Disconnected Community

I haven’t done a FaithFueled™ Friday in a long time it’s been so busy with school that writing is the last thing I want to do lately.  After a phone call with my friend I had to dust off the keyboard and share my thoughts. The other day I was speaking to a friend who just moved to a new state. She is having a hard time making new friends and thought the Church that her family decided to attend would be a great place to look.

Why wouldn’t she believe that people of the same beliefs would want to fellowship?

She has been there for a few months and has made lots of effort to be apart of the Church community only to find there is no such thing as Church community at her Church at least not how we would have it defined.

“No one hangs out with anyone at Church they come on Sunday’s to worship and then go about their lives,” After she said that; it made me think my Church is very similar. We worship together on Sunday and then don’t check in until the following Sunday unless you’re in Bible Study. It’s kind of like out of sight out of mind which is a real relationship but more of an acquaintance. We know very little about the people we worship with other than surface things. There is no longer that sense of community that the Church once brought to families and towns.

I have been attending my Church for four years and have only been invited to three families homes outside of a Church function (and I include a Direct Sales party) if not it would only be two invites in four years, and that’s just sad. Or is it? Is this commonplace? When did the Church stop being a place for believers to fellowship and do a life and a place to just check in every Sunday?

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47

The church isn’t what it used to be!

In Biblical days churches, temples and synagogues were the epicenters for most towns. It’s where the taxes were collected, food was given, functions were held, and people gathered together daily to fellowship. Your Church family was like your extended family, and the fellowship didn’t end on Sunday you saw these people in your life on a daily basis.

The Church is no longer an integral role in society. It’s not a place where people come to every day but usually on the day of worship. Then we go off to our own lives, friends, and families. The bonds that we uniquely share in our love for Jesus and place of worship is where it ends.

Check in at Church

Now, I have to be fair in the four years that I have been at my Church I had not done my due diligence to grow and foster relationships. In the first two years as I attended my Church I would reach out often, I had IF gatherings in my home, bible study walks, I tried everything to find some Christian friends at my house. The experiences were great but never really made connections; not long lasting.

Why? We have lives outside of our Church Identity. In our busy society, most of us are too busy for friends much less to deal with people in our Church that we barely know. We get caught up so much in our things to do that we don’t reach out to connect with each other. Not just at Church but in all of the society.

This is another way for the enemy to attack he makes us think that the people at the Church are wrong and we don’t need the Church for our salvation. We do! We need the accountability, reminders, and direction. People can be judgemental, but if you don’t have any sinners who attend your Church, you may want to find a new Church. That is why we are their awe of our redemption we are not perfect we are people we all have our struggles. Jesus loves us all the same and wants us to be together in His kingdom one day.

I can no longer justify other peoples actions affecting my church attendance. I don’t attend my Church for the weekly check-in but to get some time to praise, worship and honor God although I don’t feel community there I still attend because of the Message. Recently, God has been pricking my heart on this subject I can’t continue to be like others it’s one of those situations it’s never the job it’s always the people. There will always be people but if you expect people to treat you like you treat yourself you’re going to be disappointed. You must show grace to fellow members and even sometimes mercy.

Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins.

1 Peter 4:8

A lonely society

We are living in a lonely world. We can be surrounded by people but disengaged on our phone. We can stand in a crowd but feel utterly alone because we as a society are isolating ourselves. Filling our time with things to do instead of meaningless relationships when we are all seeking a meaningful relationship. We were meant to be with each other, lead each other, teach each other and do life together. The sad part is most of us feel alone yet we won’t reach out to each other to fill the loneliness.

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

Disconnected Community
It’s also apparent with the amount of time spent on Social media to fill our need for relationships. I am very guilty of that after I went to countless Bible studies, events, and opportunities to fellowship I would leave each time knowing that the connection ended there, so I went to the internet.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 12:16

Need more than a Virtual Relationship

I am intentionally (and unintentionally) in lots of facebook groups for all of my interest with the common motivator for joining is to connect with like-minded people. I have also been in Virtual Bible Studies, Mentorships, Accountability Groups and we all were there for the same thing companionship but if you were to get us in a room together not one of us would exchange numbers and actually follow up to get to know the person better.

I feel we are all living surface lives just doing enough to touch the surface never really getting to know someone. If we did if we followed up with connections, made phone calls and not text or emails. Sat down in person one on one and got to know somebody we may find that best friend that we crave.

So, what is keeping us from continuing these connections?

Get Up and Do Something

Effort and energy we have become such a lazy society that we don’t want the work of building and maintaining relationships we want surface friends. You can log on and log off when you want. You can only share the good and never the bad. There is no threat of if they’ll like you for who you are because you give them the who they want to see. The same goes for Church you show up dressed nice, proclaim your hallelujahs, make small chat before and after church and never follow up. Never put the extra effort or work it takes to create a community.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Romans 12:4-5

Why not start now?

We need to unite people and not just over what hot political topic there is but we need to unite amongst ourselves if we are going to be God’s army. The enemy wants us to live separate, be surface and vain. He is trying to make us think “we’re connected” through our disconnected online relationship, but we are fooling ourselves. God has told us to fellowship together, sharpen each other and prepare to do battle together.

One day at Church invite someone over for brunch, get to know someone a little better than Sunday chit-chat. Reach out to them for coffee or a park date to learn and possibly grow in Christ together. Behind the screen, connections can be valuable, but we need to be with people in real time and do real life.

Don’t wait for the next Church function to reach out to your brother or sister in Christ. Although, the Church is no longer the epicenter of our life. Christ is, and we need to love each other as Jesus loves us. We need to know each other because we need to be prepared to unite and stand up when called. We must mend the brokenness of our Christian communities and keep the tight-knit and secure. The way we do that? You, start today and reach out to someone in your Church. Let’s start living a life of a real community.

How do you maintain community in your church? Do you find it hard to maintain relationships?

Gluten Free Expo 2017

It’s that time of year again the air is getting cooler and crisp. The lil divas are back in school and despite whether we want to or not the Holiday’s are quickly approaching. It’s the perfect time for the Gluten Free Expo to come to town.  Last year, my sister and I were able to explore all the newest allergy friendly items from food to skin care.  It was a great opportunity to see all that Gluten-free has to offer. Also, to get some ideas for my gluten-free holiday baking which went well last year. I have been mostly Gluten Free for two years.  I have my slip ups, and I always suffer, and that is why I am grateful for how far gluten-free has come in the marketplace.  Now, not all gluten-free items some are still made of way too many processed ingredients. You can find some quality products if you look hard enough.  That is a great reason to come to the gluten-free expo it’s like a try and find all the newest and great allergy-friendly finds.  Last year, I discovered some treats that my family uses today.

This year I am really excited because the entire family is mostly allergy friendly now.  We found that living a gluten-free/allergy friendly diet has helped all of my daughters with their seasonal allergies and digestive issues and allowed me to stop making two meals. The only way this can be possible sometimes if we amazing gluten-free and allergy-friendly products that don’t make you miss Gluten or other allergens.

Last year, I discovered BFree Foods and Udi bread which is my go-to for my girls.  It tastes pretty great and it’s gluten-free, AND it doesn’t have a lot of junk in the ingredients label.  I also learned some great, baking tips from some of the vendors.  Another thing that I have been considering is the household and skincare products that we used. I never realized how many skincare products contain wheat until my allergies which has a direct effect on my complexion.  I find that when I use products without wheat, I have clearer skin and don’t have itchy flare-ups. For my teenage daughter using wheat-free skincare products has also cleared her skin she rarely has flair ups or outbreaks any longer. I also contribute wheat free hygienic products to my younger daughters no longer have eczema issues which I have written about before too.  It’s funny how eliminating one common culprit can improve your quality of life.

The beauty about expo’s online google that you get to try, smell and taste everything right there and talk to the exhibitors who produce the products. Some of the stories on how it has helped their families or where the product came from can be inspiring as well as mind-blowing on how changing your food can change your life.Is your family Gluten Free or Allergy Friendly? Would you consider trying it and why?

Is your family Gluten Free or Allergy Friendly? Would you consider trying it and why?

If you’re in the Seacacus, NJ area in October 14-15th, I am giving away TWO Tickets to gain access to the Expo.  Winners will be announced on 10/1/17 for TWO 1 Day Adult Passes. Enter below for a chance to win! I hope to get to meet you at the event!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also get your tickets at a 20% discount with code “ADVANCE” until October 13th

 

 

Protein Blender Muffins: Back-To-School Time Saver

I am a Brand Ambassador for Nuzest Usa and have included an affiliate link in this post that I receive a commission from purchases. My full disclosure policy

Back to School, YAY!

How were you the first week of school? For some of you, it’s been a few weeks and you probably have settled back into a routine and life is starting to take on its new normal for the next 8+ months.  For us Jersey peeps we have just finished up the hours long paperwork confirming that are a child is still the same child, with the same parents, living in the same house just another grade older.  After school activities have taken our chill summer nights away and we are anticipating the homework to come trickling in to add to our now more full to do list.  Oh, what happened to those preschool days where you just had to make sure they had a change of clothes and snacks.  My girls are now in fourth and eighth grade, and I remember from my now eighth grader. Third grade is where things start to become a little more challenging. More responsibilities are assumed, and that wonderful common core is in full swing.  I am happy that I got to go through it from Kindergarten-Seventh grade, or it could be a daunting task sitting down for homework.

Prep and Plan

I’ve been here before, so I thought this summer, “How can I make things a little easier?” Prep and Plan! That is my security blanket. I am an avid planner from our meals, schedule everything is done a month in advance.  So, late July early August it began. I gathered recipes for easy, healthy dinners so that I can feed my hungry brood and make Soccer and Field Hockey games and practices without sitting down at the end of the day feeling like I was just swept up in a Whirlwind.  I found these Blender Muffins on Cooking Light, but I had to change up the recipe a little to meet my daughter’s needs.  One daughter is lactose intolerant we have all adapted to a less dairy lifestyle in my home.  The other thing is protein. My middle daughter is a self-proclaimed Vegetarian except for hot dogs and tacos. (Yep! Hot dogs…sigh and slight eye roll) I am always trying to find ways to get my only fruit and veggie child to get more Protein.  After two experiments the first one didn’t turn out so well, I came up with these delicious muffins that feed everyone for a week, and I just have to make one batch.  You can make them in a variety like I did or just do one flavor.  I did the variety to mix it up during the week.

protein-blendermuffins

 

Convenient and Healthy

My tween & teen can grab and go in the morning, and she’s all set, and my middle can eat, and I know that she is getting everything she needs to start her day. I also made Egg Muffins which the in between child wants no parts of but my husband has found these convenient too as he is a Kindergarten teacher and is trying to remain on the clean eating plan that he has fully embraced over the summer months. My personal favorite is the Chocolate Walnut Muffins, but there are so many topping options you can do. We have Apple Chai, Chocolate Almond, Strawberry Chocolate, Strawberry Blueberry, Blueberry and next week going to give Mango and Banana a try. I hope you enjoy these fast, easy, yummy treats for your family, and if you try any new flavors, please let me know. I am always looking for ways to make meal time fun, healthy and tasty.

Add Some Fruit and Veggies in a Scoop

Nuzest has just come out with some great additions to their plant based smoothie line. Now they have Fruit and Veggies which gives these protein muffins an extra punch of power for my girls.  Nuzest Just Fruits & Veg comes in three different flavors Wild Berry, Fresh Coconut, and Caco Mint. I used the Wild Berry in the protein muffins and they were delish. It’s also great for their after school needs post field hockey and soccer practice even as an easy tasty snack when they get home.  I love it because it is no artificial sweeteners, a great form of plant based protein in their pea protein powder and an ingredient list of all real, junk free ingredients that I recognize. Each scoop contains 5 fruits and 5 veggies and 9 essential amino acids. My oldest daughter is lactose and casein intolerant so this is easy for her to digest.  I rather they have fresh, fruits and veggies but I can find comfort in the Nuzest Just Fruit & Veg Smoothies and it also adds a great flavor to the protein muffins. Use coupon code “FaithFueled” to get 15% off your order!

What are you quick breakfast ideas?

Protein Blender Muffins: Back-To-School Time Saver

Calories per serving: 115

Fat per serving: 2b

Protein Blender Muffins: Back-To-School Time Saver

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2c Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 Bananas ( I prefer not ripe because it's not as sweet but you can use ripe)
  • 1/2c Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Date paste or Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener
  • 2 Scoops of Nuzest Vanilla Protein Powder (You can use chocolate too mm)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Grease or line muffin pan
  3. Blend all ingredients in blender
  4. put 1/4 c. in each muffin tin
  5. Place toppings on muffin
  6. Bake for 15 minutes

Notes

Toppings I tried:

Apple Chai Got to http://faithfueledmoms.com/pecan-chai-date-bars/ for my chai spice recipe

Strawberry-Blueberry Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip-Walnut Chocolate Chip-Almond Blueberry

Nutrition Facts:

Carbs 20g Protein 7g Fat 2g Cholesterol 32mg Fiber 5g

Macros: Carbs 20g Protein 7g Fat 2g

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2 Minute Avocado Mug Cake

This is a sponsored post. I received this product in exchange for a review there are also affiliate links that I make a commission. Although I have received this product from Lakanto it does not affect my opinion. I’d tell you if I didn’t like it and why. My Full Disclosure Policy

Super Easy Mug Cake

It takes you longer to gather all of the ingredients than it does to make the cake.  This is something I found watching the PopSugar Channel made some adaptations because I didn’t have the ingredients and I wanted to try it with Nuzest Protein Powder that I love to bake and my tweaks were a success. I like this because unlike most mug cakes that can be kind of springy or dense this one is creamy and more cake like because of the avocado.  The original recipe called for limes and I used lemons because I prefer them over limes.  I also swapped out the sugar for a healthier option.

The Best Sugar Replacement

Monk Fruit Sweetener from Lakanto which I met while I was at IdeaWorld and I have been obsessed with their sweeteners ever since.  If you have gone through my Sugar Detox and Devotion Program, then you know that I try to avoid sugar in cooking, baking, and eating.  Until now I have used date paste mostly as my sweetener, but sometimes you need powdery sugar like substance especially for cookies.  I also love that Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener has two ingredients, and you know that I am an ingredient snob, but the benefits of Monk Fruit Sweetener are also a great reason to replace your sugar substitutes.

Why is Monk Fruit Sweetener?

Monk Fruit is known as the immortal fruit in traditional eastern herbalism it is used to increase chi and well being.  It is now becoming more popular because it is an alternative sweetener that  “is natural, contains zero calories and is 100–250 times sweeter than sugar. It is also thought to have antioxidant properties;” according to Healthline.  Monk Fruit is a small melon like the fruit they are grown in Southeast Asia.  It has natural fructose and glucose which makes things sweet but the reason that monk fruit is 200 times sweeter than sugar is mogroside.  Mogroside is incredibly sweet but has a zero to low glycemic index it also has:

  • our bodies metabolize it as an herb,
  • anti-oxidants effects,
  • anti-inflammatory properties,
  • anti-cancer properties,
  • anti-diabetic properties,

There is the unknown fact of how much you need to consume to get these amazing benefits overall Monk Fruit Sweetener is considered a safe sugar alternative. I like it because it doesn’t have that nasty aftertaste of stevia or other sweeteners. It has no aftertaste at all. One thing I did have to get used to is how sweet it is I found it very very sweet and usually add half the amount of sugar required. Another thing you will find with Monk Fruit Sweetener is that they are packaged with Erythritol (a sugar alcohol) or inulin to cut down on the sweetness.   Brought it home to the family and it has replaced all of our sweeteners I’m glad I found this before the Holiday Season and think I am going to do a few other experiments. They have a Golden that is similar to brown, drops, powdered so many awesome options so that you don’t have to worry about your baking needs. If you’re out of Protein Powder or want to try Nuzest (which is AMAZING) use coupon code “FaithFueled” to get 15% off!

5 Minute Avocado Mug Cake

5 Minute Avocado Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 scoop of Nuzest Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Avocado
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tbsp Lakanto Classic
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil = 1tsp

Instructions

  1. Grease Mug with teaspoon of Coconut Oil.
  2. Mix all ingredients in hand mixer till mixed
  3. pour in mug
  4. place in microwave for 1 minutes and 30 second.
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Are you a no sugar added baker? Have you ever tried?

My Figure Update: Overcoming a Quitters Mentality

I have quit a lot of things in my life. It’s actually my go-to exit plan. If it’s hard just give up and move on, right?  I’ve quit relationships, ideas, business ventures, and opportunities.  Moved on and never looked back.  I am also one of those people who acts on ideas. I don’t always research what I am getting into I get an idea in my head and I just go for it until it gets hard and then I quit and move on to the next big idea.  A pattern that I didn’t even realize until recently. My impulsive decision making has had its advantages and allowed me to do some pretty fun and amazing things but long term goals is where I tend to fall short. As you know I have been doing this Figure Competitor journey.  I originally thought that it would help me to get in the best shape of my life which it has but I also did it because it was a fun idea that I have had in the back of my mind for many years and had an opportunity to take advantage.  

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

1 Corinthians 9:24

 When the Sparkle Wears off

Like anything, new things are fun and exciting. You usually are all in and zealous to achieve your goal.  It’s the hard work, disappointments, and length of time that led to where I often go. I’ll just quit and move on until something happened with my daughter that made me step back and reflect.  I have three little diva’s that keep my life full, active and yes, drama filled as you can imagine.  My middle I see a lot of me in her maybe a little too much. Like her Mama she approached life with a let’s try something new mentality and like her Mama she gets bored and moves on easily.  We were riding in the car one day and my daughter was telling us how she wanted to quit camp.  My husband and I were stressing the importance of finishing what you started when a comment my husband made struck me.  I had said, “She always quits when she loses interest in something.” without hesitation, my husband said, “Yea, she gets that from you.” OUCH! But honestly, he is so right.  So, then as any good Mama guilt struck and self-reflection.  Yep, another similarity that we share.  

Too Far to Quit

So, here I am at the end of my Figure Journey well approaching the end maybe and things have gotten less fun and more challenging. The thing about Fitness Competition is nutrition is probably the most important part it allows you to look a certain way. This sport is also about aesthetics and a lot of competitors have a poor body image although they have amazing physiques.  I’ve started to learn how to pose and I am not a fan.  I love lifting weights I’ve gotten used to the nutrition but as far as the posing not only is that not fun it doesn’t serve me in anything but competing. I don’t really care about the makeup and the bikini part I am not that kind of girl. I just want to do it and get it done and said “I did it!” and move on. So, as I struggled with posing my immediate reaction was aw that’s okay I’ll just move on and try something else but that conversation in the car with my husband replayed in the back of my mind.  

Work in Progress

In the past few years, I have been refining my life making different choices and trying to live my best life.  We are always evolving and changing and as you have witnessed through my journey I have spiritually, mentally and physically changed my body but I am nowhere near being the complete package. Nor do I think I ever will be like everyone else I have things to work on, lots and lots and lots of things to work and overcoming a quitters mentality is one of them. So, how? How do I change a habit and replace it with a better one?  Any habit that can be successfully changed has to be replaced with something that you enjoyed. This is no different. I have decided to quit my quitter’s mentality by quitting. Say what? Stay with me!

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

2 Timothy 3:14

How I am overcoming quitting

I am quitting setting up roadblocks to achieving my goals.

I am quitting acting on impulse and doing more research.

I am quitting putting limits on my ability.

I am quitting putting a time frame on my goal.

I am quitting thinking that I have to be the best at everything the first time.

I am quitting setting the example to my girls that when you get bored or discouraged to move on.

Things are hard and you often want to bail and move on I know I do but I have experienced the results of persevering and seeing something through to the end and so that is what I plan on striving to do.

 

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:12-14

Do you have any suggestions for a quitters mindset?

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