BERRY-SPECIAL FRENCH TOAST

Berry French Toast

We just celebrated another anniversary. It has been 11 years of growth, sacrifice, joy, laughter, selflessness, gratefulness, fun, excitement, adventure, disappointment, forgiveness, hope, unconditional love, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am so grateful for all of God’s provisions, wisdom, grace and unconditional love. I never knew how hard marriage could be and no one really warns you!

It’s ironic how we invest our time and money for our career, education, hobbies, and even working out. But we don’t think twice to do it for our marriages. My husband and I have always been intentional about growing in our marriage. We have spent the last few years with marriage mentors through our church and we are now a part of the marriage ministry called ReEngage. This was one of the best decisions we have made for our family. If you are looking to strengthen your marriage, save your marriage or even have the hope to save a marriage that is already over; this is the place to go. With God, all things are possible!

Anniversary Collage

To show my husband, how much I appreciate and love him, I wanted to make him a nice breakfast. He loooooooves a home-cooked meal, especially when I make it. I was anticipating a busy day with my business and homeschooling, so I wanted to make sure we started it off really special. So, the night before, I prepared a breakfast casserole to help save time since my husband gets up at the crack of dawn.

Originally, I was going to make my Pecan Banana French Toast Casserole, but I was out of bananas! Soooooo, my creative juices kicked in and here is what I created. He loves berries, so I knew this was going to be a hit!

Ingredients:

5 slices gluten free bread (I use Udi’s)

4 organic free-range eggs, beaten

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1 ½ cups coconut milk

¼ cup of raw honey

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (I prefer the vanilla bean)

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/16 tsp. ground nutmeg

Coconut oil (for greasing the pan)

Topping:

1 cup pecans

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1 Tbs. coconut oil

1 Tbs. raw honey

Casserole Preparation:

Grease an 8×8 baking pan with coconut oil.

Cube the bread into large pieces and place in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and honey.

Add the cubed bread into the egg mixture and mix up really well.

Place in the refrigerator and let soak for at least an hour or even overnight.

While the bread is soaking, prepare the pecan topping.

Topping Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl.

Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes, check at the 10 minute mark to stir them around for an even roast.

Store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature, if cooking the casserole the next day.

The next day or an hour later:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take casserole out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about 20 minutes. (I don’t like to go from cold to hot with a glass dish.)

Mix in the fruit and spread the pecan topping evenly over the top.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Done when knife comes out clean. Let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Bon appetite!

JOY IN YOUR JOURNEY

Joy In Your Journey

What is God’s calling for my life?

This is something I have been seeking for some time now. As I get older and closer to God, this question becomes even more of a priority in my life.

I’ve been doing a 21-Day fast with my church and my favorite part is how I hear God speak to me in such intimate ways. Whenever something “comes out of left field” and aligns biblically, I’ve always sensed the presence of God. Do you experience encounters like this with God? Today I was reading a devotion from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest book. He started out with this statement, “It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call, because then you are not bothered by what He requires.” This message really hit home for me. I have always wanted to know my exact calling, right down to the details.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to know exactly what you were destined to do in this lifetime?

Wouldn’t it be empowering to know your vision and goals?

My holistic journey started over ten years ago. I have enjoyed every minute of it. My passion for educating people to live a more natural and health-giving life, is something I never grow tired of or find boring, ever. My biggest struggle throughout this journey is how to thread more of my faith and my passion for wellness into one. I have always looked at my health coaching business as a ministry, not a job. I truly desire to honor God, minister to others while teaching them about health and wellness.

Another part of the devotion that really spoke to me was the closing prayer. “O Lord, by Your grace open my vision to You and Your infinite horizons, and take me into Your counsels regarding Your work in this place.” I never even thought to pray this way. It seems so much deeper than some of my past prayers. To be able to glimpse at God’s infinite horizons and to have His grace open my vision, with those blessings the sky wouldn’t even be the limit!!!

I want to be walking in the will and path God has designed for my life. I don’t want to miss out on anything He has prepared for me and my family. I want to be a blessing to others, to edify and encourage them to have the most intentional and healthy lives! I know God desires for us to have so much more than we can even imagine. Now I’m just embracing how to get there!

Find joy in your journey, not just your destination.

“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24. I know God will bring joy into my life, especially when earnestly seeking Him for my calling and ministry. I know God designed me for a purpose, before I was even born. And I know He designed you for a special purpose. Do you know God’s calling for your life? I would love to hear about it!

I am excited for the plans God has in store for me and for you! Let’s make 2016 an intentional one!

So go find joy in your journey!

Believing in you,

Sonya

 

 

 

FEAR TO FAITH

Fear to Faith Post

I’m a planner. Not because, I’m this super-organized person, but I like to be in control. Coming from an unstable childhood, growing up in my adult life, I wanted to be in control of my future. No surprises. With that, came the desire to be independent, from how people disappointed or abandoned me in the past.

As I grew closer in my walk with God, I realized the wall of “independence” I created was nothing but fear. It was fear of getting hurt, opening up my heart to be vulnerable again. Fear of losing control or being disappointed, yet again. I learned to expect less from people and situations, so I would never be disappointed. I didn’t realize how small-minded that was and how little I thought of myself.

Fast forward to motherhood, and new fears rise up. What if this happens or that to my spouse or child? Finances, job security, health, my son’s special needs, feeling overwhelmed… Oh how those thoughts constantly streamed through my mind. Some nights, these “what if’s” would paralyze me in fear, lying in my bed mulling over them. Can you relate to any of these fears? Do you find yourself pondering over these things? Soon, this manifestation of fear, crossed into my physical health. That’s when I finally realized, I needed to truly seek God.

The Bible verse that always comes to mind when I am stressed with worry is, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I believe His love is enough to overcome my worry and fear. It has been a journey. I’m still on that journey and everyday, I grow closer in conquering those fears through Christ.

When I fear how our family will survive, God reminds me He wants us to THRIVE in our journey of life here on earth. Someone shared this verse last night in our marriage ministry, and it really struck a chord with me. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.

Oh how I too often doubt what our great God can do! I know this past year has brought me closer to God. I know everyday, little things confirm how I am closer to Him than ever before. I am so grateful for His presence, grace, love and mercy. I know that no matter how many times I screw up, He still loves me and will never leave me nor forsake me. Meditating on His word, reading through the many scriptures, has turned my fear to faith.“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

I know every morning is a new day and opportunity to share and experience the joy of the Lord. I love the “God winks” He reveals to me through a message, a person and sometimes through the beauty of His creations in nature. 

I was made for greatness! His greatness! It has taken me years to realize that I am worthy in His eyes, and that is all that matters. I know the joy of the Lord is truly my strength. 

Did you know God has a special plan for you as well? He longs to hear from you and to have you seek Him with all of your heart. I pray that you allow God into your heart and let Him reveal the amazing things He has in store just for you. I believe He has created a unique and beautiful life for you!

Have a blessed day my friend!

Love In Christ,

Sonya

 

I’M NOT DIETING … 5 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR

Not Dieting This New Year

Every December, most people indulge in treats and large holiday meals. By the end of the month, the thoughts of eating clean, starting over, losing weight and detoxing come to mind. Losing weight is usually the top thing on New Year’s Resolution lists. I never liked the word diet. Who does? It’s associated with thoughts of restrictions, deprivation, bland foods, boring, sacrifice and just plain torture. How can that keep anyone motivated or excited to be committed and successful?

Instead of being on a diet, how about having a DIET PLAN?

A way of eating ALL OF THE TIME. Not just for three days or three weeks. Habits you cultivate over time, not overnight. Have you ever tried starting fresh? You know what I’m talking about. Throwing all of the bad food out, going to the store and stocking your fridge with healthy foods and then wondering, what the heck do I make now? Do I even have all of the ingredients to actually make something I like? Been there and done that. And how many of you have started a diet and quit? Or after the diet, you gained all of the weight back and sometimes even more than when you first started? You can feel more defeated than when you first started. It can be very discouraging and depressing for some people when they fail. I know how it feels.

We didn’t get out of shape overnight, so why should we expect to get healthy overnight?

Having this mind shift that it’s going to take time, effort and commitment, is truly the first step in having a successful diet plan. There really is no quick-fix in transforming your health for the rest of your life.Transforming your diet, not just a diet fad, takes time. So by now, you’re probably thinking, “I know why you are not dieting, but how do I accomplish this?”

Here is my how. Practice these simple and affordable steps to start your journey.

#1 PLAN!

I can’t emphasize this enough. This is where I know I am hurting if my week feels stressed, I’m not eating properly and making poor food choices.

Plan out your menu for the week.

Include all three meals and snacks. Are you eating Paleo style? Vegan? Whole30? Gluten-free? It doesn’t matter which style of eating you choose. If you don’t plan out your meals, it’s not gonna happen. Period. Whip out those cookbooks and recipes you have always wanted to try. And add at least one or two into your weekly menu. You don’t have to try all of them at once. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Remember, baby steps.

Steer clear of processed foods (pretty much anything boxed or packaged). If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. I put a bowl of fruit in the center of our table. Unsalted nuts without any added oils, dried fruits without added sugar, and Lara bars are all go-to snacks for our family. Try my granola recipe. Sugar is evil. Use raw honey, dates or other natural sweeteners. Gluten, especially non-organic, creates inflammation in our bodies. If you can’t break free from bread, try Ezekiel or almond bread. Sprouted grains are way better for you than the processed junk. If you have digestive issues, you really should consider a gluten-free style of eating.

#2 PREPARE!

Shop on certain days and prepare your food for the week.

I shop on a day I can shop and organize my food when I come home. This takes some time, but once it is done, I’m a happy, less-stressed camper for the week. It’s actually very liberating.

I buy a ton of produce. So when I come home with the groceries, I take them all out and wash the produce. I literally line my counters with hand towels to air dry my produce. Then I bag them in Debbie Meyer bags and put them away. I also take this time to make about 6 bottles of fresh juice for the week. It’s time consuming cleaning my juicer and chopping everything, so I only do it once. I use airtight bottles, recycled from a juice bar 🙂 This also saves a lot of room in my fridge from all of the produce that goes into my juices.

I am currently trying new recipes in the Fixate cookbook by Autumn Calabrese. She eats very clean. The cookbook set came with these cute little color coordinated containers for my food. I don’t like to count calories and measure, so these containers make it a breeze to see how much of what I am really eating during the day. I didn’t realize that I was eating too much of even healthy foods, until I started using these containers. You can learn more about or order the cookbook and containers here*. 

#3  JOURNAL!

Journaling gives you insight into how you are truly eating, and even how it affects your body and mood.

I’m going out today to buy the prettiest journal to track my food, feelings and faith-filled moments throughout the year. This year, I want to track how I am really living my life, to be more intentional. The journal can be anything you want it to be. I’m just getting one with lines in it and create my own format to journal. I’m sure over the year, it will evolve into something I call my own.

I will track my food and exercise daily, weight and measurements every month (Do not let the scale define how you are doing. This is a topic for an entire post!), and my feelings and faith-filled moments whenever I feel impressed to do so. I don’t want to forget any God-winks, and I want to focus on moments of gratitude and revelations in my life.  It can also help you realize if you are substituting eating for emotional struggles. Journaling can be exciting and liberating. I can’t wait to look back a year from now and see answered prayers,  how I have grown spiritually and hopefully shrunk physically 🙂

#4 PRAY!

I start my day off with prayer and meditation.

The Bible says in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” and another favorite verse of mine is Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I know I can’t always get it right. I know I’m far from perfect. I seem to have the most breakthroughs when I put my trust and hope in Christ. When I mess up my eating habits, choose not to workout or just have a bad attitude; its then God reminds me I can always have a fresh, new start.

#5 PARTNER UP!

Statistics show that your success rate increases significantly when you have an accountability partner.

And it’s a lot more fun to have someone to encourage you on days when you don’t feel like making good food choices or working out. And when you hit those goals, you have someone to celebrate your victories.

So how are you starting off your New Year? Are you planning any resolutions? Do you have a diet and workout plan? Would you like to be in an accountability group? I am starting up a group on January 11th. You can connect with me through my Facebook page for this group.

Let me know how you plan to achieve those goals. I pray that your coming year is blessed, amazing, filled with joy, health and prosperity. Thank you for sharing this small piece of your world with me. I am grateful for you! Happy New Year!!!

Love In Christ,

Sonya

(*I receive a small commission for any purchase through this affiliate link.)

HOPE… MY WORD FOR THE COMING YEAR

HOPE

Over the course of the holiday season, God kept giving me a word to meditate on… hope. It’s a word that applies to all areas of my life. What is hope? What does it mean to you? I looked it up and here is what I found.

Hope: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true… 

And the full definition includes: to cherish a desire with anticipation, trust, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence.

Suddenly, a myriad of Bible versus came flooding into my mind. What a revelation! What a God-wink for me! I just love it when God speaks to me in such a loving way, and through a dictionary!

Hope is mentioned about 130 times in the NKJ version of the Bible. I guess God wanted to make sure we got the message. David and Job spoke so much of hope, and look how much each of them endured? The book of Proverbs speaks often of hope. And a favorite of many is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But the one scripture that truly stuck out for me was,

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Not only does God offer us hope, He offers us joy and peace in finding it.

I have to confess, I have always struggled with thinking positive, truly setting my mind free to live the life God has always wanted. Sometimes being shackled by the fear of the unknown or my failures. It’s always been such a fight. Sometimes, it’s so hard to believe God wants to bless me and use me for His glory. I constantly disappoint Him in my sin nature. Do you ever feel that way? Over the years, because of certain seasons in my life, I often wonder if our family will finally overcome financial burdens, health issues, relationship issues, ect…

I feel overwhelmed sometimes at the thought of even trying to overcome certain things. It can be exhausting.

Then God reminds me that I can’t do this all by myself. That’s why He sent His Son and then the Holy Spirit. I often mediate on the verse, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” And then there’s 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” He never designed life to be that way for me or for anyone.

These promises give me hope!

I don’t have to do it by myself! I don’t have to carry these burdens! I am such a stubborn, independent and prideful person. Hmmm, maybe that’s why it has taken so long to hear His sweet message of hope for my life? This past year, I have sensed a new beginning in my life. And I know it starts spiritually, connecting with God like I have never done before.

By leaning and resting in Him, I am now achieving things (in small baby steps), I have never accomplished before.

Things aren’t happening overnight, but they are happening in a slow constant pace. I am so grateful and excited to see what God has in store for me and my family. I am excited to see how HE is going to use us for His glory.

As the new year approaches, where is your hope? Do you even have hope for the coming year? Your future? What are you excited about in the coming year? Would you like to share your hopes or struggles? Please feel free to share here or if you need prayer. I would love to pray for you! You are not alone 🙂

Love in Christ,

Sonya 

SAVOR THE MOMENT…

Savor The Moment

It seems like the older I get, the faster the time flies during the holiday season. Does anyone else feel this way? Lately I have been pondering over how I just want the time to slow down so I can make cookies with my son, visit friends and have more playdates with our kids, and do more holiday art projects to look back and remember. I would love to create more special recipes with holiday spices, take the time to write out Christmas cards, letting everyone know how special they are in our lives, make lists of things I need to do before Christmas, and even get that special gift for someone. Oh, and with all of that still have time to soak up the special moments of spending time with loved ones and did I mention we homeschool too?

I really want to be so intentional this holiday season. Doesn’t every mom aspire to do wonderful and memorable things for their families? I want to savor every moment and not be so stressed, like I have in the past. I did pretty good for Thanksgiving and really enjoyed myself. However, Christmas has totally caught me by surprise and I find myself scurrying around to keep up with our busy schedule. We still haven’t put up the decorations on our tree!

I woke up really early this morning with thoughts of how I could get a “jump start” on my day. Any moms out there get excited when this happens? 🙂 After completing my devotions, I threw some laundry in the washer and was thinking about the next few things on my list. Suddenly, I heard God’s still, sweet voice remind me to just savor the moments. Then this Bible verse came to mind and I just smiled. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Don’t you just love it when God speaks to you at just the right time? I love how when I slow down, I can truly feel His presence. Why don’t I do this more often?

In hind sight, I now realize why my food processor and blender both broke in the same week! And right before Thanksgiving. I truly believe it was God’s intervention, answering my prayers. Now I get to spend more time with my husband and son, build more memories with them, instead of in the kitchen.

So this morning, I’m making a curry chicken in the slow cooker, and waiting for my son to wake up so we can spend the day together doing some random acts of kindness for others while we run some errands. Hey, maybe we will even pick up some Christmas cards! I will eventually get to everything on my list. My Blendtec replacement blender was shipped out this week, and hopefully I will get a new food processor for Christmas. Until then, I’m going to focus on building up my treasures in heaven, since this is where my heart truly longs to be…

I would love to hear how you are spending your holidays and savoring your own precious moments. Please share below in the comments! Merry Christmas and have a blessed holiday season!!!

BE FAITHFUL IN THE SMALL THINGS…

Luke 16-10

This verse really spoke to me this morning, while I had a mini pity party over something. It really convicted me, as I was reading through the book of John, to always be a shepard and not just a fisherman!! I sense and see God pruning and gleaning me to be a better leader. Not just in my business, but as a wife, mother, sister, friend and person. I am so grateful for the people He has strategically placed in my life. I am so grateful for the provisions He has made for my family. So be faithful my “framily”, for it is in the little things, God will show you greatness!!!! Oh, that’s a tweetable!!!!

What little things has God shown you? I would love to hear from you! Have a blessed weekend!

WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT IN THE COMING YEAR?

Christmas Family Pic

It is bitter-sweet that Christmas has come and gone this year. We have been traveling and spending quality time with close friends and family. What a blessing this has been for us. Bonding and building healthy memories with your loved ones, or even making amends are so integral in life. Did you know that your emotional needs are just as important as your nutritional needs? I refer to this as primary foods. I will be expounding on this in coming posts for you. Want to learn more about primary foods or nutritional coaching? Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

My husband and I are so excited in planning and implementing our vision plan for this coming year. I’m adding some activities for our son in our homeschooling schedule, my husband is expanding his business and I am working on a clean-eating cookbook for families. I will also be offering detox and essential oil classes to improve your health and well-being! I’m so blessed and excited in helping family’s live a more salubrious lifestyle!

So what are you planning or excited about in the coming year? Did you set any goals? Are you making little or exciting changes? Anything new and good that will be life-changing for you and your family? I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for letting me share this little part of your world in social media. It’s an honor to be here with you. I look forward in getting to know you better in the coming year!

Love In Christ,

Sonya

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Crisp

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Crisp

Ahhhh, the smell of the holidays are in the air. This is my favorite time of year when family and friends come together more often. We slow down to spend time with our loved ones and really think about why we are thankful. Why don’t we do that more often? Why does it have to be a holiday to really focus on gratitude? Maybe that will be something I will focus on in the coming new year.

So I will start with you. I am so thankful for my readers and new friends I have made through blogging and sharing with like-minded people, who want to make a difference in other family’s lives. It is such a privilege being a little part of your world through my nutrition blog. And for that time in your life, I am grateful. I pray that you have a blessed  holiday full of love and joy. And for anyone who finding it harder this time of year due to the loss of a loved one or other challenges, I am praying for you and know that God loves you and may He comfort you in your time of need.

To contribute to my family’s Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, I am making desserts. So, if you haven’t found that apple pie recipe to really hit the spot for tomorrow, check out my gluten-free apple pie crisp. I wanted to keep it gluten-free so I used a gluten-free pie crust mix by Moon Rabbit Foods. I must say, it tastes pretty good for a mix in a bag!

Ingredients:

Filling:

7 Jonagold organic apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)

Juice of 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed

1 1/2 tsp. of apple pie spice

1 Tbs. arrowroot powder

2 Tbs. raw honey

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup coconut butter

2 Tbs. raw honey

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Pie Crust:

Moon Rabbit Foods pie crust mix

4 ounces of organic butter, cut into small cubes

3 tbs. cold water

Preparations:

Prepare pie crust as directed and place in fridge to chill.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Core, peel and slice the apples and place in a large bowl, add lemon juice, spice, arrowroot powder, honey and vanilla. Mix well and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the topping ingredients in the order listed above. Mix well with a pastry blender until it looks like crumbly.

Take out pie crust and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper. You will thank me later 🙂 Place in your pie pan, then add apple mix and sprinkle crumble over the top.

Cover lightly with tin foil and bake on 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake for 45 minutes. for about the last 15 minutes of the baking time, remove the tin foil so the top can brown.

Bon Appetite!

I would love to hear what favorite Thanksgiving recipes you share with your friends and family!

He Is Risen!!!

He-is-risen-wallpaper

Good Morning and Happy Easter!!!

Today is the day our family celebrates the Resurrection of Christ! We are so grateful for the love, mercy, divine grace and intervention God graciously extends to our lives. My prayer for you today is that you may experience the love and joy of Christ. Rejoice, knowing that He is risen!!!

Love and Encouraging You!

Sonya