the monotony of exercise

image

Have you ever started a new workout- loving every second, going everyday- only to find yourself burned out months… maybe even weeks later? I certainly have. I still do! It takes intentional effort on my part to find variety. I will try a different format to teach in jazzercise. Last year I took some tennis lessons which I had never done before. I went back to yoga, and here lately I’m getting outside more to just walk. The change breaks up the monotony, it brings about excitement in me to try something new and exercise in a new way, and it gives me the desire to make it part of my routine.
Strengthening our spiritual life is very much the same. Monotony can set in quickly when we find ourselves following the same routine week after week. I am speaking from experience! A daily morning habit of reading and following a study all of a sudden has felt a little blah and monotonous over the last few weeks. In looking for a pen this morning, I found this bible study journal that I forgot I bought. It was tucked away in a drawer. The scripture I had on my mind this morning was 2 Peter 3:5-10. And the notes I had jotted down from a previous sermon talked about spiritual exercises we can do to participate in our faith- to grow. I could have just sat and read this scripture and notes and I would have gotten the message on how to supplement our faith. But using my journal prompts helped me to think and engage in a new way. I was interactive with scripture in a way I hadn’t been doing. I was studying in a new way. One new change felt like I broke the monotony of the last few weeks and I got to learn and process in a different way. My life in this simple moment was illustrating exactly what my notes said.
Spiritual exercise matters just as much as physical exercise. And sometimes adding variety to how we spiritually “workout” brings about a new desire to keep going and keep growing. But, just like planning a healthy menu for the week, or planning to teach a specific jazz class, it takes being intentional.
I’m so happy I came across this journal this morning. I feel like it is a new tool to help me continue to grow in a new way.❤️

coffee grinder gratitude

image.jpeg

I woke up this morning and this coffee canister was empty. EMPTY. That is NOT a good feeling when you are an overly-dependent A.M. coffee drinker like I am. I starting rummaging around our pantry feeling quite panicked at the thought of no morning cup-o-joe.

It didn’t take long for me to find this bag of whole beans, tucked away since last Christmas, a gift from a jazzercise customer. Thankfully I still had a grinder, too, and within minutes I had the pot brewing.

I realize being without coffee is ABSOLUTELY a #firstworldproblem, but as I sat there happily listening to the whir of the coffee pot, I was reminded of the book of Matthew where he talks about being anxious:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

God met me right where I was this morning, a place I mindlessly operate every morning just trying to get my day started, and He jostled me awake with such a simple reminder of how He will always provide what we need.

I think every time I look at my coffee canister I will be reminded of His love for us and how He will always provide just what we need if we seek Him first. ❤️

eggplant-carmelized onion flatout pizza

image

Here is another recipe that I initially saw on a Pinterest link.  In an effort to save a few calories/weight watchers points, I have recreated it here, using a Flatout Bread wrap as the crust.  It was just as yummy as on a regular pizza crust, no doubt from all the delicious flavors that topped it.

 

Roasted Eggplant-Carmelized Onion Flatout Pizza

 

1 Flatout Bread wrap

2 Tablespoons hummus (I used roasted garlic)

1 Chinese eggplant- sliced in thin slices

1 yellow onion

oregano

olive oil

salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Rub just a bit of olive oil on the flatout wrap and cut into smaller pieces (I cut mine into 8).  Place in the oven for about 5 minutes to let it crisp up.  (I used my Pampered Chef bar pan and pressed the wrap into it, making a little edge all the way around.  It worked great to give the pizza a little lift.  Sadly, my daughter broke it last night, so I’ll be hunting on ebay or somewhere to find a replacement.  It’s an excellent addition to anyone’s kitchen.)

While that’s baking, slice the onion and sauté in a swirl of olive oil.  Cook on medium heat until the onion starts to caramelize and the edges start to turn crispy.  This will take a good 20 minutes or so.

While the onions cook, lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and salt/pepper them.  Roast in the 450 degree onion for about 10-15 minutes, just watching to make sure they start to turn brown.

image

Once the onions and eggplant are done, spread the hummus onto the wrap pieces, just as you would pizza sauce.  Layer the onions and then the eggplant onto each slice as well.  Top with oregano and bit more salt and pepper.

Place back in your heated oven for another 5-7 minutes until heated through.

image

Serve with the leftover roasted eggplant slices (eggplant “chips” if you’re trying to coax a kid to try them) and fresh fruit.  Enjoy every bit because the flavors are so yummy!  If you’re following weight watchers this lunch for one was only 5 smart points (2 for the wrap, 2 for the hummus, 1 for the olive oil which is only about a teaspoon if used sparingly).  It’s a little bit of effort for “just” lunch, but if you’re having a day at home and want something that’s a little off the beaten track from the typical sandwich or cold-plate like I usually have, this is completely worth it!  Enjoy!!

 

**I’m learning as I go, here, so please bear with me- I promise to have photos to show more of the cooking/recipe process next time.  I realize that will be helpful :))

 

 

 

 

 

the living word

imageI spent time getting caught up on my Women Living Well (an Instagram community) Ecclesiastes study this morning and learning more about haste and contentment. Both are good words for me to focus on while on this specific journey God has me on, right here and now in 2016.

It’s SO easy to get caught up in the comparison game, looking at what others have, how quickly they’re losing weight, how far they can run or how fit they are, and how fun their social life/friends seem to be. And in playing that game it’s equally enticing for me to be rash in my decisions on what to buy, what to eat, the things I pursue and WHY I’m even pursuing them.

This morning, I sensed God steadying my heart with His words. I feel Him centering me (yet again!) in finding peace in letting Him guide my path, my daily steps I take each day.

I’m so glad I copied this Pinterest idea and added this Hebrews scripture to my outer bible pages. His word IS living and active. It does find me exactly where I am in life and help me discern what is in my heart and the plans He has for me… not what I want for me.

Help me to keep seeking you, God, and thank you for your words that feel written specifically for me this morning. ❤️