They Keep It Run Hundred

Every Monday I see my friend Jessi and she asks me the same thing, “are you working tonight?” And for the first time in a long time, I said no. With my new free Monday night, I joined her with her community running team. This is a group that runs the streets of LA at night. Even when it’s freezing cold, they still show up and run. While running all I could see was steam clouds all around our heads from everyone’s breaths.

I am so glad I joined her last night! It was such a wonderful experience! This running group was full of so much energy, and the artistic experience was so satisfying! Every week they run to a different artistic mural, sculpture, building and such! It’s so intriguing to learn about the local up and coming artists and really see what their personally putting out there!

IMG_4901.JPG

While out running the streets, I learned a few things about running at night that I don’t think I would have ever guessed without experiencing this specific run myself. The first thing I learned was, how beautiful the city of Los Angeles is. When I think LA, I think of crazy people in the streets of Hollywood, tall buildings, and crowded highways. With the help of Eric and BlackListLA, I saw the art in the streets. I witnessed the power of positivity and self expressions! It was amazing!

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

The second thing I learned was the person wearing too much Bengay was actually a genius! When we arrived at the Disney Concert Hall to get ready to start our run I noticed a few people were completely surrounded by the aroma of minty tingly-ness. While I passed certain sour smelling corners of the route, I realized the over powering smell of Bengay or Icy Hot would have been much nicer. Plus, my muscles probably would not have any objections.

The third thing I learned actually left me with a new goal for 2015. I learned that headlamps aren’t just good for spotting cracks in the concrete, but also for spotting homeless people sleeping in the way. As sad as it was, it’s the truth. We were running through downtown Los Angeles where the population of homeless is very high. The streets are lined with tents and what looks like piled up blankets. These are their homes, and as much as the group does run through the area, they are still very respectable of them.

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Proverbs 14:31

I enjoyed joining them so much that for now on, if I’m not working on Monday nights, I’ll join her and the rest of her crazy running team! I plan to show up with plenty of Bengay lathered on, warm clothes, and a backpack full of food for the people we run past. It’s one thing to feel sorry for all the children in other countries who don’t have food, but how about feeding the people in our own backyards when we can. So for now on, I will bring food, not just in my car, but along with me when I run with BlackListLA!

Advertisements

My Merry Little Christmas

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Merry merry merry merry Christmas! So every year I spend Christmas Eve with my family at church and then my aunt and uncles house. Then on Christmas Day, everyone goes to my parents house for early dinner. Well, this year was a little different for me… While my family continued their warm Christmas tradition, I joined my best friend on a road trip to frozen Arizona. We drove there to see her Pop Pop and Grandma who live in 30 degrees and under weather. It was such a long drive but very much worth it! We heard it snowed a little last week but melted away within the day. I was really hoping for a white Christmas, but one filled with loving friends would have been just as great!

On our way there, we stopped at the Colorado river for a picture and then continued on the long, empty road ahead. The air was cold and the sky was clear. I couldn’t believe how many stars I could see once away from the city lights! It was so wonderful!

IMG_4807.PNG

Come Christmas morning I was comfortably sleeping in the guest room. I opened my eyes, wipes away the sandy dream dust, looked out the window and saw something amazing! It was snowing outside!! I jumped out of my bed and ran down the hall to my best friends room. To my surprise, she was already in the shower. I couldn’t wait any longer to run outside, so I did just that without her! Ha! When she finished washing up and getting ready, I broke the exciting news to her and we ran out there together! Falling snow on Christmas morning! Our prayers were answered!! This was such a wonderful treat!

IMG_4847-0.JPG

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:30-35

It was a fantastic Christmas trip! We listened to Christmas music all week, stayed in our PJs until 1 and then started our celebration of Jesus’s life on Christmas Day! A neighbor was out of town for the holidays so we did them the favor of making sure all their bird feeders were full every day. The four of us were dressed very nice and had a feast for our Lord and Savior. It was so different than my normal, yet still so graceful and warm!

Some people couldn’t understand why I would offer to drive 8 hours to spend Christmas in the freezing cold with someone else’s family. But like my coffee cup said, “friendship makes the season merry!” and that it did! It wasn’t about gifts, it was about the love of Jesus, and I felt plenty of that this past week!

I Thought You Said Rum…

So I belong to a community running team. We are like a big family and we spend a lot of time together. We have a big holiday party at a banquet hall where we all dress up red carpet style, eat, drink, and play music and photo slide shows! It’s a wonderful time to get together, catch up, and meet each others crazy other halves!


Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Well, as great as it all is, I work weekends and didn’t make it this year. So instead, I went to the morning after PreChristmas Hike! It was put together by one of our wonderful members for the runners, like me, who couldn’t attend. I got my invitation and the picture was people with Rumchata, Santa hats, and clearly photoshopped male models hanging out with extremely large Christmas ornaments. Well, looked fun to me! I RSVPed and signed up to bring two dozen tamales!

I’m not much of a morning person, so it was really hard to get up at the crack of dawn knowing how cold it was going to be outside. One of my running buddies picked me up at 6:30 in the morning and drove us to the base of the mountain! It was a freezing cold morning but I had my large insulated bag of hot tamales keeping my ass warm! We arrived at our meeting spot and I just saw a bunch of friends dressed up so silly! Other than all the red and green, they had high pattern socks, silly hats, and one even wore a fake Santa mustache and beard! They also all had their backpacks, water bottles, and garmin watches ready! Yup, this was for reals… we are really hiking a few miles today! All in all, it was a fantastic time!

Note to self: run and rum are two very different things!

We hiked to the top and set up all the goods on two tables. Let me tell you, for being an of health freak runners, today must have been carb day! There was food galore! Oh, and there was rum… Lots of rum! Lots of alcohol actually! Drinking at 8 in the morning was a fun experience, but not as fun as the adventure getting back down the mountain. Hahaha! Well, one of our members announced she had to use the bathroom so was going to take a short cut. Five other runners and I followed her. Her screaming bladder must have fogged her mind… “I think I made a wrong turn guys…” Oh it was wonderful! A bunch of intoxicated people dressed up like Christmas hallmark fools are now scaling down the side of the mountain! It was definitely a sight to see! Everyone worked together and made the full hike alive and not injured! Just another wild outdoor experience with my running family!

IMG_4696.PNG

IMG_4694.PNG

IMG_4693.PNG

Christmas Tamales!!

The time is here! Yup, that’s right… Tamale season!!! The warm house that smells of steamed corn, marinated pork and beef… snacking on chicharrones, and jalapeños!

So every year my grandma, aunt, and I get together to make tamales for Christmas! We wake up early, throw our tamale making aprons on, and meet at grandmas house to drink our cups of coffee together! Then, we get to it! Mixing the corn dough with the vegetable shortening and broth, getting it the perfect consistency! We add salt as we go until it tastes just right! It’s a messy messy job, but our aprons love it!

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil…

Ecclesiastes 2:24

This time of year is my favorite because in my family, the way we show love is by feeding each other. These tamales used to sell for twenty dollars a dozen, but we no longer take orders. The only tamales we make are the batches we give out as gifts. The more food Grandma shoves in your mouth, the more she loves you! Every year she teaches me how to cook something new. Over the past few years she has taught me how to prepare each kind of meat, the pork, beef, chicken, all different kinda of salsas to make the same meat taste different, and even a simple jalapeño and cheese!

The key to making your jalapeño and cheese tamales is to add a little bit of root beer leaves! Also, we’ve tried all the different kinds of cheeses, make sure your masa is salted just right and use mozzarella cheese! Your cheese will melt, but still stay in your tamale!

IMG_4599.JPG

This year she taught me to make chicharrones tamales with a green salsa made from tomatillo. Let me tell you, the chicharrones aren’t crispy anymore once you are done steaming the tamales, but they are still quite delicious!

I truly cherish moments like the ones I made today because my grandma and aunt aren’t always going to be around. And the really scary thing is no one else knows how to make these tamales! Without their recipes, no more tamales! I know, what a horrible thing to say, but it’s true! So, please! Look at your life and cherish the moments. They can end at anytime!

IMG_4581.JPG

IMG_4586.JPG

Once Is Nice, Twice Is Tradition!

Happy Thanksgiving y’all! I know, I’m really late, but it’s pretty much my favorite holiday so I’m going to post about it anyways!!

I absolutely love Christmas time! To celebrate the life of Christ, get together with family, repeat traditions, eat amazing food, and give back to those who need it is so amazing! Don’t let me forget the cold weather, that’s the cherry on top! I will say though, I do get a little sad when I see Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving even arrives. We should enjoy the holiday season, every minute of it!

Thanksgiving is just as amazing as Christmas! It’s when the leaves have all turned from green to oranges and yellows. There is a delicious smell of hazelnut in the cool crisp air! One of the times of the year that family comes together, and everyone pulls their heads out of their asses to actually appreciate what’s in front of them! This is the time when we get to shine brighter than the stars and let the world really see our caring hearts!

I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful family to spend my Thanksgivings with. I understand those who don’t have that, and that’s why every year I choose to work on Thanksgiving as my holiday at work. I’ve been working with the elderly for a few years now, and something I’ve unfortunately come to learn, is a lot of them don’t have family to spend holidays with. Not just the elderly, a lot of people don’t. The older population have trouble getting around, and for many other reasons they can’t even cook those traditional holiday meals for themselves. This year I found myself cooking up a full breakfast for a sweet older couple to get their Thanksgiving Day started! They were so thankful, just like they are every other day I’m with them. The sweetest part, was I was asked to lead them in prayer before I left and they ate.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I got off work at 8 in the morning to come home and start cooking for my own family. Every year, since I was about 7 years old, it has been my tradition that I make the cranberry sauce for my families feast! So once I got home, I brought out the eggs, sausage, cilantro, tortillas, cheese, and salsa, and started to make breakfast for everyone. Haha! Yes, I was pretty tired so my priorities were a little off. That’s when I realized I needed to make the cranberries before I ate and fell asleep.

Delicious, tart cranberry sauce for the holidays!
1 bag of whole fresh cranberries
1 cup of apple cider (or apple juice)
2 naval oranges
3 sticks of cinnamon
1 cup of sugar

Over medium heat I put the cup of apple cider (or juice), the whole bag of fresh cranberries, 3 sticks of cinnamon, and the cup of sugar. Zest both oranges into the pot, then squeeze the juice of those two oranges into the pot. Stir and bring it to a boil. The cranberries should start to pop and the floating cranberries will start to become a thick chunky sauce. After the berries start to pop you can turn the stove off and let it cool enough to put into your serving dish. Let cool in the fridge until ready to eat!

I like to make the sauce early in the morning or even the night before, leaving the cinnamon sticks in it while it cools in the fridge. The flavors only get better with time!

Try making some for Christmas! I bet you’ll be so thankful I posted my not so secret recipe! Maybe it’ll become a tradition that you make the cranberry sauce every year. Enjoy!IMG_4417.JPG

Life Block

Hello! I’ve been away for some time now! Have you heard of “writers block”? Yes, well, this was not that. This was Life Block, much like writers block, but my entire life froze.

Life happens… Change is good!… Get up, and dust your shoulders off… Yes, we’ve all been there and been told these things. We grow up experiencing change all the time- so why is it that we still freak out every time it happens?

I was coming to the end of my sixth quarter of nursing school, studying intermediate med surg and mental health. Stressing myself out, I was working 5 nights a week as a care giver for an assisted living community, doing 4 days a week of free labor, attending class once a week, and somehow finding time to study and workout. I was doing this all while trying to figure out how to make time for the newest member of my jammed packed schedule… My potential boyfriend. Relationships are a lot of work! Well, just as expected, the busy, stressful schedule lead to lack of sleep and heart palpitations. Then, eventually, it ruined the potential relationship that never fully developed.

So there I was, in class counting my breaths and heart beats. Trying to make some kind of normal rhythm with that damn thing pumping blood through my body wasn’t working out too well. I was going crazy sitting in class learning about other people who were actually crazy.

Like I said, I was working for free on a med surg unit 3 days a week and at a psychiatric hospital 1 day a week. I found myself relating to my low-functioning, mentally ill patients. You know, the ones that were admitted to the floor because they could swear the aliens planted a device in their hand, or the people who complained of chest pain just so they can get a free meal and warm bed. To prove that I was not just hallucinating these issues, I went to my primary doctor. He ran some tests and immediately sent me to my cardiologist, who then referred me to a specialist.

Thank God, I quickly received some good news! The specialist says I’m not crazy, went over my options of different medications and another operation, but all in all, nothing life threatening! I opted for close monitoring and a 3 month follow up. Bad new, I was put on medical leave the last day of that quarter, and in order to continue school, I will need a medical note that releases me back to the floor.

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter.

John 13:7

Oh, did I mention my heart issue was likely triggered by too much caffeine, over load of stress, and lack of sleep. So I quit my job and decided to look for a part time position somewhere else. Something that will pay me more so I could work less.

Well, long story short, all at once, my health went down hill, I quit my only paying job, I was forcefully asked not to attend school for at least 3 months, and my newly titled boyfriend dumped me. My life took quite the turn in the two weeks before my birthday. Yep! Prefect ending to year 22! Pretty much, all my plans had to change right there and then…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Here I am now, 23 years old, feeling healthy, working two less stressful, higher paying jobs, living the single life, and getting ready to start school again in a month! My life block is over! More importantly, I’m back to writing my blog! Yay!

Change happens all the time, we just have to remember that God has a beautiful plan for us. We need to trust in The Lord and live the plan He’s made for us, and stop getting so upset over the changes he’s making in our lives.