Crazy Awesome Quiet Life

“…aspire to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands….so that you will walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”- (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4‬:‭11-12)

My friend Erica Dean recently sent me a blog post from Doctrine On Tap by Chris Lazo.
It’s titled, A Life of Radical Simplicity. Here is an excerpt:
The times my life is the most complicated, sometimes also happens to be the most lacking in true, heavenly power. And I wonder if there’s a correlation. I long for simple power. To not be dominated by my calendar, technology, bills, emails, and urgent-but-menial tasks. I’m guessing that for a lot of you, it’s the same. That would make simplicity a discipline that we must enter into and practice if we’re going to take seriously God’s Word. It won’t just happen. But the discipline we enter into is not some spiritual form of self-flagellation. It’s a pattern by which we subvert dangerous cultural norms that threaten to derail us from true peace of mind. It’s a discipline by which we experience and reflect God’s power in our lives regardless of the external pressures of our world. It’s a way of saying, breathing, and living a simple motto: my union with Christ is enough.

Man do I agree with this statement. I have experienced God’s presence more in these last 4 years of being at home on my ‘sick bed’, than I have in my whole lifetime walking with Jesus; as I worked in LA, went on mission trips, served in church, etc…
I think Lazo hit it on the head: Is our union with Christ enough? Five years ago I would have easily said yes, without even really knowing what being unified with Christ really felt like. I thought I knew; I experienced him in times of worship, maybe a zing or two through a good sermon…The real question I think now is, Are we availing ourselves to truly experience the overflow of Christ’s presence? I say overflow because the picture in my mind is an overflowing fountain that’s waters never dry up, they just keep coming fresh, flowing with ease.
Most of us carve out time on sundays to be in Gods presence at church, during a Bible study, or maybe we have our set time during morning devotionals. All of that is good and certainly produces fruit, but are we truly being transformed by being in His presence? Are you able to let go of the scheduled time with him and instead allow him access to your whole day? The truth is, God is ever- present… but are we? The so- called quiet life with God is not so quiet I can certainly attest to that.

When I first got knocked down with this strange neurological disease, I fought to hold on to my life with everything I had. Then round two came with pneumonia… then lupus. This time not so easy to hold on to that same life and with each year I watched more of it fall away. It hurt more than I could put into words. Like having a huge part of my soul ripped out. But therein lies the problem; I had given my life -what I created it to be- the biggest part of my soul. It became the driving force, the most important part of my waking hours, and at that point there becomes little room for transformation.

As the years went on I began to see life differtly. It was no longer filled with long term goals and grand ideas of success. It became a day; a class room almost; filled with 24 hours of possibility. What will I learn today? What new and creative ways will He reveal his love for me? How will He lead me to minister in His power today? Will it be at the grocery store? The doctors office…at a neighbors house? With each passing day I felt more and more stripped of myself… yet now I see how the more I lost what my life once was, the more I gained Christ. His indwelling presence was filling me up and there is nothing in this life that compares. A little of Him is most certainly not enough, trust me. Now, I am not saying whatever your doing scrap it so you can gain Christ. I hope you understand my heart on all of this, because that’s where it all really stems from. Where is your heart? What is filling it? What is driving your heart’s desires? Only you and God really know the answer to that question.
Is your hair standing up on end as God reveals His heart towards you with one word? Are you being moved out of your comfort zone to a place of free falling faith with Jesus leading the way? Are you eagerly anticipating being taught be God today? This is what He has for all of us. No matter what season of life we are in. Know that. Don’t wait until Sunday worship or morning devotional time to invite His presence. Do it anywhere. At all times. Be available to God. Allow for the quiet unknown…it just might blow your mind.

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Gluten-Free Vegan (no-Bake) Cheesecake Bites

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The pictures I have really don’t do this yummy dessert justice, but here they are none the less. I make the cheesecakes in mini cupcake pans because they’re pretty rich, being that they are made up of mostly nuts. Plus it makes it much easier to share! The recipe makes about 35 mini cheesecakes bites.

Crust:

  •  1 cup raw almonds ( I sometimes do half pecans and half almonds)
  • 5-6 whole dates soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes (if using majooled dates you don’t have to soak them and you might need only 3-4.
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey or maple sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cheesecake:

  • 1 3/4 cup cashews ( soaked in water overnight, and drained before using.)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice ( Use fresh lemons, it makes a huge difference in this recipe because its raw.)
  • 1/3 honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil ( I use Nutiva brand, I think it has the best flavor.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Step 1: Grind nuts, dates, cinnamon, and honey in food processor, heavy duty blender, or vita-prep. Grind up until mixture has a crumbly texture, sort of like a gram cracker crust.
Using a spoon divide mixture into lined mini cupcake pan; pressing down crust into bottom of each one. I use a caugh syrup bottle to do this. I know it sounds unconventional but the top fits perfectly into the mini cupcake pan. I’m sure there are other kitchen tools that will do the job too! 🙂 After crusts is pressed down cover with foil or wax paper and chill in freezer while you prepare the cheesecake mixture.

Step 2: Drain your cashews that have been soaked overnight. Put cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, agave, vanilla, salt, and water into blender or food processor. Blend for about 1-2 minutes until completely smooth. At this point it is a good idea to taste the mixture making sure it has that cheesecakey flavor. sometimes just a touch more lemon juice can make all the difference in the world. Once blended, pull out your crusts from freezer and pour mixture into each tin. Filling up about 3/4 of the way, leaving room for fruit topping. Cover again and place back into freezer while you prepare your topping.

Step 3:

Since this is a raw recipe I don’t cook the berries but if you are not adhering to a strict raw diet, feel free to use cooked berries if you so desire. I like using Trader Joe’s brand frozen fruit to make my toppings, but  you could use any fruit mixture you enjoy. My favorites are organic frozen mixed berries and the frozen mango. I usually use two different kinds of toppings just because I can never decide which one I like better. they are both so good. Plus if you are sharing them it’s nice to offer a couple different choices. I have to say the mango is amazing, definitely a must try! Image

Step 4: Place frozen fruit in strainer and run warm water over until somewhat thawed. Or you can place fruit in warm water for 5 minutes or so. Put fruit in blender or food processor and about a 1/4 cup of honey ( you can use more according to your taste). lastly, I like to  add one tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice to fruit mixture. I find the lime with the mango topping is absolutely amazing! When using berries I usually strain them through a strainer to get rid of the pesky seeds. That is of course up to you. Now that your topping is made, pull your cheesecaes out of freezer. Gently spoon topping onto eah cheesecake filling to the top of tin. Cover again and plave back in freezer. They will stet in about 30 minutes. Once ready to serve pull out of freezer and take each one out of the cupcake pan. Allow them to sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes before serving. These little guys really are a labor of love but so worth it in the end!! Hope you enjoy!

Mango berry cheesecake bites

Commitment Issues…

So I am finally doing it….For those of you who know me, this has been a long time coming. Starting a blog has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. Unfortunately, having some Type-A, slightly OCD personality issues can get in the way of actually following through. I promise I won’t bore you with the details of my idiosyncrasies and minor character flaws. I just want to set the record strait before I begin this journey; I will most definitely have typos, misspelled words and improper grammar usage, my pictures aren’t professional and I may or may not drive you crazy with way to many pictures of my ridiculously adorable dog, Chachi. There, I feel better already.
First off, I do love to bake! I cook and eat gluten free and about 95% Paleo. 😉 Most of the time I will try to make things as healthy as possible but without skimping on flavor. What’s the point of eating a treat if it doesn’t taste like a treat, right!?
I also love fashion, accessories and cosmetics but that’s not a huge surprise considering most women have a propensity for at least one of those things if not more. What I really love to do is find great fashion pieces or outfits at affordable prices. And since I do have a little obsession with CVS and Target I can definitely recommend some inexpensive products that are must haves!

Overall, what you can expect from me is a love and a passion for people. My heart’s desire is to be an encourager and to inspire others to do the same. I love Jesus with all my heart, and with that love, faith and trust in him, my life has been transformed. There are difficulties, struggle, and even sadness at times but I am daily encouraged by the Lord’s loving words and his constant pursuit of my heart. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God…he will never leave us or forsake us!
There are many facets of me, as I’m sure is the case for you too. I am sure
as time goes by we will get to know each other better and better and that is what I am truly looking forward to. So without further ado….Welcome to my Blog! I hope you enjoy it.
P.S. Below is a picture of Chachi. I just couldn’t start this journey without including him, he is such a big part of my heart. 💗
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Did you feel the Love?

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Whether you are married, in a romantic relationship, or enjoying the single life; celebrating Valentine’s Day is a must in my book. Not only does It provide a great opportunity to show the people in our life that we love and appreciate them, but it also makes it okay once a year to eat lots of chocolate and cover everything in pink and red hearts! While this holiday can hold negative connotation for some who are single, let me just say, it shouldn’t! I was always encouraged growing up to make Valentine’s Day about people, not just one person. It’s about making the people around you feel truly special and valued. It doesn’t take a big gift or lots of money to do it either. Just think about what things make you feel loved. Kind words, a sweet treat, or even maybe just a hug. This year I was blessed to be able to spend V- Day with my wonderful Reality Internship crew. Words can’t express how incredibly special this day was. We enjoyed a picnic with the most beautiful weather, received Valentine’s, shared decadent desserts, and even had a pinata! Yes, adults can still do a pinata….of course filling it with money and scratch-offs didn’t hurt. 😉 I also took the opportunity to make something special…..raw, vegan, gluten-free cheesecake bites. These little guys are a total labor of love, but I thought that would be fitting for the holiday. They are a little time consuming but so worth it in the end. Plus, they are loaded with good for you fats, protein, and fiber from coconut oil and nuts. All-in-all it was great day, filled with good food, lots of laughter, and most importantly, LOVE! I hope you all had a great day too. …and if you didn’t let me know; I’ll put you on my Valentine’s Day list for next year!