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God’s Children.

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I swear, the one person on this Earth who knows me better than I know myself is Momma FF.  This morning, she sent me an email that went something like this…

The part about going on a date sometime soon pretty much made my day 🙂  It means a lot to me when she expresses that she would like to spend more time together, especially because I know how busy she is.

Next, she copied and pasted this Fellowship of Christian Athletes daily devotional that I used to get delivered to my work email address:

“Who Are You?
Monday, January 23rd, 2012

READY: 

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

SET: 

As a student-athlete in high school, the only thing that I liked about myself was my basketball ability. My self-worth was based completely on my performance on the court. Although I knew Christ, it took a lot of painful losing and poor performances for me once I got to college to realize that my self-worth was very skewed.

After I began to read the Bible more, I realized that none of the verses showed that God loved me any less based on my performance. I did, however, find many verses based on how God viewed me as His child.

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we begin to see that we are children of God, and that is enough. Our self-image, bad habits, weaknesses, poor performances, etc., have nothing to do with who we are or how God loves us. On the contrary, when we look down on ourselves, we actually hinder our relationship with Him. As Oswald Chambers says, “The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator.” When we tear ourselves down, we ultimately tell God that He did a pretty bad job of creating us.

We have two options in response to this. We can choose to go to God to show us who we are and reveal our true identity, or we can choose to go to others and the world to tell us who we are. Only one will bring peaceful truth.

Enjoy who God made you to be in Christ!

GO: 

1. Who are you?
2. What lies about yourself do you need to stop believing? What truths about yourself do you need to start believing?
3. What do you need to do in order to see yourself as a child of God?

WORKOUT: 

John 1:12
Romans 5:1
Romans 8:37-39
Ephesians 1:5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Tewksbury is the FCA Area Representative of Bangor, Maine. She grew up in New Jersey and was a student-athlete at the University of Maine for four years. “

She couldn’t be more right…for SO long, I didn’t recognize the fact that I am a precious gem in God’s eyesnot because of my talents, the way I looked, my achievements, my ambition, or even my attitude…He simply loves me because I’m His child.  In fact, He loves me more than I could ever imagine… For any of you mothers out there, I’m sure you have an idea of what a parents love really is like…now, multiply that times 1253487651365987 and you still only have an inkling of the magnitude that is God’s love for us.

I just want you to know…incase you’ve forgotten, GOD LOVES YOU…not your posessions, not your skills, not your achievements…JUST YOU

Multi-Tasking Mayhem.

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I’m taking a break.

 

Not necessarily from blogging altogether, but from basketball, for one.  It may not be my choice, but I think God chose it for me.  He knows I don’t have the willpower to take a break on my own, so he decided to give me a little injury which is just enough to sit my butt out for a week.  I guess I’m what you would consider an exercis-o-holic.  I don’t do well with rest.  In fact, as important as I KNOW rest days are, unless I’m hurting, I rarely take them. 

Recently, I’ve been juggling quite a plate full of things:  Full-time work, an Anatomy & Physiology class, a daily basketball practice, a business software class, preparing for and teaching a nutrition class at the YMCA, being a good girlfriend, blogging, cooking healthy meals, housekeeping, etc.  It was exhausting.

While I truly enjoy this haphazard, productive, constantly multi-tasking lifestyle, God started convicting me that I was spreading myself too thin.  I was half-assing a lot of things, mainly my relationship with Him.  I wasn’t fully dedicated to any one thing and I found the frustration to be overwhelming.  Still, I didn’t know how to stop myself from doing it all.  It was the only way I knew how to function, regardless of whether it was healthy or not.  I was burning out slowly, and I felt like I had no other option.  God, however, took things into His own hands.  In our last game, I did some serious damage to my knees and my left foot. 

 After consulting a physical therapist, who is hoping that the injuries are simply soft tissue rather than stress fractures, I was sentanced to a week of NO STRAIN ON MY LEGS OR FEET, which for me was basically like a death sentance.  I’m a cardio freak and I love the high I get after a long hard basketball practice or a run.  I was even forbidden from the elliptical and the exercise bike.  If you know me at all, you know I was freaking out. 

 Since then, I’ve read this devotional:

““But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.” Psalm 31:14-15 (NLT)

“Mom, quick…look at that lady!” My fourteen-year-old son shouted as we were headed down the interstate on an errand-running Thursday afternoon. “She should not be doing that,” he added for emphasis.

I glanced over at the car next to us, expecting to see someone without her hands at the ten and two o’clock positions like my by-the-rulebook-boy does when training behind the wheel. Instead, I nearly ran off the road while gawking at what my Driver’s Ed patrolman had spotted.

Next to us was a woman cradling her cell phone on her right shoulder; holding an open fast-food salad container in her left hand; ripping open a salad dressing packet with her teeth and her right hand…all while steering her car with her knees!

What in the world!? My boys and I thought surely, if she kept up this multi-tasking method of driving, she was going to cause a crash.

“I would NEVER attempt to do all of that when I drive,” I smugly thought to myself. “Entirely too dangerous and probably against the law.” Yep, when it comes to being a safe-driving expert, the apple doesn’t fall far from the “Honey-you-didn’t-use-your-blinker-back-there” maternal tree.

It wasn’t until later that night it hit me. Yes, I may not dangerously multi-task when driving, thereby risking collision. But in my day-to-day life? In my schedule? In my “sure-I-can-take-on-one-more-responsibility-so-everyone-will-like-me” way? I sometimes dangerously multi-task to the point I am headed for a crash.

Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how “good” they may be, can often render us ineffective for service to God. Yet, He knows our limits. He understands are capacities. He is willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the busyness and activity that often trips us up.

On one of my so-busy-I-couldn’t-breathe days, I read today’s key verse. While I’m sure the author David was talking about actual physical enemies — men who could chase, catch and ultimately hurt you — I realized that day my enemy was busyness. Too many activities and responsibilities outside my four walls were about to do me in. They chased me, cornered me and worst of all, were about to go in for the kill.

Thankfully, God can rescue us from the barren life of busyness. He invites us to hold our too-full plates up to Him, allowing Him to scrape off all the activities and responsibilities. Then, place back on our plates only the items HE longs for us to possess.

When this happens, we can create space in our calendar to retreat, places of sweet respite in our days where we connect with God. Times when we slow down and sit still to listen and learn from the Creator of time itself.”

I think this passage speaks for itself.  It was like God open-handedly (but gently ;)) tapped me on the forehead and said, “duh, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you“.  I knew I didn’t have the strength to slow down on my own.  This minor bump in the road was just what I needed…as always.

So, instead of waking up early or killing myself trying to get from one thing to the next, I’ve been taking things slow…kinda because I have to, but mostly because I know I should.  At first, I was completely distraught about it.  What was I going to do?  How was I going to stay in shape?  What about the rest of basketball season?

Then I realized…It’s all in God’s hands.  He takes care of and provides for His children.  Another thing I was reminded of in church this Sunday, was the fact that I need to be THANKFUL, even in tough times.  This verse has been ringing in the forefront of my mind for the past few days:

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God is molding me right before my own eyes.  It’s exciting!  And I’m thankful 🙂 

After church on Sunday, Jarid & I hit our favorite lunch spot, aka Wegmans.  For him: crabcake sandwich with garlic bacon mashed potatoes.

For her: brown rice tuna roll along with an awesome side salad.  We shared some fruit, too!  Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes.

Steamed broccoli, blanched green beans, grilled red pepper, shrimpies, black bean & corn salsa, cucumbers, and mushrooms all over a bed of baby spinach.

It was quite the feast!  After, we walked rolled around the store checking out all the sweet goodies.  I also snatched up some provisions for this week’s lunches.

Momma FF had the whole family over for dinner that night. 

They had sandwiches and noodles.  While I did snatch a few slices of turkey, I also whipped up a spread of my own:

 Butternut squash & parsnip fries roasted at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes with reduced sugar ketchup +  kelp noodles in an avocado/pea mash, per Elise’s imaginative combination.

 For once in my life, I’m actually enjoying thankful for rest. 

What’s one thing that at first, you saw as a burden, but are turning it around to show the Lord you’re grateful for EVERYthing he gives you? 

Ex: You reallllllllly can’t stand your workplace, environment, or co-workers, but you’re SO thankful to have a job especially in times like these.

XOXO.

Tired of Waiting on God?

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 I’m not sure exactly why ((but God does)) I felt the need to share my devotional this morning with you all, but I did, so here we go:

 “Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.” Genesis 25:26b (NIV)

Do you ever get tired of waiting on God to answer your prayers? Recently, I began to feel a sense of frustration with the wait, and also a little bit tired.

Tired of saying the same old prayer day after day, month after month, year after year. Tired of telling God about the same old problems still going on. Tired of hearing myself pray about the same old problems, leading me to wonder if God was as tired of hearing my prayer requests as I was of praying them.

So I bowed my head and admitted to God that I was simply tired of the wait.

In a heavy state of emotional tiredness, I turned to the crisp, white pages of my Bible. I was hoping God would illuminate a few verses that would jump out of the book and straight into my heart.

I began reading about when Isaac’s wife Rebekah gave birth to twin sons. One particular sentence caught my eye and I read it again and again. My heart leapt as I realized God was using this one little sentence to speak hope into my spirit. He used His spiritual highlighter just as I had wanted.

Genesis 25:26 tells us that Isaac was sixty years old when his twins were born; a simple Bible fact, yet profoundly meaningful to me on this specific day. You see, Isaac had been patient for the Lord to provide the perfect wife; he was forty years old when he married Rebekah. If you do the math you realize Isaac waited twenty years for Rebekah to bear him children! He could have chosen a concubine to bear him a son. But he was a man of great patience who waited on God. Eventually his patient faith was rewarded.

Isaac never gave up hope that his Lord could make the impossible, possible. He had learned that his Lord would provide. So he continued to pray the same desperate prayer for a son, day after day, month after month, year after year. In fact, we learn in Genesis 25:21 that “Isaac pleaded with the Lord” (NLT), meaning he earnestly and strongly prayed about his problem. He did not half-heartedly ask God for a son, he pleaded! He begged. He poured his heart out.

I can envision Isaac passionately pleading to God throughout those twenty years, with out-stretched arms and a tear-stained face pressed against the hot, dirty soil, begging God to answer his prayer.

Isaac was surely tired of the wait, but he never stopped praying or believing that his dreams could come true. And in God’s perfect timing, they did.

If you are tired of the wait, you may be pleading to God just like Isaac. It may take twenty years for God to answer our prayers, or it may only take twenty minutes. But today, let us find comfort in remembering Isaac’s patient faith and take hope in believing that God is not tired of hearing our prayers. Instead, He is simply waiting for the perfect time to answer.”

[source]

I realized that I’ve been praying for God to help me repair my relationship with my parents for SO long.  Everytime I think things are going well, another stupid fight or ridiculous instance pushes us farther and farther apart.  It breaks my heart, but this devotional was such a great reminder that we just have to keep praying without ceasing.  Have faith that God hears us, and in HIS time, He will answer us.  It could take 12 years or it could take 12 days to relieve tension between my parents and I.  God is always faithful, and I can’t forget that.

Your Thoughts Have Wheels

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My devotion this morning just had to be shared…it is from Proverb 31 Ministries, and I really just felt like God knew that someone out there needed to hear it (: 

“The day started off just fine, but ended with confusion and tears. As a timid middle-schooler, I climbed the steps of my school bus eager to get home after a long afternoon.

Sitting quietly in my seat, all of a sudden I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Although my surroundings appeared to be the same, something was not right.

The bus was the normal sunshine yellow. The seats were standard black vinyl, displaying rips and tears from years of students. The floor was littered with the usual misplaced pencils, erasers and wadded-up papers. Yet, I felt out of place.

That’s when I realized I did not know any of the kids sitting around me. And I had never seen the bus driver before. Frantically, I searched for anything familiar. My cheeks grew hot and my heart raced with panic as I realized I was on the wrong bus.

Although I WAS headed somewhere, it was NOT where I wanted to go.

I’d been distracted by conversations with friends, thoughts of sleepovers, and how much homework I had. My thoughts were not focused on where I was going. The actions that followed caused me to end up somewhere I did not want to be.

Thinking back on that day, I’ve considered how our thoughts determine a lot about the direction of our lives. Like my school bus, our thoughts will always take us somewhere, but it may not be somewhere we want to end up.

If we spend time thinking about how our boss does not appreciate us, our thoughts will take us straight to a bad attitude at work and possibly poor performance.

If we focus on how much we do for others and how little we feel appreciated, our thoughts will take us to a place of resentment, with lack of patience and love.

If we spend an entire day fuming over something our husband or kids did, and mentally practice the harsh words we plan to say to them, those thoughts will lead us into a place of arguments, hurt feelings and damaged relationships.

If we dwell on why God has allowed certain problems in our lives, we will transport ourselves into a state of insecurity and unhappiness as we stop trusting God.

If we focus our thoughts on money, career, success and pleasure, we will find ourselves in the land of the lost—feeling frustrated and discontent.

Our thoughts are powerful and require great self control. If we allow them to run rampant, focusing on things that lead us away from God, then we will wind up at a destination we would never deliberately choose.

In today’s key verse, God shows us why we should choose carefully what we think about, because our thoughts determine who we are and how we live.

My childhood memory reminds me to consistently ask God to help me keep my mind on Him and on the thoughts He has for me. That way I can live according to His plans and with His perspective, seeking to be acutely aware of where my thoughts may lead me.

Our thoughts really do have wheels.”

Praying for you all!

Grabbers.

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There are days when I feel like so much of my life revolves around the wrong things…you know, worldy things that in the end won’t matter at all

Overnight quinoa: 1/3 C. cooked organic quinoa, 1/3 C. unsweet vanilla almond milk, 1/2 C. fat free cottage cheese, cinnamon, & Splenda

Granted, focusing on healthy, wholesome foods isn’t a bad thing.  I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t take care of the bodies God gave us…

In fact, I’m quite proud of my bulging biceps…all for His glory, of course 😛  I like to think that God is pretty proud of the fact that I’m “honoring my body as my temple” (-1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Spaghetti squash, fat-free cottage cheese mixed with 1 tsp. Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning, cherry tomatoes, & peas

What I am saying is that we shouldn’t fixate on any one thingexcept HIM (: Easy to say, not so easy to do. 

Red beet & cucumber salad with apple cider vinegar + Splenda

There are SO many GRABBERS out there that steal away our attention.  Boyfriends, gym time, families, work, blogging, etc.!

Peanut flour paste (1/4 C. peanut flour, 1 Splenda packet, & salt) + baby carrots

Anything and everything can become an idol in our lives if we allow it.  

Smoothie in a bowl: AtLarge Nutrition Vanilla protein powder, 1 1/2 handfuls of baby spinach, 1 C. frozen strawberries, xanthan gum, liquid stevia, and topped with Fiber One cereal

 What brought this to my attention, you might ask?  This devotional that I read today:

Heart United with God

Read Psalms 86:1 through 88:18; Acts 27:21–44

Like a flea on caffeine, our minds jump from one distraction to another: cell phones, the news, a shiny sports car, or mind-numbing TV shows. Should we shut ourselves away in a dark closet to focus on God? Maybe. But, what about the light under the door, that curious noise, or our own random thoughts?

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Psalm 86:11).

How our enemy loves to draw us away from God and His truth. Little thoughts creep onto our minds. What if I fail? What if terrorists strike our country? What if I have spinach in my teeth? Where our thoughts go, our hearts follow if we are not vigilant. It is hazardous to live life with one eye on the world and one on God. Serving God requires deliberate choice and the Holy Spirit’s power to keep our hearts united with God, despite life’s daily attention grabbers.

 

XOXO.

Bring On The Sunshine.

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The best days start with award-winning bread.

If you don’t believe me, you’ve probably never tried Rudi’s Organic Bakery products for breakfast.  Trust me on this one, if you’re not a morning person, you will be after fixing a breakfast treat on one of their Multi-grain English Muffins with Flax.

Try them with some sliced banana and sugar-free strawberry preserves.  You’ll thank me later 😉

I had an eye-opening devotional this morning, too…

I couldn’t agree more!  It’s easy to run to God when things are going wrong to ask for help, but how many times do we spend time with him when things are going well?  Definitely something I need to work on…

My walking buddy and I took a gorgeous stroll in the sunshine down by the river today…two, actually, on our breaks at work.  I’m so thankful to be out of this rainy weather phase!

Lunch was eaten in four courses.

Course  #1: sweet potato steamed in the microwave and mashed with sugar-free vanilla Torani syrup + cinnamon

Course #2: romaine based salad with avocado, sliced baby bell peppers, and cucumber + free zesty italian dressing

 

Course #3: a few slices of Oscar Meyer Cajun Seasoned Deli Chicken

Course #4: Dessert!  Sugar-free orange jello cup

Yes, it’s a lot of food 🙂 On my way home from work, I stopped at the Farmer’s Market to replenish my vegetable stock that was slowly diminishing over the week’s time.

Big bag of baby spinach, bananas, spaghetti squash, kiwi, avocado, broccoli, turnips, apples (gala & fuji), and snap peas

I do my best to support local farmers when I can! Alll of this fresh produce for $13.81. 

 

I had a snack at the office around 4PM before heading to basketball open gym

Peanut flour paste (1/4 C. peanut flour, salt, Splenda, water to thin) + a gala apple

I’m sorry if you’re tired of seeing this snack, but it’s a favorite!  Speaking of which, I should probably order more peanut flour soon…

Anywho, basketball was fantastic.

In a matter of two hours, I burned 1,007 caloriesIncredibleee.  Best.workout.ever.  I did miss my workout buddy, though…

I was feeling rather lazy, so instead of cooking, chinese food saved the day.

Steamed shrimp and vegetables with light sauce on the side

I literally have this meal at least once a week and have yet to get tired of it.

I knew my muscles would thank me in the morning if I downed a bit of casein rather than having a glass of milk before bed, so I opted for a KEY LIME protein shake for my dessert.

Yummmmm-oooo; in the words of Rachel Ray.

Here’s what went into the blender bottle:

  • 1 scant scoop of cookies n’ cream casein protein powder
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp. 100% lime juice
  • 2 Splenda packets
  • 1/4 C. fiber one cereal
  • 1/2-3/4 C. water for blendability

You’ve gotta try this…I think next time I’ll add some unsweetened coconut, too!  So refreshing!

I may or may not have downed a Rudi’s Sweet Wheat bagel at 11Pm, too…those 1,000 calories that left my body on the court were calling out for carbs! 🙂

1. What’s your favorite smoothie combination? Depends what I’m in the mood for, but some of my addicitons as of lately are mocha mint and key lime.  I love to add fiber one cereal to my shakes!  It’s like those ice creams that have graham crackers mixed in.

2. Any exciting weekend plans? Jarid and I are going to the gym together today after work and then the drive-in’s tonight!  I’m excited…We’re seeing Insideous & Thor!

XO.

The Large Heart Project

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Okay, so you all thought I was finished blogging for today…heck, I thought I was finished blogging for today…but I couldn’t help but share my devotional with you.  It is one of my favorites to date!

The Large Heart Project

READY: 
I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.”
Psalm 119:32 (NASB)

SET: 
About 12 years ago during college I started running as a way of staying in shape. Over the years, I’ve come to love the sport, and because of that, the verse above caught my attention, and I have continued to meditate on it.

I recently read a research article about the physical size of a person’s heart muscle. The research noted that the size of a runner’s heart was measurably larger than the size of an ordinary person’s heart. As the runner trains on a regular basis, the heart begins to pump blood with more volume and with more power, causing the heart muscle to strengthen and increase in size. Doesn’t that sound a lot like Psalm 119:32? I believe this concept can help our hearts grow spiritually as well.

Much like a marathon runner or elite athlete trains regularly, disciplines his or her body and practices restraint, the Christian, with the help of the Holy Spirit, reads the Bible, seeks God in prayer and aims to live like Christ. Just like the athlete who trains, the person who continues to run in the way of God’s commandments finds that, the more they do it, the easier it gets.

Study someone who has an unhealthy heart, and you will find blood clots, cholesterol, plaque and dying muscle tissue. Unless these things are dealt with, they will die. Often the physician will recommend more exercise. With exercise the blood begins to circulate faster, and the particles of cholesterol and plaque are forced out. Over time, the heart becomes healthier and stronger, and it begins to increase in size.

Spiritually speaking, plaque and cholesterol can be symbolic of sin that has established a stronghold in our hearts. Think of all the passions that occupy even little compartments in your heart. Entertainment, personal goals, lust, power, material possessions, popularity, sports, and many other things. In Matthew when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He said that it was to love the Lord with “all your heart.”

Our heavenly Father wants ALL of your heart. For a lot of us, the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts, but we keep Him in a little compartment the same size as Facebook or our iPhones. But, if we truly desire the abundant life He promised us, we need to give Him all of our heart.

So, what is the secret to having a large heart? To “RUN” as hard as you can after God!

GO: 
1. If you were committed to Jesus whole-heartedly, how would your life be different?
2. The Holy Spirit always wants to occupy more and more of our hearts. What things in your heart need to be removed so that He can do so?
3. Great things happen through teamwork. Can you find some other friends in Christ who will help you run in the way of His commandments?

WORKOUT: 
Matthew 22:36-38
Philippians 3:12-14
1 John 3:20-23

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Nathan Stover
coaches college basketball at Valley City State University in North Dakota.

Party Yourself Into Shape.

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Fast Food Beliefs 

READY: 
Wait for the LORD; be courageous and let your heart be strong. Wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

 

 SET: 
Every time I hear about a coach who has been fired after a year or two at a school, it breaks my heart. I once told an athletic director that it would take four years to turn a program around to contend for a league championship. That was not what he wanted to hear, so I did not get the job.

 In our society we want everything right now. Actually, we wanted it yesterday. A great example is in the fact that we actually drive through places to get our food. At most fast food places they don’t even hold the cup to fill your drink anymore; they put it on a belt, it goes under a fountain, they push a button, and the drink comes out. I suppose it’s faster. I’m not sure it’s better, but it’s faster.

Sports are no different. It’s almost rare to watch one morning of SportsCenter without hearing about performance-enhancing substances or some other method an athlete or a coach has tried in order to get to the top faster. But, that is not what sports were meant to be.

A few years ago I read Coach John Heisman’s book on football. You might know Coach Heisman by the little award named after him. In his book, Coach Heisman never once uses the word “win.” He talks about character and building young men into quality men. Isn’t that what sports should be about?

When we compare sports to our walk with God, the same is true. There are no short cuts. We can’t take a shot or a pill and grow closer to God faster. We have to put in the time and the effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, and there are tests and trials, but, in the end, those hard times are what make the good times that much sweeter. They also build our faith and make us stronger.

Today, I challenge you to invest more time and effort into your relationship with Jesus. After all, that’s the most important relationship you have. If you’re married, think about what your marriage would look like if you were always looking for short cuts. What would your friendships look like if you never invested any time in them? Athletically, what would your skill level be if you never practiced? Our relationship with Jesus is the same way. We have to grow it like any other relationship or pursuit, and that takes time. Be willing to dig in with Him and watch Him transform your life day by day.

1/3 C. oat bran + 1 mashed banana, water to thin, 1 Splenda +fiber packet, and 1.5 tbsp. unsweet Hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder

Even more than my chocolate-covered banana oat bran, I love the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ devotional that arrives in my inbox every morning.

The other night, Toni invited me to join her at my first ever ZUMBA class.  She actually held the position that I’m currently in, before she got promoted.   She is a sweetheart, and was kind enough to offer me her guest pass for the night! Since it was my first time, it took me awhile to get into the swing of things…I felt like each time I got the hang of the booty shaking in a particular song, it was time to move on.  Haha. 

It was a blast, though!  I only burnt about 200 calories, but it felt effortless!  Not the hardcore workouts I’m used to, which was a really nice change for once.  I got a little impatient with myself, wishing that I could’ve picked up on it more quickly, but Toni reassured me that I did great and that it’s even more fun if you go on a regular basis, because you start to remember the steps!

 

Anyway, back to bring things back into focus, I had a quite colorful lunch consisting of a green leaf lettuce salad sprinkled with purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, and 1 Tyson grilled chicken breast.  Of course the entire thing was covered in a balsamic glaze for dressing.

 Have I ever showed you guys this cute bracelet I got while in Disney?

I pointed them out while we were there, and my sisters pointed out that they would be cute for us to all get!  Each of us chose a different color…Mine, black

Also!  I know it’s been awhile since you’ve seen peanut flour on the blog…such a shame!  Don’t worry, I was out of it for a little while, but I just received my shipment of 4-2lb. bags in the mail yesterday 😀

I have discovered the most brilliant use of it to date…

Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1 serving: 130 calories, 5g fat (.5g saturated), 17 g protein

-1/4 C. Peanut flour

-2 Tbsp. Unsweet Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

-1 Splenda packet (or other sweetener)

-Water to thin

Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients in a container, mix well, and freeze! Simple as that!  It makes a HUGE bar, too.

  After snacktime, there was a brief sweat sesh.

Complete with a nice, easy calorie burn of about 400 🙂

Then, I got started on dinner.  I made a lazy girl’s grilled cheese sammie with faux tomato soup.

2 slices Nature’s Own high fiber bread toasted with fat-free swiss cheese and dipped in Light Ragu (since I didn’t have any tomato soup!)

Plus a bigggg batch of kale chips roasted and sprinkled with nutritional yeast powder.

 I’ve got to address something, now.  I’ve done it before on the blog, but some of the newer readers may not be aware.  I got a comment the other day concerning my calorie intake vs. calorie burn.  The reader was genuinely worried that I was not eating nearly enough calories in a day to maintain my body’s structure.  As much as I appreciate her caring nature, I feel the need to tell you all that there is no way I photograph EVERYthing I eat, therefore not everything is posted. 

For example, here’s a list of things that you DIDN’T see from today:

1 handful cocoa roasted almonds
-1 HUGE fuji apple
-1 big glass of unsweet almond milk
-1 peach Chobani

among other things, probably…Being a Nutrition major, I’m very aware of my body’s needs and requirements.  Please understand, if I’m hungry, I eat.  Restrictive eating is not my thing 😉

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Anything exciting on your agendas this weekend?!

XO

Old School.

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God wrote me a little love note today.  It was a firm, yet gentle reminder of what is really important in my life…It’s all about the race, not the run.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve literally based my entire schedule around my workouts.  Call it compulsive, shallow, or inefficient.  I’m not proud of it, but I feel a constant responsibility to maintain my fitness level and shape.  Sometimes, it gets to the point where I need to sit back and realize…LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE.  God isn’t going to give me a crown in heaven for being able to run a ten mile race, but he might for helping the needy or being a positive influence on someone’s lifeRelationships are what life is all about.

Oh yeah, and delicious, nutritious food.

Kidding!…Kind of 😀

Breakfast tacos/hotdogs! Kashi 7 grain waffles + 1/2 banana mashed & peanut flour paste

Anywho, it’s been raining cats and dogs here.  I’m hoping this means that by the time April showers are supposed to start, they’ll be over.

Unfortunately for me, somehow the precipitation has an effect on the ability of drivers in our area to exercise common sense behind the wheel and everything gets backed up.

By lunchtime, I definitely needed a break.

Spaghetti squash with Quorn meatless crumbles and Light Ragu

Side salad: red leaf lettuce, orange pepper, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes with balsamic glaze

On my lunch break, I also took a nice mile long walk in the rain.  Yes, that’s right.  By this time, it was just misting outside, which I found to be incredibly refreshing.  I did keep my hood up, so my hair wouldn’t get wet, though.

Andddd, I ordered a new laptop because mine crashed.  LiterallyIsn’t she prettyI need to name herAny suggestions?

After work, I went home and did AB RIPPER X and a tiny bit of cardio while I watched “Shedding For The Wedding” on a laptop that Daddy FF kindly let me borrow.

More cardio ensued when I took on my disaster of a bedroom.  Cleaning was definitely overdue….Along the way, I found some SUPER old school pictures, too, which kept things interesting…so I thought I’d share a few.   You guys have never seen the “little Sami“!

I’m on the left, and my middle sister on the right.

Sisters on Easter (2000)

My Godfather & I

My very first dozen of red roses from a boyfriend (2004)

I also sorted through some old sketches from my high school art class!

I forgot how much I enjoyed painting and sketching until I went through them…Back then, our assignment was to do at least one sketch per night.

Mostly, my drawings were household items, as were others’ in the class. 

Perfume bottles, tissue boxes, toothbrushes, etc. were common occurences in our selections.

Granted, I wasn’t the greatest artist in the world, but I had a lot of fun in class.

Another thing I really enjoyed, but somehow lost ambition for, was photography. 

Funny, how I was taking pictures of food before I even got into the blogging thing.  It really can be beautiful 🙂

This one was one of my favorites.  It’s ashame the clarity diminishes when you take a picture of a photo because the contrast between the sky and the leaves is perfect.

Anyway…hope you enjoyed the little “change it up” theme I went with in the post today.  I’m not just a fitness obsessed foodie.  I really do enjoy other things, too.  Haha. Just another side of ME. 😀

HAPPY THURSDAY!

XO.

Visual Appeal.

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Waking up at 5am may sound crazy to some of you.  Especially, just to make it to a workout session.  I however, look forward to it…most days, anyway.

I’m going to go ahead and be brave to show you the effects of a good workout.  The first one was literally taken 5 minutes after waking up.  I just brush my teeth, put my contacts in, and go! 

Before boot camp:

After boot camp:

Invigorating,  I’m telling you!  Starts my day out right.

So, I just realized that the actual class that my Momma & I go to at 5am every morning is actually called “booty camp“.  I think I like boot camp better, though, so I may just keep referring to it as so.

This session started out fairly simple – there wasn’t much cardio involved – but it evolved into a series of ab ripping holds that were tearing me up.  The ladies in the class were all grunting and yelling about how much it hurt, but I still can’t get myself to the point where I’m comfortable verbalizing my agony.  Haha.  I prefer to just keep breathing deeply and staying calm.  Jessie, if you’re reading this, my triceps are SO sore…good job 🙂

A quicky shower and clean up later, I was breakfast ready. 

OREO oatcake 1/3 C. oat bran, 1 Splenda packet, 1 egg white, baking powder, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, with Fage 0% yogurt icing mixed with another Splenda

I’m going to make a conscious effort to make my meals more visually appealing 🙂 Someone very insightful brought it to my attention that some of my meals just look downright disgusting!  And he was right.  Haha.  I don’t want to discourage people about trying new things just because they see them on my blog and thing “ewww“.

Lunch, for example was kind of artsy.

Part one was a hefty salad with shredded romaine, broccoli, beets, and snap peas.

What better to go with salad than soup?  Especially on a rainy, dreary day like yesterday.  Dr. McDougall has saved me time packing lunch for awhile now 😉

Welp, there goes the visually appealing goal… Ha.

It looks pretty together, though, no?

I had fun dressing up my salad with the Raspberry Balsamic Glaze.  It was like painting on a canvas 🙂

 We’re going a little bit out of order today, since I usually share my devotional first, but I didn’t get to read it until my lunch break today, so I figured I would do things in a chronological manner

How TRUE.  Sometimes I forget how BIG our God really is.  He can do ANYTHING.  I mean, the creator of the Universe can certainly use us in any way He wants to reach others.  I just have to remember to keep myself open to the idea and constantly be looking for opportunities that He presents.  Don’t EVER think that that you are too insignificant for God to use

I love these little mini Larabars for afternoon snacks.  They are the perfect size to satisfy a sweet tooth and give your body a little healthy fat from the nuts, plus an energy boost from the natural sugar in the dates that the bar is based on.

DC white slip-ons

When I got home from work, I had a few presents waiting for me!  Okay…not presents…Ebay purchases.  But they seem like presents when the UPS man delivers them!  🙂

Report sandals

Okay, okay, I know I really need to stop this online shopping thing, but I never get out and about anymore to do any REAL shopping.  Plus, I got both of these pair together for like $25.

Do you enjoy online shopping?  What’s your favorite place to shop?

Do you prefer morning workouts or evening?

XO.