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Produce makes me Happy (!), but JESUS MAKES ME HAPPIER!

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!
INGREDIENTS:
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Spinach leaves
Yellow bell pepper
Tomato
Corn (raw from the cob)
Avocado
Egg whites only (hard-boiled)
Ham (deli sliced)
Turkey (deli sliced)
Salami (deli sliced)
DIRECTIONS
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?

“May 9

‘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.

Lovingly,

little Robyn

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!!!

My Amazon review of “The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast” by Kristen Feola…and some other stuff…=-)

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast
Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Nourishing in every way! Heart, soul, mind, and body…=-),May 10, 2011
By
Happy Girl “Happy Girl”
This review is from: The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast (Paperback)

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be WONDERFUL. Meaning, full of Wonder(s)…miracles on the plate, in my mouth, in my mind, and in my heart…

Could one buy this book just for the 21 days of devotions inside and be pleased? Yes.

Could one buy this book just for the amazing, natural, unprocessed and tasty recipes inside and be pleased? Yes.

However, with both resources at your fingertips, why would you only utilize one portion?!?

I will not go into the long story of how this book came into my hands, but trust me, that was a miracle in itself. I literally heard about it on a Saturday and won it on a radio show the next Wednesday…having only found out about the radio show the night before…but again, I’ll save you the details. Just know that it was evidence to me that I was indeed supposed to do this.

I am already a pretty healthy eater. I am a professional singer/dancer and a Christ-centered yoga teacher who promotes the ideas of whole foods, juicing, raw food, small lists of ingredients on labels, etc…but I do live in this world and indulge in the “other stuff” from time to time.

With all of that activity, you might expect me to look like one of those fitness cover models, but I don’t…in fact, over the last few years, I have accumulated and kept that “last 10 pounds” so many are plagued with…

I wanted this book so that I could really HEAR what God was trying to say to me about not only my habits, but perhaps my Christ-centered yoga business, my family, or anyone else that maybe I was needing to pray for! I did know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I needed to tune in.

I heard the author on the radio show and was touched about her description of fasting as an outward activity just as much or more so than inward. It’s not just some diet you go on, and it’s not just something you do as a method hoping to get some miracle or revelation from God…It is something you do as an act of Devotion, perhaps in order to bless others through intercessory prayer, or to really draw closer to God in your dependence on Him through this time…and then, yes, I would say it is not unusual for some kind of “breakthrough” to happen in your life! But rest assured, it is the kind of breakthrough you need, not just what you want…but the funny thing is, I would bet just about anything to say that by the time you receive “it”, you realize how much it is EXACTLY what you need AND want…(Funny how a loving Father likes to do that…)

But back to the book!
The pictures are beautiful; the devotions are RIGHT ON. During my 21 days, I did not have a single bad recipe. There is an optional meal plan provided, but there are so many recipes included in the book that you can switch things out for other things that look more appealing to you. There are even recipes never used in the meal plan…and one thinks, wow! I can’t wait to use those later, too!

The book is divided very well. The first section explains the different kinds of fasting there are, what kind this is (Partial food fast), and why one goes on a fast.
SIDEBAR: You will not go hungry on this fast. There is more than enough food, and it is satisfying. You are only fasting from certain types of foods, not food altogether.

The Second section is called “Focus” and contains the daily devotions, as well as sidebar testimonies of the experiences other Daniel fasters have had. Kristen Feola obviously seeks the Lord in her own life, is a human being with typical daily challenges, and allows God to change her with each one…and in the process, He has used her pen and paper to not only share her journey but encourage others who are also traveling His path! 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that no temptations, trials, daily problems will we come across that are not “common to man”…meaning we all go through it and can encourage each other!

The Third section contains the recipes and meal plan.
Let’s talk about the food, shall we? Yum. Yum. Yum.

I honestly made so much food in the first week that I was able to extend the leftovers through the following weeks to a certain degree by putting half in the freezer. I have a daily habit of making green smoothies, so that was one full meal I did not need to make, but honestly, there is plenty of food here!
My all time favorite? The Baked Oatmeal…who would have thought a baked oatmeal square sweetened only with the dry fruit within could be so scrumptious?! I literally had my last serving in the freezer for a week, because I was putting off the bittersweet feeling of it being my last serving! Ha! Like I couldn’t make more!

The Tuscan Soup is very good, as is the Black Bean Chili Bake. My husband loves both soup and chili far more than I do, so I shared (though I like them a lot!). He couldn’t stop raving! They are hearty, filling, and yummy.

Of the Savory dishes, I really, really, really, really, really, loved the Asparagus-Mushroom saute’!!! Again, so yum…I confess, I was kind of glad my hubby is not a fan of Asparagus so that I could be a little selfish…(that has to sound funny as I draw closer to God, huh…)

How could you not love something called Antipasto Pizza Pie! Nourishing, warm, satisfying.

The Mega Greek salad was such a great thing to have in the fridge and nosh on all week!!!

When I was beginning to miss “bread”, I made the Pineapple-Citrus muffins. They were awesome…I just ate my last one yesterday. I was admittedly “hoarding” it, again, silly fear of that “last one” feeling…and then I turn that over to God and say “Thank You for the great food and the opportunity to enjoy it again!” I did add a little salt to the muffins when I would eat them, as for my taste buds they seemed to need a little. (Not worried about that, as I have typically low blood pressure and my health care provider has given me the “all clear” on salt…)

Kristen Feola's beautiful picture of the Pineapple Citrus muffin

My last lil Pineapple Citrus muffin, having been in a ziploc bag in anticipation...

The smoothies are Scrumptious. Snickerdoodle smoothie and Strawberry-Banana smoothie are in the book, but I have also tried Feola’s plum-good smoothie and sweet spinach smoothie from her website, and they are amazing!  www.ultimatedanielfast.com

SIDEBAR: One of the reasons I wanted Feola’s book over others out there; she is soooo generous. Her website is chock full of these recipes! You can tell she is out there to help others, not just sell a book by holding out in the recipe department. The website also has her blog and lots of wonderful information…Go there, and be blessed by it! And then buy the book; you will be glad you did!

One day, I made the flatbread with cinnamon…it was so satisfying that I literally only ate that, while drinking some green juice I just made, for breakfast…and I was full and content! That is not like me. I typically want a “Capital B” breakfast…
Which leads me to the Nutty Fruit cereal. Again, total surprise at how full and satisfied I was. And also, soooo delicious.

I have just given my husband the grocery list of ingredients I need to make the Flatbread pizza tomorrow…I am very excited about that! I have been finished with the Daniel fast for over a week now, but I am still using the recipes..that is how good they are!

As for what I learned from God through this whole process, believe it or not, my “breakthrough” was a bunch of little things I had been hearing from Him all along, but not really plugging into…things that help me function in a more peaceful and productive manner (and it was like finally seeing the neon sign)…and prayers for very specific people.

And yes, I had some material breakthrough blessings as well! I am hoping to include my personal Daniel Fast notes and experiences on my blog in the next week or soooo…feel free to comment on my review if you would like to know where you can find that…=-)

One more thing, I do have to disagree with one reviewer: not all of the recipes are gluten-free, as some call for whole wheat flour. However, substitutions can be made…again, feel free to comment here if you would like suggestions on how.

Kristen Feola certainly has a heart for God and for His people, and I am so glad that she followed the call in her spirit to write the book and be used of God to help others. I do believe that God can and will speak to you through this book if you seek Him with your whole heart…He will be found; He promises!

To whomever is reading this review, I pray blessings and discernment about whether or not this book is for you…I can assure you, you will not regret its purchase! Allow yourself to hit the “re-set” button on your physical and spiritual life, and tune in to God and your body!

Have a blessed day!

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So, I pasted those pix in here…obviously they are not on Amazon…and I was not allowed to type in the website there, either, but I can do it here!  yay!

And truly, today I did prep to make the Flatbread pizza tomorrow… I have the dough resting in the fridge, and my Spinach-Artichoke dip is ready to be spread on the crust tomorrow when the time comes (and bonus!  I won’t be using it all on the crust, so guess who gets to have some Spin-Art with her gluten-free rice crackers!  Yesssss!)

Here is my fresh out of the oven Spin-Art:

I will not post the recipe here, but I will encourage you again to go to the website to get it, and have a look around!  It is amazing!!!  Be blessed by it, say Robyn sent ya, and go buy the book!

http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/2009/09/day-5-last-night-feast.html

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Also, a sidebar!!!  While I was prepping for the Spinach-Artichoke dip, I was using my garlic press from Pampered Chef.  I love that thing!  I was also using my Pampered Chef measuring cups AND my oil spritzer, which is hands-down my favorite of all P.C. products…I love that I can put a healthy cooking oil in it and spray it onto my cooking dishes.  MUCH healthier than those store-bought things with propellants, etc.  All of that to say, if you don’t have a Pampered Chef Consultant yet, and would like one, please consider my friend Kristin Cartwright.  She has NO idea I am writing this, but I will probably send her a link right after!

Her website is WWW.PAMPEREDCHEF.BIZ/KRISTIN2010

Be blessed, today, ever’body!  I have another blog in my head that has been ITCHING to come out since Monday, but it will just have to wait…soon!

(Been saying that to myself a lot lately, but you know what?  Between doing 6 shows a week, exercising 5 times a week, doing my devotions, making healthy food, spending time with my husband, running a small-but-growing yoga business, and scheduling quiet time…well, you just have to make room for balance, you know?)  1 Peter 5:7…casting my cares on Him, and He will take care of me…

And He will do the same for you!  Keep Looking Up!

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