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21 Days of the Daniel Fast: Week Two

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Inspirations | 0 comments

Hi Elegant Readers,

On week two of the Daniel Fast and it’s been going pretty good.  There was one day I was feeling like I wanted food bad and that because I waited to long to eat. This fast has been different.  This is the first time my husband and I fasted dairy, sugar, yeast and meat. My mind feels clearer and I have a lot more energy.

God has really been showing me that I need to put him first to have a deeper relationship with him. I had to put some things aside so that I could focus on my relationship with the Lord.  Am I there yet? No.  However, I am a work in process and every accomplishment is a mark towards the goal.  Having a relationship with God is a lifestyle not a constant growth process.

I finished the book by Jerry Savelle called, No Boundaries and it is an awesome book. I will do a future post on it because it really gives you a step by step overall makeover on what you need to do to have a deeper relationship with the Lord.

My Pastor is doing a video a day of encouragement during the fast and it’s precious.

The video for today is protection because it’s so comforting to know that God is always there and my guardian angels have my back. It’s so important to watch what comes out of our mouths and make sure it’s positive and productive.

Moving forward means moving ahead and not looking back at past hurts and stresses of life. You can’t look back because you have such a vibrant future when you put God first.  I keep remembering that if I strive to put God first everything else will fall into place.

I wanted to share this no sugar Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from Kristin Feola’s Ultimate Daniel Fast website because it tricks your mind into thinking your eating a cookie but it’s actual a healthy burst of energy.

 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies by Kristin Feola

1 Cup old Fashioned rolled oats
1 Cup almond flour or oat flour ( we used coconut flour)
1 cup of creamy cashew butter, almond butter, or peanut butter (we used peanut butter)
1/2 cup  unsweetened applesauce (We added extra applesauce for dough consistency)
1/3 cup of Date honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, almond flour, cashew butter, applesauce, and date honey  in a large bowl until well combined. Add raisins, walnuts and cinnamon.

Dough Mixture

Dough Mixture

Drop by spoonfuls, two inches apart, on a 11 by 17 inch baking sheet. Flatten and shape into circles.

My hubby and I used Coconut flour instead of Almond flour because we couldn’t find it. We didn’t use the Date honey and we add more applesauce to get more of a doughy texture. You can make the cookies as big as you like them. We made them small to medium size.

The cookies turned out really well.

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

If you are on a Daniel Fast or looking for a healthy alternative to a cookie, please give these a try.

JTwisdom

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21 Days of the Daniel Fast

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Inspirations | 0 comments

Hi Elegant Readers,

New Year New You! The year of the supernatural!

My church is doing a 21-day fast in January. My hubby and I decided that we would do a Daniel Fast. One week down and we are now starting the second week. As a congregation, we can fast whatever the Lord leads us, to fast something that has a significant meaning to us. Kristin Feola, author of The Ultimate Daniel Fast, spoke at church about the Daniel Fast and what to expect.

Kirsten’s book includes a daily devotions for each of the 21 days; and healthy recipes to guide you.

Fasting is a great way to develop a deeper relationship with God and to gain divine insight and wisdom.

JT Reading Daniel Fast Book by Kristin Feola

JT Reading Daniel Fast Book by Kristin Feola

At first, I did not know what to think about the Daniel Fast because the main foods to eat are fruits and vegetables. As part of this fast, some things you give up are dairy, yeast, sugar, refined and processed food, deep fried foods, solid fats, beverages like alcohol, energy drinks, etc. Giving up these foods may be a challenge for some people; but that is the point of a fast. You have to give up something in order to draw closer to God.

The fun part of the Daniel Fast is that you can eat fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds, unleavened bread, Legumes, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil,  flaxseed oil, grapes oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, distilled water, filtered water, spring water as well as herbs, spices, salt, pepper, seasonings, soy products and tofu.

Today we had a Peach-Mango-Strawberry-Peanut Butter-Flaxseed-Chia Seed-Coconut water smoothie. It was good with all those flavors blending together.

Peach Mango Smoothie

The Ninja makes a scrumptious smoothie.

Makes Two Smoothies

Having a smoothie in the morning is refreshing and an energy booster. It’s a great way to start you day.

As part of the fast, we are also reading the devotions from Kristen’s book, and  a chapter from the gospel of John. Both are a good study tool for strengthening my relationship with the Lord.

After the smoothie, hubby and I are ready to do some light cardio. Getting back to my exercise routine after dealing with cold and flu symptoms.

JT getting ready to workout.

JT

I must admit, prayer and fasting is a real energy booster, clears my mind and ideas are flowing. I plan to write more about the fast after we finish it up at the end of January.

JTwisdom

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Veterans Day!

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in From the Heart, Inspirations | 0 comments

Elegant Readers,

Please take time out today and everyday to observe Veterans Day and honor all who have served and are serving in the Armed forces.

Veterans Day!

Veterans Day!

I would like to honor my Uncle Fred, Uncle Theodore and Uncle William.

Honoring Veterans Everyday!

My  Fred and Uncle Theodore

Fred & Theodore _Fotor_Collage

My Uncle William in the third row

Uncle William

Thank you for FREEDOM. Praise God!

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The Wedding Dress: 15 Year Wedding Anniversary Celebration!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2014 in Fashion, From the Heart, Inspirations | 1 comment

Hi Elegant Readers,

My  hubby and I celebrated 15 years of marriage on September 11th! We are celebrating the whole month.

Wow, 15 years makes me reflect to my wedding day filled with joy and happiness.

JT and Hubby Wedding The rings

JT and Hubby Wedding
The rings

This is my daddy and I on my wedding day, he was putting a penny in my shoe for good blessings.

JT  and Daddy

JT and Daddy

My hubby and I celebrated this past week with an awesome road trip. We just got back and I’m getting back to blogging again. We will be writing about the trip to the Southwest, so check back soon for those posts.

I wanted to see what my wedding dress looked like and how it fit after all these years. I pulled it out of the closet and I tried it on. My dress did not cost thousands of dollars; but to me it looked like it did.

My dress was designed by Alfred Angelo, exclusively for JC Penney’s. I was dealing with some physical and medical challenges at the time, causing me to gain weight that I was not able to control.

 I know gaining about fifty pounds is not what I wanted when I got married; however I dealt with it and conquered it.

On the day of the wedding, the dress fit me exact. It did not need to be taken in or hemmed.

However, 15 years later, the sleeves are baggy and the wedding dress is loose on me now and hangs.

Side view Wedding Dress

Side view Wedding Dress

This is a back view of the dress and it’s beautiful, but it looks so different on me now. I decided to wear a cream-colored dress.

When you looked at it up close, you can tell that it is cream. But in all of the photographs, it looks white.

My daddy stepped on my dress after the ceremony was finished. I thought at the time that he had ripped the fabric where I couldn’t reattach the bustle to the back of the dress.

When I tried it on, I found out that the dress wasn’t ripped at all. But, my maid of honor did not attach the train correctly after I walked down the church steps.

  I attached the train correctly in the photo.

I thought this wedding dress was haute couture with all the bead work and detailing from the sleeves to the hem.

Back view JT wedding dress

Back view
JT wedding dress

Here’s an up close look of the detail in the bead work; exquisite I must say.

Closeup of detail

Closeup of detail

 My hubby and I planned our wedding and we were on a budget. However, I still wanted it to be a wonderful day of celebration. I still look at the dress and marvel at how beautiful it is with all the beadwork and lace.

Beadwork and Lace Detail

Beadwork and Lace Detail

JTwisdom

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My Thoughts About Ferguson

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in From the Heart, Inspirations | 0 comments

Hello Elegant Readers,

PEACE FOR FERGUSON!

PEACE FOR FERGUSON!

The death of a  young man. The protests and the riots!
The fire, the tear gas, the theft, the looting!

Stop! Stop! Stop!

The world is watching St. Louis, Missouri.  Bubbling with Elegance and Grace is saddened even more by these events because they are happening in my hometown.

Yes, I am a Missourian and the world has all of its eyes on my state, specifically the small community of Ferguson, a suburban municipality in north St. Louis County.

My prayers go out to the family of Michael Brown. I intercede for peace and comfort flowing to them, In Jesus Name.

Should prayers go out to the Police Officer and his family?  Some would say no; but he has a family and prayer goes out to the Ferguson police officers and all who are involved in the investigation.

All Police Officers are not bad cops and they need prayer.

I am saddened by the looting, the violence and the rioting. This is no way to honor Michael Brown and his family.

QuikTrip

QuikTrip in Ferguson

Peace! Father God, I speak peace over Ferguson and St. Louis, Right Now! In the Name of Jesus.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency for the second night in Ferguson. The looting and rioting had not stopped. When the name of the police officer was named and the video of the convenience store was released on Friday, the looting flared up again.

Ferguson is a family-oriented and friendly community. I have friends who live in Ferguson. I shop in Ferguson. My husband and I shop often at the Sam’s, the Ross’ and the Walmart that had been looted. We would buy gas at the QuikTrip that was destroyed.

The shooting of Michael Brown that occurred last Sunday is on the eastern edge of Ferguson. With a population of 21,000 people, Ferguson is quite large and spread out. The community is known for its railroad history and its large Victorian style homes and tree-lined streets.

I have heard comments like, I didn’t know Ferguson was so black.  Answer: Ferguson is 33 percent white, so Ferguson is not all black.

Who cares? Everyone does.

Listen! a mother and father have lost their son.

People who are not even a part of the Ferguson community our destroying businesses in the community. Destroying a property will not bring Michael Brown back.

What now?

Christian rapper, Lacrae made a statement on his Facebook page and I totally agree.

Lacrae's Facebook page

Lacrae’s Facebook page

We have to be mentors for our youth. Yes, looting and theft is bad, but now what?

St. Louis, Missouri has great organizations that mentor youth to want to do more and be more.

Such as:

Herbert Hoover Boys’ and Girls’ Club

“The mission of the Boys of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is to inspire and enable youth ages 6 to 18 to realize their full potential as productive , responsible and caring citizens.”

Mathew Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club

“Today, the Club serves more than 40,000 young men and women, ages 5-18, throughout the St. Louis-metropolitan area. The Club also serves as a meeting center for various community, social and business organizations and as an outreach resource center for troubled youth.”

Big Brothers and Big Sisters

“…But, there are also an estimated 100,000 children in Eastern Missouri who are in serious need of a Big Brother or Big Sister. Who are these children? They are children who face multiple challenges. Many live in poverty, come from single parent households, have a parent behind bars and struggle with their academic performance. These children need extra support and encouragement. They need you, me… us!”

If you are not able to volunteer for any of these organizations, being a mentor can start with your family, your nieces and nephews, Godchildren, at your church, your children’s school, your neighborhood, there are endless ways to make a lasting positive impact on a child.

PEACE

Galatians 5:22 ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

 

Philemon 1:3 ESV 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Psalm 34:14 ESV 

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

 

2nd Corinthians 10:1-5, Ephesians 6:10-13

“Believers remember indeed we war not after the flesh, but after the SPIRIT, so we must stay in the SPIRIT, to FIGHT this war.”  Corey  Williams

We have to look in the mirror; change starts with us.

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JTwisdom signature

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Busted! 5 Weight Loss Myths That Will Make You Cry

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Fitness, Inspirations | 0 comments

Are you tangled in the web of weight loss fads and endless contradicting information on the web? Hopefully you haven’t fallen victim to one of these fads, wasting money and time with the hopes to lose a few pounds, only to gain more back in return. I know, it’s frustrating and millions of people share your pain. Below I explain several myths that you might be doing right now to try and lose weight. If you are, then stop wasting your time and money.

JT drinking Naturade all in one nutritional shake

JT drinking Naturade all in one nutritional shake

MYTH # 1) LOSING WEIGHT REQUIRES HUNGER PAINS
The fact is, what you eat is more important than how much you eat. If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism will slow down, making your body want to store fat. As a result, your initial weight loss will come from water and muscle, instead of fat.

You should try to consume healthy food choices and save those foods (and beverages) that are high in fat, sugar and calories for special occasions. Yes, you can have those unhealthy food choices from time to time, in fact, it’s encouraged. Without a cheat meal or snack every now and then, you will get frustrated and lose sight of your goal. Please note, I said a cheat meal, not a cheat day. I see too many people doing cheat days, which is way too much for your body to overcome on a weight loss plan.

MYTH # 2) EAT NO FAT WHATSOEVER
This is a very old and popular myth. Your fat intake should be limited to around 15% of your overall daily calorie intake. Fat is needed in any diet to lubricate your joints, keeps your skin smooth and elastic, provide a source of energy, help your nervous system function properly and more. Olive, flaxseed and fish oils are good sources of fats. Fats to avoid include saturated fats and hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats).

MYTH # 3) AVOID CARBS
You’ve certainly heard this before, “Carbohydrates are bad for you and should be avoided”. This myth has been trending lately as fad diets like Atkins and its copycats become more and more popular. The truth is carbohydrates have a moderate amount of calories (about half as many as fat). Simple carbohydrates (sugar) should be limited, but complex carbohydrates: whole grain and starches are high in nutrients. The problem with carbohydrates is portion control. Too many people eat at restaurants with huge portion sizes loaded with 5 times the amount of carbs needed for a given meal. The best way to control your carb portions is to cook for yourself.

MYTH # 4) MEAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET ENOUGH PROTEIN
Meat is a great source of protein, but it certainly is not the only source. Meat can also be high in fat and sodium so many people look for alternative sources of protein. Egg whites are a prime source of protein and so are various vegetables and legumes like peas, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

MYTH #5: EXERCISE AT LEAST 30 CONSECUTIVE MINUTES TO GET AN EFFECTIVE CALORIE BURNING WORKOUT
Adults should engage in a workout regimen for at least 30 minutes a day at least 4 days a week. Research has shown that the activity does not need to be done all at once. The 30 minute routine can be split into two 15 minute intervals and provide the same health benefits.

full body workout

MYTH #6: VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS ARE HEALTHIER EATERS THAN CARNIVORES
Vegetarians on average eat fewer calories and less fat than carnivores (non-vegetarians). However, vegetarians can make eating choices that contribute to weight gain by eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as well as food with little nutritional value. The term vegetarian is not synonymous with health.

 The best way to be sure you are getting a well balanced, nutrient rich diet is to eat more whole foods and less processed, pre-packaged foods and to avoid eating out as much as possible. Make eating out an occasional treat, but try to prepare most of your meals yourself and you will be on your way to living a healthier, leaner lifestyle.

With your new found knowledge of weight loss, grab yourself a deck of my new invention, Weight Loss Stack 52, weight loss cards.

 This guest post was written by Michael Volkin.

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