Soooooo, what a week this has been! So blessed, but full of highs and lows and growth opportunities!
Last Saturday night, I came home to find this:
Produce makes me happy, but Jesus makes me HappiER!!!
Let me just tell you, THAT is one of the happiest sights for me ever to lay my eyes on…Produce that has already been washed and is now drying next to the sink…I love my hubby so much! What a wonderful man!
So, that produce was destined for both making a green juice and making a particular salad a day or two later…seeing it there when I got home inspired me RIGHT THEN to make the aforementioned salad. The weather was perfect, I was about to have a day off, and I just couldn’t wait!
What salad you ask? “Candace’s Famous Chopped Salad”!
I admit, and no offense, Candace, I had not heard of it before either…=-) Not until I either:
A) started the ReShapingItAll Challenge and heard about it there, or
B) started following Candace Cameron Bure’ on Twitter -after seeing a connection with someone else I follow (Christian woman links, etc)-, and maybe saw a tweet about the salad. (?)
I honestly don’t know how or when I heard, but at some point, I decided I needed to look ahead in my ReShaping It All book and find this recipe!
Here it is, from page 117-118 of ReShaping It All:
(and I quote)
“This salad is so easy to make, and it’s incredibly healthy and delicious: There’s no right way to do it. Just get chopping. If you’re making it for yourself, chop about 1/2 cup of each thing. If you’re making it for a group, go up to 2 or 3 cups of each ingredient!
Yellow bell pepper
Corn (raw from the cob)
Egg whites only (hard-boiled)
Ham (deli sliced)
Turkey (deli sliced)
Salami (deli sliced)
Chop everything into bite-sized pieces and mix! Add pepper to taste. I drizzle a teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil after it is plated. I suggest doing so in case you have leftovers. This way it won’t get soggy in the fridge.”
CCB adds that with the avocado, not much need for more dressing…she only adds pepper to taste, as the meats have enough salt in them. Her final suggestions are that vegetarians can skip the meats, the egg whites are pure protein, and that “aside from the meats and eggs, everything should be chopped raw. No cooking required! How easy is that?”
It WAS pretty easy. And lovely.
I was sooo glad I had already hard-boiled eggs that morning…we are blessed to have friend of my mom’s who raises chickens and sends us eggs often. We had MANY at that time, so I decided to hard-boil a bunch. Perfect timing! My hubby brought home the deli turkey and deli ham only, for now. Neither of us are real fans of Cauliflower, so instead of that , I just added more spinach!!! And let me just say, the end result was as tasty as it was BEAUTIFUL!
Candace's Famous Chopped Salad...with slight changes. =-)
My husband has really enjoyed taking some to work with him a few days this week, as well. I JUST TONIGHT (Friday) had the last serving, and it was a big one! This salad went the distance in taste and staying power!
That was Saturday night.
Sunday after church, Jon and I met my mom at Silver Dollar City for Mother’s Day; she had not been to World’s Fest yet, and since it is one of our favorite festivals, we loved the idea of going a second time this year.
Eating healthily at SDC can be a challenge. It can be done, but not easily. I already knew that I would allow myself some kind of treat, but for lunch I was hoping for something I had seen the time before…maybe it was an Indian flatbread taco salad of some kind? Sounded great to me.
Sadly, no. It was what looked like it might be a great Greek salad, but being the last day of this festival, it was kind of a mish-mosh of what was left, not really high quality ingredients, and not very fresh as far as the “edible” bowl. Bummer.
Here’s the deal…I chose not to let that ruin my day. I mean, it’s only food, and there would be some more soon enough! God is my comfort, strength, and the source of happiness!
I’d like to say that I did not over-indulge in any way for the rest of the day, but that would be a lie. In fact, I did have a little bit more treat than I had originally envisioned…so, just as I get totally excited over fresh and clean produce, I also enjoy sweets!
I DID make some choices that strengthened my Resistance Muscle that day, but I also made some that weakened it. (a phrase I have learned from Reshaping It all…)
Remember, everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial…and I don’t wanna’ be mastered by anything! (1 Corinthians 6:12)
I CAN enjoy treats in moderation, and thank the Lord for them! (1 Tim 4:4-5)…but the key here is moderation! The discipline of self-control, awareness in my eating, and choosing the more beneficial things most of the time will strengthen me not only physically, but spiritually, too! (Hebrews 12:11, Galatians 5:16)
So my next challenge? Not condemning myself or feeling like I had totally screwed up to a point of not progressing…Knowing that can be difficult for me, I prayed for help, knew God was FOR me in this area, and let it go (well, the best that I could).
Guess what I woke up to the next morning in my “Jesus Calling” devotional?
‘Don’t be so hard on yourself. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.
Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do.’ Romans 8:28, Micah 7:7″
Ummm, can we say Perfect.?. Ok, Lord. Once again, You totally have my back….and I am so grateful and humbled. I praise You for being Love incarnate!!! For making this little girl feel better! And for renewing my hope through your renewed mercies each morning!
And it didn’t stop there, oh no! Not for a minute…
I went into our little room of workout/craft/man-cave stuff to get a good sweat going, and decided to listen to one of my DVR’d episodes of Joseph Prince. How many of you readers are familiar with the fact that when you seek God, He WILL be found?!? Clearly, He had a few more things to tell me…The scripture for the JP program that day was Genesis 45:3-15, talking about when Joseph (of the amazing technicolor dreamcoat) had become leader of Egypt, and his brothers, who had previously sold him into slavery, had just found out who this leader of Egypt was…
Scripture says they “were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence”.
Joseph’s first reply? “Come close to me” (v.4)!
He says, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into slavery…but he goes on to basically say that it was not THEIR doing that sent him there, but God’s. He had been sent to save lives, yes, theirs and others. Currently there was a famine, and there would be no plowing or reaping for years to come, but eventually, there WOULD be a harvest, and Joseph wanted to save his brothers so they could share in it! He said they would live in the region NEAR HIM, and He would provide for them. And then He told them to tell HIS FATHER about everything, and bring him close…
Guess what? This beautiful story is not just about Joseph and His brothers. It is about Jesus, and us, and our Father.
My Heavenly Father wanted to reassure me AGAIN that day of His love for me, and how more than anything He wants me near. I may feel yucky and condemned and reluctant to speak to Him, but He says, “Come close to me.” He sent His Son to save my life, even though I had “sold him” into slavery (and myself) either by over-indulging when I knew I shouldn’t, or by condemning myself and forgetting that I am freed from that by His sacrifice!
He wanted to remind me that even though there may be a seeming famine (of what? treats? puh-lease…healthy food is yummy!…no, I would say the famine was of joy in some moments, or perhaps the feeling of disciplined behavior can seem like famine), and there may not be plowing and reaping just yet (can’t wake up with insta-tone in my muscles or drop 10 pounds overnight, ya’ know), there WILL be a harvest later, and Jesus wants to save me so I can share in the victory with Him!
Finally, He says I get to actually live my life NEAR Him, if I just choose to do so, and He tells me to tell the Father all about it, and draw Him close (to me)!
Come near to God, and He will come near to you.(James 4:8 NIV)
Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. (The Msg)
yes. Yes. YES!!!!!
Has it been a “perfect” week since then? Come on, I’m human. I HAVE been working out my resistance muscle as well as the rest of my muscles...have had some major blessings in the teaching of my Christ-centered yoga classes,
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
getting to actually TAKE a yoga class from one of my favorite teachers (and getting really sweaty and happy and cleansed of toxins in the process), eating and making healthy food, dancing and singing on stage to some of the best music ever written with some of my best pals,
spending time with my husband as he shows me around our budding garden and trees,
playing with, petting, and adoring our sweet, furry babies,
and thinking of all of the wonderful things I want to share here! Ideas abound! So much to say, post, share, etc!
There have also been trials. Normal. I have tried to focus on the good in all of them (really I have!). (Philippians 4:8)
The biggest blessing, though…the love of My Lord. Who is full of care for me, watches over me, sings over me, guides me, strengthens me, laughs with me, exercises with me…and reassures me.
My foundation in all of this is Him.
Matthew 7:24-25 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
I can continue to press on in my journey (and so can you!) in faith, with perseverance, building character and hope (which never fails!)…and I can trust that He will make something beautiful out of it!
Produce may make me happy, but my LORD MAKES ME HAPPIEST!
I pray you find your “happy” in Him today.
Ps—on an earthly side, it’s not “just spiritually” that I have lightness….my costumes have been feeling looser! I will Praise God for that harvest, too!!!