Sunday, June 12, 2016

ORLANDO (God is near the brokenhearted)

My heart is very heavy on this Sunday. I woke up Saturday morning to see that Christina Grimme had been killed in Orlando. Such an amazing young woman. So full of life and talent. I loved listening to her music, and her tweets always made me laugh. The whole day yesterday I just couldn't believe that had happened. She was too young. I was sad and confused. I knew though that Christina was a Christian and her hope was secure. Though we are grieving this side of heaven for that sweet girl, I know for certain she is singing and dancing with the angels.

But then I woke up this morning and my heart hurt even more. A headline. "50 dead in Orlando". Another shooting, same city. A gay nightclub. An Islamic shooter. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. For those dead, may God have mercy on their souls. May the peace of the Holy Spirit rain down over their families and friends. For Omar Saddiqui Mateen, may God have mercy on your soul as well. I am praying for you. My heart is broken for you. 

I am a Christian, many of you know that. I don't hate the LGBT community. I don't hate the Muslim community. I love both with the same love Christ has shown me, a filthy sinner who does not deserve the grace I have received. I am more disheartened by those who claim to be Christian but show so much hate to these two groups of HUMAN BEINGS. No one should ever treat a person with such hate and demise. I don't care if you are black, white, yellow, gay, lesbian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, or whatever else there is out there, a person is a person no matter what religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. 

Now let me clarify myself. As a Chrisitan, I cannot support the ideals of the LGBT community. It's against my faith. I also cannot support Muslim beliefs because it is also against my faith. Meaning that I am not going to live those same lifestyles as a Christian. 

But just because I do not support these groups does not mean that I hate them or am here to judge them. No. Not at all. I am not "better than" any of these people because of my beliefs and will never treat someone less of a person because of my faith. I just believe that there is a way free from these things with Christ that brings life, grace, and forgiveness. I will never force my faith on anyone but will always live out what I believe. I strive to look like look like Jesus.

Today I smile and think back to the dinner an Iraqi family made me (let me tell you, it was AH-MA-ZING). Muslims and Christians sitting with one another talking, laughing and sharing a meal together. They taught me about customs they had in Iraq and we laughed about our crazy American slang. It was a night I will never forget. I think about the elementary student from Jordan that I worked with my first semester of college. Muslim and Christian working hand in hand to understand each other's cultures. Helping him read and write English as he taught me about life in Jordan. So excited to get to talk about his pet rabbit they had to leave behind in Jordan and how unlike the United States, Jordan has a king. I can't help but smile seeing him in the back of my mind try to figure out how Kentucky was not actually a country but a state. Or thinking back to the moment when I stood baffled at this nearly bilingual eight-year-old practice his English letters and showing me his Arabic letters too. 

I also smile at the friends I have made in the LGBT community. My friend who made me laugh so hard on days I didn't want to. He brought laughter and light into the room. Gay and straight laughing and sharing life together. The many in the gay community that were right by my side to help me adjust to college and all the coursework. For them, I am forever grateful. 

As a Christian, I love these people. I want to be their friends and neighbors. I want to show them what life with Christ is like. I want to be by their side when unimaginable tragedies such as this occur. I know that's what Christina Grimme would have wanted too. 

Days like today are heartbreaking for both LGBT and Muslim communities. It's heartbreaking for the Grimme family. The only finger that can be pointed is directed toward the devil himself and sin. And I cannot wait for the day that Christ returns and saves us all from this sick world. 

Orlando, I am praying and weeping with you. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Chocolate Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie

If you didn't know, I work part-time at a fast food restaurant that we have here in the states called Chick-fil-a. We came out with this new beverage called the frosted coffee. It's ice cream and coffee blended together, and if you add some chocolate, it's pure bliss. However, this lovely treat is NOT healthy in the slightest. No matter how many calories are in it. So I wanted to try something similar for myself but not with all the unhealthy delicacies added. I know this recipe has probably been created and shared before, but I put this together one day in my blender and LOVED it even more than Chick-fil-a's frosted coffee. And this recipe? Completely healthy. No added sugars. Perfect for kick starting your morning or a post-workout treat. I love getting to sneak some coffee into my shakes. Here's the low down on this delicious smoothie:

Chocolate Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie

1 banana (frozen)
1/2 cup chilled coffee
1/2 cup almond milk (or any nondairy milk of your choice)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
Ice (to your own preference) 

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. ENJOY!!

Hope you give this treat a whirl! Also, I have been brewing my coffee the night before and chilling it all overnight. I use the leftover chilled coffee for iced coffee throughout my day! Such a nice treat too!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Three of my Favorite "Treat Yo' Self" Ideas

I got three words for ya.
What are those three words, you may ask?

I watched this episode of Parks and Rec on my last day of my fall 2015 semester and it legitimately changed my life. Honestly, how often do we take the time out of our insane schedules to simply take care of ourselves? Not very often, let me tell you. I decided to make sure I was taking these days every once in a while, like once a month if possible. Taking one day, or maybe just a few hours to do what I want. It sounds pretty selfish, but I consider it more of quiet, winding down, and relaxing time. We all need to destress and just enjoy ourselves. Treat Yo' Self days look different for everyone, but here are a few of my go-to's for these special days

1. Buy something you've been wanting for a while

I consider myself to be a frugal person, but I still think it's always a good idea to (occasionally) treat myself to something a little more expensive after some hard work weeks. Buy that new shirt you've been wanting. Find some coupons and head over to buy that new wallet. Or get something small. Buy that book from the used bookstore. Enjoy treating yourself, and remember it's not something you are spending a lot of money on frequently. This week, I spent some tax refund money on a long overdue haircut. It was at a nice salon, and I spent more than I normally would, but it was so, so worth it. I love my new cut, by the way.


Take a break from that diet and grab a brownie. Or a cupcake. Get yourself a nice sweet or savory treat that you have been craving. OR, for a healthier alternative, make a healthy SWEET or SAVORY treat! All that matters is that it is a TREAT to you. For example, I treated myself to a Mediterranean wrap for dinner and low-fat froyo and fruit for dessert. It was bomb. I also ate brownies today. 

3. Spa TREATments

This is my main thing I do for "treat yo self" days. I want to look and fabulous as Tom in that gif above. Manicures. Pedicures. Facials. Massages.Yoga. The whole sha-bang. Go get it done at a spa or be like me and DIY! Tonight I did a detox bath and it was HEAVENLY! Here is the recipe, please give it a try!

And there you have it! There are PLENTY more ideas and tips that I have, and I will be sure to share more in the future. Friends, remember to take some time for yourself. It's something you literally need to do for your own health, mentally and physically. The most important key to Treat Yo' Self days? 

Do what makes you happy. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Thing You Can't Forget

I forget so much. It's human nature I guess. I forget to do my laundry before work. I forget to send in forms. I forget to text people back (a LOT). I even forget where I am going sometimes when I'm driving. Why do we forget? We get distracted. We get so busy. This year has been crazy busy. If there is one thing college taught me, it's how busy life can seriously get. In the midst of the craziness I forgot a lot of things. A few deadlines for quizzes, assignments, and tuition bills. There is one thing that I forgot this year that is far more important than any of these minor day-to-day hassles. I guess I didn't really forget it, because it's not something you can entirely forget. Rather, I de-prioritized it, and it hit me hard. Forgetting this brought a lot of harm to my life that I didn't even notice. What is this, you may ask? I suppose you could say I forgot my faith. Now don't go freaking out that I chose a different religion or something. Because this was far worse. It started with forgetting to pray. Then forgetting to read the word. Then changing the radio station. Then saying different words. Then letting my thoughts stray. The perfect way to fall into Satan's grasp if you want to fool others and yourself. The life of a busy college student consumed my thoughts and God was pushed aside. Sin slowly seeped in. An after-thought. I went to Him before exams and when I was hitting a writer's block for a paper and left after it was over. It wasn't until I hated what I was saying and doing...the way I treated my family and friends until I realized something was not right. And I'd love to tell you that the semester ended with me being the dedicated, holy Christian I should be. This has been a struggle for me that I want to face. 

Tonight I questioned myself, "How could I be so selfish and so ignorant as to ignore the Master of all Heaven and Earth?" And I can hear the Lord calling out to me, pleading for me not to chose sin but to choose LIFE in abundance with Him. 

So to myself and to all believers struggling with the same thing, I say HUMBLE YOURSELF. Do you not remember the God you serve? 

And they were calling to one another: “Holyholyholy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Isaiah 6:3 

Bow before Him. Surrender. This is not your life, do not be so selfish to think it is in any way belonging to you. Choose the sweeter, but so much more challenging life with Christ. Obey what He has commanded. Love Him with all you are. Becuase He gave you life through His death on the cross. 

I want to finish this post with two things. 

1) I choose life. A life with Christ. A life lived for His glory. Choosing this life over what the world has to offer. 

2) Colossians 3:1-14

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."