I am a mother of two children, love cooking healthy meals, reading, upcycling, learning foreign languages, and decorating. I have a passion for ministering to women who have been through trials and trauma, and helping those of us who are currently in a valley situation to see how God's grace is there, and waiting to meet our needs through the impossible, while helping us to grow at the same time.
Background Story on the Red Beans and Couscous Mix:
Last night, my small group, “The Bible Babes”, were back in full swing. It felt could to see everyone after such a long, summer break. We are diving into Kelly Minter’s book, “All Things New”. The session video that we watched last night set the tone for the study by having us to dive into two concepts: 1) using our weakness to enable God’s strength to be present and seen by others, and 2) keeping our hearts wide open to others, even when we have been faced with some relationship challenges. Of course, wide open hearts do not take the place of exerting boundaries. However, it helps us to be vulnerable, release shame, and allow God’s grace to move in our hearts. It definitely takes the Holy Spirit to be at work in hearts to thrive, even in the midst of our pain.
As you all know by now, I am doing something with beans and legumes almost every week. About a week ago, I made a recipe that is almost gone unfortunately. It is what I called my Red Beans & Couscous mix. I didn’t use canned beans. If I would have used canned beans, the red beans and couscous mix would have been done in about 35 minutes. It ended up taking two hours just for the red beans to be ready. I literally dumped all kinds of ingredients into this mixture. Last week, I made “Black Beans and Mixed Greens”. You can find the recipe here.
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Red Beans & Couscous Mix
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 35 minutes with canned beans, 2.5 hours with regular beans
1 box of couscous
1 can of mushrooms
1 can of mixed vegetables
3 cans of beans or 1 bag of beans
vegetable broth or chicken broth (non-vegan)
3 tablespoons of turmeric
3 tablespoons of cumin
3 tablespoons of garlic powder
3 tablespoons of onion powder
3 tablespoons of chili powder
1 cup of nutritional yeast
Optional: vegan mozzarella cheese or regular cheese on top
Boil the beans in water according to whether they are bagged or canned.
Saute the mushrooms and mixed vegetables while the beans are boiling.
Boil the couscous and fluff with a fork when done.
Dump all of the above ingredients into a big pot, pouring in about two and a half coups of broth.
How would you like to make something fun for your door with less than $5? Well, that’s what I did this past April. Recently, I had the idea that I was going to take it down since we are now in the fall season. However, it just hasn’t happened. I liked this project for three reasons:
By the way, I purchased all of these materials from Dollar Tree.
Here are the materials that you will need:
1 bundle of jute material (optional) $1
1 wreath $1
2 small bundles of fake flowers $2
Total Cost $4.00 + tax
Fold the bottom half of each of the flowers stems.
Tuck the flower stems into the wreath by placing them in between the individual pieces of the wreath.
Tie bows around each of the individual flowers.
Hang on your door and enjoy!
Optional: This wreath can also be used as a table decoration.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
You can always tell what things are important to Jesus. That is why his last three words on the cross summed up everything: “It is finished.” He already knows the things that keep a high level of stronghold on us. Shame and rejection are just two of them. Shame is when we are perceiving ourselves as bad. This perception can be due to issues playing out in any of the following areas: financial, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and mental. Because we are all broken, we dump shame on ourselves, and then unfortunately we dump shame on others. Last week, we discussed the shame aspect of trauma here. When we wallow in shame, then we see ourselves as unworthy. We become deficient in self-worth. What did the scripture say about our actions in regards to shame? “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Rejection: It is Finished
Rejection hits the same brain wires as when we experience physical pain. When rejection plays out, we receive the hidden message, “You are not good enough”. You need to prove yourself. The next natural response to not being “good enough”, is trying to figure out what we need to do in order to qualify. Unfortunately, depending on our background, this could turn into a dangerous ground for Satan to get a foothold. Jesus was despised and rejected as he planned to take his place on the cross. He didn’t need to prove himself, or figure out how to get someone to like him because God, his Father, was all the approval that he needed, and Jesus is all the approval that we need. His life in exchange for our freedom: He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Isaiah 53: 3
We can finally release all of the shame and rejection on the cross by remembering the last three words that Jesus said, ” It is finished”.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
As Christians, we know that the best example we have for living is Christ. We love because he first loved us. We forgive because he has forgiven us. We give grace because we have been given grace. But, the question is, when is grace no longer grace? This is the question that I have had to revisit several times in the last few years.
Grace is no longer grace when we have gotten to the point of disrespecting ourselves. How do we know that we our disrespecting ourselves? It is usually when our needs, thoughts, well-being, and boundaries are ignored. Boundaries exist emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
One of the ways to know if we are disrespecting ourselves is to pay attention to our “gut reaction”. A lot of times our bodies know that something is wrong before our emotional, mental, and spiritual knows that something is wrong. When I first met a neighbor at my last residence, she seemed nice. Although she seemed nice, there was still something that didn’t allow me to feel 100% safe. During the course of talking to her, she almost fell. She grabbed on to me to recover her balance, and my whole body locked up. If you live with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis, then you are very familiar with the stiffness of the body as a reaction to trauma/stress. Because of trauma victims having a negative charge, we are even more sensitive to detecting something wrong. We are magnets to certain types of energy. Had I acted on this warning, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. When you have a gut reaction about something, it is your body’s warning that your boundaries are being crossed, or that something said isn’t right.
We all have bad days. We are all broken, and because of our brokenness we are going to sin on a daily basis. However, it is important to pay attention to how often we are giving excuses for behavior.
We are not to keep score, however, it is important to know that there is give and take in any relationship. If we are on the giving 90% of the time side, this is a sign that grace is no longer grace. This will manifest itself through feeling drained emotionally during or at the commencement of the relationship. This isn’t a normal reaction in a give and take dynamic.
You are working to prove your value and worth all the time. Jesus’ death cut out all the legalism of work. If we are striving for approval or value from others, or we are given the hidden meaning to keep hustling for someone, grace is no longer grace. I love this verse in Romans that makes this so clear: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
Grace is no longer grace when we allow ourselves to to be controlled. Control can be subtle or obvious. When you find yourself in a toxic dance, your gut feeling is not right, and you are going around in circles, this is a sign you are being controlled. It can also be a matter of having the things that you say or do be used against you. For example: Person A says : Do this. Person B: Does this. Person A says: Why did you do this? And then this repeats over and over again. The only way to come out of the dance is to eliminate your action as person B.
One of the best ways to determine whether grace is no longer grace is to look for patterns. These patterns will give a clue into whether or not there was a misunderstanding on our part, or if there is a pattern of sin on the other person’s part. If it is hard to detect, then one of the best things that we can do is to pray. Prayer for wisdom and discernment will allow us to receive what God wants us to know. As much as we hate conflict, it is something that we can’t avoid. The podcast on handling conflict can be found here. We are told in scripture how to handle the conflict of sin:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
What I have come to figure out myself is that if the scripture verses above were put into effect in all of my situations, then the draining/toxic effect could have been avoided or lessened. We cannot save or fix others. It is Satan’s job to make us believe that we can, to the point of disrespecting ourselves, where grace is no longer grace.
Episode 3: Broken People Judging Broken People Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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Last week, our podcast was focused on “Conflict Among Broken People”. You can find the podcast here. This week’s topic is “Broken People Judging Broken People”.
What is brokenness?
What is judging?
What does Jesus say about judging?
Judging Others Matthew 7: 1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Trauma itself can produce a lot of shame because of its symptoms. Depending on what symptom you are trying to control, it can leave you feeling isolated, and wanting to self protect for fear that someone will not empathize with you for your condition. I harbored shame for three reasons: the swinging/aggressive impulse that it caused, the good memory that God had blessed me with had been had been significantly damaged, and last, the physical condition that the trauma left my body in.
Shame of Lost Memory
I took for granted the memory that I was blessed with. It just had always been there. The ability to memorize telephone numbers, social security numbers, birthdays, and spelling bee words all came easy until the trauma. Even names of people became a blur. When you go from having all this, to trying to remember if something happened a week ago, or three weeks ago, because of the time aspect of trauma, it can do a number on you. Even now, my brain hasn’t fully recovered. Sometimes, I am standing with friends and talking, and for the life of me, I just can’t seem to remember their name. At this point, I will try to tell myself to relax, and then not to overthink it, and the name will come to me. I feel so blessed that God has recovered what he has.
Shame of Aggression
The second part of shame that has taken me a long time to talk about is the aggression. When the aggression hits, it leaves you with the impression of wanting to hit something. Since trauma gets stored in your body, the only way for this aggression to improve, is to get it out. I do this at home by doing a kickboxing style type of move to release the anger from my body. Also, if you don’t go to therapy where it’s safe to talk about the trauma, it just remains stored in your body. Unfortunately, this symptom of aggression from trauma stemmed from seeing my mother abused when I was a kid. I didn’t know it was traumatic until the trauma of my ex-husband’s behavior in the home right before my divorce, coupled with the fact that my daughter was eleven years old at the time. He was planning on leaving the home, and this brought my childhood surface of trauma to the forefront. I was also eleven when my dad left the home. His exit was also traumatic for me. It involved coming home, and then almost everything you own being gone from the house, including him.
Shame of Physical Burnout
The last part of shame from trauma that I dealt with is the physical aspect. I was in a compromised state. Since my ex-husband wasn’t paying the proper amount of money, I figured that I had to go back to work to make ends meet. I got a job that came with a high price: toxicity. From start to finish of working there, it mirrored the emotionally abusive marriage I had just left. I should have quit halfway through when my body started falling apart, but I didn’t. It was nine months of Sodom and Gomorrah, and everything in between there. I was in such a jacked up state, that I couldn’t think straight. At one point, I probably should have been hospitalized because of physical exhaustion, thyroid crisis, and adrenal gland crisis. I also suffered with chronic fatigue on a daily basis. It took a good almost three years before my body starting responding to the thyroid medication again. More shame crept in because during these three years I was more concerned with living up to everyone else’s expectations than living with reality of my situation. It was also at this point that I should have filed for disability, but I didn’t.
Hope from God
What does God tell us about shame of any kind when we are dealing with it? Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7. I hope that this discussion on shame has been a source of healing and encouragement.
I am sure that you’ve caught on to the fact that there are a lot of beans, legumes, and rice going on here in this house. One thing about those three items is that they are quick, inexpensive, and tasty when just the right spices are added. It is so easy to add any vegetable to beans and rice and call it a day.
After making sure that you have some type of added fat, such as olive oil, avocado, or butter, you have everything that you need for a healthy dinner on a tight budget. Last week, I featured a recipe using garbanzo beans here.
On yesterday, I went to my mom’s group. We are currently studying the book Pierced and Embraced by Kelli Worrall. After the holidays, we’ll be diving into the study on the book of James by Beth Moore. The chapter of discussion yesterday was: Sought Out and Satisfied: The Woman at the Well.
This chapter led to a pretty good discussion, as we dived right into talking about all the labels that we give ourselves as individuals, along with the lies that Satan feeds us in regards to these labels. Jesus made a special trip to meet this woman whose mind was set to fulfill a fleshly need: thirst. Little did she know that she would receive the everlasting water of life: Jesus himself.
I hope that you guys have a blessed night!
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Black Beans & Mixed Greens with Rice
Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 35 minutes
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups of rice
1 can of mixed greens
2 cans of black beans
1/4 olive oil
Boil the rice.
While the rice is boiling, saute the mixed greens in olive oil, and heat up the beans.
Dump everything into one skillet once the rice is ready, and mix and stir.
I wouldn’t consider myself a makeup person. I like wearing lipstick, and sometimes I will put on some eye shadow and eyeliner, but that is the extent of it. The one thing that I do love is being able to buy facial and body products. This has been my favorite thing to do ever since my kids were little. Part of “me time” was spent combing the racks at Jewel, Dominick’s, or Walgreens looking for and spelling soap bars and body washes. Even now, whenever I go to farmer’s markets or Whole Foods, my favorite place to stop is the section where they have all the goat’s milk body bars. My daughter introduced me to the Everyone brand about a little over a year ago.
Why Do I Like IT
I like their brand for several reasons:
they contain aloe
essential oils are present
duration of time
they use hyaluronic acid
they have multiple uses
The benefits of Aloe are never-ending. Aloe helps with inflammation of the skin, mosquito bites, skin problems, and burns. My neighbor and I were outside talking, when she decided to cut off some of her Aloe Vera plant some that I could take some home to help with all of the nice, red mosquito bites that were going up and down my leg. I also gave a few pieces to my daughter to help with her eczema. We hated when we ran out.
The Everyone products contain essential oils, which are good for some of everything. People use essential oils to replace candles, and to have a calming, relaxing spa effect. They are also used to help with pain and inflammation. There are others who used essential oils to boost their immune system.
Duration of Time
For two people sharing the 32 oz sizes, the Everyone products can last literally for about two to three months. Believe or not, you don’t need a lot. A small amount goes a long way. The bonus is the fact that they use purified water to make their products, which helps those of us who have sensitive skin. The 32 oz. sizes are $9.99 at most stores, and some months, I have been able to get them for 6.99 to 7.99 at health food/all natural stores. It is best when they are that inexpensive to buy two, if possible.
I was so happy because the Everyone Face for Everyday cleanse was on sale for $5.00 at Whole Foods Market. This was over a month ago, and I have a good 60% of the bottle still left.
The hyaluronic acid from the Everyone products adds to the hyaluronic acid that is already present in the skin, helping to:
lessen lines and wrinkles
benefit collagen levels
help with aging skin process
The last benefit of the Everyone products that I like is that the lotion and wash have multiple uses:
Everyone Wash: shower, bath, and hair shampoo
Everyone Lotion: face, body, hair
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19
Upcycling things can be an adventure. It just takes a few minutes of creativity and little bit of down time. A few months ago, I upcycled my pillow cases on my bed using a scarf. You can go to the link here.
I am starting to really appreciate Saturday mornings now. Every blue moon, I have to leave out early, but for the most part, my new thing for Saturday mornings is to do my devotion, eat some breakfast, and sit in bed and read for a good two hours. This doesn’t always happen during the week, so Saturday morning reading is my relaxation time.
What I love is when the air isn’t too cool or too warm, as the air is here now in the Midwest. I love it! It has been raining for the last few days, but I love the idea of a good book, a blanket, physical rest, along with the concept of resting in Jesus on a Saturday morning.
I am rereading Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen, Unexpected by Christine Caine, and about five other books at the same time. I know that this might sound strange to some of you, but sometimes in the evening, I like to have a good cooking show on while reading.
It’s nice to still be able to hear the chipmunks playing outside. It wasn’t until two and a half years ago, that I became familiar with the sound that the chipmunk makes.
This morning, I finally got brave enough to do something that I had planned on doing for some months now: upcycling the throw pillows that are on my bed. I already had all of the materials here. I was able to get one pillow done today.
The process was pretty easy. What I have noticed is that the worst part of any project is getting the materials together, and just doing it. It was also therapeutic. I am even thinking about using the rest of the material from the scarf to make a purse. We’ll see.
Here is the project:
Upcycling Throw Pillows from a Scarf
A Scarf that has Pom-Pom Style Strings Attached
(3 to 4) 25 or higher of embroidery thread
A thick enough needle to go through the scarf material and pillow cover
A Throw pillow with a cover
Cut off the Pom-Pom Style Strings attached to both ends of the scarf.
Sew the Pom-Pom Style Strings to both sides of the throw pillow using the needle and embroidery thread, making sure to double enforce the thread because of the fragility of the material.
A couple of nights ago, I decided to make a late night concoction of garbanzo beans with peppers and rice. It didn’t take too long, and it was surprisingly good. That was the bonus. Thursday was a pretty busy day, and so at a certain point, I realized that I had to give myself grace, and get some of the things done that I didn’t get done that day on Friday. Worst case scenario: have a small layover on the weekend. I knew God’s grace would be enough to handle what I needed for the day. I just had to remind myself of that several times.
Watching a good movie on Pureflix after cooking this meal sounded like a great idea. However, I guess I was more tired than I thought. The next thing that I knew, I was waking up to the ending credits, and some good Christian music going. I will replay the movie tonight, as well as the movie that I fell asleep on last night: “The Shunning”, by Beverly Lewis. Guess what? I probably have a list of about 30 or more movies and television shows that I have on my “To Watch” List on my phone. This is just from Pure Flix alone.
Here is the recipe:
Activity: Making Garbanzo Beans with Peppers & Rice
Total Prepping and Cooling Time: 35 minutes
1 1/2 cups of rice
Mixed Greens with garlic, Onion, and Sea Salt
2 cans of Garbanzo Beans
1/2 cup of Nutritional Yeast
2 tablespoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of cumin
two yellow peppers
Cook the rice in two cups of water.
While the rice is cooking,
cut up and saute the yellow peppers.
saute the mixed greens.
boil the beans.
When the rice is done, dump it into the mixed greens, along with the yellow peppers and all of the rest of the ingredients, adding about a cup of water to the mix.
It’s amazing how much flavor the nutritional yeast gives this recipe.