Uplifting in Discouragement Part 2

Click here to read part one of this story.

The next morning, I was ready to be rocked again. After hearing those words, I knew that the rest of the weekend had amazing things in store.

One of my best friends, Katie Leach {she goes by Kate now, but I will never cease to call her Katie; Sorry Katie! You love me :)} was a guest speaker for the event and had her moment to shine that Saturday morning, and boy, did she ever.

I will be true and honest with you; over the past month I have been depressed. I say depressed because I don’t know what other word{s} to use. I don’t hate myself and who I am like I used to, but my body image and self esteem in the physical realm have been completely and utterly depleted. I’ve felt like it’s been even more so than when I was anorexic. I’ve heard a lot of people call weight gain due to a marriage to be defined as “contentment”, but I did not know how to deal with this.

I know it sounds so silly, but to me it was a very real, very emotional and dark time. To gain weight for most people doesn’t stop them from living their lives, but for someone who {albeit doesn’t suffer physically as much} suffers from an eating disorder, it does. Oh man, it does. And it gets worse; because of the physical damage my body endured for so long, I literally wasn’t able to starve myself, even though I tried. It became {what I think is worse than just starving} a dangerous starve/binge cycle. One can only imagine that even though you restrict, you gain weight. I gained 5 pounds last month. 5. That’s big for 5’2″.

Anyways, it began affecting my social life. I hated that every single thing that gathers people together revolves around food. I looked at the other women in our marriage group with envy because they could just eat, enjoy it, and not think about it for the next 24 hours. It became hard for me to pay attention. It stole the joy I once had from such a good thing.

Have you ever heard the song “I’m Worn” by Tenth Avenue North? I read these lyrics to husband about a month back and just cried as I read them, because they’re so true:
I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

I’d gotten so close several times before to complete healing, to even wanting to be healed, but something inside me would say, “No! Stop! This is where you’re comfortable. Out there, healing, that’s scary!”

But I’d finally had enough. I’d held on to my eating disorder for so long, and it had such grips on me that I finally wanted out. I wanted to be normal. Normal! Is that so much to ask?! I’d made the decision to seek out help. So, the Thursday before the retreat, I found a therapist and made an appointment with her for the next Monday, after the retreat.

So back to Katie. First of all, I wanted to say that worship was amazing. One of our worship leaders pleaded with God to let the Lord literally breathe his presence over us, and that my friends, is just what He did. I just cried during worship. I knew I was there for a reason.

I had no idea what Katie was speaking on prior to that morning, and when she got up and declared that she was speaking on what God created women to be, I knew it was going to be good.

I’ll focus on the last point, but Katie said these three things: God made women to be strong. God made women to be persuasive. And God made women to be beautiful.

That last one got me. It got me good. She spoke of Esther and how she won the kings favor with her beauty {Esther 2:15}. She also said that Satan has a special hatred for women. Doesn’t that make sense, though? He was the most beautiful angel and turned from God and became ugly. He can take people’s joy, kindness, love toward one another… but if you think about this, he cannot take beauty. It is impossible for Satan to take a physical trait away from you.

Women have gone so long thinking, “If I think I’m beautiful, that’s selfish or conceited.” What would our friends think if we said, “I just look absolutely beautiful today”? Isn’t it sad that even with our own friends, we can’t feel comfortable living in the beauty that God made us? Sad! It’s begun to make me angry! It shouldn’t ruin or run my life!

But these words… even if just not for myself to stop saying terrible things about me… these words have begun to change my thinking; it hurts Him when we criticize ourselves because we were made beautiful in His image.

You are beautiful, like Esther.

You have won The Kings favor, like Esther.

Stay tuned for the next post for more about that weekend.

Side note: I wanted to say that everything I’ve heard, read and felt is from none other than Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, the Emmanuel; Jesus Christ. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I also don’t want to live a lukewarm life. He is where my inspiration comes from, and no. One. Else.

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Uplifting in Discouragement

I have to share with you something amazing that happened to me this weekend.

I went to a Women’s Retreat with 250+ women from JFC, as a last minute deal. I was planning on going about 3 weeks in advance, then roommate things fell through, and I had just made terms with myself that I wasn’t able to go. So of course, Husband buys a TV instead since we weren’t spending the 200 bucks for me to go {okay, we really deserved it – we had been watching a TV that had LED leaking right through the middle. For two years}.

So, on the last day of registration, my friend texted me and asked if I was going, and I told her no, unfortunately. She responded with “well, there’s still one more spot in my room!” That gave a little glimmer of hope, but then the TV thing crept up in my mind. I said “thank you, but let me speak with Jason. We didn’t think I was going, so he bought a TV, and I’m not sure if we’ll be able to swing the money.” After I asked Jason, {and I told him ONLY IF it’s not putting us in a bad situation – could you imagine going to a life-changing event to come back to face guilt and ruin everything you gained?} she responded to me before he could and told me that the church would give me a scholarship to go.

So, the decision was made. Total God thing, right?

Anywho, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the amazing stuff.

I read the email that was sent to me after I registered to go, and it said if you mention that you are at the Jubiliee Fellowship Ladies conference, you get 30% off at the hotel’s spa. So, I searched the website, and even with 30 percent off, the cheapest thing was a 75 dollar pedicure. No thanks. And that was that.

A series of other last-minute God things helped me get up to Beaver Creek, and while the girls I rode with and I were about an hour late, we made it in the middle of the first session where Terri Furr was speaking. It was a little difficult for me to get into at first because I came halfway through and wasn’t entirely caught up with what she was talking about. But then the end of that first night kind of set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

These words: Pride really isn’t the conventional way we think of pride {oh, I’m so good at this, etc.}. Pride is preoccupation with one’s self.

Woah. Maybe that doesn’t rock you like it rocks me, but it in all my sadness, complaining, talking about myself; that is my pride. Talking about how rough life can be or how things always happen to me that don’t happen to others. That really threw a wrench in my thinking.

Then she said: The opposite of pride is humility. You become humble when you choose gratitude.

That makes total sense, right? Instead of my normal, “woah is me” thoughts, I should be thanking God for what I DO have. Which is so much more than some others. Then, my thinking will shift to those others who so often go with out. And like that, gratitude changes pride to humility.

Okay, so that was the first day. And that was after I didn’t think I was getting anything out of the first message because I came late.

But like I said, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out how good God is {if all this hasn’t convinced you yet}.

gratitude

Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

Normally, when I think of salad, I definitely don’t think of warmth on my plate. I think of cool, crisp leaves with sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado and crunchy onions with some sort of a tangy dressing.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup3

But, when April is almost over and it’s still snowing, thinking of a summer salad sort of depresses you. Monday and Tuesday it snowed about 5 inches, but today I am not complaining. Almost all of the snow melted late afternoon yesterday, and with this 50 degree weather today and my 10 day forecast, I believe we’re in the clear {knock on wood, cross my fingers, say a little prayer}.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup4

So when I’m craving a salad, but the weather isn’t cooperating {don’t get me wrong – it’s possible to have a cold salad when the weather’s cold – just doesn’t feel right to me}, a warm salad is the way to go.

I have been eating a lot of cabbage over the last week. For one, it’s cheap as dirt, and two, read this.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup1

|Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

serves 4

1 head white cabbage

2 fennel bulbs

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1/2 TSP minced lemongrass

a TSP olive oil

a pinch of S&P

Cut the fronds off the fennel, then quarter and cut 1/4 inch slices. Begin to saute the fennel and onions in olive oil on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the fennel and onions are cooking, quarter the cabbage and slice into ribbons. When the fennel and onions begin to caramelize, toss in the cabbage and lemongrass with a few TSP water. Cover, raise heat one or two notches, and stir every few minutes for a total of about 10-15, or until cabbage has wilted and begins to brown {add a TBS of water at a time if the veggies are sticking to the pan}.

Remove from heat, add S&P, tossing to coat.

Warm Cabbage and Fennel Soup6

Enjoy!

Beautiful Things

Okay, so I have to admit: I’ve been absolutely horrendous about keeping up my Beautiful Things posts for Fridays. You know how it is, life just gets in the way sometimes, or if you’re like me, you often forget to snap a photo in the moment. So this week, I don’t have a picture for everyday of the week. I have a bunch of pictures {I’ll only post a few} of one really beautiful moment that was so special to me.

I have long dreamed of having a farm, and as husband consistently discouraged that dream, it went from being a farm, to just having land with a few animals. A few chickens, a goat or two and maybe some horses. That’s not too much to ask, right?

Anyways, I did some research and convinced husband to go with me to Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary – an animal sanctuary that rescues farm animals from slaughter or other abuse.

Being the die-hard animal lover that I am, it’s pretty needless to say that I was in heaven for an hour and a half. And bless husbands heart, he agreed not only to go, but also to drive the hour and a half east to get there, then back. He knew I would love it, so it wasn’t so bad for him.

Here are some snapshots of our little trip:

This sweet cows name is Beatrice. Beatrice was born at the sanctuary and has never had to suffer.
BeatriceTurkeyRooster
This sweet blind cows name is Pierre. He has a best friend who leads him around. They are always touching.

PIerre

Okay, so besides dogs, goats are absolute favorite animal.
Goat1

Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

So I have been hearing rave reviews about daikon radishes, but I’m going to be honest with you; this veggie loving girl isn’t as aroused by radishes as one would think. Not raw, anyways.

I find their bite to be overwhelming, so with such an attention-stealing vegetable, I think it’s best to go the simple route.

Daikon Radish

I do have to tell you, I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out, but as the carrots were caramelizing and the radish was browning in the oven, the overwhelming smells of everything melding together truly captured me. The garlic salt is absolutely necessary, and is the period at the end of the sentence for this meal.

I am pleased to say I was very satisfied. Served over some brown rice or quinoa with a pinch of soy sauce, you will find yourself asking for more.

| Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

Serves 1

1 large daikon radish

3/4 C baby carrots

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/4 TSP garlic salt

a pinch of sea salt

1 TBS soy sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the daikon and chop off the ends. Slice into 1/2-1/4 inch rounds. Drizzle the olive oil on a 1 inch deep baking sheet, and toss in the radish slices and baby carrots. Sprinkle in the garlic salt, sea salt and pour the soy sauce over the top. Toss everything to coat, arranging everything in a fairly even layer.

Place the dish in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing the veggies about every 10.

When everything is soft and the edges begin to get fairly crispy, the veggies are done. Serve immediately.

Daikon Radish4

Enjoy!

Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

So, I literally just realized that I am writing another post about sweet potatoes. Seriously? Good thing they are quite versatile.

Sweet Potato 8

And also, kale? Kale is the trend when it comes to health food these days, and I can totally see why. Kale has more iron than beef {that’s awesome news for those with deficiencies}, more calcium than a glass of milk, and significantly more vitamin C than spinach, among many other things.

Purple Kale

Kale, for me, is better cooked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it raw, but I prefer it cooked, and this combination is not only a huge handful of many super foods, but also freakin’ delicious. Plus, it’s a one-pot meal, perfect for those lazier days.

Purple Kale1

| Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

serves 2-3

1 TBS olive oil

1 large sweet potato, chopped into very small pieces

1/4 red onion, chopped

7 oz black beans {half a can} drained and rinsed

3 large Kale leaves, cut into thin ribbons

a dash of salt

a dash of cayene

1/2 TSP smoky paprika

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook in an even layer the sweet potatoes, covering. Stir every couple of minutes for about 15 minutes total.

Add in the chopped onion and continue cooking for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans with the spices, again in an even layer after being well incorporated, and cover for another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.

When everything is nice and somewhat crispy, add in the ribbons of kale, and cook until just wilted.

sweet potato 12

Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

So, this recipe is a little redundant considering it has many of the same main components of the last post, but hey, you work with what ya got.

Over the past several months I have been mildly… wait, no… over-the-top-obsessed with sweet potatoes. I probably eat one about 5 times a week. I have been eating them plain with the teeniest amount of sea salt, and can’t get enough.

After I saw this sweet lady’s post about her obsession with the root and how she’s been eating them, I decided to try some new things. This recipe was just what I felt like adding at the time, but if you make these, you should add whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever sounds good to you. Garbanzos, turnip greens, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, kidney beans… you get the picture.

Stuffed Sweet Potato5

| Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 1

1 medium sweet potato

a handful of kale, torn into bits

a handful of baby spinach

a couple TBS black beans

a couple TBS white beans

nonstick spray

a pinch of sea salt

Bake your sweet potato for one hour in a 350 degree oven.

A few minutes before the sweet potato is finished, saute the greens on medium heat with nonstick spray until wilted. When the potato is finished and slightly cooled, cut it open lengthwise. Stuff it with the greens, and top it off with the beans. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and lunch is served!

Stuffed Sweet Potato

Enjoy!

Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Over the last few years, I have really stayed away from carbohydrates. Even getting as far as being overly obsessive about not eating fruit or even veggies that had over a few grams in them before my wedding. I thought this was “healthy” because, yeah, I lost a lot of weight. But I gained it all back pretty much immediately after our honeymoon. I hadn’t even introduced carbs back into my diet yet, but I made up for it because when I had a cheat day, I really had a cheat day.

I have discovered over countless diets and trial and error that all your body really needs is balance. If it doesn’t get this balance, your body gets cravings and sooner or later you will indulge those cravings. I have only recently {like 2 weeks ago} come to terms with the fact that eating carbs not on the weekend is actually okay {gasp!}. And I don’t mean white sugar and white flour. I mean whole grain seed carbohydrates {notice I didn’t say whole wheat}. Carbs are still a little scary to me, but I have read The Kind Diet before and recently picked it up again, and it details so well why we need these little seedlings in our life and what they do for our insides and overall well-being.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans

So here’s to carbs! {Wow, never thought I’d say that}

 

| Quinoa with Greens & Beans

Serves 2

1 C quinoa

1 TSP oil {I used coconut}

4 or 5 baby bella mushrooms

1/2 C chopped onion

1 C spinach

1 C kale, torn into pieces

1 TSP soy sauce

1/2 C canned great northern beans, or any white bean

Cook the quinoa as package directs {you will have extra}.

In a skillet on medium-high heat, lightly saute the mushrooms and onions in coconut oil until soft. Add the kale and spinach plus soy sauce and 1 TSP water. Cover and stir every few minutes until the greens have wilted.

Start your plate with about a quarter of the quinoa in the pan {or however much you want}, then make a little bed of half of the vegetables and sprinkle 1/2 the beans over the top.

Quinoa with Greens and Beans1

Enjoy!

Marriage Mondays: Guest Post by Kassi Chapman

I’d like to start this with some wise words by  Big Sean, via Mr. Justin Bieber:

But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side,
It’s green where you water it
So I know we got issues baby true, true, true
But I’d rather work on this with you
Than to go ahead and start with someone new
As long as you love me

Now, I’m not much of a Belieber, nor did I ever have Bieber Fever, but when I heard that line I was like “Yeah! Preach is Biebs!!” I mean, that is some good stuff right there.

It really is so easy getting caught up in checking out other people’s grass, and many times thinking whatever they’ve got is better than yours. I know I’ve had those thoughts, looking at other people and feeling a tad envious. A couple of “man, it must be nice to be her…” thoughts here and there.

Honestly, we’ve been blessed beyond measure. Two great jobs, a sweet, beautiful baby, a great house, etc. Nonetheless it’s easy to get caught up in what you don’t have, or what someone else has that’s better than your own.

Recently I had a couple of eye openers where I learned that what “she” had wasn’t really as great as I thought. That while I was sitting there thinking their lives must be so easy and great, in reality it wasn’t. In fact I’d count it far less fortunate than my own… and yet I had no idea. It made me realize that you just have to be thankful for what you have… that my own grass is green. Not only that, but it’s my very own shade of green, and try as I might it’ll never be another person’s shade of green, it’ll just be my green. And I think that’s so key to a happy life, and especially a happy marriage.

If you can learn to be content and work with what you have, rather than yearn for bigger or faster or prettier, then you won’t need anything else. You’ll be happy with what you have and if you get more, great. If not, who cares? Because most likely what you have is far better than what a lot of others have. And the bad day you just had? Probably not as bad as a lot of others have had. And that husband of yours? Maybe he does get on your nerves, but he’s all yours.

So next time you get frustrated with what you have… or don’t have… and you just want to give up, take a little tip from the Biebs and just try adding a little water. Maybe you have more of a green thumb than you ever knew.

Kassi

-Kassi Chapman
IG: kassirosechapman
Blog: http://babiesandbrewskies.blogspot.com/

Roasted Fennel and Carrots

I have a love/hate relationship with meat. I love the way it tastes {like, love. Mmmm…. bacon} but every once in awhile, my tender heart gets rocked when I think about what I’m eating and how it got on my plate.

That being said, this is not a political post whatsoever, just a little announcement that I’m not eating meat at the moment. Or longer, I’m hoping. But don’t freak! Husband is still a caveman, so I will post what I make him, and you will have to go by his word whether or not it’s delicious {and lucky for you, he’s particular}.

So here’s a little veggie dish that is just delightful. Yep, I said it. Delightful. It causes you to be full of delight. Plus, it really is light. I’ve talked about fennel before, but it is such a uniquely flavored plant that goes extremely well with the sweetness of carrots. Add in a burst of extra flavor from the fennel seeds, and you have yourself a masterpiece of a meal.

Roasted Fennel and Carrots2

| Roasted Fennel and Carrots

12 large carrots

3 fennel bulbs

2 TSP olive oil

1 TSP lemon juice

1/2 TSP fennel seeds

1/8 TSP salt

a dash of cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Peel the outer layer of the carrots, and cut them in half. Cut off the greens from the fennel bulbs and wash. Slice the fennel bulb in 1/2 inch slices, then in half again going the opposite directions. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds, salt and cayenne. Drizzle the mixture over the carrots and fennel in a large baking dish and toss to coat.

Pop the dish in the oven for 35 minutes or so, stirring about every 10 to 15. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Roasted Fennel and Carrots1

Enjoy!