a slight possibility that tomorrow you just might have a change to win it. :)



2// On Wednesday nights I teach AWANA at my church, and I get to see these little cuties. Aren't they adorable? The middle one is my niece, Lydia. 


3// Made this yummy frittata this week and it was sooo yummy! I made it with eggs, sausage, roasted bell papers, onions, lots of tasty spices, and topped it with some thin pieces of tomatoes. Delicious! 


4// Got back to my spin class this week! Felt so good! I injured my foot and had to take some time off of my workout's and dance classes. It feels so great to be back! 



5// I've been told that one of the best things you can drink is lemon water, because lemons are very detoxifying.  So yesterday morning, I tried drinking this instead of coffee, because it's really good to detoxify your body after you've been fasting ( sleeping) for several hours. I did drink it, but you better believe I still had my coffee. I just can't give up coffee. I can't. Especially my Chameleon Cold Brew coffee. Seriously, check out their cold-brewed coffee. It's uh-maz-ing! Yes, I just spelled amazing with an "uh"; it was appropriate for emphasizing the amazingness of it.  


 Sorry this wasn't too exciting. I've been really busy this week, and haven't had a chance to take many pictures.  

Make sure you check back tomorrow for the giveaway!!! 





Food: It's whats on my mind.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

  Happy Thursday to you all! Thursdays are kind of a teaser, because you're almost to Friday, but not quite there yet. Darn you, Thursdays!

  Now onto the topic of food. You guys, food is on my mind alot, and not just because I like to eat it. As you know (or maybe you don't know?), I'm really interested in holistic nutrition. As a matter of fact, I'm going to be taking a class on just that starting April 16th! I'm seriously like a giddy little girl, because I've been looking at the syllabus, and it's going to be a kick-butt class. Needless to say, I'm just really looking forward to learning more about how food effects us, because from what I know already, food has an effect on pretty much everything that goes on in our body--food is powerful and it can either be for you or against you. This is why I try my darndest to eat foods that are going to benefit me, and not make me feel weighed down and full of yuck.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I have a weird desire to take pictures of the food that I'm eating and share it with people. Part of the reason I started blogging again was just so that I could have an outlet to put all the things I'm passionate about out there. I hope you don't mind.

There's something I tried this week that I'm totally in love with: gluten-free, dairy free, 100%  Paleo, rolls. I'm not someone who gets really sick when I eat gluten, but I do avoid it for various reasons. These are actually a cross between a biscuit and a roll. I feel like I should be sipping on some tea in England with a big, fancy hat on while I'm eating these.





Today I actually used the same dough to make pizza crust, and it turned out better than expected! If you're gluten free, dairy free, or just looking for a healthier alternative to the conventional dinner roll and/or pizza crust,  then you should definitely try making these. The main ingrediants are tapioca flour, coconut flour, olive oil ( I used coconut oil), and an egg. Out of respect for the person who originated this recipe, I'm not going to post it here, but I will redirect you to her blog.




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Shoes for Spring

Tuesday, April 8, 2014




1//2//3//4//5



I've been feeling the urge to buy some colorful, fun shoes for spring. These 5 are my favorite picks so far, and they're all from ModCloth. If you've never shopped at ModCloth before, then you're in for a treat, my friends. The store is full of unique, fun, and colorful things for your closet. The only problem is that since there are so many amazing things to choose from, that it's hard to decide which pair of shoe to get! I know, life is so hard, isn't it? 

  I'm in love with #1 and #4. Wouldn't #1 look so cute with a white Easter dress? Or even some skinny jeans! I just might need these.

Which pair is your favorite?

Also, I would love it if you followed me on Bloglovin! 

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Weekend in LA

Monday, April 7, 2014










     Rory and I spent the weekend in LA, because we had several events we had to attend. Rory's cousin, Charlotte, had a flute recital at her college--she's extremely talented. I normally wouldn't enjoy sitting and listening to someone play the flute for an hour, but I could listen to Charlotte for hours upon hours and be totally content.

 After the recital we attended a play in downtown Santa Clarita at this super cute theater on Main Street. Rory's brother-in-law, Rob, was performing in the Damn Yankees, which was full of so much laughter and entertinment.  Rob did an amazing job, as expected. I've learned that local theaters can either be really terrible or really good, and this one was full of people who could sing, act and dance like nobodies business. I was impressed.

 After church on Sunday we went to eat at this cute place, called Egg Plantation for lunch. If you live in the Santa Clarita area, I highly reccomend that you try this place out. Latte's were on the menu, so clearly I had to get one.

I'm a little boring today, so I apologize. It's Monday, and sometimes Monday's and I aren't the greatest of friends; we have a love/hate relationship--mostly hate, though. Wasn't it just Friday?




 


Friday Five.

Friday, April 4, 2014

   


[one]


[two]





[three] 
       

               


 [four]


           
[five] 


[bonus!] 





[one] Isn't this zebra scarf amazing? I drooled over it for so long, and my wonderful brother ended up buying it for me.  Also, this picture is overflowing with nerdiness, I know. I only wear my glasses, because it magically raises my IQ by like 30%--at least I'm convinced that's the case. 

[two] We celebrated my nephews fourth birthday this Sunday. Isn't he so precious? This picture makes my heart melt. 

[three] To earn extra "auntie" points, I made him monkey cupcakes for his birthday. This little boy is literally obsessed with food. He could have just gotten these for his birthday, and he would have been perfectly happy and content; he's not hard to please, that's for sure!

[four] Yesterday I went over to my sisters house on my lunch break, and the little's were snuggling up on the couch with me. I can't tell you how much joy these kids bring me, and they love Jesus, which melts my heart even more. 

[five] My idea of a perfect meal. Organic beef patty, with grilled onions on top, served with a side of roasted yams.  

[bonus!] I couldn't help myself. I had to include this in my post sometime this week. Friends, this book has totally taken me back to the 1800's. It's so wordsy, and it reads differently than any book I've ever read; it's like a stay up all hours of the night reading it, good.  I highly recommend it. In fact, I insist you go buy it right now. I'll even link it to make it easy for you. Here you go! Feel free to thank me later.

Disclaimer: I would like to add that this book is about an affair between Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Osgood. I obviously don't condone this, but it's a good read.




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