This Summer You Must Try Homemade Sea Moss + Fruit Popsicles!

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Freshly made Sea Moss gel

Sea Moss is the latest “trendy’ mucilaginous food to have social media in a frenzy.  Other well known mucilaginous foods are okra, aloe, fenugreek seeds, and flax seeds. Although, it was recently made popular by the late great Dr Sebi. Sea Moss has actually been used for years in the Caribbean islands and along Atlantic and Ireland coastlines. It is known to contain 92 of the 102 important minerals the body needs. The other 10 minerals can be acquired by adding burdock root.

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Sea Moss has a wide range of benefits to support optimal health. Some of the more popular benefits are:

  1. Boosts Energy
  2. Aids in immune and digestive health
  3. May improve fertility
  4. Rids the body of excess mucus
  5. Supports healthy iron levels
  6. Improves recovery time post surgery
  7. Antibacterial/Antimicrobial
  8. Promotes collagen production
  9. Protects from radiation

As always, it’s best to do your own research. I have personally been making my own sea moss gel for at least the last year. I use it on my skin as a face mask to help with firmness and brightness and I also use it as an addition to smoothies and soups to make it thicker and of course more nutritious.

To Make Sea Moss Gel:

  1. Wash 6oz of authentic fresh sea moss thoroughly, preferably with distilled/alkaline water to get rid of impurities
  2. Soak overnight with lemon or lime slices
  3. Place in blender with 32 oz of distilled/alkaline water preferably
  4. Blend until smooth and add to mason jar
  5. Place in refrigerator overnight and it will turn into a jelly like substance
  6. Now add to smoothies, soups, or POPSICLES
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We made more than 6oz of sea moss because we needed enough for popsicles, face masks, hair masks and of course the regular addition to meals/smoothies

With COVID-19 in full effect, I am doing my best to keep the whole family healthy. Be sure to check out my recent blog post on an immune boosting recipe for Fire Cider. As a nurse and a mom, I am always thinking of creative ways to get nutrients into my children who have a very low food preference range, especially my Ava.

What I know for sure is my children love fruit—all kinds of fruit. But, what do they love even more than fruit? Fruity popsicles! So,  with the hot and humid weather down here in Florida, I thought sea moss would be a great addition to popsicles! Plus, for those parents who have a difficult time getting their child to tolerate the consistency of the sea moss gel, I found that adding it to a frozen popsicle is pretty much impossible to detect.

How to Make Seamoss + Fruit Popsicles:

  1. Choose your fruits: We chose mangoes, pineapple, blueberries, kiwi. Fresh fruit is always BEST, but if you only have frozen use what you have.
  2. We had 6 popsicle molds so I placed about a cup of each fruit into separate bowls to create layers for the popsicles.
  3. Add each bowl of fruit separately to the blender, adding a spoonful of sea moss each time (No sugar or water added but if you MUST have sugar added its best to add fresh Dates or date syrup)
  4. After each fruit is blended, add to popsicle molds creating layers with the different fruits.
  5. We placed ours in the freezer for 6 hours and upon removal we rinsed the molds under warm water for 20 seconds.
  6. ENJOY!

Watch the full Sea Moss + Fruit Popsicle demonstration video on Youtube and then try it for yourself! I promise that you will be surprised by the results!

Check Out Our Demonstration Video For How To Make This Delicious Dessert!
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The Popsicles Turned Out Great & The Kids Didn’t Even Detect The Taste Of The Sea Moss Gel

Homemade Fire Cider – Immune Boosting Recipe

How to make Fire Cider – An immune friendly herbal health drink with key ingredients such as fresh herbs, peppers and citrus fruits to support your immune health.

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I first heard about Fire Cider about 2 years ago, and if I’m being honest, I never tried the recipe because it looked like “too much work”. In order for the fire cider to reach its greatest potential it should be fermented and infused for about 4 weeks and I just did not want to wait. However, with Quarantine in full effect since March, I’ve had nothing but time and opportunity to finally try this “homeopathic recipe”.

This drink is known as an herbal vinegar which has been around for centuries. Our ancestors have used herbs and natural foods as a source of healing throughout the ages but the actual phrase “Fire Cider” was first coined by an herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar in the late 1970’s. Many variations have been created since then and this recipe I’m sharing now is my own version I’ve created and I am hopeful you will enjoy it’s healing properties.

Now, at first glance this blend of ingredients may sound intimidating and quite distasteful. The strong and potent smell of horseradish root, jalapeño pepper, onion and garlic will surely clear up any looming sinus issues. If you love a spicy and tangy flavor then this is just right for you. But, if your palate is more reserved for the sweeter side, then once the citrus and raw honey is added it will allow this drink to become more palatable and actually quite enjoyable.

 

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In my opinion, its best served warm. I give my children a teaspoon every morning followed by orange juice and I suggest about a tablespoon for adults. I also add this concoction to homemade soups and I even blend it with my egg mixture for my fried green tomatoes to give them an extra kick.

I’ve read some articles where some people prefer to replace vinegar with Fire Cider in their salad dressing but I personally haven’t tried that yet and I also heard its great as a hangover cure.

Aside from the variety of flavors this immune boosting drink provides it also offers tons of health benefits:

  1. Horesradish Root known to be effective against the flu and many other upper respiratory conditions more commonly relieving sinus congestion and headaches
  2. Ginger relieves respiratory disorders, cough, digestion and nausea
  3. Garlic superfood known to build the immune system as it can be antibacterial and antiviral
  4. Jalepeno peppers are an antioxidant rich in Vitamins A & C
  5. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar washes toxins from the body and are a good source of Vitamin C
  6. Aloe Vera is a soothing herb that slows inflammatory response and purifies the body
  7. Onions are an anti-inflammatory agent which is critical in alleviatiating cold symptoms
  8. Raw Honey anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and rich in antioxidants
  9. Turmeric highly anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and has anti-cancer benefits
  10. Oranges and Lemons Greatly packed with Vitamin C treating colds/flu

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**I prefer to use Aloe Vera Leaf but if it’s too much work feel free to use 1 cup of store bought Aloe Vera juice

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My family has been using this herbal remedy since mid March and as a Registered Nurse, I have been in several hospitals with COVID positive patients and so far I am still healthy…THANK GOD!

My son also has really bad allergy flare ups and since introducing this drink to his daily supplement routine we have not been relying on his Zyrtec as much as we used to!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you plan to try it or have tried it please leave me a comment and let me know your results.

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New Recipe Alert – Vegan Beetroot German Chocolate Cupcakes

 

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One of my absolute favorite cupcake flavors is German Chocolate. We have a local bakery that makes regular German Chocolate cupcakes and I will literally drive 25mins just for one cupcake. Unfortunately, with the closing of several small businesses due to COVID 19 the bakery has been closed. My craving has been unfulfilled and I’ve been experimenting with a lot of new vegan recipes during Quarantine so I chose to attempt to make a vegan version of my favorite cupcake treat.

Disclaimer: I am not 100% vegan but I do enjoy making and eating vegan food!

I recruited the kids to help me with this recipe as they have helped before with a plain chocolate vegan recipe see recipe details HERE. The kids were skeptical at first because they have never eaten beets and they were not fans of the smell. However, after adding in all of the ingredients they were open to trying the cupcakes. Now for those that don’t know Ava and Mychal Jr personally they can be very opinionated and picky. If they don’t like something there is no convincing them to try it so I don’t push because I do love the decisive aspect of their personality. So, I was super excited to see them enjoying the cupcake but the frosting on the other hand….they weren’t even willing to try so I just frosted their cupcakes with plain chocolate frosting and you can do the same if you have nut allergies or don’t like coconuts.

Vegan Beetroot German Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 14 cupcakes

Cook Time 40-45 minutes

Cupcake Ingredients

1 large beet

Water

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1/4 cup almond flour mixed 3/4 cup unbleached white flour

1/2 cup unbleached white flower

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup coconut sugar (or plain sugar)

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

 

Frosting Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1/3 cup coconut milk

1 1/4 cups coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cornstarch mixed w/ 1/4 cup water until smooth

2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Cupcake Directions: Peel and dice one large beet. Place chopped beet in saucepan and add enough water to cover the beets. Boil until soft. Allow beets to cool and then drain. Place red water from drained beets to the side and place drained beets in food processor with 1/4 cup plain water. Process until pureed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Put the pureed beets into a 2 cup measure container. Add 3 small containers of unsweetened apple sauce until it reaches the 2 cup line. Then add 2 tbsp reserved beet water, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar. Mix well.

Mix dry ingredients together; then add wet beet mixture. Stir until well mixed. Bake for 45-55minutes testing completion by inserting toothpick into the center; if toothpick comes out clean, it’s all done. 

While cupcakes are cooling start making the frosting.

Frosting Directions: In a medium saucepan, mix almond milk, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla together. Add cornstarch mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before applying to cupcakes.

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Check out our youtube video HERE to watch the kids make these yummy cupcakes.

It was easy enough for a 4 and a 6 year old to make so please let us know in the comments if you want to try or have tried the recipe. We’d love to hear your feedback!

 

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Golden Milk: A Must Try Healing & Soothing Beverage

Golden Milk (also known as haldi doodh) is widely known as a traditional Indian drink with several medicinal properties primarily contributed by the key ingredient—Turmeric.

As I shared in my previous recipe post for Fire Cider, Turmeric is pretty much anti everything harmful! Research indicates that curcumin found in Turmeric causes this herbal root to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and even anti-cancer!

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Turmeric has been known to treat autoimmune conditions, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and breathing problems to name a few benefits but what most don’t realize is that with the addition of black pepper and a fat soluble oil like coconut oil it allows the curcumin to be more effective which increases turmeric absorption.

This combination creates a warm blend full of creamy, comforting and most importantly healthy deliciousness. I personally prefer to drink it before bed to take the edge off of the day’s muscle aches and pains. It’s satisfyingly soothing and can also serve as an alternative bedtime treat.

In a nutshell, this drink is packed with nutrients and also quite flavorsome. I’ve included recipe details below, please check it out and like, comment or share if you plan to try this Golden Milk Latte.

recipe, gold milk, healing, sooting, healthy

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My Testimony: From Divorced To A Restored Marriage

 

“Pride kills relationships before they can bear the fruit of their purpose”

 

If it’s one thing 2019 taught me, it was to absolutely, positively, Never Say Never. I spent most of 2018 and the early part of 2019 telling myself that I was not interested in another serious relationship after the divorce. I constantly said, “I don’t want that responsibility”, “I don’t want to have to care about anyone else’s feelings or opinions”. I mean I was seriously dragging this whole self care thing to the extreme. During this time, I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot by myself but I also made some mistakes in addition to some intentional bad choices. It was as if I was self sabotaging under the pretense of self love. Towards the end of 2018, I began to meet with a therapist and every session I found myself saying this same mantra: “I just don’t want that pressure”. Unbeknownst to me, my proclamations were nothing more than me avoiding a lifelong problem: POOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS.

 

Throughout my life, I’ve avoided the mastery of positive self expression. I constantly struggled to reveal my true feelings, thoughts and emotions in every relationship: friends, family and romantically. In a joking manner, I always say I don’t argue because I’m either going to swing or disappear. Although, it’s not a joke. I truly suffered from a serious problem that prohibited any true growth or healing in many relationships. I still have a lot of the same friends from childhood but there has been less than a handful of friendships plus countless romantic relationships that have ended all because I simply had no desire to communicate. This could have been due to pride, fear, lack of vulnerability, not meant to be or just plain ignorance but at the sign of any shady, weird, or gray behavior (I’m a black or white type of girl) I would completely shut down. I never tried to figure out why, or how I could make it better, or if it’s even accurate. Unfortunately, I carried this same mentality into my marriage and he was the same way hence the demise of our relationship.

 

For a little over a year I had no communication w/ my ex husband outside of schedule arrangements. He had moved on with his personal life and I did too. It wasn’t until we finally reached a point where we were able to sit down and actually have a conversation that we realized we both needed to face our mess and ultimately resolve our deficiency in the communication department. Over the next few months, we uncovered and revealed everything which made space for each of us to effectively share our perspectives. After everything we’ve experienced, I never in a million years imagined that we would reach the point where we would or could even consider remarriage. After all, I was finally at peace with what I assumed to be my fate and to be honest it took a lot of convincing for me to consider the possibility. I was so resistant and hesitant at first and with GOOD reason. Nevertheless, God had other plans in mind. I am a believer in Christ and throughout my life I’ve read the New Testament describing many miracles of restoration. I mean, I even wrote about my experience with preparing for restoration here. So, I know first hand of what God can do when it comes to making dead and forgotten things come to life. However, I didn’t have the foresight to believe it could happen to me. We live in such a prominent cancel culture, willing to cancel and dismiss any and everything at any sign of fault, error and mistake that I didn’t realize our marriage could be one of Christ’s many miracles.

 

Almost three years ago God gave me the vision to move to Tampa, FL with my family in which I shared our story here and we almost let God’s plan and our entire purpose go unfulfilled. I am here to assure you and reassure myself that we’ve failed so many tests on our journey, we attempted to do things our own way and even settled for mediocre when we were destined for greater. What felt like and even appeared to be progress externally was nothing but a sinking hole internally unable to be made whole until we committed to accomplish what we were destined to achieve. This journey was much needed. We both needed time apart to voyage out on our own self discovery and commit to self work free of dependence. Our decision to fulfill the dream God gave us years ago will change the trajectory of our future and significantly impact the legacy designed for our children’s children. This time we’re choosing to do it again and not stop until God tells us “Well Done”.

 

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5 Ways I Conquered My Transition Year

Its been a year since I published my last post and as I sit here reflecting on the peaks and valleys of 2018, I can’t help but to sit in complete awe and gratitude. What the enemy intended for evil, God truly used for good. Towards the end of 2017, I was battling with myself and this idea of Rest; I wrote about surrendering and waiting in my last two posts: you can check them out here and here. I struggled immensely with stewing in the land of the unknown. The idea of not being in control ate at me like an incurable skin infection. When I didn’t know my next move I felt on edge. Not to mention, my intuition about my “marriage” (full of poorly disguised repetitive behaviors) was as accurate as a dart in the center of the dart board. I felt pressured. Not like the pressure we feel when there is a deadline for an important project due. No! I felt pressured as if I was physically being pressed down by the weight of my current circumstances mounted with the fears of my undiscovered purpose. The more I fought to succumb to stillness the more I began to feel constricted and minimized. What was supposed to be my resting period felt like pure torture. I felt isolated and in times of isolation we can let the enemy tell us how things are going to play out or we could fight back and tell the enemy how God is going to work things out for us. The paradox of that dreary moment in my life was–rest does not always equate to leisure. For me, at that time, my rest was for shredding and mere strength building.

I was enduring numerous trials that I will not specify for the sake of avoiding oversharing and any pity parties. However, I will acknowledge that particular period of full out war– internally and externally allowed for my strength to be renewed like never before. I went onto the battlefield as I knew my days of rest were over and it was time to take action. I fasted from social media, meat and processed foods several days a week & this included making a lot of meals and baked goods from scratch. I learned about some family history on ancestry.com and I learned that my great great great great great grandfather served in the Revolutionary War. I listened to motivational podcasts and read through The Old Testament of the Bible. Naturally, I thought to myself, Welp I’m doing all of these great things to improve myself my life is definitely going to turn around for the better soon. I’d like to insert some exciting news here but it was the second week of February when the decision was made to finally divorce. Some people would lose faith and even question the authenticity of God’s love, like, how could God put me in such a terrible predicament when I’m doing the work to be a “better person”. Honestly, I was relieved. I finally had an answer for why I needed rest and why God specifically told me to move away from my comfort zone. God needed me isolated so I can solely depend on him to reveal just how great he is at restoration.

Due to my circumstance many people expected me to be sad, angry and hurt. So many people were hesitant to speak to me and it seemed as if others were eagerly anticipating me to cry while some set back and just watched my every move to see when I would break. However, while I was on the battlefield, I was reminded that the most precious things on earth–new life, olive oil and diamonds also derive from extreme labor and compression. I signed the divorce papers with a smile and without hesitation in March. Immediately after signing, the transition into my season of receiving everything God prepared for me while I rested seemed to flow effortlessly. The way life began to unfold for me could have only been hand crafted by God himself. My self improvement, my new relationships, and my new lifestyle were all apart of God’s divine plan. I don’t receive a penny in any financial support but God made a way for me to provide every need and every want for myself & children. I’ve also been extremely blessed to have my amazing family fly down to step in and help with my children. What initially appeared to be life going in reverse eventually evolved into a year catapulted at lightening speed ahead. Check out the top 5 ways I made it through what some would perceive as a difficult year:

  1. I  did a personal inventory. I asked myself the hard questions. I challenged myself to rid my mind of old thinking patterns. I read more books this year and not only did I read the books I actually incorporated my readings into my daily routine. One of the books that helped me the most was “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book allowed me to assume less and view life from a different perspective. I slowly found myself typing less paragraphs and more “ok” texts. Since I was no longer taking other’s choices personally I was harboring fewer ill feelings and therefore bitterness and resentment had limited room for growth. I am still not perfect in this area but I am much better than I was before so for that small accomplishment I raise a glass!
  2. I let it go. Literally, everything that I was holding on to I let go. I let go of my ideas of how things should be, I let go of the weight of other people’s opinions, I let go of my ego, I let go of the need to always prove myself, I let go of old memories. Although, I bought most of the things in my old apartment I wanted nothing to do with anything that reminded me of my past. I bought everything brand new and moved into a newly built home that has a pond in the backyard with palm trees and resort style pool in a beautiful neighborhood! If you know me then you know at this very time 2 years ago I was house hunting in Buffalo, NY and I wasn’t able to find anything I loved which essentially led to me relocating down to Tampa, Fl June 2017 (Further proof that delayed doesn’t mean denied).
  3. I amped up the fun! I started doing fun activities at home such as dance parties, painting on the lanai with the kids or taking daily walks to our neighborhood playground. I signed up for events in my local community and received updates weekly via email. I took my children to Disney 3 times this year. I also took them on a road trip to Atlanta and to Buffalo via plane twice by myself. Thank God they’re good travelers! I needed some adult fun as well, so thanks to my good friends and family, I went to dinner often, 3 concerts (The Carters, Chris Brown and Bas), I went to two comedy shows, the movies regularly, Karaoke, Paint Night, Bowling, Trap Music Museum, Paintball, and enjoyed nights out on the town.
  4. I made self care apart of my lifestyle I never practiced self care prior to this year, but now that I make a conscious effort to care for myself, I am much more relaxed and genuinely happy. Too often we give to everyone else first and we’re left feeling depleted. Now, I give to myself first even if its as simple as me taking off from work twice a month to practice mindfulness or driving in silence to navigate my emotions. Before this year, I wouldn’t pay for anything I could do myself. Now my time is more important to me than money spent so I set up a self care spending account where I auto deposit money each pay period to pay for convenience such as routine hair, facial and pedicure appts or anything else I want to do for myself. I say no and mean no and I am doing better with communicating my concerns and  desires instead of holding them in. I value my peace and I don’t entertain anything long enough for it to cause discontentment in my heart. I go to yoga classes and make fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies. I bask in himalayan salt and essential oil infused baths and I’ve also converted to using natural home cleaning products. Health is Wealth.
  5. I sought God and not man. I never made a statement regarding all of the transitions I endured this year. I could’ve called old friends and some family members to tell my side of the story but truth be told, I was so happy to be free I didn’t care if people knew the truth or believed a lie. I knew I matured in the spirit because the old me would’ve been quick to prove the facts with screenshots and audio recordings but this time around, I wasn’t eager to seek worldly validation. The only advice I wanted to seek was God’s alone. I felt more connected to God this year as I held onto his unchanging hand, trusting him to provide provision, guidance and strength. My invitation for God to invade my life has allowed me to end this broken year completely whole.

So for any woman or man who’s year started off dark, crazy, wild, terrible or whatever you want to call it–don’t give up on the whole year. You don’t have to wait until the next year to conquer your transition out of your comfort zone.  Instead, give your year, really your daily life to God and he will surely turn it around for his good every time and trade you beauty for your ashes 💞

 

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I relocated 1000+ miles…and now what?

After I gave birth to my son Feb 2016, I never returned home. My husband, our 2y old at the time, newborn baby & I + my bonus daughter every weekend, moved into a one bedroom at my grandparents home. My family so graciously offered for us to stay for a few months while I transitioned from being a mom of  one to a mom of 2 under 2. At the time, we already owned our home scot-free but our neighborhood had been declining over the years. I mean within a few months someone stole our lawnmower, snowblower and garbage can out of our driveway. Someone even did a hit and run right in front of our house and then a group of kids hid a gun behind my backyard after a house party fight down the street broke out. I had enough and I didn’t feel safe living there with 2 kids.  After the second month at my family’s home, my grandmother suggested putting our house on the market. We agreed that it made sense and we immediately began looking for new homes because we were so eager to be in our own space. We found out about the NACA Home buying program and decided to join. However, with this program you’re unable to enroll if you already own a home. So once we finally sold our home (which took a 7 long months ) we began to aggressively follow the NACA program guidelines while we still searched for a new home. At the time it felt like we were met with obstacles after opposition. The homes we really loved either didn’t exist, were not in the area we desired or required too much remodeling. We refused to settle for another home as our first home was just a starter home and it served its purpose for our first 5 years of our marriage. However, now our family is expanding and we wanted something more.

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14 months after moving in with my family we were extremely antsy as we thought we would only be living with family for a few months, not longer than a year. We anxiously stuck it out. However, as we were finally ending phase 1 of the home buying process and we began to enter into phase 2, I started to become apprehensive. I felt like we were pursuing more of our own will and not God’s will. At our last NACA appointment, I distinctively felt the Holy Spirit speak to me. I felt the spirit say, “What are you doing? You don’t really want a home in Buffalo!” & it was right. I’ve always wanted to relocate. After college I wanted to move to Texas or Arizona but then I got married and I told myself I wasn’t ready to leave my family at the time. My husband and I even considered moving to Atlanta in 2016 but I had 2 very vivid nightmares about moving there for which I believe the Holy Spirit was telling me to cancel that idea immediately. So now I’m left to ask myself “Ok, if not Buffalo…then where?”. I am so grateful that I didn’t have to wait long for an answer. Almost instantaneously, Tampa, FL was dropped right into my heart. I never in my life had a desire to move to Florida and as many times as I’ve been to Florida, I’ve never even visited Tampa. So naturally tons of questions arise, Where will we live?, Where will we work? Who will help us with the kids?…and then came the doubt…”I don’t have any friends or family there”, “I’ll never find a job as good as my job at home”, “We may not get approved for a place to live”. I finally had to let go of my will because it clearly wasn’t working and just let God do his good work in our lives.

The first step in this moving process was to tell my husband. I mentioned it to him the next day and without any hesitation, he was in agreement. Over the next week I kept receiving confirmation. I saw dozens of FL license plates in Buffalo, NY, some of my patients would talk about Florida and one day we googled “Things to do in Tampa, FL” & a Tampa NACA Home buying  program flyer popped up in the images…like how is buying a home in Tampa a “thing to do”. So now I felt this was all confirmation from God and I began looking for housing later that day. We found a place that was TWO TIMES over our budget for NACA in Buffalo but it had everything we wanted in addition to palm trees + hot weather vs settling for mediocrity and snow + cold weather…so it was worth it. I have to admit that I was concerned about the expensive price but we knew that if God wanted this for us he would show us favor and he showed up and showed out! Not only did we get approved without a need for a deposit but we also traded in our current 2011 & 2013 vehicles 2 weeks later and ended up blessed with brand  new 2018 & 2017 vehicles with lower interest rates. So now that we have a beautiful place to live and nice cars, instinctively I’m thinking “How are we gonna afford these unexpected blessings?”. I applied for my nursing license later that week and started filling out applications for jobs that I didn’t really want but I figured they would get me in “the door”. Little did I know I was attempting to unlock doors that were not designed for me. Keep reading to see why I believe this to be true.

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2018 suv is cheaper with less interest than my 2013 suv…God is good!

The second step was telling my family that I’ll be moving 1000+ miles in seven weeks. My family is very close. We all spend a lot of time together so I felt so torn about leaving my parents and especially taking the kids away from my aunt and grandparents who played an integral role in caring for them while we worked. I didn’t plan to but I ended up telling my immediate family right after my cousins funeral. The message at the memorial service touched me as the pastor preached about not complaining and smiling always. I knew staying in Buffalo was not where I was to remain if I wanted true happiness. After talking with my family I felt at ease again because I didn’t meet resistance, instead they prayed and encouraged the move. So we resigned from our current jobs a week before the move to allow enough time to pack or give away everything we had in storage from when we sold our home. We only took what we could fit in our suv or in the trunk of our car. We agreed that we didn’t want to take tons of baggage with us as we really wanted to have a fresh start. We chose to buy everything new once we arrived to Tampa, Fl and keep our transported baggage to a minimum. We gave away all of our home essentials and to be honest we had entirely too much. It’s only 2 adults in our home, we don’t need tons of fine china. 4 cups, 4 plates, 4 bowls was more than enough.

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Our cars were so packed that we couldn’t even recline our seats!

We drove 13hrs to Atlanta (where we stayed overnight), then 6hrs to Tampa with no room to move my legs! Once we arrived, the feeling of numb legs and stiff backs didn’t matter. We were so excited to see God working. We set up our new home in 2 days because we already had a Dreamtrip to Mexico planned months before we knew this move was even an option. After we returned from vacation, we went back to Buffalo to pack the kids up for our second 19+hr drive down in our other car. Once we arrived “home” and opened the garage Ava (at the time she was 3) screamed, “My own washing machine!”. I broke down into tears. If a 3 year old can be so grateful for something so minor as her own washer & dryer then I really needed to get my act together and be grateful for the simple things I have easily taken for granted! We prayed over each room and now it was time to get to work or so I thought! Within our first month we blew $700 in groceries and I still haven’t heard anything back from the few jobs I applied to when I was in Buffalo so I started to get nervous. My husband was working on our family business while I stayed home with the kids, but I am not used to not earning my own money. I became so obsessed with maintaining my previous income and earning money that I almost totally missed that God wanted me to earn PEACE during this season of my life! This was the main thing I’ve been praying for; peace to wake up happy and go to sleep fulfilled.

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One of the most liberating days of my life…not because we got a new place but because we obeyed and God delivered!

This is our 6 month in our new city and although God has not revealed the details for the entire plan to me yet, I am finally starting to see a glimpse of the “now what?”. I’ve been hearing the words Surrender, Rest and Prepare like crazy lately. Literally almost every inspirational message, sermon or meme includes one of those 3 words. I will break down my interpretation of those 3 words in later posts but I am grateful for the ability to discern the answers to some of my questions. I am clear on the fact that I am not supposed to be looking for employment. I had to surrender my control of my finances. This is something I really struggled with because I’ve been working since 14 and I had to accept that right now God does not need me to be a nurse in the literal since at this time of my life. Even though I am not employed, God has still provided everything we needed plus more and he’s even blessed us with the ability to take 5 vacations since the move. I’ve also realized that I had to rest during this season of my life so that I may be restored in order to receive revelation. See more about this here. In addition to surrendering and resting, I’ve also had to use this time to prepare for the upcoming season of my life. While I was at church in October, God showed me flashes of my destiny. Images raced through my mind of what I will be doing and even what I would be wearing. Now, I don’t know the capacity of which he wants me to perform and I don’t know exactly how I am going to get there but I do have an idea of what God has called me to do so I am committed to getting in position for what is to come. If you’re wondering if making a big move is for you I pray you get the clarity you need but most importantly I pray you take action without reservation. You don’t need to know all of the details all of the time. Let God show you the “now what?” on his time because he always provides provision for the purpose.

From Rest to Restoration for Revelation

Over the past 2 years, I have spent so much time wondering about my purpose. I’m a married millennial mom that just turned 30 and the pressure is on! I wasn’t able to find any solace in this forced fed new aged movement of “Passionately Pursuing Purpose”, which can be so tiring and misleading. We’re constantly told that If we’re not hustling and grinding or working around the clock then we’re not actively living in purpose. To be clear, in order to achieve success of any kind work is definitely required, and in no way is this post a bash against purposeful work. Instead, this is a warning to myself (and anyone who cares to read) against broken busyness. Sometimes we’re so broken and eager to fill voids with things that simply keep us busy instead of actually filling that empty space with rest which so many don’t realize leads to restoration for true revelation.

We have this innate desire to “belong” (especially living in the digital age). We’re pushing ourselves to fit in areas that are not designed for us and then we wonder why we meet so much resistance. It is important that we remove ourselves from distractions and from the attachment to others definition of what our next move should be for our lives. I personally had to and even still have to make a conscious decision to be so far removed from society’s strongholds that I only leave room for an inlet of revelation.

I’ve found that when you allow yourself to be removed then repositioned in a place of rest you’re able to clearly survey your surroundings. When resting, senses are heightened because we’re no longer spending so much energy being busy. We’re now on high alert with the ability to hear and see the areas in our life that are broken and in need of restoration. This is necessary for us to get to our destination of purpose. It demands us to be equipped with intentional disciplined faith. During this time of character building, we can reflect and remind ourselves of the good work God has done, is currently doing, and will do. While faith is the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1), it is magnified when we’re undergoing the restoration process. During this development, we’re unable to predict how life’s events will unfold but we must have the faith to expect miracles over disappointment. Once we’ve rested in faith, our true nature is exposed and what we choose to do during this resting period determines if we will receive revelation or if we will have to circle this mountain again until we pass the test. I’m reminded of the Israelites and I think about their prolonged journey. If only they would have rested on God’s promise instead of refusing to remove their wilderness mentality. If only they rejected their obsession with “the familiar” and relinquished their broken busyness, I’d like to believe that 7 day trip wouldn’t have taken 40 years! I reflect on areas of my life that I need to remove, reject and relinquish in order to reach rest for restoration so that I may conceive revelation and to sum it up…I am convicted! I don’t want to wander aimlessly in a state of broken busyness. I want to always be reminded and focused on the promise and less focused on the how. If I knew the answer to every life detail it would leave no room for God to move in my life.

Isaiah 40:31 states “but those who WAIT on the Lord; shall RENEW their strength” I will be the first to admit that the action of being still while trusting God to do his perfect work on things I cannot see is so much easier said than done. However, as indicated in scripture during the season of resting(waiting) in God we are destined to be restored and made new. Restoration is a guaranteed promise once rest has been realized. Without undergoing a restoration, we would enter new heights with the same thinking and behavior that has kept us broken and busy in the first place. This time of renewing enhances our strength, our approach and our response. I wonder if we’re so hesitant to rest, myself included, because a state of rest can also be defined as the absence of motion. But if this is the case, even in the midst of resting God has still called us to action. Isaiah 40:31 continues, “They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run & not be weary, they shall walk & not faint”. Key phrases: “mount up”, “run”, “walk”. Resting does not mean do nothing. It simply means to surrender and submit. We are still responsible for moving, but instead of moving under our own understanding we should now move under the covering of the Lord. Once we surrender, we’ll begin to transition from a state of brokenness and busyness as we allow him to renew us. Restoration lights the path to revelation which allows us to discover that we no longer need to pursue a purpose. When we’ve experienced rest, restoration and now revelation our true purpose that is finally in alignment with God’s will for our lives will be revealed to us. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This post was created as a reminder for me but I hope it also encourages you in your search for purpose or season of broken and busyness to seek rest and restoration. Pause for rest and allow God to change you from the inside out, then and only then will you be able to understand and accept the revelation of his will and purpose for your life.

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

We’re preparing for Ava’s 4th Birthday and we’re opting for a healthier birthday dessert this year. Thankfully my mom introduced us to the most delicious cupcake recipe ever and I’ll even bet on it in a cupcake war battle. I can finally let my kids eat the batter out of the bowl without worrying about salmonella!!! This recipe is dairy free yet still super moist and delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

Set oven for 350 degrees & line cupcake pan.

Place Wet Ingredients in separate bowl then let sit aside:
1 cup of Almond Milk
1 Tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup of Flour
3 TBSP of Coco Powder
1 cup of Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
Stir.

Mix in 1/3 cup Grapeseed Oil with Dry Ingredients
Mix in  2 tsp Vanilla Flavoring with Dry Ingredients
Stir.

Add Milk & Apple Cider Vinegar to Dry Ingredients
Stir well then place in baking cups.
Bake for 18mins.

Let cool then decorate with frosting of your choice. We chose Pillsbury Cream Cheese. It was buy one get one and Dairy Free. Win/Win.

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Check out Ava’s youtube video to see how she actually makes the cupcakes. We hope you enjoy and please let us know if you’ve tried this recipe and loved it as much as us!

 

Get Snatched: Understanding the latest obsession from postpartum moms

It’s my first month back to work after a three-month maternity leave, and I am constantly greeted with, “Oh wow, You look great.” Yes it’s a compliment I guess, but what if I didn’t look great … then what? And why is that the first thing that comes to mind?

I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy with a safe natural delivery. I was even fortunate enough to have avoided the dreaded stretch marks and cellulite. But, the low-key obsession with pregnancy and weight loss was still a problem for me.

Although, I am at my “goal weight,” I am nowhere near my pre-baby flat stomach. I still feel as if I have a few inches I should lose. Gaining 35 pounds over nine months and only losing 20 pounds so far, it is a daily struggle as I have a mini presidential debate with my thoughts on whether I should indulge in my favorite Talenti ice cream or if I should eat an apple or two.

I make a conscious effort to not pout when my 2-year-old slaps the flat on my stomach and giggles, but instead appreciate the moments when my husband lovingly stares at me and tells me I “look beautiful” and my body is “perfect.”

I have not focused on dieting or exercising for the last three months or even while I was pregnant. In fact, I did the complete opposite; I ate takeout a majority of my pregnancy and scarfed down whatever was available post-delivery. Plus, I am breastfeeding, so nursing mothers need double the calories.

I attempted to enjoy my pregnancy and FMLA of 12 weeks by simply doing nothing besides adjusting to my new role as a mommy of two under 2. But, it wasn’t until I was up late at night breastfeeding and scrolling my timeline full of socialites who have snapped back faster than the average person, when I realized this has become a scary obsession.

It seems as if right after delivery so many social media celebrities are posting pictures eating a colorful salad, sipping detox tea in workout gear exposing the infamous “stomach selfie.” Why does the primary objective post delivery seem to be who can bounce back to pre pregnancy weight the fastest? In reality, the goals should be who got to sleep three hours in a row? Who didn’t soak through their pad and destroy their panties? Or who didn’t spill a whole bottle of pumped milk today and get peed on at the same time?

When I was younger, I remember new moms wearing frumpy clothing for at least the first two to three months after giving birth, but now Millennial women are in lace and spandex within weeks. Many women aren’t even giving their bodies enough time to heal before they’re racing to a gym, disregarding the doctors six-week orders.

We should be spending those first few months smiling with gratitude as we bathe our little ones, holding and nurturing them during every crying episode, singing off key lullabies as we rock them to sleep. Let’s not lose sight of the beautiful accomplishment of bringing life into the world. We should simply be enjoying the moments with our infants who will soon be crawling and destroying our house within a blink of an eye.

Yes that A, B or C list celebrity may have lost their pregnancy weight super fast, but she also may have a team to watch the baby at the gym while she works out. Who knows? But for those without that luxury, remove the comparisons. Focus on your growing baby, eat healthy without starving, don’t touch your gym bag without medical clearance and forget about adorning the snatched crown until YOU actually FEEL ready.  Click here to see article feature on Elite Daily.