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Caught Red-Handed

To be caught red-handed is to be caught with the evidence for all to see. It’s origins date back to 15th century Scotland, where it was used when describing a criminal caught with the victim’s blood on his hand.

 

I’ve been convicted.

 

I have a tendency to catch my children red-handed.

 

I am prone to catching them committing misdemeanors.

 

I seem to gravitate toward corrective action that magnifies their errors.

 

And perhaps that’s just the nature of the beast when you’re “training” 5 young children. 5 children ages 11 and under are learning, testing the waters, feeling their way through, collecting life experiences and many of the experiences come about through trial and error.

 

But God has gently whispered to me, you catch them red-handed, also catch them doing good.

 

At heart, I am an encourager. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. And that includes my children. I delight in seeing them reach their potential and cheering them along the way. But after I’ve reminded, nudged and motivated them to carry out the same chore day after day, well…that encouragement takes on a new shape. Gone are the words that affirm and here come the words that condemn.

 

But I’ve resolved to catch them doing good,

 

My children and I attended an annual American Indian Festival. My 9-year old Cub Scout, in uniform was completing one of his electives on   American Indian Life. While we were at the craft table my son noticed several young girls find a phone on the ground.  He got my attention and began telling me “Mommy these girls just found a phone on the ground”.  I lightly brushed it off, thinking he was just witnessing someone drop then pick up his or her own phone.  He told me again, “No Mommy that is not their phone.  I heard them say “Ooh look what I found.”  As he was relaying that information to me, the girls walked away.  Then we heard a woman standing next to us say “Where’s my phone?” My son asked her if she lost her phone and she said yes.  He said, “I saw the girls who took your phone.” He then led the woman across the campgrounds to point out the girls so the woman could retrieve her phone.  The woman was very grateful for his attentive eye and quick actions that led to her recovering her phone.

 

Here is a great example of an opportunity to catch him doing good. I almost missed it though, ready to brush his observation aside. It all happened so quickly and I was “busy” managing my other children, I almost let this opportunity slip me by. But God’s gentle nudge came and said LISTEN to him. And my son was right. What a great chance to catch him doing good. I commended him on his attentiveness and shared it with his extended family and Scout Den Leader.

 

Love hopes for the best and believes the best. So even when what they are doing is contrary to what I expect, I still hope for and believe the best about them. Instead of being so quick to highlight flaws, I will affirm the character I expect to see.

 

So instead of just telling my 11 year old “You’re slacking on those dishes. I KNOW you see them in the sink. Why do I have to ask you to do your job?”; I will reframe. I will affirm her for the significant role her job plays since our kitchen is the central nervous system of our home. I will catch her doing good. When she completes the chore proactively I will not say, “It’s about time”. I will acknowledge her for demonstrating responsibility. Instead of allowing one of my children to pick on another because she is sensitive, I will affirm the sensitive child for being compassionate and for demonstrating gentleness.

 

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

I will be an Intentional Encourager.

 

In Priscilla Shirer’s book The Resolution for Women, she admonishes mothers to be intentional encouragers. Shirer states, “She [the mother] doesn’t overlook their immaturity, mistakes and mishaps; but when she brings these points up, there isn’t a general air of disapproval and low expectation. She chooses rather to temper her honesty with the grace of edification and encouragement.”

 

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful,

so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

 

Just like I caught my 4-year old messing around in the kitchen.  When I heard all the tinkering I thought he was sneaking some snacks. I stormed into the kitchen ready to discipline him. What I found was that he made a fruit salad for himself and his little brother.  I’m so grateful God shifted me quickly from catching red-handed to catching doing good.

 

Be encouraged parents. Being a mother is certainly one of the hardest job’s I’ve ever done. But God gives grace and wisdom and is patient with me as I’m learning on the job. And He extends that grace and patience to you and your children as well.

 

With school out and summer break in full swing, I will have plenty of opportunities to catch them red-handed but I’m determined to catch them doing good.

 

Do you hope for and believe the best about your children?

 

Do you purposefully acknowledge their efforts and catch them doing good?

 

For more on acknowledging character, CLICK HERE for Character First’s list of character qualities.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

(PS-For all the grammarians that are cringing at the phrase “doing good”, I know you’d like it to read “doing well”. “Catch them doing good” is what’s been ringing in my spirit so even for the sake of grammar I couldn’t change it. I had to write it the way God gave it to me. In fact, I would have been bothered by it too as I have a degree in Journalism but I write what the Lord tells me to write Insert Smile 🙂
Happy to connect with these friends spreading the good news Purposeful Faith, #WordsWithWinter, #LifeGivingLinkup, Mommy Moments

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come….

 

A movie featuring one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams. It’s also one of my favorite genres of film, fantasy. Sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, man I just love movies where imagination takes flight and other worlds become reality.

 

If…only I could dream those dreams.

 

If…I could give myself permission to dream an alternate reality and dare God to bring it to pass.

 

If…I could allow my dreams to unfold long enough to reach their fulfillment.

 

My dreams come but I smother them.

 

God gives the vision and I place it under a cloak of darkness.

 

I guess what I love about my favorite genres of film is that I believe those alternate realities can truly exist. I believe that one day we could actually live in a dystopian society. I believe that one day we might be able to connect with life forms that exist in space as illustrated in another one of my favorite movies, Contact.

 

But if I could only dare to believe what God says about me. If I could only allow the dreams God has shown me to completely unfurl and see them through to the credits rolling.

 

Well now is that time.

 

I’m daring to take God at His word. He said:

 

“Then you will know that I am in Israel,

that I am the Lord your God,

and that there is no other;

never again will my people be shamed.

And afterward,I will pour out my Spirit

on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your old men will dream dreams,

your young men will see visions.”

Joel 2:27-28

 

I will stop getting up in the middle of my life’s movie and will sit through to see what the end will be.

 

I will stop playing it safe and will take the risk of trusting God. He certainly has a good track record with me.

 

I will take my hands off of my eyes and stop peeking through the cracks of my fingers and I will stand and watch to see the salvation of the Lord.

 

I have visions.

 

I have dreams.

 

What Dreams May Come? Not sure, but let them come.

 

Now I release them to unfold.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Happy to connect with #FiveMinuteFriday on this word #dream

Stinking Thinking

“Get rid of your stinking thinking”, is a popular saying from by Pastor John K. Jenkins, the Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.

 

What a true and necessary statement. It’s #WellnessWednesday here at Inspired Life and most Wednesdays we talk about honoring the temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. A well-nourished person has a well-nourished mind. And depending your thought life you could be well nourished or have mental anorexia or mental bulimia.   Just as anorexia and bulimia are toxic to the physical body, stinking thinking is just as hazardous if not more for our mental health. The bible says as a man thinks so is he.

 

Stinking thinking is contrary to God’s Word.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,

whatever is noble, whatever is right,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent

or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

 

But thoughts have a way of taking root and taking over. Like weeds, they put down strong roots and choke out those things we are trying to grow. But today we take a stand against stinking thinking and will not allow the weeds to take root. We will pluck them out as soon as they make an appearance. Properly tending the garden of our minds will yield a thought life that blooms with vibrant flowers and good fruit.

weeds

Stinking thinking is sly and slick and can sneak up on you. Last week it crept stealthily upon me and dropped two little negative babies in my brain and they started to whine and cry. Take a glimpse in my mind:

 

~As I was about to fall asleep the Lord showed me a book cover. I saw the title of the book, an illustration and down below was my name. I saw my book! But after my name there was no comma, no initials, no credentials certifying me to be an authority on health and wellness. Then negative baby was born in my brain and came out shrieking, “You are not credentialed so you can’t write that book”.

 

~As I was watching one of the biggest Pastor in the world advertising for an upcoming national event he mentioned some of the sessions that were being offered, one of which was health and wellness. God spoke “I can place you on that platform”. Immediately came another negative baby screeching in my brain, “You can’t do that”. You’re not qualified”.

 

I could not feed these negative babies and allow them to grow into adult screamers taking over my head. NO! They had to go.

 

How do we abolish stinking thinking?

 

Heed The Word

When negative thought come up, arrest them on the spot. Capture those thoughts and cast them out. Negative thought are toxic thoughts that are contrary to God’s word.

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension

that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,

and we take captive every thought to make it

obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

 

Meditate On Truth

Once you capture the toxic thought, replace it with the Truth. So while I may not have letters behind my name making me an authority on health and wellness, I have been diligent and have studied to show myself approved. For 12 years I have been studying, reading, researching, and practicing wellness. The Most High has divinely guided me on the journey. He has been my teacher. And one day He will permit me to obtain some credentials but for now my certifications come from Him. He will not release me to pursue certification until it’s the right time for the right reasons. He’s clearly stated to me, your approval comes from me not from man. I know your heart.

 

Limit Outside Influence

The world’s cares can choke out God’s truth. The things we allow in our ear gates and eye gates influence who we are, what we do and what we believe. Images in the media can tell us that we ought to maintain a certain status: Have, Do, Be ALL THIS! Well meaning friends and family can suggest what we ought to Have, Do and Be. My caution is to quiet those voices so you can hear THE VOICE. He will lead you in paths of righteousness for His namesake. He will lead you in the way everlasting. Listen to Him, Trust Him and Follow Him.

 

For in depth support on managing your thought life, check out Dr. Caroline Leaf’s 21 Day Brain Detox. In this program Dr. Leaf gives a systematic approach for eliminating toxic thoughts.

 

The mind is truly a battlefield and we have to know the weapons of our warfare. I pray that you will meditate on that which is true and allow your mind to flourish.

 

landscaping 2

As always it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with friends at Purposeful Faith, Grace & Truth, Dance With Jesus

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5 Tips for Raising Fit Kids

5-6 days a week. That’s how often I workout. I plan and prepare healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner for myself. It takes more effort at my age and after having 5 children then throw in genetics and I’ve really got to work hard to keep my temple operating at peak performance.

 

But do I go through the same lengths to ensure that my children are living well mind, body and spirit? I consistently feed their spirit by modeling my relationship with God before them, raising them rooted in the word of God and placing them in environments that affirm what I’ve already presented to them. Their minds are nourished when I attentively listen to them, show them how to embrace the now moment, spend quality time with them, and create opportunities for them to express themselves and to shine. Finally, I nourish their bodies by bringing food into the home that adds to not detracts from their health. But in addition to that, I’ve got to ensure that they are physically active.

 

The typical American lifestyle today is sedentary. Children are attached to television, desktops, laptops, DS, Smartphones, tablets and the like. When I was a child, I was outside playing. Outside in torrential Boston snow in the late 70’s and early 80’s. And it was REAL accumulation not just a few inches. I was outside when it was HOT and our only means of cooling down was taking a dip in the forceful current flowing from the fire hydrant. I was outside playing tag, mother may I, hide and go seek, hop scotch, double Dutch, hot peas and butter and red light/green light (am I telling my age?). When I was a child, I played and played hard!

 

So let me ask you, “Are you creating an environment for your child that promotes physical activity”?

 

The behaviors that are established in our youth carry us into our adulthood. We want to raise children who value honoring the temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise.

 

Here are my 5 Tips For Raising Fit Kids

 

  1. Model The Behavior

It starts with us. Do they see us actively engaging in some form of physical activity? Even my two-year old recognizes exercise. When he sees me in my leggings grabbing my sneakers he says, “Mommy, you do exercise?” Oh, it just warms my heart. Then he proceeds to join me, even if just for a brief moment in my daily routine.

hold plank

lift weights

 

  1. Proactively Create Opportunities

Have you created time in your children’s schedule for daily exercise? Our children’s day can be so jammed packed that it squeezes out time for physical activity. Even if it’s 15 minutes of outside time right after school, ensure you’ve given time for physical activity.

Health Expo

 

 

  1. Know What They Like

Know what type of physical activity your children enjoy then create opportunities for them to DO that activity. My 2nd born isn’t that interested in a great deal of physical activity. He’s much more content with a big pile of Legos. But he loves his scooter and somewhat likes bike riding. He likes to take his scooter with him to the park. Now that used to annoy me because he’d ask for it when I was already driving away from the house to head to the park or he’d be careless with it after riding it for 10 minutes. So I’ve had to be flexible and create room for him to bring it and coach him on being more responsible with his things.

Tennis

 

 

  1. Make It Fun

In order for me to want to get through my workout, it has to be somewhat enjoyable (I’m not one who naturally thinks exercise is FUN. I hear that those people do exist but I’m not one of them). So for ourselves and for our children we should engage in physical activity that gets us smiling and having a good time. I bought my daughter an ankle skip ball and I even enjoy that one. My 1st born is really into dancing these days so Zumba type workouts appeal to her. My 4th born LOVES sports so his idea of fun is to bring out 2 bikes, a soccer ball, tennis rackets, scooters, golf clubs and a basketball and of course he wants me to do all those activities with him.

Hoola Hoop

 

Skip Ball

 

 

 

  1. It’s A Family Affair

Invite them to join you during some of your exercise routines. Let them come up with an exercise of the week. Plan family bike rides, hikes, relay races, and more. I’ve even known some families to come up with Olympics style games. And if you can’t get around to planning a special outing, you can all just DANCE! Chances are you’ve got music on your smartphone. So play an upbeat song and get moving!

hold plank

Fit Kids

bike riding

By employing the above strategies you are well on your way to Raising Fit Kids. Your children will proactively participate in establishing good habits that will benefit them for a lifetime. They will #ChooseWell and honor their temples through proper nourishment, rest and exercise and will experience living fully. What a wonderful legacy you will impart to them that will benefit generations to come.

 

Exercise must be coupled with proper nutrition. CLICK HERE to read more on getting them to eat right.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with A Little R & R

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Summer Slow Down

7 more days. Really?! Seven more school days until the completion of the 2014-2015 school year. Of my 5 children, 3 are in school. Our school year has been greatly extended because of many snow days and delayed openings. And not only does it mark the completion of the school year but also a break from their STEM club and Boy Scouts.

 

With the intensity of their schoolwork, extra curricular activities, my home, business and ministry commitments, we are all in need of the summer slow down. I usually have their summer calendar FULL by April. From VBS and camps to vacations and festivals, that calendar is jammed packed. Not this year friends.

 

I’ve taken a different approach. As always (well, almost all the time), I’ve followed the Holy Spirit’s leading. He gently showed me that some of my family’s joy and fun have been squeezed out. As stated earlier, with the intensity of our day-to-day activities and my husband starting a new job, fun has been in “Life’s” clutches struggling to get free.   So I release FUN from its restraints. We will bask in the summer slow down, embrace the now moment and have fun.

 

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

 

Lord I resolve not to allow “Doing Life” to squeeze You out, squeeze fun out, squeeze joy out. I will find my delight in You Oh Lord and will reflect your glory and fullness of joy onto my loved ones. And with the reflection of your glory I will command the atmosphere in my home to be saturated with love, joy, peace and fun.

 

To embrace the summer slow down and have fun I’ve left the calendar pretty open. The 3 oldest will have one week of camp each and we’ve got one family vacation planned otherwise, we’ll figure it out as we go along.  I’ll have the children create at least 20 things they want to do and we’ll put them in a jar and pick.

 

And so far we are off to a great start. I went to an all-day jazz concert with a friend who is witty and kept me in stitches. The children have had fun hanging out at The National Harbor, a pool party, eating out (which is a real treat because we usually eat at home) a health and fitness expo, and a water gun battle. Now if mommy and daddy can get a date night….

 

Some of my personal favorite ways of summer slow down:

 

~Reading historical Christian fiction

~Going to the beach

~Going to a concert

~Sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop and a steaming cup of Joe (this is a rare treat)

~Sitting on the front step of my home, gazing out onto the water, listening to the birds and geese.

 

What are you doing to embrace the summer slow down and have fun? Let me hear from you. If you are challenged with granting yourself permission to have fun, CLICK HERE.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Happy to connect with these friends encouraging the Body Life Giving LinkupPurposeful Faith, Dance With Jesus, Grace & Truth

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Chipotle {At Home}

Simple Menu + Humble Ingredients = Success

 

Chipotle has managed to take a few simple items and strike gold. Everyone loves Chipotle. From children to seniors, burritos bowls to guac, everyone loves almost everything about Chipotle. Since you love nearly everything about Chipotle, why not save yourself some time (you know how those lines can be during the lunch rush), some added sodium and fat and prepare Chipotle at home.

 

This is a family favorite in my house. I just line everything up and each person (except my 2 year old) assembles his or her own bowl.

 

Chipotle {At Home}

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

2 cups cooked brown rice

zest of 1 lime

¼ cup cilantro chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Mix all ingredients together.

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

Black Beans

 ½ lb cooked black beans *

1 cup reserved bean juice or water

1 onion diced

1 large clove garlic minced

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

braggs liquid aminos (optional)

 

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add the rest of ingredients and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

 

*For more on how I always keep cooked beans on hand and not from a can, click here.

Black beans

 

Roasted Peppers and Onions

1 large red onion halves and sliced

1 pepper (sweet or green) sliced

1 tsp chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Toss all ingredients and roast on baking sheet for 15 minutes or until brown on edges.  Turn vegetables midway through cooking time.

Roasted Veggies

 

Guacamole

2 ripe avocados

juice of ½ lime

3 tbsp cilantro chopped

2 tbsp red onion diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp jalapeno chopped (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Cut avocado and deseed. Scoop out avocado and mash with fork.  Add remaining ingredients and mix.

Guacamole

 

Corn

Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn

Just heat.

Corn

 

 

Proudly set out your Chipotle {At Home}, assemble your bowl and enjoy. This is also a great meal to double or quadruple to feed the masses.

Burrtios

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Eat Right All Summer Long

The cloying smell of burning coals finds its way to your nose. The intoxicating aroma draws you in. You begin to salivate as you can practically taste the offerings that will soon be delivered from the grill.

 

Even though I don’t eat most of the food generally served at cookouts, the smell of those coals still does something to me. So I’m here to share with you the tips I employ to choose well when attending summer gatherings.. The season is upon us. You are soon to be bombarded with cookout invitations, birthday parties, backyard get togethers and the like.

 

Charred meat. Saturated fat. Sugar. Alcohol.

 

Barbecue Ribs. Potato Salad. Macaroni Salad. Baked Beans. Punch. Cake. Soda.

 

This is just some of what you can expect to find at the next BBQ. Nonetheless, you will be duly equipped to choose well. I can still enjoy the food, fellowship and fun while making an active decision to choose well.

 

Tyra’s Tips for Choosing Well At Summer Gatherings

 

Be Sensitive To The Hostess

Who really wants to deal with an obnoxious, self-righteous food nazi? Nobody. So no need to make big public declaration about not eating those charred rib because of the carcinogens (just keep that info to yourself). As others enjoy their BBQ, don’t highlight the fat and sugar grams in each item they’ve consumed. I offer information if I’m specifically asked about my food choices.

 

Avoid Mayonnaise Laden Dishes

Aside from the fact that dairy based dishes don’t really hold well in the heat given it’s been sitting outside for a while, you may want to minimize the added saturated fat and calories of mayo based dishes, esp. if you are working on your beach body. Bathing suits and sundresses here I come.

 

 Watch The Sugar

With the soda and sweet treats that usually make an appearance at summer gathering, you may have to exercise some restraint. When chatting and socializing in hot weather, it’s easy to drink several sodas. Then top that off with some cake and popsicles and you’ve probably exceeded your recommended daily allowance of added sugar. Need a sweet treat? Reach for a slice of watermelon. Watermelon is highly alkaline and super hydrating.

 

Travel With Food

I’m infamous for traveling with my own food. Today, it’s pretty common to have a vegetarian, vegan or whole food eater in a group. But years ago it wasn’t so popular. And quite often people simply did not know how to accommodate my dietary choices and frankly I didn’t want to place that burden on them so I just travelled with my own food. Often, I’ll make sure I’ve eaten well before arriving at the event so that I will not be tempted by the cakes and chips. I also like to bring the hostess a dish. This always ensures that at a minimum I can eat the item I’ve brought. Below is one of my favorite summer items to bring. It is very adaptable and can easily be doubled or quadrupled to feed the masses.

 

Black Bean and Corn Salad

 

2 cups cooked black beans * (rinsed)

1 cup corn kernels

2 stalks scallions diced

½ sweet pepper diced

1 avocado cubed

1 tbsp olive oil

juice and zest of ½ lime

2 tbsp cilantro chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

 

Toss all ingredients together. Chill for a few hours for flavors to combine.

Black Bean Salad

 

As stated, this recipe is very adaptable. Sometimes I make a sweet version by adding diced mango and 1 tbsp honey. I vary the color of the sweet pepper based on what I have in the fridge. I’ve added jalapeno if I want to little kick. I like to use raw corn shucked right off the cob but Trader Joe’s also has a good frozen roasted corn that would work well in this dish. Have fun with it.

 

For more on cooking beans and having them fresh and always readily available so you don’t have to use canned, click here.

 

You are now armed and ready to choose well when attend your next summer gathering. In fact, these tips can be used to eat right all summer long.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

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Engaged In Spiritual Battle

I am weary. I am weak. I am worn. But I stand.

 

Having done all to stand, I still stand. It seems as if I’ve been in an ongoing spiritual battle. Perhaps the battle has been underway for a very long time. Perhaps I’m just coming to the realization of what’s been going on. I thank the Lord that He has given me greater sensitivity, “eye to see” and “ears to hear” what He is doing in the earth. The rate at which he’s been revealing has been accelerated and I stand in awe that He longs to show me great and mighty things. Though being a recipient of these revealed mysteries has not been without a fight.

 

At every turn it seems as if plans have been thwarted, dreams have been obliterated, and relationships fractured. But God…I stand on his word and I stand on His promise that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. They may form, and they may even try to take root, but they will not prosper.

 

My General, my Commander is Jehovah Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts. He is the head and has all sovereignty in heaven and on earth. And He goes before me in battle. Radiant in all His glory He leads us into battle.

 

Who is the King of glory?

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—

he is the King of glory.

Psalm 24:10

 

What He’s shown me is He is simply looking for you! Yes you. His eyes are looking on the earth for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Friend as we worship, we fall in line, right behind Jehovah Sabaoth. He is flanked by angels and believers of times past. His army is ever growing. And while it appears that the enemy has an even larger army with more powerful weaponry, He wants you to open your spiritual eyes so that you can SEE.

 

So he answered, “Do not fear,

for those who are with us are

more than those who are with

them.” And Elisha prayed, and

said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes

that he may see.” Then the Lord

opened the eyes of the young man,

and he saw. And behold, the mountain

was full of horses and chariots of fire

all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:16-17

 

And how do you open your spiritual eyes to see this reality, His reality? Through worship.

 

Thank you God for opening my eyes to see so that I do not have to fear. Friend, neither do you have to fear. Just be strong and courageous.

 

In the midst of battle last week, I called a friend to pray. Having other strong believers to unite with in prayer is crucial. And while we were connected physically on the phone, we were both filled with an immense awareness of the mighty moves that were taking place as our spirits connected. My friend told me to “Stand and Watch. Stand and Watch”. And just today, another friend, without prior knowledge of last week’s conversation sent me precisely the word applicable to my current situation. Which also happened to be a RIGHT ON TIME word for a different friend with whom I had been praying just earlier in the day. You see, this is how God operates. We are all spirits and when we worship him in spirit and in truth, His truth resonates through the body of believers and we see the TRUE CHURCH! A united body of believers not only connected within a physical church but whose spirit are available and united to carry out kingdom activity in the spirit realm.

 

Standing, watching, fully engaged in battle. Shoulders almost unable to bear the weight, calf muscles feel like they’re on fire but I stand.

 

Now then, stand still and watch

this great thing the LORD

is going to do right before your eyes.

1 Samuel 12:16

 

But you will not even need to fight.

Take your positions; then stand still

and watch the LORD’s victory. He is

with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out

against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!”

2 Chronicles 20:17

 

While I stand having done all to stand, I am still weary. Donning each piece of my spiritual armor is taxing.   The armor is extremely heavy. I feel like my spiritual legs resemble my natural legs after doing 50 straight squats. I’m sweaty and quite frankly maybe even a little smelly but…

 

I’m STILL STANDING!

 

I’ve been listening to Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear” for weeks now. You can read more about that and what to do when under attack by clicking here. It is because of my worship that I’m still standing. It is because of my worship that I can SEE Jehovah Sabaoth right before my eyes. It is because of my worship that I can patiently wait.

 

And while I stand and wait and worship, God is faithful to continue ministering to me. He gave me a new song this week that continues to minister hope and love and peace.

When you are open, God can and will use different medium to minister his grace and truth to your spirit. It may be a song, a line of scripture, a word from a Pastor, or even a blog post. And for me right now the message continues to be to stand and my song, Jonathan Butler’s “I Stand On Your Word”, confirms it.

 

So friend, I invite you to join me in prayer. We must be ever so sensitive as to what is happening in the spirit realm so we can move and act accordingly. While I am engaged in spiritual battle, I stand. In standing we are not just passively waiting, our spiritual muscles are engaged and we worship.

 

Eternal God, Most Gracious and Holy Father, you alone are the only wise God. It is to you we look for direction. You are all knowing and all powerful. And right in the midst of holding the universe together, you are concerned about us. You see us, you know us and you love us and for that we just say thank you. We thank you for purifying our hearts and making us new. Jehovah Sabaoth, the enemy has been relentless in his attacks against us but we thank you that you’ve given your angels charge over us and they bear us up. We thank you that you deliver us from the evil one’s snare. By the authority given to us we cancel every plot or scheme devised to bring us harm. We cast the imps of division, strife, rebellion, fear, anxiety, depression, and confusion back into the pit of hell. You O God are our refuge; our fortress and a very present help in the time of trouble. Out of your immense love for us, you will deliver us, honor us and satisfy us with long life and for that we say thank you. With the fruit of our lips we say thank you. We lift holy hands and say thank you. You are worthy to be praised! Amen.

 

Still Standing!

 

Inspired Fully

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Delighted to connect with others encouraging the Body of Christ @ Purposeful FaithLife Giving Linkup, Grace and Truth , Dance With Jesus

Raw Chocolate Truffles

One of my all-time favorite desserts is the Lindt Lindor Truffle.   You can read more about my love affair with those here. They are luscious, creamy dreamy little bites of heaven. At the start of 2015 I went on a 10-day raw food cleanse. During the cleanse I got a bad Jones for the truffles. As to not give in and break my cleanse, I had to come up with a viable solution and here it is. Love at first bite. And it’s guilt free indulgence as it contains only good for you ingredients. I make a batch and put them in the freezer (they do not require doing so) and eat just one at a time to exercise discipline. And when I eat it, I slowly savor each tiny bite. So take this post with you to your natural food store, grab the ingredients and whip up a batch. Perhaps you already have these ingredients already in your pantry. Yay for a well stocked pantry. You can even find little raw bites like these for sale in your natural food store but they are way too expensive. Once you have these ingredients in your pantry, you can make these time and again for a fraction of the cost you’d spend buying them in the store. You can also use some of these ingredients to make one of my favorite smoothies.

 

SMOOTHIE: Black Forest Smoothie

 

So without further adieu, onto our little tasty bites of chocolate goodness.

 

RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

 

12-14 medjool dates

¼ heaping cup raw cacao powder + 3 tbsp

½ cup walnuts

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp water

small pinch salt

Shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

Crushed pistachios (optional)

 

In the food processor blend the nuts until they are finely chopped. Do not over blend, as you do not want to make a paste or butter. Next add the dates, ¼ cup cacao powder, vanilla, water and salt. Blend until it forms a smooth sticky mixture. Lightly wet your hands, grab a small amount and roll between your palms to form balls. Then roll the balls in the remaining cacao powder, or coconut, or crushed nuts.

 

Guilt free, chocolate indulgence at its best. Enjoy!

raw chocolate truffles

To read more about the health benefits of raw cacao powder click here.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

How To Build A Better Salad

Iceberg. Romaine. Tomato. Cheese. Croutons. Ranch.

 

BORING!

 

Why settle for the old standard salad bar salad when you can craft a masterpiece that will be tantalizing to the eyes and the taste buds? Not to mention, you want a salad that adds to not detracts from your health and a salad that’s loaded down with cheese, creamy dressing, and croutons….well.

 

Let me show you how to build a better salad. I have a salad nearly every day for lunch

 

1st let me say that not all of my salads have greens. Sometimes my salads are grain based or bean based. The one thing that’s consistent is they all contain some type of raw component.

 

GREENS

Spinach

Choose greens that are nutrient dense. Some good options are:

~Kale

~Spinach

~Swiss Chard

~Red Leaf Lettuce

~Cabbage

 

SALAD: Red Cabbage Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing

red cabbage salad

SALAD: Farro Salad

IMG_6702

VEGGIES

I love the addition of hot roasted vegetables on my salad. The heat from the veggies slightly wilts the greens and takes of the cold edge making the salad the perfect temperature. Mmm, just typing about it has me eagerly looking forward to lunch.

 

PROTEIN

If you want to lose/maintain weight, build muscle and reduce body fat, you should eat protein with every meal. By evenly rationing protein throughout your day as opposed to a huge portion at dinner, your muscles receive a constant supply of amino acid, which supports building muscle and boosting metabolism.

~Lean meat of choice

~Beans

~Nuts

~Quinoa

~Tofu

~Tempeh

kale salad chickpeas

ADD INS

Boost the taste and nutritional value of your salad by adding these extras.

~Nuts

~Seeds (sunflower, hemp, flax)

~Scallion

~Fruit (fresh or dried. I love the contrast of sweet and savory in a salad)

colorful salad

DRESSINGS

Many store bought dressings are not good for you. They can contain hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup and in general too much fat and sugar. You’d fare better making your own dressing and chances are you may already have ingredients at home to make the dressings. Whizzing these dressings in the blender gives them a nice creamy consistency without all the saturated fat and cholesterol normally found in many store bought dressings.

 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

My standard go to dressing. It’s made most excellent by the addition of my all time favorite spice, Hope by Virtuous Living. Click here to order your Hope today.

½ cup high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette

1 tbsp Hope

2 tsp maple syrup

1 clove garlic minced

salt & pepper to taste

 

Tahini Dressing

Tahini is a staple in my kitchen. From dressings to hummus to soups, I have many uses for it.

½ cup water

2 tbsp tahini

a squeeze of lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

 

Braggs Dressing

2 tbsp EVOO

1 tsp Braggs liquid aminos

 

Spicy Peanut Dressing

Click Here

 

The following are some additional salad ideas. These are not my original recipes but salads I enjoy.

 

Spring/Summer : Black Bean & Corn Salad

 

Fall/Winter: Winter Salad Bowl

 

Honor your temple by choosing well. Each day I make a decision to choose well by eating a nourishing, tasty salad. Now that you know hot to build a better salad, run to the store, get your ingredients and have some fun with it.

 

I’d love to hear and see what you’ve made. Take pictures of your salads and share with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook:Inspired Life

Twitter:Inspired Life

red lettuce salad nut meat

Quinoa salad

pear salad

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!