Rest Day: Daily Manna 10/17

Soooo this Daily Manna is being written a day late, but that's okay! It's also probably not a very exciting one, because yesterday was a rest day. I am not a fan of rest days! I know I may be a rare breed but I literally wake up in the mornings excited for my run and my workout! But, I knew I had to take a rest day yesterday because of my hip/knee (and possibly today too...icing my injuries at the moment). My pain has progressively gotten worse over the past week, to the point where my entire right leg feels like dead weight. I regretfully decided to take a rest day yesterday, so this is what my day looked like! I woke up early per usual, since my internal clock believes the day will go to waste if I wake up after 6:30am. However, I've always been okay with this because it makes me feel very productive. I am a morning person through and through. After my quiet time, I decided to channel my usual morning energy from my workout to some study energy! I took my mom to work and was at a coffee shop by 7:30am with my RD study book studying away.

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As you can tell, I was very sad to be taking a rest day, but decided that my Mickey and Minnie shirt would obviously make me feel better! :) I also thoroughly enjoyed my new and improved pumpkin bread recipe! I am trying to decrease the amount of protein powder I am using and increase the almond flour to help with how fluffy the baked good is coming out, and boy was I successful! I'm going to do the same thing with my brownies today and see if it will make them equally as moist and fluffy! And I can hopefully post these new and improved recipes soon!

ANYWAYS! I got to coffee bean and studied straight for about 2 hours...

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I then decided to take a break for my apple and 100 calorie pack of almonds!

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I read some of my book during my break as well ("Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis) and then continued to study until about 11am. My brain was definitely feeling tired at this point. I went to Chipotle to grab lunch for my friend, my mom, and myself! I then headed to my mom's work to have lunch with them!

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Lunch was kind of disappointing. I haven't had the meat at chipotle for a few weeks every since I tried the barbacoa (which usually tastes great) and had an awful experience with it. But I also don't like just getting beans and rice because, even though it tastes great, it doesn't fill me up as much as the protein. I decided to be brave and try the bowl with 1/2 barbacoa and 1/2 chicken...which was a bad idea since I got sick again...ohhhhh Chipotle. SO good but so bad...I guess I will have to stick to my beans and rice and make sure I have substantial protein and go easy on the grains during the day!

I ended up staying at my mom's work and studying there for a while longer until my brain just could not take it anymore! I had my snackie snack while reading some of my Bible. I love having some Bible time mid-day. My quiet times in the morning are so special to me, but sometimes I need that little reminder during the day of God's promises and how much He loves and cares for me! :)

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We had an early dinner last night and I forgot to take a picture of it even though we went to one of my favorite pizza places! Yes, I said pizza! I love this place and the gluten in the crust is definitely worth it to me! They make their pizza so fluffy and fresh and delicious. We usually start out with a yummy and light salad, followed by our pizza! My mom and I shared a "personal" sized veggie pizza, which is actually enough for about 3 people! I had two slices and definitely savored every bite of each slice! I've realized that, if I space out my gluten enough, it doesn't bother my tummy as much. But if I have too much of it in one day, or all day for a few days in a row, that's when the problems occur. I am happy to report that last night's dinner did not bother me and I enjoyed every single bite! I promise to take pictures next time, because the pictures definitely portray how yummy this pizza really is!!!

Currently, I am icing my hip and knee, which is really helping with the inflammation and pain. I was planning to take a rest day today as well, but I am contemplating going to the gym to do an easy elliptical workout and some weights. I guess I will see as the day progresses!

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and weekend! :)

Take My Thoughts Captive

Lately, I have been trying to be more intentional about my thoughts. My thought life is very jumpy and inconsistent. I tend to have full-faith about things one moment, then be crippled with anxiety and worry the next. I turn to the Lord during these times, but it is very difficult to keep my eyes and mind fixed on God when there are constant distractions and problems coming my way. Anyone else? I feel like life is always going to throw us waves, and I would love to just swim in the storms that come at me knowing the Lord is with me even in the turmoil. I think having this type of peace starts with have captive thoughts. I use this phrase a lot and it is often a staple in my prayers during times of worry, anxiety, or feelings of defeat. This concept of "captive thoughts" was first brought to my attention while reading 2 Corinthians 10. Verses 3-5 jumped out at me:

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I've memorized this verse because it has become a constant companion for me in times of distress. I love the promise that God equips us with weapons to demolish our strongholds. Strongholds are anything that take us "captive" and consume us whether it is work, school, family, striving for good health, worry, anxiety, etc. Many of these things aren't bad by themselves (for example, being healthy is great! Having a good job to support your family is wonderful!) But, anything, even good things, can become a stronghold if they take the place of God is our lives. Psalm 18:2 states, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (emphasis mine). God is the only one that can secure us as our fortress, deliverer, rock, shield, and stronghold. But isn't it so like us humans to get swept up in our thoughts, problems, and lives that we turn these into our focus, our motivations for security, and essentially our strongholds? These thoughts, as 2 Corinthians states, can set themselves up against the knowledge of God. Thoughts like "if I have that job, car, dress, significant other, etc, my life will be so much better and complete" can often turn our motivations upside-down and cause us to focus on "worldly-things" instead of "God-things."

But! Thank the Lord He has equipped us with weapons to demolish these strongholds! We can tear down these "arguments" and "pretensions" in our heads that place worldly things before our relationship with God. When worries and anxieties come, which, let's face it, they inevitably will, we can turn to the Lord and ask Him to equip us with weapons that demolish these thoughts. We can put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:13-18 states,

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

These verses seem pretty dense, but they are basically telling us to take up the armor that God freely gives us through His promises, forgiveness, grace, and WORD. The more we know about God, the more we can use these weapons against our destructive thoughts. And how do we know more about God? By taking the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" and becoming so familiar with who God is, what He promises, and what He has done for us, which is all recorded in His word!

Knowing more truths about God will help us focus on who HE is in times of anxiety and worry. When these times come, we can ask him to take all of our thoughts captive and make them obedient to HIM! God has equipped us with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), and we can use this power. We can ask God for wisdom and believe that He will give it to us (James 1:5). Galatians 5:1 states, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." God set us free to be and live like we are a FREE people, not to still be captive to destructive and anxiety-driven thoughts.

However, we cannot have captive thoughts that are obedient to Christ without the help and power of the Holy Spirit. We must ASK God to help us in our thought-lives. We must acknowledge that the Lord's thoughts and ways are greater than any of our worries, problems, or even aspirations and dreams. Isaiah 55: 8-9 state: "“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." We have to trust that God has a better plan for us because His ways are higher than we can ever imagine! Trust me, this is SO hard for me. It is difficult to focus on what God is doing at times when things just seem so overwhelming you can't fathom how it will all work out for your good. But the Bible even has something to say about that :) Romans 8:28 states: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I am trying so hard to be more intentional about what I think about. We simply have to believe what the Lord says. Believe that we can demolish strongholds by asking for the weapons that God has promised to us. Believe that we can ask God to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. And lastly, believe that God will work all things together for our good! :)

Be a Light: Daily Manna 9/9

Wow! I feel like I haven't posted in so long! This weekend flew by fast as I was recovering from a horrible sinus infection and trying to rest up. I'm feeling much better today and thought I'd write my Daily Manna post! Today started off in the usual fashion with my quiet time and getting ready to work out. I was also reflecting on this picture I found a few days ago on Pinterest...

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I've realized lately that I have been really stressed out and focused on my RD exam, needing to study, and even needing to get better from this sinus infection! But after finding this picture, I realized that the reason why God put us on this earth is to glorify Him and bring others to Him by being a light to those around us! I made this the background for my phone to make sure I have a constant reminder as to why I am on this earth. Seeing this picture also reminds me to pray that God helps me and strengthens me to further His will and purpose for my life!

After my quiet time, I had one of my Peanut Butter Banana Scones (with added chocolate chips!) and headed to the gym. I kept with my workout plan yesterday (posted in the workouts section) and was able to run 2 miles, do my 20 minute elliptical HIIT workout, and do my plank challenge with some strength training mixed in. Today, my plan was to run 3 miles, but I was able to run 4! Yay!!! It felt so good to run after not being able to for so long since I have been sick. I also did my plank challenge for today, then headed home as I had planned to take a Nike Training Club class at noon. Once I got home, I made myself a sausage and veggie scramble with a side of sliced apples and blueberries.

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After breakfast, I decided to make a study schedule for preparing for my RD exam. I have been stressing and struggling to find the motivation to studying, but making a plan always seems to help me out! Tomorrow, I plan on going to the public library by my house, follow my plan, and get to studying! I'm actually looking forward to begin studying, and now that I posted that I have a study plan to follow on my blog, it should help keep me accountable! :)

After making my plan, I was able to Skype with one of my bestest friends, which was SUCH a blessing! After our Skype date, I made a quick and early lunch by grilling a light string cheese in a flat out bread and adding a side of veggies. It was around 11:30am when I had this meal, and my NTC class was at noon, so I didn't want to eat too heavy. This was the perfect pre-workout fuel! I had so much energy during my workout!

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After a crazy and intense NTC class (I wanted to cry during the squat session!), I needed a quick but protein-packed snack as I had a few errands to run before coming back home. I had already planned ahead and put a Think Thin bar in my bag, so this definitely helped keep my hunger at bay this afternoon! These bars are gluten free and have 20g of protein per bar! They are delicious!

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Dinner was absolutely amazing tonight. We made our tabbouleh once more (recipe is posted!) while grilling some fish! My mom and I made salmon for my dad and trout for us. My cousin bought me this amazing Cajun seasoning from Whole Foods a few months back, so I used that to season my fish and my sweet potatoes! This meal turned out to be delicious and very filling!

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Now that the evening is coming to an end, I am realizing how exhausted I am! However, it is a good exhaustion because my muscles feel so worked! I can't wait to be sore tomorrow and know that I did something to better my body today! I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Big Breakfast Club: Daily Manna 8/26

Today was such an up and down day with work, energy, and my overall mood. All I wanted to do ALL day was just go back to my bed. It was humid and rainy today, so that will be my excuse. Even if it isn't cold outside, the fact that it is rainy automatically makes me want to cuddle up in bed with a good book. Which is precisely what I plan on doing after writing this post! I woke up this morning, did my quiet time (I started a new Bible study on John and it is incredible so far!) and got ready for my workout. I ate my flat out bread (100 calories and high protein!) with a smear of peanut butter.

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And yes, I pinterest at 4am. Don't judge :)

I had a great workout this morning! I ran 6 miles and it was really easy at the beginning and the end, with just a little difficulty sprinkled in the middle. I like to change the incline on my runs since I run on the treadmill (the air quality is AWFUL where I live at the moment), so I think my body is resisting that a bit! But that's okay, I'll just have to keep pushing! After my run, I did some strength training, working on my chest and triceps! Plus a plank :)

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I really want to get better at my planks. I used to be able to do 2-3 minute ones last year! Oh grad it ruins you. Maybe I will make my own Plank Challenge plan to help me out a bit...hmmmm...

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I made breakfast at home before heading out for my hour-long drive to work. I had some fresh watermelon my mom had given me over the weekend which tasted like candy! YUM! As I have mentioned before, I've been struggling with getting hunger pangs midmorning. My shift at my internship is 7am-3:30pm, which means breakfast is eaten extremely early. I decided that, today, I would have a large breakfast. And this one was LARGE for me! I scrambled 2 whole eggs, 3/4 cup egg whites and a yellow bell pepper and placed it all on a tortilla with some salsa on top. My hope was that the fat from the two whole eggs plus the protein from all the eggs in general would help me stay full till 11/11:30. And my plan worked! My breakfast kept me so full that I was able to happily wait to take my lunch at 11:45am instead of having a grumbling stomach at 9:30am! I am happy to report that I am now a part of the Big Breakfast Club, and will not fear getting so many calories in that early in the morning!

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For lunch, I made my usual salad, got my chicken breast, and meandered around the cafeteria for a little bit. At the sandwich bar, they had a side salad of broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, bell peppers, and red onions tossed in a light Italian dressing. Bingo! I knew this side salad atop my regular salad would taste so good! It was the perfect variation to my typical lunch and helped me not get caught in my salad rut :)

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Around 3:30pm, I had my 100 calorie pack of cinnamon roast almonds and a plum. This plum was so juicy and red inside. Plums are definitely one of my favorite fruits so I thoroughly enjoyed my snack!

By the time I ran my errands after work (gas, picking up quest bars, etc), I was ready for dinner. I stopped by the grocery store and got a garlic rotisserie chicken. Once I got home, I picked out the white breast meat, saved the rest for tomorrow, and created my quick and simple basic food groups meal:

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This meal filled me up, tasted great, and got the job done. And I have more of it left for tomorrow's dinner! Win-win :) As I've mentioned before, I am moving back home at the end of this week and trying to eat as simple as possible so I won't have any access food :) I can't wait to get back home to my own kitchen and cook all of my favorite meals!!!

Before ending this post, I want to share a quote I had posted on my Instagram a while back (@thejoyfulharvest if you want to follow!) I have been reflecting on it all day today...

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I don't know about you, but I tend to focus on my past and the mistakes/victories I have had. I dwell on the former things whether they are the positive or negative aspects of my life. I try to think about what made me do the things I did in the past. However, today, I was reminded of this verse while reading the Socrates quote:

Isaiah 43: 18-19

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

I love the excitement of this verse! "See, I am doing a new thing! you not perceive it?" It's almost like God is standing with us, holding us tight, pointing off to something in the distance, and saying with excitement "there it is, right there! Don't you see it?!" God has a plan for us, and He is excited about it! What is the point of dwelling on the former things, when God's plans are alive and active and always moving us forward? I hope that these verses help us focus on the "new" thing instead of the old. Let us put our hopes and energies into what is coming instead of getting caught in what has already passed.


Have a lovely night everyone!

White as Snow: Daily Manna 8/22

Today was a great but tiring day! As usual, I started the day with some quiet time, and was OF COURSE blessed by it! Today's verse on my Bible app was from Isaiah 1:18 and says: "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool."

I love this verse. I reflected on how much God loves us; so much that he would wipe our sins away and make us as white as snow. We are redeemed by Christ's blood, and this verse was a very needed reminder that I am forgiven, and that I should LIVE as a forgiven child of God. I pray that I see myself the way God sees me and that I can glorify Him in all that I do.

After my quiet time, I got ready for the gym, had my egg, and headed out.

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I was quite pleased with my workout today! I ran 5 miles and worked on my chest and triceps! I'm already feeling sore this evening, which is always the mark of an awesome workout.

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Once I got to work, I had some scrambled eggs (1 egg and a couple egg whites). I also brought my microwavable steel cut oats from home and added 1/2 a banana to them. So so tasty!

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I wasn't able to take a picture of my lunch, but I ended up having a salad with some chicken and garlic orzo. I've been feeling very low energy in the afternoons and decided to try adding a bit of carbohydrate at lunch to see how that helps. I usually just have plain chicken/fish and salad and have been feeling so fatigued come 2pm!  The carbohydrate options at the hospital are not always that healthy, but I decided to try the garlic orzo instead of the french fries or mashed potatoes because I. Love. Garlic!!! Really, it's a problem. I just love it. And I loved this orzo! Wish I could have snapped a picture :(

My afternoon snack was a peach again, with my 100 calorie pack of almonds! This peach was so juicy and messy to eat, which made it taste even better!

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I finally got off work and hit the road. I was so indecisive on the drive home about what I wanted for dinner. I contemplated chipotle (which I've already had this week), grabbing a lettuce wrap burger from Five Guys (I love this place but wasn't feeling like a burger tonight), or staying in and doing some sort of chicken wrap thing. I'm very low on ingredients at home since I am only living in my apartment at school for another week or so, but I really didn't want to go out to eat again, so I decided to stop at the market on campus and grab some low carb tortillas, salsa, and carrots. I had some hummus and frozen chicken at home, so I figured I could create some sort of concoction out of these ingredients!

I had an afternoon meeting with my professor, then headed back to my apartment to start dinner. Even though it was only 5pm, I have learned that I need to listen to my hunger cues and eat when I am hungry. Also, I usually sleep by 8:30pm since I have to be at work super early in the mornings (and always want to fit in a run beforehand!) so a 5/5:30pm dinner is not too unusual for me. I boiled my chicken for about 20 minutes, then heated up my tortillas and made chicken salsa wraps with some carrots and hummus on the side!



I know this meal seems boring and plain, but it seriously tasted SO good. On night's like these, when I am not really wanting anything in particular and am too exhausted to make a decision, I try to go as simple as possible and cover all my basic food groups!

Protein: chicken

Carb: tortillas

Veggies: carrots

Fats: hummus

This meal was fast, simple, and fueled me up so I could get on with my evening! Mission accomplished :) And now I get to continue packing up my apartment! Have a great night everyone!

Fear, Courage, and Love

These three words have been bouncing around in my head for the past few weeks. I have realized how much I live in fear and anxiety, crave courage, and desire to feel God's love at all times. These three words have also been the main themes of three songs I have been listening to over and over again these past few weeks...let me back up a little bit and explain. I love to work out to music, particularly worship music. It relaxes me and helps me start my day off focusing on the Lord and giving all the glory to Him. Music has always been a big part of my life. I am a very emotional person; however, when it comes to expressing my emotions and putting them into words, I have a really hard time. But when I listen to a song, sometimes the lyrics resonate with me to a point where I exclaim "That's it!!! That's how I feel!" When this happens, I usually listen to the song over and over again as a sort of release to help me sort through my thoughts and feelings. This happened the past few weeks with three songs in particular:

"Believer" by Audio Adrenaline

"Courageous" by Casting Crowns

"Your Love is Like a River" by Third Day

These songs have made a huge impact in my thought processes the past few weeks. "Believer" is a song that starts out by saying "I want to live my life unsafe, unsure, but not afraid." Whoa...really? The minute I heard those words I got to I want to live my life that way? And if I do want to live unsafe and unsure, isn't "not afraid" kind of an oxymoron to those first two conditions? But then, the chorus came. And everything made sense:

"Cause I’m already out here, blind but I can see I see the way You’re moving God how I believe that

I can push back the mountains, can stand on the waves I can see through the darkness, I’ll hold up the flame Take me to the ocean I want to go deeper I’m not afraid no, I’m a believer"

I realized that yes, I can live my life unsafe, unsure, and NOT afraid because God is moving and I should believe that I can do all those things above such as "push back mountains" and "see through the darkness" because I am a BELIEVER in God and what He can accomplish through me. Why fear??

The second song "Courageous" got me by its first words as well, which state, "we were made to be courageous." Pretty simple, right? We weren't made to live in fear; we were made to be courageous! However, I really believe that courage is something that is fought in the mind. It's really a mind over matter type thing, which means that we have to guard our minds and remember that we were made to be courageous and unafraid. The song continues to say: "in the war of the mind I will make my stand, in the battle of the heart and the battle of the hand." This phrase definitely struck a chord with me, because there are many times when we have to make our stand and make a decision in our minds that we are going to be courageous, believe what God says about us and who He created us to be, and not be afraid. Why did God make us to be courageous? To not live in fear? It all comes down to love, which brings me to the next song.

"Your Love is Like a River" is a beautiful depiction of how God's love is alive and flows within us and to others. The lyrics express many different states that we as humans find ourselves in:

"When I am tired and so afraid Your love is like a fire that will light my way When darkness comes and my vision fades Your love is like a fire that will light my way And it's always burning and stirring my soul To know You and love You much more It never stops or ever fades Your love is like a fire that will light my way"

God's love is always there and within us whether we are scared, can't see where we are headed, or when "all our strength and hope is gone." God's love is always there and is the "rock that we are standing on!" See why I love this song so much?? :) No matter what situation we find ourselves in, God's love is never going to fail us or fade away. It will ALWAYS light our way.

So, in essence, we don't need to be afraid. We can live unsure, unsafe, and NOT in fear, because we were made to be courageous. We can take a stand in this war that we are constantly fighting, because we are filled with, and are standing on God's love. It never fails us, never fades, never stops.