The past few days have been full of family. Full of laughing, crying and sharing hugs, tears, prayers and memories. Yesterday was our last trip to Kamloops, where most of our time has been spent these past few weekends. It was time to say goodbye to a sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. We all knew it could be the last time. My hope and comfort is in the arms of my family and it is found in Him throughout it all. Watching someone you love be ravaged by something that takes away the simplest of abilities is heartbreaking, but she was strong through it all. Strength that came from her wonderful husband, her incredible daughter (love you Shan) and the numerous family members constantly at her side. Her personality shone through.
This morning, Auntie Carol was released from her suffering. And went Home to be with Jesus and to see her Dad, my beloved Grandpa again.
I love you Auntie C - thank you for being one of the most unique women I've ever known. Your colorful hair and style matched the most colorful of personalities. Your stubborness was that of all the Hathaway sisters and daughters. You were truly one of a kind and I'm glad you never changed.
Thank you for the thumbs up and the winks these past few weeks saying you loved us when you couldn't get the words out. Even the gentle hand squeezes and brow raises yesterday were enough because that's all the strength you had. My anger at this disease was replaced with a sense of peace because of that. I thank God for it.
I'm wearing purple for you today, and guess what - I might even suck it up and get my nails done because of the look you gave me last week. I will treasure that. I love you.
The walls are closing in, you feel alone, you feel afraid
Your heart begins to bend, you take a breath and then
It starts to break
So lift your shaking hands, don't say a word, I'll stay with you
The tears will heal the pain, You shouldn't be ashamed
To come undone
Fall down and let me carry you
I'll carry you
I'm all out of words
There's nothing I could say to you
To take away the hurt
So let me pray you through
Christ....and Cancer. For me, the 2 go hand in hand.
Cancer has touched my life more than I ever thought it would. My Mom's battle with Cancer almost 5 years ago is what brought me to Christ. It is the biggest part of my testimony and one day I'll do a series of entries from my journals over those 8 months.
3 years ago it was discovered to be affecting my Dad. He beat it too.
Just over a year ago my beautiful friend Christy lost her battle with it. However, her fight and her faith have left a huge mark on this community and many many lives. God used her in ways that were miraculous!
Last night my family found out my aunt, my Mom's oldest sister, is fighting it.
I am tired of this disease. I am tired of it breaking apart families, causing anger, hate and blame. I am tired of the Enemy jumping for joy when he gets exactly what he wants.
CHRIST IS BIGGER THAN CANCER
I admit that I am not always content with His ways. In fact, I have moments where I am angry with Him. However, I refuse to back down this time and live in my anger. I will fight with every ounce of Truth that I possess. I will show my God-given emotions because they are NOT signs of weakness. I will pray that His will be done in all circumstances and that my family (who do not know Him) will find their strength and solace in the arms of the Redeemer.
I have gone through this battle without God and I have gone through it with Him. You make the call on which way is the clear winner.....no matter the outcome.
As I sit here at my desk at just past 3 in the afternoon with my 3rd caffinated beverage of the day (matcha latte this time - mmm goodness), I'm feeling overly inspired and challenged at the same time. In so. many. ways.
Yes, it's that great that I'm foregoing the rules of punctuation to accent the awesomeness of it all. My grammar police badge is being tossed aside for the moment. This is some fairly heavy and lengthy stuff so you might want to grab your caffeine source of choice.
Why the overload of caffeine today? I'm coming off of RUSH YC weekend, which for those of you outside the circle is a big youth conference in Kelowna. 2 days of worship, speakers, games and outreach all in the name of leading our youth to further their relationship with God. Aside from the lack of sleep, it's always a blast and always inspiring....but personally, it's also a bit of a revival for me. Youth conferences always tend to bring certain parts of my faith to the forefront. Even though I'm clearly not in highschool, being involved in this ministry and seeing young lives changed is incredible and challenging as a leader.
Reign YC (my church's youth conference) back in October was a huge turning point in my relationship with Christ. He spoke to and challenged me in ways that I didn't believe were possible at that point in my life. My heart and mind were wrecked with the Truth He poured into me. In literally the span of 5 minutes I gave up a part of my life that I can now recognize as truly pathetic. Which is a harsh description, but I fully believe it to be true. That part of me was completely broken - and it was a beautiful thing.
He has done MUCH great work on my selfish, attention-seeking and purity-lacking heart/mind. I sought attention because I still struggle with the lack of acceptance I felt growing up. Not being accepted is a lie I have struggled to overcome to this day. By receiving attention (any kind) and feeling good (even for a moment) I was being accepted. Wrong.
Giving into temptation was and is much easier than recognizing the Truth. I lived with my sin because of that. I cannot sit here and tell you that I am completely free of those chains, but I have repented and am slowly working my way out of them and it is only through Christ that I can do it. It's not always easy but being reminded of His loving work on the cross so I wouldn't suffer for the ugliness of my sin is the only inspiration I need to get through it.
Also - I really do have some of the best friends in the world, who challenge me daily. That needs to be acknowledged! They are the bomb! Hollaaaaaa!! (sometimes I'm so wannabe gangster it hurts - watch out Jay-Z!)
Anyways, Ash Wednesday is this week and that means it's the beginning of Lent. Those 40 days before Easter where we give up some kind of vice/dependance (chocolate, caffeine, Facebook) to remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert without food being tempted by the Devil. It is a time to dig deeper into prayer and repentance, and to prepare for the celebration of the resurrection. I love this time of year. Seriously - take these next 6+ weeks and dive headfirst into the Gospel. His story leading up to the better-known death and resurrection is fascinating!
After this weekend and much reflection back to that time in October, I've decided to give up 2 things this Lent season: 1 physical and 1 emotional.
1.) Anything overly salty. I know I sound like a 40 year old pre-diabetic but before my allergies I went for sweet and chocolatey. Now it's different. I will treat food as a nourishment for my body, not a replacement for some kind of emotion. I need to bring my emotions to the foot of the cross - not into a bag of Lays. And it's not really helping my running either.
2.) Receiving encouragement and praise as inconsiderate and false. This will last beyond the end of Lent. Again, these are part of the lies that have entangled me for so long. We as the church are called to build eachother up and encourage one another. We need to receive the Truth that is poured out on us. Words are powerful, and I need to learn to receive them as they are meant.
If you made it through that - snaps to you. I write like I talk sometimes. It's cleansing and time-consuming all at the same time. Bonus.
This Monday's post is simple and basic. Instead of decorating it with detailed stories from the past couple weeks, I'm keeping it light.
I had coffee with my oldest friend on Friday night. Something that was long overdo. She's been my best friend (BFF if I'm being hip) since before we could walk. We laughed, vented and chatted for what seemed like hours and promised to do it more often.
In a world full of endless noise, activity, committments and stresses we generally don't take the time to just BE. We are constantly moving, doing, and thinking. On that night I finally took the time out. I be-ed! (And for the record you won't find that word in Webster's Dictionary...I like to make up my own).
"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10
This is my life verse - the one I always return to.
I'm told this is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. I don't know if that's true - but for me it's only in the last year that I've truly come to recognize the full meaning behind it. Being still doesn't just mean staying in one place. The word 'still' comes from a Hebrew word meaning 'to slacken, release or let go'. And knowing God? You can't just add Him as a friend on Facebook and say "Hey, I know Him - we're like BFFs!"
Being still and knowing God comes from taking the time out to quiet your mind, to release the stresses of the world and to actively pursue a relationship with Him. He isn't going to compete with all the other noises in your life to get your attention. By turning down the volume in our heads and entering into a moment with God, we get to know Him. We get to HEAR Him when He speaks. And when we hear Him - giving up our worries and letting go of our problems seems to become a lot easier.
Think of how therapeutic a long conversation over lattes with a close friend is. Jesus knows you better than any worldly friend you'll ever have. He is truly your BFF. He might not pay for coffee but He'll always listen and offer the perfect advice if you take the time out to meet with Him.
The world is a busy place - as are we in it. Instead of reaching the point of wanting to curl up into the fetal position and cry (like I did last week), take a time out, turn down the "noise" and chill out with your BFF.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:6-7
This is easily one of my favorite verses and one I've really been trying to lean in to over this past week, and will continue to do so. Sunday mornings are usually very restful and centering for me. In between flipping pancakes and making tea, I read my devotional for the day with a less hurried heart than I would on a weekday.
However, isn't that the point of it all? To REST in Him? Why is it on Sunday I will take the time to do this (as it is Sabbath) and dwell in the Word, but during the week it seems to be more of an obligation? Thoughts to ponder....
And with that, here is my something sweet for the week! I modified this recipe to suit my allergies and added a few extras to appease my taste buds. The result is a ridiculously good, healthy cookie that really satisfies.
These babies are organic(in my case), low in sugar**, packed full of protein and other good for you ingredients like amino acids, healthy fats and fiber. Even when you're gluten-free (like me) there is that tendency to overload on carbs and sugars. It's important to get your recommended daily intake of protein along with learning to get it from sources other than meats and dairy. Plant based sources of protein are everywhere and are very easy to incorporate into your diet. Mix it up! This cookie is a great start! Enjoy!
Giant Everything Cookie
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup of coconut flour
3/4 cup unrefined brown sugar (**avoid refined sugar! Use coconut sugar for a low-glycemic option)
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
3/4 cup almond or coconut milk
1 Tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup agave nectar or raw honey
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter (peanut, cashew etc)
1/2 cup raisins or cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and then mix the wet ingredients (except the coconut oil & nut butter) in a separate bowl. Mix wet and dry together. Add the oil and nut butter. Mix well. Add walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds and chocolate. Gently fold into dough.
Roll a hand-filled-sized ball of dough and flatten it to about 1/2 inch thick. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Makes 12-16 cookies.
It's cold/flu season and I'm usually safe from the nasty flu bug (and no, I never get the shot) but 99.9% of the time I get at least 2 colds.
This morning I woke up feeling like a cold was beginning to make itself at home...no good!
So, I'm loading up on Oil of Oregano and making my favorite vitamin C filled, virus fighting juice to ward this thing off!
Toss the following into your juicer and enjoy! 1/2 inch ginger
3 or 4 large carrots
1 orange and 1/2 grapefruit
Ginger: relieves cold and flu symptoms, improves circulation and eases stomach upset
Apples: just an all-around great fruit full of fiber and sweetens the juice
Carrots: full of carotene which converts to Vitamin A which is fabulous for our immune system. They are also high in vitamin C and Potassium.
Oranges: the ever faithful orange/grapefruit is all about the Vitamin C.
If you don't have a juicer, many smoothie/juice places will make something similar.
On Friday afternoon I told my boss that I was quitting my job in June, taking the summer off....and going back to school in the fall.
On Friday night I told myself I was crazy, that I shouldn't have done that....and what on EARTH am I thinking! Quitting a financially stable, full-time job with benefits and security to go back to school? Who DOES that?
And that's pretty much where I've been since then. My weekend was full of reading about the schooling I want to do and then looking at my bank account and listening to the "you CAN'T and SHOULDN'T do this" taunts inside my head. I woke up at 2am on Saturday in a state of sheer panick because of my decision.
That one little word dictates almost every single thing I do. I let fear run my life - I always have. The few times I have made decisions and ignored the fear have ended up being some of the best I've ever made. However, those decisions are few and far between because more often than not - my scaredy cat side gets the upper hand. My rational/comfortable personality thrives on this.
By constantly giving into fear (which, let's face it - the Enemy adores) I am denying myself a life of knowing the PERFECT love that God lavishes on me and the joy that comes in answering His call for my life. Instead, I choose to dwell in the doubt, uncertainty and hurt because it's easier.
One of my favorite bible verses is 1 John 4:18 "...perfect love casts out fear.."
It's easier to dwell in the darkness of fear because it keeps us from taking that leap of faith - a leap requiring our complete trust in God that He WILL catch us when we fall.
Ironically, I haven't even given my notice and won't be for at least another 5 months. But putting that decision out there and telling someone (whom I respect a great deal) has made it 100% real. It's terrifying and exhilerating all at once. I will be trusting in God completely for my finances, education and most things!
I imagine that as the next few months go by I'm going to be attacked from all angles and want to change my mind (as usual) - but leaning on the Lord and recognizing His love will help me to stand firm in my decision.
It's -30 with wind chill and blowing snow right now and all I can think about is:
a) wanting to stay home from work on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, tea/Baileys and dogs asleep on my feet;
b) if the pipes in my house will freeze again; and
c) Running outside. Spring - come onnnnn!
Trying to train inside on a treadmill while watching reruns of Dawson's Creek (don't hate - it's my highschool obsession) at 6am just isn't the same as crisp morning air and pavement. I'd rather be laying on the couch watching TV - not running in front of it!
That being said, so far I'm slowly on my way to getting back into form. I'm hoping to be running a 5k by my birthday in April (or sooner) and a 10k by June. AND - if I'm seriously feeling it, maybe even a half-marathon in August.
Quite honestly though, if I can make it to the 10k mark without wrecking my knees/back again I will be beyond happy!
Mango and coconut. Something about that combination just screams tropical vacation.
After my run this morning (a short one, because it's -10 out there and I'm a little crazy!) I was really feeling the need for a vacation somewhere HOT! But, since it's not in my budget I opted to create something that would at least allow me to pretend I was sitting on a beach in Cancun for a few minutes. And it's super good and super healthy!
I don't have a fancy name for it (I'm open to suggestions) but for now I give you my Coconut/Mango/Avacado smoothie! Aka. - vacation in a cup!
(and for the record, the avacado makes it smooth and yummy - you don't really taste it)
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp protein powder (omit if desired)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/2 an avocado, peeled and chunked
- 1 tbsp agave (or vanilla would work too)
- 1/2 cup of ice as needed
(and now that I think about it - adding pineapple would also be amazing!)
Add a little umbrella, forget about the freezing temps and enjoy!
After work today I'm heading to my first yoga class in over a year. My
hamstrings are already crying out for mercy before I've even started.
I'll be that girl in class: the one cringing through a basic forward bend while the superstar in the front row is Namaste-ing her way through the poses like it's a leisurely Sunday stroll. Hey superstar? Namaste this!
I have a tendancy to compare my skills to others; to want what they have and not be content in the time, work and practice it takes to acheive that goal, skill, etc etc. The more I think about what I CAN'T do the less confidence and drive I have. Instead of focusing on the skills and gifts I have - I focus one the ones I don't. And then the jealousy creeps in.
Life circumstances aside (that's a whole other post), your skills and gifts are ones you've worked hard for and been given because they are uniquely yours! God doesn't give or do just anything without purpose.
And that my friends, is where I'm choosing to put my focus and trust.
Make a list of things you do well; your gifts and skills. You may be surprised at how talented you actually are! Now make another list of things you want to try for the first time or give another shot. Which ones stick out? If it's something you once gave up, consider the reasons why you quit and your incentive to start again. That little encouraging voice is most likely God whispering away. Lean into that - He's smart. :)
And the greatest thing about learning new skills and gaining confidence in them? The JOY you find in it! The sense of accomplishment and renewed faith!
So while you're finding every reason in the book to NOT take that surfing class for fear of falling every 2 seconds and looking like a fool....think of me in the back of my yoga class attempting to touch my toes. If it doesn't give you inspiration - at least it will make you laugh.
...the obligatory New Years Resolution post.
And this time I'm making it public instead of hiding it away in my journal - because quite honestly it's way too easy to stuff that list away and pretend it never existed. This way it's up on my fridge AND the bloggity-blog. Internet - I'm putting it out there for you to see!
I've never been a huge fan of resolutions, because to me it seems like an excuse to make up some kind of obligation just because everyone else is, and then 2 months later you fall back into old habits. It's that time of year when goals are set because the New Year is a "do-over" and a chance to forget what was done or not done in the past year. Personally, I believe goals (or resolutions) can and should be set at any point during the year. Why do we wait until December 31 to come up with something? It seems like it's a form of procrastination. "I'll do this until December 31 and then January 1 it's allll over".
Do it now.
I'm guilty of being a horrible procrastinator. A couple months ago something happened that made me re-think my priorities and my path. My behavior is so often influenced by a desire to conform to the expectations of others rather than inner conviction. I was seeking attention and I had partially slipped back into my old habits of doing (almost) anything to get it. In one moment I realized what I was doing. God called me out on it and that part of my life I had refused to give up.
It's been an interesting journey since then. One that's forced me to really change certain aspects of my life. And now is the time to continue in that. It just so happens that the new year has come in the middle of it :)
So for 2012 - I'm continuing towards these goals and am excited to see where this time next year will have me:
- Focus more on my own path and not the paths of those around me;
- I'm often 5-10 minutes late for everything (except work). Punctuality will be a big focus this year;
- Commit to spending more time in the relationships that matter most (family and friends(who are like family), my students/leaders in youth ministry) and less time in those that are destructive and inhibiting. And of course forming new valuable relationships;
- Daily devotions. I really find every excuse not to spend time doing this in the morning, even when I recognize the great mindset it gives me each day;
- Run a 10k by the summer. Knees refuse to let me do more than a few km at this point, but I am determined to condition and train my body properly to reach this goal if I'm physically able to;
- Get the tattoo I've been contemplating for the past 4 years. Small, simple and extremely meaningful;
- Be happy in my work. I've recently reached a point where I can feel changes coming - this year will be huge for me in terms of my employment....;
- Start swimming and doing yoga more often again;
- Be thankful much more often and take more risks. I focus too much on things I consider to be hinderances (my allergies, certain personality traits and my past) and allow those to dictate my decisions.
- Trust in the gifts God has given me, and actively listen to Him more. My goal is to live out Psalm 119:33-40.
Fear has been a strong component in my life for too long. It's slowly becoming a less noticeable factor and I'm determined to work on it even more.
My middle name means graceful, and ironically I'm anything but. I work in a cubicle (for now), but refuse to be put in a box.
I truly believe there is something beautiful about being ordinary and serving an extraordinary God.
I desire good food, good friends and the courage to live a life full of passions.
Being blessed with food allergies has changed my eating habits and health in a way nothing else could. I'm truly passionate about nutrition and look forward to starting a career which will allow me to educate and inspire others in their pursuit of a healthier life.