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Archive for February, 2012

A banana a day

Depressed? Eat a banana. The article that I linked is an article about a study that a university did with bananas and their affects on depression. Truth is eating a banana won’t cure your depression but it will help.

I’ve been sad quite a bit this week. And each time I have felt sad I have said to myself “Eat a banana.” I’ve been saying it kind of as a joke. Sort of.

Truth is if I just deal with it/cry a little I will be able to lessen the sadness and won’t need the banana. Although bananas are one of the things I can eat now so one a day isn’t a bad idea. 🙂

I went to the grocery store again last night because I needed some more things. I took my mp3 player hoping that if I listened to some tunes I wouldn’t get as  frustrated. It didn’t really help but I did listen to some good tunes.

Then it took me 30 minutes to go 5 miles (which is what happens when you decide to grocery shop at rush hour, what was I thinking?).

So all in all a very frustrating outing and then I cut my finger on a cheese grater because I was frustrated with the hand guard. It was almost a guarantee that something suck-y was going to happen yesterday. Including my cousin’s kid in the hospital for an extended stay and my aunt going to the ER. Seriously God what is happening?

I’m sad because my grandma has dementia. I’m sad because I can’t eat what I want. I’m anxious because I only have a few weeks to find a job. Shit’s getting deep (excuse my language if it bothers you). I need to deal with it before it gets too high and I drown in it.

I have to write a paper by Tuesday (and read the book for the paper).  I also need to plan what I am going to teach tomorrow and all I really want to do is curl up and watch a movie and then clean my room. I should also venture to Whole Foods to get the things I can’t get anywhere else.

I hate food shopping. I used to like it. I used to like planning out my meals.

I went to my favorite restaurant this week: Green Street. And tried to order my favorite salad but it had blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing and chicken all of which I had to ask to be removed. It was a dry salad and was not worth the trip. The company made it worthwhile but it was just another meal that I cannot enjoy anymore.

It made me so sad but I would have felt ridiculous crying in the restaurant so I didn’t. Although I didn’t feel ridiculous bringing my own tea bag. I should have brought my own dressing too. I tried my own dressing on it when I got home and it was okay but what is the fun of eating out if I have to make the meal myself. I wanted to eat out so that dinner wouldn’t be something I had to make. So that it could be simple. It just made me sad.

After that experience I’m not sure eating out is worth it. I am feeling better which makes all of this worth it. But that’s little succor when I am bereft of  pizza (paraphrasing from The Big Bang Theory “Stale pastry is hollow succor of man who is bereft of ostrich.”).

Gluten is in everything. In things you wouldn’t think of. So shopping is at least an hour process and it is frustrating. But I did learn something this trip that will make my next trip less frustrating. Apparently the manager at Trader Joes has a list of Gluten-Free items that he will let you see when you come in. Maybe someone there can help me shop 😉

Lots to do today and I don’t feel like doing any of it. Maybe I should just eat a banana 🙂


This is what happens when….

I was just reading about Chelsea Clinton’s Gluten-Free wedding on celiac.com

Anyway they were listing all the things to stay away from and while reading this article I noticed that in my efforts to avoid gluten I was missing a major category. I have been for a few weeks now avoiding: wheat, malt, and barely because on some website they said these were the ones to avoid. However, while reading the article about Chelsea Clinton I realized that I’m also supposed to be avoiding rye and possibly oat as well.

Well crap!

Now as I have been reading labels I have been seeing the word rye and thinking, “hmm I wonder about that one.” Usually rye is in combination with malt or barley so I have inadvertently been avoiding it but I’m guessing that I have missed a few things along the way. Like whatever I had at Souplantation with Denise on Monday. My little mistake has had me sick for the last 2 days.

This is what happens when you search gluten-free and they give you three words that should solve all your problems. Silly me. I do know how to research but somehow I just expected to find good information online. Guess I will have to read some books to really figure this stuff out.

As I was explaining to Denise on Monday the worst part about accidentally eating gluten or cheating and eating some for fun is that it is no fun. I may get sick once or for a few days and the other effects that come with it are horrific. The pain, the lethargy, etc is not worth the few moments of taste-bud bliss.

I guess I need to do more research before I eat something.

Stepping Into Reality: A totally awesome afternoon!

I’m not sure if everyone knows this or not but last quarter I wrote curriculum for a class that I am currently teaching and tonight God just confirmed that this is my calling. This is what I am supposed to be doing and that is just awesome!!

It was such an amazing afternoon. The class meets from 2-4pm on Sundays and today was truly awesome!

We were working on breaking lies so the girls wrote a lie on a post-it and then went and placed it on the cross. Then they went to a leader and had them break off the lie and asked God for the truth. Each leader then wrote the truth on a new post-it that they were supposed to take and put some place where they will always see it.

It was so awesome! We played music and one of the leaders played her violin. And after it was over the leaders and I prayed (as we always do) and they just confirmed how awesome this work that we are doing is. They thanked me for starting this group and for bring it together at this time. Then they asked me if I was planning on putting together a workbook and if I would come back and lead this here again. They just filled and warmed my heart.

This is what I am supposed to be doing and it is going to be a reality! How awesome is that? How amazing is that? God is good and I am awesome. Without pride and with humbleness I say I am awesome and I can do this!

One other quick note. You know the weirdness that I spoke of this morning? (See https://tammywaggs.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/worship-from-home-2192012/ ) I was actually touching a woman and praying over her and she started manifesting. It was totally weird and totally awesome and I just started laughing. Funny how God can surprise you!

Totally awesome afternoon!

Worship from Home 2/19/2012

On February 19th Pasadena held the Rock’n’Roll marathon. I woke up later than normal and realized that I needed to leave at about 8:30 to make it to church on time and I wasn’t ready until 8:45 (which is when I usually leave). So on this day I worshiped from home. Luckily my church (Hrock) has Hrock live (streaming of the worship service) so I really did worship from home.

The trick about worshiping from home is really bringing your worship. Just like in the worship service you could choose to just watch and not participate. You have to choose to participate. You have to choose to worship. I sang my heart out and I’m sure I annoyed my roommate and the other apartment that shares my bedroom wall but I decided to participate in worship even though I wasn’t at the auditorium today.

Today in the small group prayer time where we prayed for our needs I tried to think about what my needs were: sadness of Grandma Shirley, protection over my family both immediate and everyone else too, continued health, and a  job.  Also help with the teaching this afternoon. I prayed all of this with my hand over my heart and really asked God for help like Che and Sue asked us to. I may not be in the room but I am still communing with God and asking for his help this afternoon as we commune with God to help others get healing.

Then we sang one of my favorite songs “He Loves.” We even sang my least favorite lyric “heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss.” I thanked God for the money I received this week and promised to make my tithe next week.

This is not to say that there isn’t a difference from worshiping from home because there is. You miss the atmosphere of the room and there is a tendency to want to either surf the web or lay in bed and worship. I had to fight these pretty hard. In worship these aren’t the distractions but that doesn’t mean I don’t get distracted. When I am on site my distractions include: worrying about the teaching later on, making sure I’ve done all my homework and so forth. There are always distractions but you have to decide not to be distracted from them and sometimes you just have to tell yourself that maybe this Sunday you just try to give to God and try not to focus on getting something.

Worship can be disappointing if your entire focus is on what you can get out of it. So today I tried to focus every song on giving to God. And if I got something from it good and if not that was okay as well because the focus is on giving to God and not on what I get from it. Isn’t that what worship is supposed to be about?

The message today was on the Holy Spirit. It was all about the things I think are weird. So I found it to be very interesting.  What I took away from the service was: be open to it. I am often closed off to the Holy Spirit at least in the ways that I find weird. Che stressed the need to not do this. I need to stop focusing on how weird something is and instead focus on what God is doing in that.

I usually look at a manifestation and think, “Gee that’s weird. Lord please don’t do that to me” and I’m also thinking “why isn’t that happening to me?.” I’m fickle. I love that God gives me pictures and I thank God for that and in some ways that was totally weird when it started happening. I actually thought I might have had a brain tumor. God opened my heart to what the Spirit was going to do with me. Maybe I’m not open to more or maybe I’m not ready for more. Truth is until I can believe that those “weird” manifestations are real I probably won’t get more. Because I’m not open to it. Like Che said this morning, if it happens I’m more likely to rationalize it or intellectualize it than to actually accept it.

So Lord today I ask that you continue to open my heart and mind  to the “weird” manifestations. Lord that I may not judge others but that I would be able to see you in them and to see you do the work within them. Lord open my heart to your works and my ears to your words. May today be the starting point of your teaching within the “weird” manifestations and may I work to learn from you. Amen.

All in all a good worship service. I do wish I had woken up earlier and made it to the service on site but I’m glad I was able to worship from home as well.

Gluten-Free Cooking Meal 2

Tonight I tried a recipe that my gluten-free friend Lisa sent me. It’s actually a Paula Dean Recipe 😉

It’s called Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps. It’s supposed to be an appetizer but I called it dinner.

Needed:

Broiling pan and rack

Nonstick spray (I used coconut)

You need 4 chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes)

1 pound package of bacon (cut into 3rds). I used Turkey Bacon

2/3 cup of Brown Sugar (although I think 1/3 cup would be okay. I had plenty of the mixture left over. If you change it to 1/3 also change the amount of Chili powder you use.)

2 tablespoons of Chili Powder

Mixture: Combine brown sugar and chili powder in bowl and stir

Wrap bacon around the cubed chicken and stick with a toothpick

Dredge (run the picked chicken and bacon through mixture. I also sprinkled the rest on top.) through mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Spray pan and rack with nonstick spray

Put chicken wraps on pan (optional sprinkle mixture on top)

Put in oven for 30-35 min or whenever bacon is crisp. I checked after 20 minutes.

My thoughts:

Amazing goodness! They were so good! They had just enough sweetness with the smallest bit of kick. I think that even my spicy intolerant sister could handle these.

Go ahead and give them a try for yourself. I bet you are gonna love them 😉

My first Gluten-Free Meal that wasn’t a salad

Today I planned out some meals and then went to Trader Joes to get the stuff.

They had almost everything I was looking for but I got frustrated because there wasn’t a Gluten Free section and from what I could tell the Gluten Free stuff was not clearly labeled. I got one loaf of bread (a brand my cousin Tim told me about). I couldn’t find any of the flours I was looking for and all their broth had wheat in it. The most upsetting thing was my favorite liquorice  (in fact my friends and I call it crack liquorice because it is so good) has malt in it so I can’t have it any more :(.

But I got lots of fruits and veggies and I found almost everything on my list with a few exceptions like chocolate chips for baking and paprika (which I was really surprised they didn’t have) and peppermint oil and coconut oil. I have been told that Trader Joes is really good for these things so maybe I was shopping at the wrong Trader Joes.

Anyway, my shopping woes aside. I did get a lot of stuff.

I decided for dinner tonight I would make the Cauliflower Pizza Crust. I found the recipe on this site: http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html .

It was really easy. The hardest part was shredding the cauliflower. If you have a food processor use it!

It was pretty good. I might make a few adjustments though. Make the round on the cookie sheet smaller if you want a thicker crust and bigger if you want a thinner crust. Also expect it to be like a personal pizza and not something you can share with others.

It was good, not really like the real deal but not too bad. My toppings were: chicken, green peppers, and red peppers. I thought about adding the summer squash I bought but didn’t know how that would go with the pizza sauce. Maybe next time I will make artichoke heart and chicken or some other variation that will be good with a red pizza sauce.

Also the recipe calls for cooking spray. I didn’t have any so I used butter. Don’t do that! It made it stickier which is funny because you use butter for other things. Also I didn’t use the garlic salt (because I didn’t have any) and it was still good.

So my first forte into Gluten-free cooking (and my first pizza that I didn’t make at school or with my mom and that I didn’t by frozen) was a success. I didn’t give myself food poisoning and I know some changes I would like to make for next time.
And it actually tastes pretty good.

I encourage you to give this a try and let me know how it goes for you!

Coincidences or Divine?

I have been a believer since I was a child. My father is a Presbyterian pastor and I am currently working on an MDIV (Masters in Divinity) and an MA In Recovery Ministry. I’m at seminary and most seminarians become pastors.

If you have faith, can you believe in coincidences or is everything Divine intervention? If you think that God is sovereign (reigns over all, all knowing) then can anything just be a coincidence? Or is everything pre-ordained (already planned)? Does prayer change things? Is healing possible?

I believe that God is sovereign that things are pre-ordained and that God can change things, that prayer does make a difference.

I am currently in my internship at Hrock Church in Pasadena, CA and in my internship my supervisor encouraged me to tithe (give 10% of your income to the church). At Hrock they believe that what you give will be given back to you (it is biblical). They actually have this mantra that they say every time they take an offering. I can’t remember all of it but it’s something to the effect of “checks in the mail, jobs, better jobs etc.”

I haven’t given a tithe in the past because every single cent is precious. I’m poor. I live below the poverty line in a city that is excessive and even groceries are expensive. I count every penny. I spend most of my month being terrified to spend any of it. I feel guilty for buying groceries even though I need to eat.

Some of this dire-ness is my fault and I take full responsibility. When I started at Fuller, living in their housing, you could put your rent on a credit card. I had two major credit cards and put as much on there as possible. Until they wouldn’t give me any more credit. It was astronomical. Just think about rent for 2 years on your credit card and you will see what I mean. It was insane. So I went into debt. They sent me to collectors and thanks to my parents I am only in debt to one of them still and it will be paid off in the next 5 months. (Yay!) And I will never have another credit card in my life. It is just not a good idea. I have other friends who are in the same boat as me and we discuss how crazy our debt is from credit cards and then we add on the debt of our schooling. It’s sad. I hate thinking about money. But then I remember that if you work for a non-profit for 10 years your school debt is absolved and some non-profits will even pay off some of your debt within those 10 years (it was already my plan to work for a non-profit so this just sweetens the deal).

So that is my situation and has been for the last 5 years. Even before the credit cards went to collectors I was having difficulty and counting every single penny I spent. I think it went back to college when my parents paid my rent and schooling and I had to take care of the rest. I worked a few weird jobs and always seemed to make it work but it was a lot cheaper back then. Rent was $300 instead of  $890 or the $615 I pay now. It wasn’t that long ago, its just that I lived in a really small town in Kansas to go to my undergrad. Things were way cheaper there!

So that is why I haven’t been giving a tithe. I have been terrified to give a tithe. Afraid that even one penny would put me on the street. It was absolutely scary.

But my internship supervisor encouraged me to give it a try. And since she put the idea in my head I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I was thinking about the story about the woman in the Bible who gives 10% and even though it is a small amount her gift is deemed precious, even more precious than anyone else’s gift.

The Widow’s Offering Luke 21:1-4 NRSV (the translation)

“He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

Every time they passed the offering around at church I felt convicted to give. So a few weeks ago I did. I had just received a check for $50.00 from work and I decided that I was going to give. So I wrote a check for $5.50 and put it in the offering. The actual act of putting it into the offering wasn’t so bad. I thought I might have an anxiety attack doing so but nope. I just put it in and said to God silently, “God this is for you. Sorry if I have been holding things back from you.”

Things were actually pretty bad. I mean at the beginning of this month I knew I could pay my rent but I might have to decide not to pay my cell phone bill or something like that. And until yesterday I was thinking I was going to have to ask my parents to help me pay my rent next month. They always do it but I always feel super guilty (they don’t put that on me, I put it on myself).

So after I put the tithe in the offering I asked God to help me to not feel freaked out about it. Every time I started to worry about it I asked God to help me.

After I put the $5.50 in the bucket things did change. Not all at once and not miraculously (at least not the miracles you hear about) but things did change. I got my cable bill and they owed me money. My cell phone company gave me a few days grace to make my payment and I got my latest check from work early. It wasn’t much but it was something.

Then yesterday I got absolute freedom, an absolute gift. But I’m skipping ahead in my story. Let me back up just a little bit because God did more for me than just the money solution.

In the days after giving my tithe I felt this pull on my heart strings to start a website and get business cards. I was at a conference at my church and talking to some out-of-towners about my ministry and they kept asking me for a business card. It was after this that I decided to get a business card. They arrived just yesterday and there is a small typo on them but one I can easily fix or point out. I also started a website. It is just in its beginning stages but if you want to take a look it is: http://fracturedwholenessministries.com/

I also started sending out resumes and cover letters. By putting that tithe in I was trusting God to do a work in me and he did. At this same time I changed my diet and started to feel better. Eating salads actually gave me more energy than eating a protein bar or even a sandwich.

God was already doing so much for me and all I was doing was trusting him.  Then my friend Maria gave me a word on Sunday.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11

“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, ‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.”

Tuesday, Valentines Day is when I got the big gift. Usually my church sends me a scholarship of $1500 twice a year but since I was graduating this year I was not expecting to receive anything this Winter. But yesterday I did receive. I got the scholarship. When I opened it up I immediately started praising God.

I looked up and said, “Thank you! I trusted you and you have provided. I was responsible and you have taken care of me!” I was so excited. I kept saying thank you and all the money worries just sort of melted away. I immediately thought of my tithe for Sunday and how excited I would be to give 10% to God because he gave to me.

I don’t think it was a coincidence. I think it was a Divine gift. Sure the church made the decision to give the money to me but I’m certain that that decision wasn’t made without God’s purpose and without God’s provision.

God has provided and I cannot ignore it!

I am grateful! I am thankful! I don’t have to worry about next month’s rent. I can continue to pay my bills and I have another month to search for a job! God is good! I am grateful for this provision and I will continue to give a tithe in the future!

There are no coincidences when the loving God is in charge.

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