Goruck Challenge #1335

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So this was an amazing experience for me! This past weekend I became a GRT, which stands for Goruck Tough. The Goruck community is one that I’m proud to be apart of! Everyone is so loving and no one is ignored or left behind. Whether you like them or not, these people are your resources. I will never feel alone because I know that’s not possible when being a member of this community! I am in a subgroup called Jesus Freaks as well. They are like the church of Goruck. We have a facebook page that allows us to post about the good and the bad that we go through. We do this so we can pray for one another and be there for everyone. Like I said, you will never be alone once you’re a GRT. This event took place in Santa Monica, starting and ending at the pier. It was lead by Cadre Flash, with a little surprise visit from Cadre Big Daddy.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10

When we got to the top of a near by trail that we hiked up, we were able to do a Q & A with Flash. It was a really awesome opportunity to ask whatever we wanted about his life and the special operations military branches. We also went around and shared why we chose to do Goruck. I didn’t share at the time because I hadn’t finished yet. Honestly, I didn’t want to jinx myself and not finish… Why I chose to do the Goruck Challenge…

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Phillippians 4:13

2 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare heart disease. Getting news like that is scary and somewhat lonesome. But what was really lonely was the fact that I couldn’t do any physical activity what so ever without passing out. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and well, that just sucks. My goal was to not let these issues stop me from living. I’ve trained hard and worked closely with doctors to get me where I am today. I’m not just living, it’s good living!

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I decided to do Goruck because I wanted to be able to prove to myself that I can do this! I wanted to be there to support my teammates that are going through their own issues, and I wanted to feel the support from my class, even if I had just met them! After going through 12 hours of hell with each other, you’ll be supportive friends for sure. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of crazies!

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My body may have taken a beating, but yes, I do plan on doing it again! I prayed every hour during the event and I can honestly say that I felt the strength God gave to me. I will be doing more events for sure! I earned my grey patch, and now I have the need for a blue one! I do plan on keeping up on the work outs and eating right because without the 21 day fast, I would never have been prepared physically or mentally for this.

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The Right Pace

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So I have accomplished a very successful 21 days of doing the Daniel Fast. I will admit, I cheated once and ate a bite of my moms homemade pineapple upside down cake- it was delicious, but full of refined sugar. Other than that, my Lord and savior provided for me. He gave me the strength and courage to get through so much! A lot has been going on lately in my life personally, but with His grace, I’ve been just right! Here was my last devotional from the church for the fast…

“Day 21

Prayer direction:

Pray that God’s favor might be upon your family and our church as we continue to put Him first in all things.

From the Desk of Pastor Dawn Jackson…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

Long-distance runners know to make it over the long haul, you’ve got to have a steady pace. Run too fast, and you will burn out early and end up sidelined. Run too slow, and you minimize the potential within you. Running the right pace speeds you to the finish line and prevents injury and burnout.

Pace is also important in life. We often overestimate what we can accomplish in a short amount of time and underestimate what we can accomplish in a long amount of time. We live in a fast-paced world. Many people rush to and from exhausted at the end of each day, with nothing left to give to those closest to them. This results in shallow relationships and regret. Of course, on the other side of the spectrum are those who spin their wheels, never seeming to move forward, aimlessly distracted by insignificant pursuits.

Think also about the pace in which you live your life. With 21 days coming to an end, now would be a good time to make the necessary adjustments so that you might truly finish the race he has called you to run. Consider the following acronym as a guide in developing your pace:

Prioritize. Focus on what is most important.

Assign times of work and rest.

Consistency: doing what you say you are going to do.

Enjoy the journey.

God desires for us to have a full, abundant life, filled with meaningful relationships and the satisfaction of accomplishing purposes which honor his name. A healthy pace will empower you to both accomplish your tasks and build solid relationships.

The Lord is my pace setter…I shall not rush.

He makes me stop for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.
He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.
A Japanese version of the 23rd Psalm by Tokio Megashio.”

Even now that it is over, I still eat healthy (but not as healthy..) and I am still keeping my faith clear of distractions. Nothing processed about my faith! Living and loving life, with a purpose!

Not-So-Far, So Good

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I know it’s only the fourteenth day into the new year, but week two of fifty-two has gone great! This year is looking good so far! I’m sticking to my fasting diet, working out everyday, and last two Mondays I’ve taken food for the homeless with me on my run with my friends running team. I’ve gone from being the worlds bottomless pit for food to a vegan, practically! Working out everyday is already kind of my normal so that hasn’t been much of a challenge. But carrying 20+ extra pounds on my back while running through LA was interesting.

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I’m half way through with my fast and already feeling stronger in my faith. This fast has really helped me clear away all distractions from my sight and really see what God wants me to do! I am much more confident that I am living the life He has set for me! This bumpy road of a path is bearable knowing He’s the one paving the way! I’m making clearer decisions and feeling good about them. Doing this fast, I’ve learned a lot about myself! Things like how much I love seafood, and cheese with my fruit! Ha! No, but really. I can already feel the stronger relationship I’ve built with God these past 10 days have been glorious!

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17

I’ve also realized that my journey isn’t about me. I was put on this earth to love others. I have stuck with it and fed the homeless on my last two Monday night runs through Los Angeles. The team is running through Hollywood this month and it been quite beautiful! To see someone struggle during these runs isn’t something that makes you proud to be doing better, but something that slows you down so you can run with them, lift their spirits, and encourage your teammates to continue pushing! Runners do it for me and I’ve done it for them.

Although it’s only been two weeks into the new year, I’ve already grown this far, and have learned so much! I hope I have inspired more people to live their life with healthier habits and also let The Lord live through them! We can all help ourselves while helping others!

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The Best Is Yet To Come

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Happy New Year! My first day of the year started with, “Hey! Will you take a look at this? Does it supposed to look like that?!” My patient was showing me her stinky toilet full of poop! Out with the old, in with the new! This is the time of year that everyone reflects on the past year and sets new goals for the new year. Colleagues and clients kept asking me what my new year resolutions are, which got me to thinking and reflecting…

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

2014 was quite a year for me. So much happened, and so much didn’t happen, that I don’t even want to reflect on it much more. It was a blessed year and that’s all that really matters. I started last year off with 21 days of doing the Daniel Fast with my church. I loved it so much that I am going to do it again. I also had a lot of doctor appointments medically clearing and diagnosing me. Just last week I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. So another plan for 2015 is to stay active and live with this pain.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18

Starting on January 4th, the following 21 days are going to be tough. With the strength given to me through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit I will get through it. I’ll be participating in the Daniel Fast which removes all processed foods, including dairy, meats and breads from my diet. This diet is spiritually symbolic of moving past a processed faith. These next three weeks are more than just changing my diet; It is a time of prayer, expressing my love to God through worship, and hearing from God in new ways.

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Because of my health, I will be upping my game with my work outs. Right now I’m just a runner. I stopped weight training and cycling due to the excruciating pain I’ve been in, but knowing it’s fibromyalgia, I will be pushing past the pain. Professionals do not know what causes fibro, but they do know that exercise and medications help to reduce the pain and make it tolerable.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

I always tell my friends if they don’t like the life they have, change it! Those are my two major plans for this new year and I’m excited to see what the it hold in store for me! As my senior pastor says, “The best is yet to come!” What do you plan to do with your new year?

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!

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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!

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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!

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.

#empowerothersbeauty

Just like everyone else and their moms, I have a Facebook, too. Well, the other day I was scrolling through my news feed to see what looks like a new version of a dumb chain letter kind of thing. It was called “The Sexy Challenge” and it consisted of 5 ridiculous selfies of a person and a message saying that those are the 5 pictures that make them feel sexy. Then they tagged a handful of people, challenging them to do the same. I looked at it and immediately thought, Great! I hope I don’t get tagged in this stupid thing!

Fast forward a couple days and bam! Facebook notification says I’ve been tagged in my sisters post. I look and it says “…I challenge you to take the beautiful and strong challenge.” At first I rolled my eyes, but then my boredom got the best of me and I opened it. Looked at her 5 pictures and saw 5 beautiful photos of her and her progress in weight loss. She’s not covered in make up nor was she acting provocative. There wasn’t even a filter on the slide. Then, I saw her hashtag “#EmpowerOthersBeauty” and I got it! These pictures made her feel both beautiful and strong, while inspiring me and those 17 other people who “liked” the post. !

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25

I went ahead and made my post of 5 pictures and tagged a handful of people that were either in those picture with me, and/or those who can easily inspire others! It was wonderful! A few of the people I tagged completed their challenge and it was absolutely heart touching to see their collage and read their comments. So many people are inspired by others. It was beautiful, and it wasn’t photoshop at all!

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Nerve-Wracking First Words

So we’ve all been in the position of meeting new people and feeling the heart-racing fear of making a good first impression. Do I hug the person or do I shake their hand? I know I’m a big hugger, but what if they aren’t? Really, it depends who you’re meeting, because let’s be honest here, there’s a time and a place for everything!

If I’m interviewing for a new volunteer program, for a job, or even meeting someone new classmates, I will be the first to stick my hand out and pray the other person knows I’m gesturing for a handshake! With that being said, I’ve experienced the floating-hand look that quickly turns into “oh, what is this on the back of my hand?” Now, if it is a dates’ family member, or someone special that I really want to impress and coax into liking me, I always try for a hug. So here’s to you, social media! *cyber hug*

Maybe it’s just me, but I want to know everything about the people I just meet. What do they do? Why do they do that? Who supports them in these decisions, whether it be in a positive way or negative. What do they believe and live by? What are they thinking right now? Do they know that when I was in forth grade my art project won first prize at the Los Angeles County Fair? Do they think that’s impressive? Maybe I should tell them, because if it were me, I’d want to know! …well guess what? There’s a time and a place.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

So in this place (my blog) we’re going to take our time! I’m just going to write, and you will slowly get to know me! Through comments, I’ll get to know you, and our relationships will be able to actually thrive! I think it’s more fun to put things together anyways, don’t you?