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Things I love, that lift my spirit, Part 2 : Natural Peanut Butter Cups and the Italian picnic

Anyone who knows me knows that I know health is not just what you put in to your body, what you do with your body, or what and how you think….it is ALL of those things….!

So, while the title of this post may seem to be just food-oriented, I assure you, it’s not.

Also, I have been meaning to blog a bit about my experience with the Daniel Fast that I did back in April/May, using The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola as a devotional and guidebook (please read my review of the book here on my blog or at Amazon, under “happy girl”…there is also a link to her website on the right side of this blog).  Funnily enough, what I learned (or should I say, re-learned and confirmed) fits right in with all that I want to share today…

So, here’s the deal:  what did I learn during the Daniel Fast?  Well, I DIDN’T learn a whole new way of eating, as I pretty much eat that way already, most of the time (but I am sure that for others, it is QUITE a change from their normal fare, and I encourage you to give it a try!!!)…THOUGH, I did have some lovely reminders and re-connections with the natural taste of a few foods (whom I had been abusing with extra sweeteners, etc)…and I DID gain some new and wonderful recipes, for sure!!!

I DIDN’T learn that eating well takes planning, since I am fairly used to that, as well…but I DID learn to incorporate that planning time as a Form of My Worship of My Lord, by dedicating that time to Him and offering that sacrifice of time to Him and communing with Him in the process!

(Now I just need to remember to still choose that purpose daily—not just during a Daniel Fast—and not get caught up in the “getting through it” mentality…so easy to do…but so much more an “imitator of Christ” way of doing things to choose the joyous method, amen?  And gosh, I sure do feel happier!)

I also enjoyed (as always happens) the strength and power that come from starting my day with Him at the forefront, and how He gives me the ability to do what needs to be done!  (And, alternatively, experienced, as I do at times, the LACK of power and peace I feel when I do NOT spend time with Him first thing…)

Honestly, for me, The Word and time with my Lord is like the best kind of fuel!  The super-wonderful kind that doesn’t clog up my engine! (More on good, PHYSICAL fuel in just a bit…)

Truly, the MAIN thing I feel I learned (and re-learned and re-confirmed), are two practical things that God spoke to my heart “many moons” ago, and somewhere along the way, I let those good habits go…and whenever I do, it causes problems.

1. Not eating while watching TV (or being distracted in any way, if at all possible). If I don’t give my food focus, I may as well not have eaten at all…and, it can lead to the other issue, depending on the time of day…

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men…Colossians 3:23 (King James Bible)

2. Not eating late at night…when I do that, it’s like all systems go, no holds barred, “what is full?”…as if my stomach sensors are actually turned off.  And then, weird bits of  common sense pop into my head like, “well, you can’t go to sleep after you’ve eaten, or you’ll get acid reflux, so you better stay up longer”, but at that time, I am super-tired because of the hour and because my body is using up all the energy I might have had by eating 4 times as much food as I needed, so what do I do in response? 

Eat more to stay awake.  WHAT?!?!

And usually, these 2 unhealthy choices are made as a result of my NOT choosing to lead a balanced life; resting, savoring, enjoying, and turning anything worrisome over to God…

Did I lose a bunch of weight?  Nope.  Guess what?  I am a fairly fit person at a fairly fit weight already, and so don’t really need to lose “a lot of weight”, but if there is any excess, I fully believe it is there as a result of the above abuses…which, by the way, are of a very spiritual nature.  If I need to lose the little bit of extra, it will only come off as I let go of the spiritual weight…(and yes, I see your hands raised, and yes, I have read “Made to Crave” and yes, I LOVE IT!  So, you can see that these are not new concepts, and like the Word says, no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to (wo)man…so I am know I am not alone here!)

So for me, God used the Daniel fast as a way of reconnecting, with Him, with others, and with myself…I made a list of folks and issues I wanted to pray for specifically throughout the fast, as well as hearing from my Big Papa again about what I needed to focus on most (stillness, intention, not the food itself so much) for change to happen…I think it was Joyce Meyer who said once in a sermon, something about when hearing from God, if it has been awhile since God said anything to you on a particular subject, go back to the last thing He said….well, there ya’ go.

(And thank you again, Kristen, for writing a phenomenal book that is a phenomenal vehicle used of God for many people to have many different kinds of amazing breakthroughs!  May He continue blessing your work, my friend.)

“Intermezzo”

Something you may or may not know about me is that I lived in Italy for a little while over a decade ago, and from that time in my life, I learned in a truly experiential way what it is to SAVOR LIFE.  SAVOR EVERYTHING.  Take it slowly, breathe, chew slowly, sip, love big, laugh loudly, and when in doubt, or just because you can, USE YOUR HANDS IN A LARGE MOTION…=-)  In some ways, Italians are so big….big with their hands, big with their voices, big with their emotions and love, big with their families…but they are “small” in getting wrapped up in the to-do lists, the time-frame, the things that our American society deems most important…at least this was my experience in my family.

Now, I am not saying they are perfect or that there are not those who do NOT match that description.  But overall, that was my experience.  For them, it isn’t considered “procrastination” to realize that something can be put off until tomorrow if trying to get it done today interferes with love and life!  It’s not worth your health or loss of relationships to achieve, achieve, achieve at a cost of sacrificing them…

We have heard for years how the Mediterranean Diet is so healthy for the heart, among other things, and I would agree…but it is definitely NOT just about the food.  It’s the attitude towards everything in our lives, and upon what we place the most importance.

Since the release of both the book and movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”, many more people are now familiar with the Italian phrase Dolce Far Niente:  the sweetness of doing nothing.  It is SO TRUE.  Such an apt phrase to describe both something Italians hold dear, and quite frankly, something Our Lord calls us to do!  There are so many times in the Bible where we are called to just be still, to spend time with our God, to listen, to be quieted by His love…so many times in which we are told of Jesus separating himself from the multitudes or his disciples for a little quiet time…with Himself, and with His Father.  It’s not selfish, people.  It is necessary, it is rewarding, and it is part of our purpose.  I could go on, and on, and on about that subject…one of my favorites, and yes, something I find hard to do as well (typical Type A, right here).

So, let’s slow down and savor.  Let’s find some good fuel, both Spiritual and Physical.

Sunday "in Italia"

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to have picnics; outside or in.  A few Sundays ago there was a chance for thunderstorms, so our plans for a picnic by the “swimmin’ hole” were somewhat thwarted, but we prevailed!  (PLEASE forgive the non-eco-friendly plates!  I don’t know how they ended up in our cabinets, but as soon as they are gone, there will be no  more!!!  It is sooo unlike us!)

Our spread included homemade hummus, veggies, focaccia bread, parmesan cheese, prosciutto, grapes, and a little wine….we broke the bread into pieces onto the table just like my “Mama Guigi” does!  It’s my favorite.

Later that same day, I made a WONDERFUL TREAT:  all natural peanut butter cups!  Low sugar, non-refined sugar, and vegan.

The types of food we eat do matter.  Now, we don’t need to be so restrictive that we end up making food an idol or spending our entire lives yo-yo dieting, but these little temples do house the Holy Spirit, and let’s face it…when you eat better, you feel better.  I have heard numerous times that every 7 years, you have a whole new body (on the cellular level) than the one you had 7 years prior.  So, right now I am building the body I want in one year, 2 years, etc…and in 7 years, I can look back and know that every cell has changed from today!

And, I love sweets.  Or, I should say, I enjoy sweets a lot.  (I love my husband, I love my God, but I need to not “love” sweets…hee hee)  For me to not be a yo-yo dieter or get my self-worth from what I had on my plate today, I better just incorporate some whole-food-sweet-goodness into it…and if your body recognizes the whole food ingredients, it knows what to do with them!  (digest them)…as opposed to all the fake things out there, to which I envision my body saying, “I really don’t know what you expect me to do with this, little chic…so I think I will just leave it here on your thighs if ya don’t mind.”

I do mind.  So here is a better alternative that comes from Kelly Keogh of “The Sweet Truth” on the Veria channel. It is a show geared toward making/baking sugar-free/gluten-free foods in a mostly natural way (liquid stevia is not totally natural, but closer than aspartame or splenda, etc!)

You can find the recipe here:

http://www.veria.com/peanut-butter-cups.html

I made a few substitutions based on what I had on hand:

Instead of the “Stevia Plus Stevia”, I used Truvia (emptied the packets into my teaspoon measure).

Instead of the agave nectar, I used Yakon Syrup…even BETTER for you than agave nectar.  Low glycemic, and not as much (if any?) controversy over whether or not it has been cut with corn syrup like agave had.  However, it is expensive and hard to find, so do not fret over the use of agave, and use whatever brand your store has…unless you already have Yakon. =-)  I believe God honors our best efforts and protects us!

The rest of the ingredients were basically the same. (Ps, don’t forget, everything in moderation…these are a “sometime” food…be self-controlled and alert, knowing that your enemy is prowlin’ around trying to slip you up…but DO enjoy them on occasion, to the FULLEST!!!!! WITH FREEDOM!!!)

Ingredients for Natural, low-glycemic, dairy-free, vegetarian friendly Peanut Butter Cups

So, I followed the instructions for assembling the ‘cups.  I don’t have a mini muffin tray, so I was hoping the paper cups would hold anyway, and they did! This is before I poured the last bit of “chocolate” on top…

Once topped off, I placed them in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden (a good excuse to clean out my freezer, too!)

After freezer, 15 minutes

Ecco le qua! (Here it is!  It’s like saying, “voila!” or “Ta-dah!” in Italian…)

And of course, I had to eat some…

Yum!!!!  It made plenty, so I took some to friends, and still have a few in the freezer to savor one at a time…

Some more spiritual food to savor? the Word of God.  Here is a recent verse we used in the Vessels of Clay Yoga classes:

Acts 17:28 The Message

24-29 “The God who made the world and everything in it, this master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself.  He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him.  Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him.  he doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us.  he’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!

And guess what?  It’s give-a-way time!  Leave a comment and be entered into this week’s give-a-way drawing, where the winner can choose between a yoga mat or a neckroll!  The drawing will be held next Friday or Saturday(July 8th or 9th…gotta’ leave room for life happening…and let’s be like the Italians and be a little more flexible, eh?)

Yoga mats in Buttercup Yellow and Dark Teal, Neckroll in Eggplant; which would you choose?

Allora, Buon Appetito, e Ti Vediamo! (So, enjoy the good food and see ya’ soon!  –loose translation, mine. (=:)

(ps…There will be some folks who are concerned about the saturated fats in Coconut Oil, but if you do the research, you will find that in fact, the way the fatty acids chain together is what makes them healthy or unhealthy, and coconut oil can actually be quite good for you!…in moderation, like everything else.)

And the winner is….!!!!

Well, it is the end to another wonderful week, and while I have filled my day off with plenty of (fun) work to do, followed by another trip to the swimmin’ hole (this time with my Mom as company; hooray!), I am gonna’ take a break right now to share with you the winner of this week’s Yoga Mat Bag Give-a-way!!!

Prepping for the draw....

First, I put the names on little slips of paper and found a cute bag to shake them in…

Then,  I reached in to pull out a name, and it was….(drum roll, please)…

Hooray for Shelley!!!

Shelley!!!

So girl, let me know if you’d like the light green yoga mat bag or the maroon one, and we will set a time and place for delivery!!! Congratulations!!!

As for the other bag, I think we can have another give-a-way later this summer, don’t you?!?  And I have OTHER things for give-a-ways, too, so make sure you subscribe to this blog to stay-in-the-know!!! (There will be give-a-ways open to the entire United States, as well, not just Southwest Missouri!)

The answer to the Question about which kind of beans the recipe in Kristen Feola’s Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast was Chickpeas OR Garbanzo Beans, because they are the same thing!!!!  So, everyone got the answer correct…way to go!!!

Also, thank you for the “mayo story”, Kelly, and I am so proud of Zack!

By the way, last weekend I mentioned that I would be posting soon about how the enemy can get ya’ riled on a Sunday, and that certainly was the case last Sunday…but God is the remedy, and sometimes He works out physical blessings, even,  in our response to turning to Him…a post about how our last Sunday turned out is forthcoming soon…=-)

But for now, I wanna share a little fun we had this week!

My husband is a wonderful gardener. I am soooo very blessed to have him by my side, as well as for reaping the blessing of what his green thumb produces!  What a marvelous man!  Here are some photos of his magic place:

Squash and Zucchini...my yoga students reaped some of those benefits this week!

Kale, Collard greens, and Spinach

Eggplant

cabbage, fennel, beets, and somethin....

And that’s not all!  My sweet hubby won blue ribbons for his vegetables at the county fair this week!  I get to go there tonight and see the win in “action”…=-)

He won 4 blue ribbons! This is the kale, but he also won for beets, fennel, and zucchini!

I have had some success in the green thumb department this week, too!  I have tried sprouting things several times, and it has NEVER worked for me.  Recently, we received a catalog in the mail with a coupon for $25 of product free with our first purchase!  It is the Gardens Alive catalog.  We ordered some broccoli sprouts for $9.95 and got a sprouter for FREE!  This week I decided to give it a go, following their instructions to a “T”, right down to the use of Hydrogen Peroxide in the rinsing water each time I rinsed, and would you believe it?  SUCCESS!!!!

Gardens Alive Sprouter

Each of those tiers holds about what you get from the store for around $4 here…I have only used about half of my seeds, MAYBE, so I may have “spent” $1 per regular grocery store amount…saving me about $12!  Yessssss!

"Brocco-sprouts"---one of THE most healthful you can get!

Finally, I have been craving (dare I use that word?) Calzones…so, on the way home last night, I used my little noggin to think of what ingredients I have and how I might go about coming up with a healthier alternative than the one I pass every day on the drive!

Using a mixture of Spelt flour, oat flour and almond flour with water, salt and flaxmeal, I came up with a dough…while the dough rested,

I chopped up some garden zucchini and romaine, rinsed some brocco-sprouts, chopped a few store-bought green onions and mixed them with 1 Tbsp EVOO plus about 1/4 cup tomato paste and a liberal sprinkling of Frontier Pizza Seasoning. 

After rolling out the dough, I placed the veggie mixture on top, adding a little vegan mozzarella (Lisanatti), and some Tofurky Italian Sausage (I know, they aren’t whole foods, but real Italian Sausage would have not have digested well and is quite fatty…sometimes in our moderation…we have to be moderate…)

I then folded the dough over, cut off the excess, and crimped the edges…

Baked the whole deal in my NuWaveOven Pro (I highly recommend it for energy saving costs and easy/quick cooking!).

In the meantime, I re-rolled out the excess to be cooked in the skillet as a tortilla for another day.

After 20 minutes in the NWOP at level 10 (about 350 degrees), it was time to behold…

Yum!!!

Garden fresh, non-wheat, non-yeast, completely vegan Italian Calzone.  Believe me, I thanked God for the bounty of my favorite kind of tastes in a healthy way!…and my hubby gets to have some for lunch today, too!  How’s that for Proverbs 31 Woman?  (giggle)  He’s very happy. =-)…and I am very glad.

I pray you are having a weekend full of bounty and gladness, too!!!

Psalm 18:20 The Message (MSG)

 20-24 God made my life complete
      when I placed all the pieces before him.

Psalm 100:2
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

What are you joyful and glad about today?  Please share by leaving a comment below…and we can all be glad with you!!!

Things I love, that lift my spirit… Part 1: “music and mayo”

I love, love, love, love, love MUSIC.

I love, love, love, love, love teaching Christ-centered yoga, and using music that helps to center my mind on good, lovely, admirable, excellent thoughts as I practice!

And I love, love, love, love, love….mayonnaise.

WHAT?!?!?

Yes, it’s true.  I ADORE ME SOME MAYO.  When I was a kid, my dad loved Miracle Whip, and my mom loved Helmann’s….for a long time, I followed Daddy’s footsteps.  I don’t know when it happened, exactly, but at some point in my life, I made the switch.  I crossed over.  I became a mayo-girl.

Hmmmph.

Guess what?

Mayonnaise is not exactly good for you.  Depending on how it is made, it can be downright horrendous for you, in fact.  And still, dag-nabbit, it’s yummy.  You can take marvelously healthy things like apples and nuts and celery and coat them with some mayo to make a Waldorf Salad…and you have lost a little of the good-n-healthy…maybe more than a little, depending where you got it…and how much mayo was put in…

Now, I have made mayo at home the old-fashioned way, with egg and oil and cooking in a saucepan forever, and drizzing and whirring, and….phew!  And let me just say, it tastes great, and honestly, the homemade version has less ingredients, and in moderation?  not so bad…

BUT!

These days I make a much leaner, meaner,and thank-You-so-much easier “mayo”, and I have just got to share it with you!

I also want to share my 2 latest playlists for my All-levels Vessels of Clay Yoga classes….

So, first, let’s lift our spirits with that mayo recipe…and no, I am not promoting that we get our comfort or peace from food!  However, a little bit of a good, healthy thing added to our super-healthy foods will definitely keep us from feeling deprived, depressed, and ready to run to the nearest convenience store for the packaged-food-poison of our choice…and how many of you know that when you do that, your spirit, not just your body, feels horrible?!?  So, let’s choose this instead:

Beannaise (from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak)

2 cups drained cooked or canned white beans (one 15- or 16-ounce can)

2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar ( I use Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar)

1/2 tsp salt (I use himalayan sea salt)

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil*

1/3 cup organic canola or safflower oil(or a blend of both)*

(I also add a pinch of cayenne pepper, which is what one does when making “traditional” homemade mayo anyway!)

“Place the beans, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and dry mustard in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process until very creamy.  With the appliance running, drizzle in the oils in a slow, steady stream through the cap opening in the lid. (It’s ok if you cannot do this with your appliance…I can’t either…just add little bits at time…maybe split the oil into 2 sets.) Continue processing until well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container as needed.  Chill thoroughly before using. Keeps about 7 days in the refrigerator.  May be frozen.”

{Here is my little eco-friendly commercial:  my local friends see me using old glass jars for everything from drinking fresh veggie juice or green smoothies to storing leftovers or…yep, my Beannaise.  Why store things in a plastic container which is leaching all kinds of yucky stuff into your food, when you already have plenty of glass jars just from buying things like pasta sauce, pickles, or peanut butter?  Sure, they will stack up eventually, and you will need to make a trip to the recycling center, but until then, save the various sizes (those pure-fruit jam jars are great for bringing little drinks in your lunch box, or for salad dressings, while the mason jar sizes are great for hummus, Beannaise, bigger portions of homemade dressings, leftovers, and well, for this southern girl, drinking some “healthy” sweet tea!) AND support your health while lowering your addition to rising energy costs, etc…

–just a thought!}

*For the fats, I go a few different ways…I have mixed olive oil and flax oil before (flax is ok as long as you don’t cook it over 400 degrees, or it becomes a hydrogenated oil), or olive oil and walnut oil, or whatever…if you have a flavor-infused oil, that could make an interesting mayo!  Something I REALLY like to do, is use 1 part EVOO to 1 part Veganaise–a vegan mayo product.  It gives it that much more mayo flavor on top of what your recipe is giving.  Recently, I used the last little bits of all the mayo’s we had in our fridge, as well as oil…some were an omega-3 brand, some were a “light” helmann’s, and some were Veganaise…plus the EVOO.  Obviously, it is up to you what is ok in your sense of moderation…just pray about it and wait for peace.  With all of the beans, you get much more fiber and protein than you do in your usual mayo!!!

Beannaise from "The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook"


For those who dig this stuff, here is the nutritional information provided with the original recipe’s ingredients:

per 2 Tbsp:

calories- 96, protein- 2g, fat- 8g, carb- 5g, calcium- 18mg, sodium- 60mg.

By the way, this book is a great book full of recipes for making “cheez” out of nuts, beans, and other items, as well as making sauces, spreads, entrees, etc all while being dairy free…This particular recipe is free of gluten, soy, nuts, yeast and corn…so, this cookbook addresses a myriad of food-related allergies…

It also has some great charts on how much calcium can be found in  plants vs dairy, and how much better balance one can find in protein, fats, and carbs in plant-based foods vs other more “traditional” ideas….

Check it out:   

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Uncheese-Cookbook-Delicious-Dairy-Free/dp/1570671516/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307918406&sr=8-1

Ps…I have been known to keep mine longer than 7 days…but usually not much longer, because I use it up!!!

Now for the music portion of our spirit-lifting!

I have been in desperate need to get some new playlists going, but I have not been able to schedule the time to do it!  It literally takes me a few hours to do just one playlist…I have so much fun finding music, putting it together, seeing if the transitions are right…and then, one has to factor the technology aspect, a.k.a., are i-tunes and my i-pod going to engage together swimmingly today?  So, you see how I might put this project off to time when I can focus…

That being said, I STILL didn’t have much time last week, but I was determined.  Luckily, I started a playlist a few months ago that only needed a bit of tweaking, AND I decided to use one of my favorite teacher/friend’s playlist as a resource as well…thank goodness for the sharing of playlists…it is just another way that we as members of the church can come alongside each other, help each other out, and build each other up!  So, I tweaked my own playlist, then downloaded the music from hers and added a few more songs to make it long enough for my class, et Voila!  2 new playlists for the summer!  (and one of my favorite things about that process: when I can’t fit something in, it goes into the next playlist…so I am already halfway done with a few more; Hallelujah!!!)

{By the way, if you would like to know where my most favorite yoga studio is, where I trained to become a Christ-centered yoga teacher and to get my Registered Yoga Teacher certification, click here to be blessed!:

www.yahwehyoga.com

To read my graduate story, scroll down until you find “Robyn Hurst” on this page:

http://yahwehyoga.com/category/your-stories/

And now, back to the music!!!}

“In The Waiting (Robyn’s original–for encouraging focus as we wait upon the Lord…praising, praying, and moving, and praying some more!)

  1. Effortless Relaxation pt 1     Steven Halpern 
  2. Castle Lullaby     Roger Hudson
  3. It Is Well with My Soul    Various Instumental
  4. While We Wait     Jack Johnson
  5. You are Worthy     Instrumental, background vocal track
  6. Majesty (Here I am)     Delirious?
  7. In the Waiting     Greg Long
  8. While I’m Waiting     John Waller
  9. Wait     Mat Kearney
  10. Open Up the Sky     The Refuge
  11. Waiting Room     LaRue
  12. The Sound of Sunshine     Michael Franti & Spearhead
  13. Live High     Jason Mraz
  14. There will be a Day     Jeremy Camp
  15. Amazing Grace (ft. Ginny Owens)     Jim Brickman
  16. Sweet Hour of Prayer     Classic Worship
  17. I Surrender All     Classic Worship
  18. “prayer”     instrumental backing track
  19. Ideal Weight, Part 1o     Steven Halpern
  20. Jerusalem     Steven Halpern

“My Savior is My Peace” (modified version of Court’s Restorative playlist)

  1. Journey to Peace, Pt. 1     Liquid Mind
  2. Adagio for Sleep     Liquid Mind
  3. Holy! Holy! Holy!     Avalon
  4. In Christ Alone     Bethany Dillon & Matt Hammitt
  5. Do You Know This Man?     1000 generations
  6. Better than a Hallelujah     Amy Grant
  7. You Alone     African Village Band
  8. Intimacy     Jonathan David Helser
  9. You Alone     David Crowder Band
  10. Only You     David Crowder Band
  11. Jehovah Shalom     Shannon Wexelberg
  12. All the way my Savior Leads Me     Chris Tomlin
  13. All That You Have is your Soul     Emmylou Harris
  14. Blessed Always     Donna De Lory
  15. Journey to Peace Pt. 2     Liquid Mind
  16. Accelerating Self-Healing     Steven Halpern

hmmmmm…..just thinking about these songs inspires me….

I hope the same for you!  Peace out (in Him), my home-ginis and mayo (or miracle whip) lovers!

Ps—for the Miracle Whip lovers…no discrimination here…if you need more of a tang, add a little sweet to the above recipe,  like Truvia or honey, and see if that does the trick…maybe a little more lemon as well..it’s all up to your taste buds!!!

James 5:13

The Prayer of Faith

 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Isaiah 61:3

 3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.”

And don’t forget the give-a-way this week!  Leave a comment below, maybe tell me your favorite mayo or miracle whip story, or share if one of the songs listed above is a favorite of yours?  I will enter your name into a drawing to be held Friday, June 17th, for a yoga mat bag! ( If you have entered on another day, you CAN enter AGAIN here!)

(This is for Southwest Missouri delivery only, unless you are willing to pay the shipping charges up-front—which I am totally willing to work with—…and thank you for understanding!!!)  Feel free to leave a comment even if you are not entering the give-a-way! (but please, let me know either way…)

Fresh food, fresh rest, fresh me…

Soooo….

yesterday I had the first Saturday off from show business in I don’t know how long…I mean, the first Saturday off, from show business, in which I didn’t just get it off because I had something else scheduled…literally, OFF. Off. Off. OFF.

aaah.

How many would agree with me that sometimes when we have “off” times, we schedule them to the brim, and then we end up feeling far worse?  Well, for ONCE, I didn’t do that…but it took a personal struggle to get there…

Friday morning dawned with thoughts of “have-to’s and should-do’s and I-just-don’t-want-to’s”….I was pooped out and tired and just needed a break, and I needed it right now thank you very much!  I cannot wait until Saturday!  So, in my fleshly wisdom (I hope you are paying attention to my careful wording), I decided not to do anything but rest…sounds great, right?  No workout, no computer…and guess what else?  No devotional time….(this is when we cue the old-time detective show music…dum da dum dum…dum da dum dum DUM!!!! And in this case, perhaps that should be spelled D-U-M-B.)

Yep, as almost always happens, the days I choose to put off my devotional time, I end up making everything worse, only to go back and do my devotional later (haggard, tired, stressed and desperate) and find that it WAS PERFECT FOR THAT DAY!!!! 

Basically, my devotional on Friday told me to Rest in God (Psalm 62:5) and pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17)….guess who prayed herself through the rest of the day, headache and all?  As much as I possibly could, I kept turning my thoughts over to the Lord, and He got me through that day…I wonder what might have happened had I done that in the first place?  I imagine I would not have allowed certain things to stress me out, I would have chosen the right kind of rest, and the things that I HAD to do (like my job, which I usually love!) would not have been nearly so difficult…

So, here is where the story starts getting more refreshing…as I mentioned before, the next day was Saturday, my first Saturday off from a show in about a bajillion years…

In my flesh, I am a total type “A” person…make that, a total type “A” person with a guilt-prone nature, an accomplishment-guided mentality, and a people-pleasing habit…which means I was sorely tempted to make my day off into a gargantuan to-do list.

But I didn’t.

I got up and went to my devotional time.  I thought of things I might want to accomplish, and then I would bring my mind back to my devotions.  I would write down things and lists I might consider doing, and I would turn them over to God.  And when they came back, I continued to go to God and listen to HIS voice reminding me to consider what would bring me the MOST PEACE, MOST REST, MOST JOY…to not be afraid that I would get carried away, but be reminded that He was right there with me, even in the planning of a day off, and that if I would just commit to stillness with Him, it would all turn out…not to be afraid of the clock, or this list…and to choose the most important things…for I have the mind of Christ, and a life lived in the Spirit, gratifies the desires of the Spirit…and my Spirit just keeps saying, “rest”.

Romans 8:6 New International Version (NIV)

6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Galatians 5:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Now, does that mean my personality was magically transformed, and there were no problems whatsoever in carrying out this floating-on-a-cloud mission?  Don’t make me snicker-snort, please.  (Or, do.  Laughter doeth the heart like good medicine…Proverbs)

Anyway.  There were moments when I looked at the clock and thought, “oh boy, I was hoping to be further along by now”…but there were also moments when I realized, “Hey!  I have gotten a few things done that bring me peace and a smile, and it is only such-and-such-o-clock, and I am not stressed out!” 

(Sidebar:  what did I get done?  Some laundry, some house straightenin’, some food preppin’, etc, etc…Here are a few pics of the food prep just for fun…it is sooo much easier to eat healthily if you have it ready for yourself…I cut up some fresh veggies {zucchini from our own garden!},

made some home-made hummus  –I have 3 or 4 different recipes I use.  They are all very similar: a mix of beans, nut paste/butter, healthy fat, seasonings, and lemon juice.  Yesterday I used the one from Kristen Feola’s “The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast”; you can try it here:

http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/2010/01/want-snack-have-some-hummus.html

Yummy, beany, herby goodness!

Started soaking some almonds for almond milk, and started soaking some broccoli seeds for sprouting…which will be so rewarding later!)

In the end, I DID get a few things done that I needed/wanted to do, and THEN AS I PROMISED TO MYSELF, I got to take a rest. A real rest…I took myself off down to the swimmin’ hole (yes, I am using the vernacular I mean to use), utilized a spirit of self-discipline to take a vigorous walk nearby before grabbing my outdoor yoga mat, a towel, a good book, my water and larrabar, and heading to the creek for a nice little lay-around…

It was my kind of heaven.

I even met some folks with a wonderful campsite, who happen to have gone to school with one of my cast members…a few hours from here!  Fun, small world kind of moment!

I found a quiet spot, waded in the cool water for a moment, and then settled down to just.   be.   still.

Psalm 23 just kept coming to mind.  I was certainly resting beside still waters (they may have been flowing, but compared to the craziness of a show business/tourist town, and even just what goes on in my own head some days, believe me, they were beautifully quiet and still!)

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

 5 You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
   forever.

Eventually, I did need to return home to get ready for a social engagement (well, La-dee-da, right?) …a lovely house party that was designed as a benefit for a WONDERFUL organization:  Table Rock Freedom Center,  a non-denominational, faith-based recovery residential program for women.  I highly recommend visiting their page and offering your support! Click below to learn more:

http://trfreedom.com/wordpress/

It was to be a lovely evening with my hubby and various friends/acquaintances/new friends-in-the-making with great Cajun food and wonderful music!  Thank you, my darling friends and hosts who honored Table Rock Freedom Center this way, and for opening up your home to all of us–and inviting us, even!  And to the musicians, I already told ya’ how wonderful you were…thank you again for sharing your talents with us! 

(I won’t share the names just so folks can remain anonymous if they wish…)

Back home and an attempt to wind down with a good book in bed before a full Sunday of fun planned…more on that next post…(stay tuned!)

Cuz how many of you know the enemy likes to get ya’ riled on a Sunday?  Better rest up…and Rest in Him…and pray continually…

Praying for you all who have taken the time to read, and thank you!!!

Love,

Robyn

newsflash!  Having a local giveaway this week…Leave a comment below with the answer to this question, and you will be entered into a drawing for a yoga mat bag!  You choose the color (light green or maroon)…

Question:  What kind of beans are called for in the hummus recipe Robyn used today? (you can use any kind of white bean, but what kind does the actual recipe ask for?  –and guess what?  I used what I had on hand, which was different…but the question is fun!)

leave me a comment below, and your name will be entered into the drawing to be held on Friday, June 17th!  (local/Southwest Missourians only, please –I can hand deliver–,…unless you are willing to pay the shipping charges, or are coming near to visit, which is fine by me!)

Today’s Yummy Green Smoothie and Christ-centered Yoga for Tornado Relief!!!

Let's fan the flame and lift the Spirit....

Though the tornadoes that swept through the Midwest happened a couple of weeks ago, the need for help and relief is ongoing…To that end, my Christ-centered yoga business is offering two classes whose proceeds will all go to help the victims of that devastation.

There will be one All-levels/Hatha/Anusara flow style class on Thursday, June 9th from 10:45am until Noon at the Tri-Lakes Christian Church in Branson. Come to breathe, praise and worship our Savior, stretch, strengthen, sweat, relax, release, let go and let God in honor of those who are needing our help!!!

There will be a class for Seniors and/or those with Limited Mobility (a non-intimidating restorative class that is challenging but restful, and fun!!) the following Thursday, June 16th, from 10:45am to Noon, also at the Tri-Lakes Christian Church in Branson, Mo.

New students to Vessels of Clay Yoga, please leave me a comment so that I can get in contact with you about what to expect and what you need to bring. I am so looking forward to meeting you on the mat!

Admission to either class is a $10 donation; checks made payable either to Woodland Hills Family Church (with “Joplin Tornado Relief” in the memo line), or College Heights Christian Church (with “Joplin Tornado Relief” in the memo line).

You can look up Tri-Lakes Christian Church here:

http://trilakeschristian.org

Surprisingly Yummy!!!

And now….today’s Green Smoothie was a very pleasant surprise!  Isn’t it funny how you might plan something in your head for what you will have for breakfast (I was thinking maybe eggs with some greens and vegan cheese, but then realized, “oh MY-lanta, I have got to get to work on the computer…better have a smoothie instead for now…”)  Well, I call those moments God-divined, for when I have sought Him first thing, and He has fortified me to do what He has called me to do (like go work out before the day gets by me), He also often enables me to be flexible in my previously determined plans, amen?

And So.  Realizing I needed to sip a smoothie while I type a bunch o’stuff today before I have to go do a show, I opened the fridge to see what I could see…=-)  Grabbed some natural apple juice, some spinach and collards, some frozen peaches and some other stuff, and yum!!!  PLEASANT SURPRISE. Here is what is in my smoothie today:

1 Cup Natual Apple Juice (no sugar added, etc)

1 handful Baby Spinach, 2 Handfuls Garden Collards

1 Carrot

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (1/2 serving.  a serving is 2 scoops with my brand)

liberal sprinkling of fresh ground cinnamon

about 5 drops of Liquid stevia in English Toffee flavor (Sweet leaf brand)

about 2 handfuls frozen peaches (probably a cup)

To Make:

Pour apple juice into high speed blender (I have a blendtec.  It’s ok if you have a lower speed blender, it will just take a little longer and a few more whirs to juice the produce).  Add all the greens and blend until juice.  Add one carrot (cut).  Blend until juice.  Add frozen peaches, whey protein powder, cinnamon and stevia, and blend until a smoothie!  (I actually could have blended one more time as I had 3 or 4 small peach chunks, but that’s ok.  I am at home and I can spoon them into my mouth at will!)

Here is the deal: collards?!?  I know, right?!?  But actually, the slightly pungent flavor was a GREAT offset to the sweetness of the stevia and apple juice!  You know how tart/sweet and salty/sweet go so well together sometimes?  That’s how this was…and yet, it was definitely more on the sweet side, with tons of good health on top!!!

So “Cheers and Here’s”!  (Cheers and Here’s to you!)

How’s that for ReShaping It All?  Taking care of ourselves, taking care of our neighbors in need, and loving our God wholeheartedly.  Have a blessed day my friends!!!

With God as our right-hand man, how could we not?

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord, Your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

3 John 1:2

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

We are the Church, One body, Many members, with many beautiful and different gifts and characteristics! Blessings to all of you!

Views on a Lazy Sunday, a.k.a., taking a “Real Rest”

A relaxing Sunday…not much better…

Yesterday, God was speaking to me about rest.  I was needing it.  Sadly, like most of us, I didn’t have the option of actually canceling my day…so I just kept repeating one of the verses He had placed in front of my face yesterday morning,

Luke 1:37  “Nothing is impossible with God.”

I attended to some of my to-do list, and made my way to the show, repeating under my breath more than a few times…Nothing is impossible with God….as well as,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Boy, I needed it!  I was “super-stupid-tired”, as we call it in my  house.  So tired, in fact, that when my hubby offered to meet me in town for dinner, and I had a gut feeling that this might not be a great idea, I went anyway (I didn’t want to disappoint him)…

How many of you know that we need to listen to those gut instincts more than we do?  ah well…

Honestly, it wasn’t so bad, and I made healthy choices, but again, I was so super-stupid-tired that I likely ate more than I needed…and became even more tired!!!

Returning home, we opted for Netflix and an episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” (love that wholesome show!!!) before heading for an early bedtime and some reading…

-Sidebar- what am I reading right now?  Well, I am one of those who usually has 3 or 4 books going on at a time, NOT because I lack focus, for whichever one I am reading at that moment gets my full focus!!!  Nope, I just know myself now, and I choose books according to the need for Devotion, Inspiration, Education, or Relaxation…

So, off the top of my head, tucked and layered within my bedside nightstand/shelf are:  my Bible, Tales from a Yoga Studio (fiction), ReShaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure, Invitation to Christian Yoga by Nancy Roth, Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola (why I haven’t moved it to my cookbook shelf, I don’t know…finished the Fast a few weeks ago, but as I keep using it for recipes, I keep returning it to where I found it…and since it was my devotional for 3 weeks, there ya go!), Jesus Calling, my prayer journal, assorted greeting cards from my sweet hubby, and assorted Natural Health and Yoga Journal mags that I can never seem to get to reading (hmm, wonder why…).

ANYWAY.

Lights out by 9pm, woke up around 4am and tossed-n-turned until 5:30.  Got up, fed the cats, made some oat bran/applesauce/almonds and a hot drink-y and did Devotions.  Back to bed from 6:30 to 9am.  Wow!  Slept in!  (helps to put on the sleep mask).

The view from my pillow, a.k.a., kitties holding me down...

Why do I say all of this?  To prep you for what’s coming next:

We didn’t go to church.

GASP!!!

Before you judge, here’s the deal.  We are both exhausted.  We live 30 miles from our church, and gas prices are extremely high.

"DUE TO FUEL PRICES-WE ARE UNABLE TO PURCHASE GASOLINE" Sadly, what is happening in 'Mayberrys' all over...I hear ya, brother.

And we are both exhausted. (oh wait, I said that.)

Don’t worry, I know Hebrews 10: 24-25;

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I also know that I am free from Pharisaic thoughts and rules…and I have the mind of Christ, with wisdom and discernment!  So, it seems that yesterday’s message certainly got us through yesterday so that we could eventually come home and take a real rest…which is what I believe TODAY’S message was:

Matthew 11: 28-30Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I knew it in my heart of hearts…(and we don’t skip all the time, ok?!? (-= …)

Sooo, it has been a FABULOUS day of rest, and I just wanted to share what that looked like for us to you!

It’s not time for me to do the big laundry load yet, but every Sunday (or Saturday night) I have to watch a few necessaries so that I can continue in my  job…plus, in class last week, we did some outside yoga, so…

While things were washing, I caught up on some darning work I needed to do…(Fiona wanted to “help”…check out my classy attire…)

Fiona "helping"...

While darning, I caught up on my DVR’d episodes of XtremeLife.  It is a great half hour show about Extreme Stunts/Sports Athletes who share their faith on the road and through their sport!  I used to date a Flatland Biker, so I still have some latent Skater Chic tendencies…including how I dress and speak on occasion…no wonder people sometimes think I am younger than I am!  Check out these websites:  www.xtremelife.tv and www.realencounter.org
There are certainly others, but I have a personal connection to the Real Encounter guys, and I love the XtremeLife tv show!

Of course, our furry babies were enjoying a day of rest, too…

Fernanda, always the life of the party...

Figaro, aka Figgy, in his lazy bed...

We also seem to attract orphans.  We don’t feed them for the longest time, but…

(wish our neighbors would get their cat spayed…on a side note, we are trying to socialize these a bit so we can take them to petco…)

When I needed a snack, I made a green smoothie of spinach, strawberries, rice protein powder, and the juice from some soaked dates, plus a few superfood powders for fun…and I have to tell those who are new to green smoothies, sometimes it is REALLY most fun if you put them in a fun cup!!!

I hung my un-dryables on the line outside before taking a walk.  You can tell a lot about someone from their clothesline…who is this crazy person—yoga mat, yoga pants and top, fishnet hose and colorful bloomers?  A showgirl/yogini, that’s who!

Excited that our garden is showing signs of life…

And on my walk, I enjoyed gorgeous natural sights!  I just love walking outside.  How easy it is to praise God when His beautiful creations are all around, praising Him and Glorifying Him, too?!?

Hubby picked a couple of daisies for me when he was mowing the other day, but they’ve wilted by now, so here is this!

As I was walking, the MOST WONDERFUL SMELL….Honeysuckle!  I love Honeysuckle!

And back home to do a half an hour of yoga, wash up, and have a little techno-fun!

Getting hungry now, so need to go fix a meal…Had YUMMY flatbread pizza from The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast (see the link on the side), and I still have some leftovers…

OR, I might grill some fish in our NuWaveOven Pro–It is awesome!  Go get one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond; it comes with all the tv extras minus the shipping costs!  Great energy saver and healthy cooker!  Lots of things you can do with it!  Thinking about using another recipe from The UG to the DanFast…one with Kale, tomato, and onions…Since we have no kale, but have a plethora of Collard Greens, I am thinkin’ of subbin’…

We’ll just see!  I thank You, Lord, for healthy choices all the way around!  I praise you for this beautiful rest day, and I give You credit for it all!

I pray you all find your real rest in Him today, as well.  Be blessed and renewed, dear friends.

Lovingly,

little Robyn

“Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”   – Jesus

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!!!

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