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Guilt-free Hot Cocoa Recipe

Guilt-free Hot Cocoa Recipe

I am feeling really restless and distracted today. I even managed to clean the bathrooms and mop the floors before lunch! I don’t know if it’s because my kids are home on a snow day from school or if it’s because I have so much going on in my brain that it refuses to focus on one thing. It’s probably a combination of both. I thrive on routine, and when it’s a mess, so am I! Anyone else like that?

I am sitting at my desk, staring out at the depressing scene (did I mention that I don’t do Winter?), and I’m supposed to be writing. Not on my blog, and certainly not sharing a ridiculously delicious recipe that I hope you will appreciate. But here I am, sipping my cocoa, not really able to do anything else productive today.

I have changed my focus a lot when it comes to food. I try to eat as much real food as I can, which means avoiding things that contain a lot of preservatives and refined ingredients. So when I say this hot cocoa recipe is “guilt-free” , I don’t mean “fat-free” because fat in my food is something that I am embracing. As it turns out, almost everything we have ever been taught about consuming fats is wrong. That is a lesson for another day. On to the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

3/4 cup 35% heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 tsp cinnamon

I do at some point want to experiment with full coconut milk, which may be an option if you need dairy-free. I use the heavy cream because…I want creamy cocoa, of course!

Mix all ingredients in a small pot on the stove on med-high heat, whisking together until fully mixed and bubbly. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part IV)

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part IV)

So, where was I? Ah, yes! I had finally said “yes” to my calling. I remember feeling relieved, excited, and a little nervous. I mean, I am a shy introvert. Why in the world of 6 billion people would God choose a shy introvert, who doesn’t like to people very much, to preach? Preaching involves some element of peopling…it also involves speaking…which I don’t much enjoy either. Like I said, I had agreed to do my part in being willing, but God is going to have to do His much bigger part into transforming me into someone who can speak and people.  If the Bible character I most identify with is Moses, then I needed an Aaron.

As it turns out, God wasn’t going to waste any time getting to work on me. I woke up the following Monday morning just pumped…which, don’t hate me, but that’s not that unusual for me on a Monday. I love Mondays, as it’s another chance to get my week done right. Maybe it’s a fitness thing? But God had something else that He needed me to address that day.

January 8, 2018, I wrote:

I woke up with a fierceness today, at least to be fit again. My business, however, has me confused. I need to pray about it. I can’t remember if I prayed if God would show me what I should do. Instead, I just went head first going my own way. 

Well, he answered me immediately. That morning my reading was in Luke 2:8-20, about the angels appearing to the Shepherds to tell them that the Messiah had been born in a nearby town. They immediately went to go see him. They left what they were doing, and went to see Jesus. As I was reflecting on this, I remembered Matthew 6:33, a verse that I would often hold onto to remind myself that God would provide.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

God was about to make me “put my money where my mouth is.”  I knew then, that God was calling me away from what I was doing, or trying to do, to where he was calling me.  I didn’t have to wait long for confirmation. I had just started a new fitness challenge for my members that day. It was Monday, I already had the week planned out. I was pretty excited. By 7 AM, 2 people, who had been really pumped to get started, let me know that they felt led by God that they needed to focus on other things. If I hadn’t just read and reflected on what I did that morning, I might have been discouraged, and maybe even a little annoyed, but I knew that God was up to something.

I was right! That morning, one of those people, asked if we could meet, and a few hours later, I knew that God provided me with an “Aaron.” I make it sound simple, but the way that God revealed it was in such a way that I just knew that He had orchestrated it. I mean, she came over, we chatted over coffee about the things that God was working on in our lives. I mentioned that I didn’t really know where to start, and that maybe I should start a Bible study. She casually mentioned that if I decided to host a study that she would come. Becky and I just met in person a few months ago, though I had been her coach for a couple of years, but our relationship has always been one in which she was always the first one to support me. It was always so refreshing to me, because it gave me the “okay, I can do this!” by just having her support and encouragement. I remember thinking after she left that morning. Maybe she’s my Aaron. And then I got this message from her:

I’m not sure why I didn’t say this when we were having coffee this morning, we’ll blame it on introversion. But since meeting you I’ve felt called to support you. That’s why I did the B.B. coaching when you were having Titus…then it was your business. I’m wondering now if B.B. and the new business was the support though…or if that was just the way things began and how our paths were meant to cross.
Y’all (and I’m not even southern), but Y’all!! My mouth fell so far open! I didn’t even mention to her that I had been praying for someone to partner with me. Once I collected myself, I messaged her back and told her all that had been on my heart. We ended with “So I guess we’re doing this.” and she said, “yep.” Bible study starts on Thursday, January 25!
Other things happen too, when you take steps of obedience. The week would continue to be full of surprises…. Shall we continue? If you missed the first part of the story, start here. 
See! I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part III)

See! I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part III)

As I am recounting these last few weeks to you, I am amazed, because I am still following God in steps of obedience and he is continuing to move in incredible ways. So back to the story! (If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! But you might want to start here.)

Here is an excerpt from my journal from January 4th:

 

I am still being challenged in my devotions. I think I am just waiting for confirmation…or maybe I will be prepared to recognize the opportunity when it comes. Maybe I need to go from “yes, but….” to just “yes”. 

It was that morning that I finally said “Yes” to what God was calling me to do.

It was a very uncertain “yes”. I knew if I did my part, He would do His.

By now, I’m sure you are wondering what this mysterious “calling” is about. I am going to tell you, but first, we have to talk about 2016. 2016 was a very hard year for me, for many reasons. I was pregnant with my youngest for the first half of the year. Pregnancies have never agreed with me. I was exhausted, irritable, and constantly hungry. My once very fit body piled on 80 lbs because I went from regular exercise to little activity due to the high risk nature of my pregnancy. I had been fitness coaching for over a year, and I felt like I had lost my purpose. Then there was the obvious climate at the time, along with so much negativity on the news and in my social media feed. It was becoming too much! Then came the birth of my beautiful baby boy in July. Thankfully, my niece was staying with me for the summer to help. But when she went home, I felt the weight of it all come crashing down on me. By mid-September the exhaustion of trying to care for 3 young kids, trying to lose the baby weight, and the drama of impending US election just broke me down to a point where I knew I had to do something.

Just on a whim, I decided to take a 30 day sabbatical from social media. I just needed a break. What I didn’t know is that God was already planning to meet me during those 30 days. I was not only mentally refreshed, but spiritually as well. During that time he gave me the verse:

“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.” – Isaiah 43:19
This verse has followed me around since. It was shortly after this period that I heard my calling. I questioned it. I doubted it. I have ignored it for over a year. It didn’t make sense….for a lot of reasons. It went against what I was taught. So I pushed it aside. And on January 1, 2018, God brought it back to mind. He called me to preach.
This time, I said “yes”. I mentioned in my entry on January 4th that I was waiting for confirmation. I decided to step out in faith…and then the confirmation came…. Read about it here. 

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part II)

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (Part II)

As I mentioned in my previous post, God has been doing some crazy amazing things! But I think in order to really get you to understand what my first half of the first month of the new year has been like, I’m going to have to take you on the journey with me.

Every morning, I wake up at 6 AM, whether it’s a “workout day” or not, so that I can have my quiet time. I usually start by journalling some thoughts, and then I read a passage from the Bible and reflect deeper on it. My journal entry from January 2nd:

I’m already experiencing fear and doubt, which means I’m on the right track. I just have to stay close to God and continue to listen for his voice. 

The passage I read that morning from Luke was about the angel appearing to Mary to tell her that she’s been chosen to carry the Messiah. Luke 1:38 says that Mary agreed willingly to this! I think that we get caught up in the idealistic view of the Christmas story, that we don’t realize that in this culture to be pregnant and unmarried would mean her reputation would be ruined, at the very least. Reflecting on this, I wrote:

Mary was willing to be used by God, even though it might mean being shunned from her community, even though it might mean that no one would believe her, and that shame could follow her all her life. But she knew who God is, and believed in the word he spoke. I think focusing on that helped her face what was before her. 

God was working hard on me to break down the fears I had about the calling he placed on my heart. Saying “yes” to this calling could mean losing people, it could mean that people won’t believe me. In fact, it would take a couple more days before I actually would say “yes”.

And I’m not sure I was ready for what would happen next.

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (part 1)

See, I Am Doing A New Thing! (part 1)

I decided that this year would be my year…my year of action…my year of purpose! I entered this year with so much excitement and so much hope for what it would hold for me. This year, I would be intentional about my goals: in my business, in my health, and in my faith. So, bright and early on January 1st, I got up, dressed into my work out clothes, grabbed my phone and my journal and headed down into the family room, so I could get to work on my goals while my family still slept.

My plan was to first, have quiet time with God, reading my Bible, journaling, and prayer. This was exactly what I needed to do to start the year off right. I decided to start in Luke. I don’t remember my reasoning exactly, I think I just wanted to read one of the gospels. I thought about skipping over the Christmas story. After all, we just did that. But then I thought better of it,  and I typed in “Luke 1” on my smart phone. I had no idea what God had in store for me in what I thought was too familiar of a story!

He used the story in Luke 1 of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah to tell him that his wife, who is old, would have a child. Zechariah had a less than stellar response, the consequences of which left him mute until the birth of his son, John the Baptist. He reminded me in that moment of what He had told me a little over a year earlier. He called me, and I didn’t believe. It didn’t make sense to me, so I pushed it aside. Now God was giving me another chance.

My entry from January 1, 2018:

God speaks to me so clearly, but I am afraid to move forward, always looking for a sign of what to do. I am missing my opportunity to serve and be used by him. 

What has transpired since has blown my mind. Read Part II.