On November 6, I decided that enough was enough! Had I had enough of mourning over a bad breakup? Nope! I finally decided that I was tired of neglecting the importance of TRULY taking care of myself. From the inside out. Tired of NOT nurturing the temple that God loaned me while I spend time on this earth. I no longer felt like MIA! Vibrant, young, energetic, resilient, brilliant, and limitless. Instead, I felt sluggish, unhealthy, and frankly, I didn’t like how my clothes were starting to fit (Vain? Maybe. True? Absolutely!).
I know it’s been a while! But…for good reason. I always want my posts to be intentional, have substance, and to never post just for the sake of posting. That, plus trying to maintain my sanity with school, having a life, Own Your Peach, work, interning, etc…. things have been HECTIC. But, I have no complaints!
Anywhoo, I prayed for some inspiration about what my next dose of spiritual food for the soul should be. So, I have returned with something that has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks.
Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘Am I really worthy of all this?! I have sooo many flaws!’ or what about this one, ‘This is too good to be true…so I won’t even enjoy it.’ Or one of my favorites, ‘I’m just going to sabotage or end this because it’s not going to work out the way I want it to anyway.’ How TOXIC are these thoughts to our daily lives, especially those of us who are supposed to be putting our faith and trust in God and God alone? I find that the things that are most difficult to trust God with, are the things that we:
a.) have little to no control over b.) things that we have never seen manifested in our lives or the lives of those around us or c.) because we are imperfect, we have a hard time believing that God would bless us with something so amazing.
But, true faith requires us to walk with the expectation that God knows and wants what is best for us (Jeremiah 29:11-13). And that He will provide us with the desires of our hearts, according to HIS good and perfect will (1 John 5: 14-15).
When I find myself in those moments of doubt, I have to remind myself that there is absolutely nothing in this world that is out of reach. Every bit of joy, peace, love, and purpose that exists can be mine. This goes for all of us. I have a number of goals that I am currently seeking God’s will for. And there are times that cause me to wonder if the hiccups in the road of this journey are a sign that it isn’t meant to be, or if it just for the testing of my faith. What I DO know is, the testing of our faith produces patience (James 1:3-4). Patience to wait on God to guide us into His will, which requires us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33. Patience for God to produce for us the fruit of our labor. Patience that allows us to enjoy the journey that God is trying to take us on…if only we follow Him. And patience that gives us time to remember, “I am worthy. Flawed, but still worthy!! AND patience and faith to know that when our plans fall through (as they often do), that GOD has something sooo much better in store. Waiting for us to receive it.
Finally, if I am a daughter of the King…doesn’t that automatically make me qualified to receive the blessings that He has for me? Yes, it does. May we straighten our crowns, give our hearts to Him, and remember yes, I am flawed. But I am STILL worthy.
Today’s post is a little special. It’s the first of many features I will do of various ‘self-proclaimed chefs that I come in contact with and have the pleasure of knowing! As with the culture of my blog, there will be some sort of spiritual connection or nugget of encouragement in there somewhere. 😊 I really hope you enjoy this aspect, while I cook up a new project in the mean time 😊 You will still receive original posts from me, but I’ll be alternating between the two.
Before we get started, I attend a monthly Bible study/brunch/lunch with other young adult Christian women in the Houston area. Today’s feature, Courtney Oles happens to be one of the lovely hosts. Last month, she mentioned her desire to go the healthier route, while still packing on the flavor for her guests! And boy did she accomplish this. Never in my life did I think zucchini could be made to taste soooooo DELICIOUS!! Listen…I don’t want to give too much information away too soon, but it was definitely a crowd pleaser. So out of the box and left everyone wanting more! Okay, enough of my long-winded intro 😊…allow me to introduce to you, fellow foodie, Christian woman, goal setter, steward, and dream catcher….Courtney Oles!! Enjoy!! 😊
Hola amigos, Como estas? Mi nombre es, Courtney. Okay so I don’t speak Spanish but I have recently gone a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and all of sudden believe I am fluent in Spanish. I am a Houston native, born and raised. I attended Stephen F. Austin State University, (Axe’m Jacks) where I obtained my Bachelors of Science degree in psychology and minored in communication studies. I am currently working as a service coordinator/early intervention specialist for ECI, (Early Childhood Intervention) at Bay Area Rehabilitation Center. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to help families with children who have developmental delays and disabilities, reach their age-expected development, by providing the necessary therapies and resources needed to be successful.
One unique fact about me is that I am walking quote book! Haha, sounds crazy right? But if you were to ask any of my closest friends they would tell that I literally have quotes for anything. I’m a quote person, if there’s ever a moment or opportunity to encourage someone, I offer a quote for whatever situation that they may dealing with. I find that reciting short quotes can help us mentally place ourselves in a positive environment no matter where we are at any given moment. Anywhoo, a few weeks ago a group of my sisters in Christ and I got together for our monthly ladies’ fellowship. My good friend Ashley and I had a vision to create a space for like-minded Christian women who are seeking to grow in their walk with Christ to come together for encouragement, bible studies, prayers, laughs and uplifting conversations. Oh wait, did I mention to enjoy good food too?! Yes, my sisters and I love to eat, so we make sure we have good food present! Now don’t get it twisted, I am no chef by any means. I am always nervous when it comes time for the ladies to eat, I always secretly pray, “Lord please let this food be satisfying, if not help me to brace myself for the rejection.” Haha true story, your girl nearly breaks out into a sweat!
For our last fellowship, I wanted to create a dish that was tasty yet on the healthier side. I haven’t committed to being vegan, but I am slowly trying to pull myself away from bread or just heavy carbs in general. You know the saying, “bread makes you spread.” I love Mexican food so I am always down to whip up some enchiladas. However, I wanted to try something different. I looked up different ways you could possibly eat enchiladas without the tortilla. I found a recipe on Pinterest, where someone used Zucchini’s instead of tortillas. I sent the recipe to my friend Ashley to get her opinion and she was down with trying it out. So, I said cool let’s do this! While I was thankful for the idea that Pinterest provided, you know I had to add Coco’s flavor to it. With that being said, allow me to walk you through the process of creating Zucchini Enchiladas.
Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce 10oz Can (I use hot flavor)
4 large zucchinis, halved lengthwise
1lb Ground turkey
2tsp. ground cumin
2tsp. Chili powder
1 cup of Monterey jack cheese
1 cup of Colby jack cheese
Sour cream for drizzling
Chives for garnishing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grab a large skillet, medium heat, oil the skillet with olive oil and add chopped onion.
Once onion is sautéed, add ground turkey. Cook until there is no pink in the meat.
Add cumin, chili powder, add 1 cup of enchilada sauce, 1 cup of Colby jack cheese and stir thoroughly. (feel free to add any other spices you may like)
Grab cutting board, y-shaped peeler, and knife. Rinse the zucchinis, slice the zucchini in halves lengthwise, and grab the y-peeler. You are going to grab the y-peeler and slide it down on the inside of the zucchini.
Once you’ve cut the thin slices of zucchini lay them flat on a paper towel to dry.
Lay out three slices of zucchini, slightly overlapping each other and apply a spoonful amount of the mixture of ground turkey on it and roll it up gently.
Repeat this for the remaining zucchini until all of the ground turkey mixture is gone.
Transfer all of the zucchini enchiladas over to a oven safe pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup of remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle ½ of both cheeses over the enchiladas.
Bake for 20min.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh chives, sour cream and ENJOY!
Enjoy all the flavors of enchiladas without the carbs.
**Feel free to add any sides of your choice, I personally love black beans and Spanish rice.**
**Everyone was so ready to eat, I FORGOT to get a picture of it! Just know…it’s AMAZING!
P.S. This is me in Mexico! Lol
I really wanted to share this piece with you all because I, just like everyone else need some encouragement. Its wedding season, ‘baecation’ season, and whatever else season. If I’m allowed to be brutally honest…it gets a bit gag-worthy sometimes. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE. And I love seeing genuine, true, pure love illustrated in front of the masses. That is something I look forward to sharing with my huzbin some day. But not TOday. Some of you may be thinking…but what about ME? When is it going to be my turn? When will I get to share my #MCM (is that even a thing anymore?), my engagement pictures and my wedding pictures?! I’s tired of waiting Lord!
Let me stop you there. I GET IT! I reaaaallly do. I mean, God created us for companionship. Spiritual, social, and romantic companionship. That’s not to say that everyone will get married…because not everyone will. But trust me when I say I understand your sentiments. I’m single as a dollar bill myself. 🙂 May I encourage you for a few moments? I want to share a few practical things that I do to ‘check myself’ out of idolizing relationships. In doing so, they empower me to rededicate myself to my #1 relationship. Which is with Christ! Now, I’m not here to tell you to “stop thinking about it” or to guilt you into believing the desires of your heart are sinful. I just simply want to suggest some things that may help change your perspective/focus from idolozing anything or anyone but our Creator.
I do not have all of the answers. Heck, I don’t even claim or pretend to have A LOT of the answers. I am just blessed to have a village that sees fit to pour into my spirit which allows me to grow as a woman.
Below are just a few things that are working for me, that I hope and pray will lift your spirit and help you as well!
What is driving your desire for companionship, courtship, and marriage? Is it because ‘everyone else is doing it?’ Is it because you are feeling the pressures of the ‘late-twenties-early thirties blues?’ Is it because your parents love saying, “I sure want some grandbabies” while giving you the grin and side-eye? (I love you mama…I know you mean well! Lol). If any of the above are reasons for your burning desire or envious nature, cut it. Embrace and rest in this thought: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4 New King James Version. This is a reminder to enjoy and appreciate the time that we are able to spend with God while we can. Talking with Him, studying His word, and applying His word. Growing closer to Him daily. Being a light to the world around us. We should take pleasure in His word and His promises. While you’re at it, remind yourself of this passage as well: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8: 28 NKJV. Things will work out for you. Perfectly. According to the will of God. And He will exceed your expectations.
Ask yourself: “Am I truly ready for what it is that I am praying and asking for?” “Would I date, court, and marry me?” For a long time, I didn’t really know what that looked like. Today, I continuously evaluate myself and compare where I am to where I was 3 months ago. 6 months ago. And so on. Am I stagnant? Am I growing? Am I growing spiritually? As a woman, daughter, sister, Christian, friend, etc? If not…I am nowhere near ready to become someone’s lifelong companion. Someone’s wife.
Am I at least actively evolving towards whole womanhood? For me, this includes several things. It includes viewing myself as a woman through the eyes of God, NOT the world. And being made whole in that truth. It also includes actively seeking and pursuing my God-ordained purpose. This includes pursuing my post-graduate degree in social work and relaunching Own Your Peach. It even includes strengthening my relationship with those around me, my loved ones. Think about what this looks like for you. Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 reminds us that there is a time, place, and a season for everything. This includes the season of singleness you are currently in. No matter what season we are in, we must take full advantage of using it to its full potential to please God.
*Realize and embrace the beauty of the NOW*
Instead of dwelling on what I do not have or what I want in the future, I am learning to live by this principle: I will continue seeking and walking in my purpose. My husband will find me along the way. I believe the same is true for you as well, friend. Mainly because God already has a plan for our lives. Through faith and obedience, things will manifest themselves in His perfect timing. This applies to every aspect of our lives. Not just romance. Jeremiah 29: 11 teaches us that God wants only what is best for us: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” NKJV. Knowing this truth, we can rest in and fully embrace the now, because God has already worked it out!
I hope and pray that these little truths encourage you on your journey, as we journey together!
I had something on my heart today that I wanted to share with you all. As you know, part of this blog will share some of my spiritual journey. And today’s post fits that description. Let’s get to it!
So, I run a trail right outside of my neighborhood every morning. Like clockwork. So much that I pretty much see the same people each time. It’s located right behind a school, so sometimes I see the children playing outside. I often find myself reminiscing about the innocence of childhood that they still get to experience.
Well, today was no different. I hadn’t even worked up a sweat, when I approached what I thought was a large rock from a distance. As I got closer, I noticed it was a turtle! Now, I’ve never been a person who is fascinated by a turtle. However, this time was peculiar. I felt inclined to stop and get a picture. The turtle was minding his/her business, doing what turtles do (whatever that is)…until he/she saw me. Not just as another part of nature. But as a potential threat. I witnessed the turtle with its neck extended, only to quickly stick its head back into its shell. I immediately thought to myself, “how many times have I acted like this turtle? How many times have I reverted back into my ‘shell/comfort zone’ because of fear, discouragement, or a perceived potential threat/disappointment?
I am not referring to the times where I practice God-given wisdom and discernment with life’s situations and people. In fact, Psalm 119:66 reads: “Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.” Additionally, James 3:17 shares with us that wisdom from Heaven is “pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
As we can see, applying knowledge that God gives us is important. Instead, I am referring to the times where God has planted a seed in my heart, and because of my fear of the unknown…I chose not to follow-through. Have you ever been guilty of this? If you’re like me, where your faith has wilted at times, causing you to be like a turtle and ‘put your head back in your shell,’ may I encourage you for a moment? Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we “take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe the key part of this verse is not the Lord giving us what we want, because He can do any and everything according to His perfect will. But the importance is in delighting in Him. Taking pleasure in spending quality time with Him through prayer and studying His word. Taking pleasure in knowing that He has our best interest at heart. Therefore, we have no reason to live in such fear.
After-all, the writer of Romans reminds us in Chapter 8, Verse 31: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Therefore, he would never give us a reason to revert into our shell, but to stand bold and firm in His promises to love and care for us. As He has already proven. I mean, He does have a perfect tract-record.
Have a beautiful, faithful weekend!