Giving out of My Poverty

This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw

How Consuming Lycopene before UV Exposure Saves Our Skin from Collagen Breakdown 

Craving the Color of Food: Intuition of the Healing Body

Have you ever craved specific colors of food? Likely. I know I have, but it wasn’t until I was on the way home from the beach one afternoon many years ago when I inferred that the reason I was craving tomatoes was likely because of the sun, somehow.

What I thought of next was when I used to go to Dewey Beach, DE a lot in my early 20s or Ocean City or any beach town really, and what restaurant is always packed there? The pizza joints or Italian restaurants! Why?

Pizza Rat

Well, I got home and pursued my questioning to see if my inference about the relationship between red tomatoes and the sun was there at all. It was.

Turns out, lycopene, one of several carotenoid phytonutrients, has been shown in many studies, see below, in both humans and other animals, to provide benefits against collagen breakdown and tumor expression in the skin after UV radiation from the sun. It’s good news!Caratenoid Flowchart

I did not really think much beyond how lycopene helped to protect us against sun damage after that. It was common knowledge it destroys our DNA which is one of the reason for cancers, but I never really considered, why wrinkles?  I was just interested in knowing how fascinating the body is in intuiting what it needs to heal itself – in this case, from sun exposure – and finds a way of letting us know too.

I’ve typically always been driven to food by what I crave believing that my body knows best what it needs, even when I may not understand.

The Science of Wrinkles and Crinkly Toes!

So I have been out and about in the sun a lot lately over the past month or so and had begun to get a great tan. I stay under my umbrella mostly because it’s so darn comfortable, Holly love Beachand I know I’m still getting rays, but I do opt for the open blanket sometimes over the covered beach chair. Also, I’ve been out a lot exercising and exposing myself to the sun’s rays that way, too.

I have always been perplexed that my feet never seem to tan like the rest of my bod. I guess it’s the angle of them to the sun, but even when they have the most exposure, they still seem to keep a bit of a palor☹

I was looking down at my toes recently, and though my little pigs were white, I noticed they were crinkly, a bit like a French fry. Odd. Miss Crinkle toes! 😊 Why was that, I wondered?

Well, one thing I thought was that I considered I’d been out in the sun, and because they don’t seem to tan or burn, I never apply sunscreen to them. Besides, who has wrinkly toes!? Was it the sun exposure that was making them crinkly, I wondered? Yes, it likely was. I’d look into it!

 

I researched studies done on the specifics of sun and wrinkling, and yes! The sun causes wrinkles because it destroys our collagen – the connective protein fibers in our skin, tendons, cartilage and muscles which provides structure and elasticity. It is THE most abundant protein in our bodies, and when we are exposed to the sun, specifically the UVA rays, our body actually responds by programming certain enzymes to destroy it! Ouch.

Beach burn

I must have known that at some point, but the biology behind how is more interesting. Turns out, the sun’s UV rays trigger our DNA to make specialized proteins, enzymes, specifically, MMP-1, collagenases, to do their job, and  destroy our collagen! Crike!

Why did I never know or realize this before, I don’t know. I love my enzymes – they are likely the most favored part of my body because without them, I would not function and would die😊 But on a less drastic note, they are specific to every chemical reaction in our body, and I am not looking to deliberately trigger the one’s designed to destroy my collagen to do so.

I panicked! What? I’m programmed to wrinkle when I go into the sun, literally? I didn’t know it was that bad. I was petrified to go back out. Long-shirts would be in my future as I went out. I’d already been feeling a bit burned and don’t like the thought of that.  And, a V-8 for the ride over to the beach, for sure.

Me and Pat
(Photo: My visiting brother and me after a day at the beach!)

2 weeks or so I came home from the pool craving orange! Luckily, I had a lot. I ate and drank everything I had. Carrot juice, sweet orange peppers, and dried apricots. Though I had orange juice, that I was not craving. I checked into my craving online.

Orange fruit and vegetables containing plenty of beta carotene

Turns out, beta carotene is another carotenoid, like lycopene. Lycopene acts differently scientifically in our skin, though. B-carotene acts as a precursor to Vitamin-A which promotes fibroblasts – connective tissue that produces collagen and contributes to healthy skin, whereas lycopene prevents enzymes from being produced that break itself down, essentially!

I must have known these things about the carotenoids before, but making sense of how they work scientifically and applying to my real life makes in all the more interesting, and fun! Being out in the sun basically serves to destroy our skin in a certain sense, and I needed the nutrients to make the fibroblasts I needed to make more connective tissue to repair what skin damage I’d caused by exposing myself to that light! Right? I love it!! Body, Brilliant!!

Back to Lycopene – The Sun & Tomato Cravings – The Body Intuitive

Turns out, lycopene, which is most abundant in tomatoes, inhibits the effects of MMP-1 collagenases. (Enzymes typically end in -ase, and often their prefix reflects the substrate on which they act. Another example, lipase. Lipases break down lipids, or fats).

Many studies support how lycopene, an MMP inhibitor, intervenes on our behalf prevting collagen breakdown and leading to wrinkles. I have included 4 different studies here, 2 of which discuss the aforementioned relationship between lycopene and MMP inhibition, 1 of which supports how topical MMP inhibitors reduce basement membrane destruction, in rats, which lead to wrinkles, and a final study which looks at lycopene’s impact on tumor formation in rats.

Control Group

If you are interested in reading the whole study, click the titles. I give a brief conclusion of the author’s findings, as well as a breakdown on what they found.

  1. Title: Molecular evidence that oral supplementation with lycopene or lutein protects human skin against ultraviolet radiation: results from a double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled, crossover study

Conclusion: Assessment of gene expression revealed that UVB/A, as well as UVA1, radiation significantly upregulated steady‐state levels of HO‐1, ICAM‐1 and MMP‐1 mRNA in skin of volunteers who were either untreated or had been treated with placebo. In marked contrast, TNC (Fig. 3), as well as lutein (Fig. 4), treatment significantly inhibited UVB/A and UVA1 radiation‐induced gene expression.

The Breakdown: What this means is that when subject were exposed to different types of radiation, the genes for collegenases were turned on stimulating breakdown of collagen, but once supplementing with a lycopene-rich TNC (Tomato Nutrient Complex) or leutin, another cartotenoid, the genes that code for making the collagenases were inhibited after radiation, preventing the breakdown of collagen.

Don't Get Burnt

  1. Title: Lycopene inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression and down-regulates the binding activity of nuclear factor -kappa B and stimulatory protein-1

Conclusion: UVA irradiation of the human skin fibroblasts led to a 10–15-fold rise in metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) mRNA.

Lycopene and β-carotene did not protect on their own but in the presence of vitamin E, their stability in culture was improved and the rise in MMP-1 mRNA expression was suppressed, suggesting a requirement for antioxidant protection of the carotenoids against formation of oxidative derivatives that can influence the cellular and molecular responses.

The Breakdown: The difference here is that this study shows how Vitamin E is needed along with lycopene in order for mRNA not to express the MMP-1 protein collagenases. mRNA is made from DNA which in turn makes protein, or in this case, does NOT make protein, the collegenase.) This makes more sense because lycopene, along with other carotenoids, are fat-soluble, meaning they need fats in order to be absorbed.
tomato puree+PLUS+       Vit E

 

  1. Title: Possible Involvement of Gelatinases in Basement Membrane Damage and Wrinkle Formation in Chronically Ultraviolet B-exposed Hairless Mouse

Conclusion: Topical application of a specific matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, CGS27023A, inhibited ultraviolet B-induced gelatinase activity in the epidermis, and its repeated application prevented ultraviolet B-induced damage to the basement membrane, as well as epidermal hyperplasia and dermal collagen degradation. Ultraviolet B-induced wrinkles were also prevented by administration of the inhibitor. These results, taken together, suggest that ultraviolet B-induced enhancement of gelatinase activity in the skin contributes to wrinkle formation through the destruction of basement membrane structure and dermal collagen in chronically ultraviolet B-exposed hairless mouse, and thus topical application of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors may be an effective way to prevent ultraviolet B-induced wrinkle formation.

Breakdown: Repeatedly applying a topical, non-specified MMP (collagenase) inhibitor – a cream that prevents collagen breakdwon – damage to the basement membrane of the dermal skin layer was not created, as a result, neither, then, were wrinkles.

Wrinkles are caused by damage to the basement membrane which can be mitigated by non-exposure to UV light or by exposure to an MMP inhibitor (such as lycopene😊) before exposure to UV light. Check out the electron microscopy photos, below, of the basement membrane before and after exposure to UV light over time. Recognize that wrinkled look?

Basement membraneFigure 1. Changes of basement membrane ultrastructure in UVB-irradiated mouse. Mouse skin was irradiated with UVB (total 5 J per cm2) for 10 wk. (a) Non-irradiated control skin. (b) Basement membrane began to separate from basal cells after 2 wk of UVB irradiation. (c) The basement membrane damage became more severe after 5 wk of UVB irradiation. (d) Many disruptions of basement membrane were observed after 10 wk of UVB irradiation. Scale bars: 1 μm.

 

  1. Title: Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations

Conclusion: Overall, male mice that consumed tomato-containing diets developed fewer UVB-induced skin tumors compared to male mice that did not consume tomatoes.

The Breakdown: The conclusion, above, sums it up, but see graph below. The only significant difference in tumor development is in the rats fed a tomato diet with the lycopene, not a tangerine-tomato diet, even know they did develop fewer tumors, also.

41598_2017_5568_Fig1_HTML

So, what’s the take-away? Eat your tomatoes (puree – the best source of lycopene) or have a V-8 before you hit the beach or even go outside, and, make sure you take a tablespoon oil with it for fuller absorption and effective to mitigate those potentially damaging sun rays.

Eat what your body craves because it is often something your body needs. Our bodies are made to heal themselves, and can, as long as they have the nutrients they need to do it! Let your body work for you, not against you while you still engage in those outdoor activities you love. And, just for the record, keep applying sunscreen, too, for added sun protection. You skin, your largest and most visible organ, is one we want to keep looking young and supple for as long as possible.

Corn popping

I hope you find this helpful.

Enjoy!

Holly

 

 

Bingeing to Freedom

Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time.

I’m two weeks in into my 2nd smart goal, and that is, simply: no sugar – that is, no ho-ho’s, cakes, brownies, donuts, pies, ice cream, candy, cupcakes or the like that I’d been indulging in in my last month (minus ho-ho’s) of pigging out during teacher appreciation week, the last week of school, and just because I went for it all month long while engaging in my 1st smart goal which was working out for at least 20 minutes/day, 4x/week. Writing my blog about that even found me ½ into a pint of ice cream at the time! Love ice cream!

One thing I noticed while I allowed myself to eat so piggily with respect to content and amount, was that I didn’t allow myself to do it because I told myself that famous lie of, “I’ll quit tomorrow!” I actually found myself saying that at one point, and just recognized that as the binge mentality that it promoted, until the next binge, and I believe that may have been a big turning point. Just finally giving myself full permission to eat without recompense, I pigged out so much I found myself disgusted!

I have decided to do this no sugar thing now, too, because of actually feeling so physically ill as a result of all the poor dietary choices I made over the month of May. It felt gross!

So, for my first SMART goal, I exceeded what I set, and only hit the minimum part of my fit goal maybe 5 times max, all month. I found that once you’re out and about, 20 minutes is nothing, it flies by – this is why it’s so smart! If I walked, that went by super-fast which worked out for me when I didn’t want to exercise at all, but whether walking, riding my bike, yoga, swimming or running, I typically exceeding my 20-minute time interval by at least 2x as much and up to 5x. As indicated, one thing smart about this smart goal was that it is realistic and timely – the R and T of the SMART. If I had to work out for 40 minutes at a clip, I would have been deterred, but I typically worked out more than that anyway! So, because it’s so easy and so many positives came from it, I’ve decided to keep it, and have!

I like going out and walking now or biking – whatever I decide to do – I mix it up, break up my day, get some exercise, some fresh air, a new perspective, I get inspired and remember what interests me – plants (and photography – some photos included from a graveyard I walked one night – love bark!) – those beautiful plants I see all the time as I walk – and I just began to take time to be in the present moment, whatever it is, I would find a smile. It is normally always good and positive, and it’s only for 20 minutes, minimum😊

Frangipani 1 Yellow

Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time. I’ve already lost about two pounds it looks just from being off of sugar in these past two weeks. I can feel and see it in my new jeans, too.

Bark Peeling

I realized too that when I remove sugar from my diet, I eat a lot less, and typically don’t have the resulting fullness. A domino! I realize that a healthier relationship with food spills over into the rest of my life in a good way. Another domino. Mentally, a shift occurs creating the positive domino effect. One thing always leads to another. Food is so key to many facets of my life.

I am well-aware of my mental state and my approach to food. There is always a tie-in.  The more positive I am and eating well, the better my life is. The better my life is, the better food choices I typically make. I have noticed how I take certain behaviors out on what I choose to eat. Like I take my mood out on my food which is what I am doing to myself, as well. Once I realized that, many years ago, I could easily check myself, and make another choice, but it’s interesting what relationship we have with food. It’s a direct correlation and indication to where we are mentally, in my case anyway.

Maybe I’ll always have a thing with food – it is one of my favorite things in life – it’s sensual and delicious. I love it. But for the rest of this month, I am loving it a little less, and loving my body a little more by honoring this beautiful temple of mine God gave me. That’s the SMART thing to do!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have … Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

Cheers,

Holly 😊

 

Frangipani Pink

Finding Faith, Finding Joy: Accepting the Responsibility of My Faith Brought Me Joy

 

Here’s an large excerpt from my video story – it’s much of it! It’s long, but it’s worth listening to to hear how God showed up for me one night like never before, amazing! I felt for the first time He is truly impressive with how He had to have orchestrated every single event to occur to bring all to pass the way he did. He planned this for a span of over a year to culminate just after my most earnest prayer, and in 10 or 15 minutes, every major prayer request was met.

This came on the heels of my second lowest point while living in England, and after coming to my faith senses that afternoon in terms of owning my responsibility in my relationship to God and the personal responsibility I have to myself, and to God, for my life and success. The wow moments were too big to comprehend, so I just went with them, rolling with the blessing, and received them all, acting the part,  amazed, but unable to comprehend what truly happened because it was too big to get, but God worked it all out to build my faith, supply every need I had over the next months that followed and provided me with a great new friend who would only help me develop my faith even more, Joy.

It was my turn and my time to act. It was upon me this time. It was well time for me to take an active role in my life, making the decisions that would benefit me – carrying me through to the next level, and not leaving me in this low-down, deep place on many levels. This may seem like a “duh” moment for a lot of people.

Despite the dreariness of the day, I’d discerned some bit of distant light I could see outlining and circling some bits of the Channel in the most elegantly fascinating way, and I was able to finally grasp from some recess of hope and personal responsibility within myself that I had to myself and to God that, “He’s not done with me yet.” This was in echo from a verse that I suspect the Holy Spirit brought to my mind that I’d often hear in church from a pastor at my church there, Josh, who used to often say, “God is the same today, yesterday and forever.” The verse never quite made sense to me when I heard it, like what’s so special about that verse that you always repeat it, I wondered? For me, it was the difference between darkness and light, and that day, I got the light.

God, I feel, orchestrates everything in my life to my benefit it seems sometimes. I know that sounds a bit egocentric, but I feel like it’s just true. I see it happen all the time it seems. I am incredibly fortunate that is for certain. I bet if we all looked around, earnestly, we’d be seeing blessings everywhere bounding in our favor too. I hope so.

Deciding to believe was exciting to me. Acting on that belief was another whole story. Head and heart had to align. Spirit had to help. This was a real different scenario. Belief: It seemed burdensome to me. In itself it implies responsibility. Ugh. What more? What was it with me and responsibility? It required that I do my part for once, and not only to walk forward and do what I could do to achieve whatever I needed to, but to believe in all the words of God that I’d ever known that would lift me out of the muck and mire that was my life at the time. I had to believe in what I’d heard. I was not excluded in the benefits and love of God for any reason. “God wishes for all of us to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in Him,” 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us. His word was the truth, liberty from faulty thinking.

Coming to know God, truly, and letting Him in is what has changed my life finally, and continues to change my life to this day.

Since that day in the park when I decided to truly apply the word of God to my life, I have been being transformed mind, body and spirit when applying it. It can’t help but to work. It empowers me to this day. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” I believe it. It makes sense to me because it’s what I’ve lived, it speaks the truth to me reading it, dividing and discerning what needs division and discernment.

That night, I viewed with my own eyes the orchestration of miraculous events that God made happen. I was literally led along this path that took me into the answer of all of my prayers, but more importantly, and ever so wonderfully, God led me to know that He had heard me, that he was with me, being my helper, my guide, and my Father, a good Father, who showed me that I could trust Him and that He would take care of me. He sure cares. Amen.

I delved into a depth of intimacy that night with God having a messianic encounter with Him unlike any other experience I had ever previously had. I had been delivered from doubt into this awesome divine faith which brought forth from me this earnestness I had never before experienced to such degree. It was incredible. It was tangible in me. I could literally feel my prayer inside of me building up – a literal surge from within me, the internal depths of who I was, God coming up in me to reach me, having connected with me maybe in that very instant. I didn’t know that earnestness existed within me, but I liked it, a lot. It was connected.

I have learned that God wants to show Himself real to me, to all of us, but I, we, must Trust Him. That is one of the things I wanted and needed from Him was for Him to show Himself real to me, as a Father, and he has, time and again, amazingly, and he has continued, too.

God is for everyone! “I wish that none will suffer, and all will come to me. “Everyone who has ears to hear, let him hear.” God is a life changer, and He is real. This is my hope for everyone: is that they come to that relationship with Him where they know him truly, personally, lovingly. It’s impressive how He works to get to know us, to tell you He’s there and listening to you and hopeful for you, in you, to hear Him and see Him and know Him. “He longs to give us every good gift,” Josh used to tell us often, and God also longs to love and be loved by us all, I say. That is His gift, and it’s free.

I had decided God was for me, and there was hope in my heart in that and for me, but that night at church, I was there only in body for the most part. I remember little of what Pastor Robert said that night because I was running my options through my mind continuously, frantically. The reason I went to the park that afternoon had to do with me feeling uncomfortable where I was living and wanting to leave.

So, when I was in church that night, I was trying to figure how I would get out. Would I go home, back to D.C.? There were only two months left before I’d be leaving anyway, and Aunt Judy wouldn’t mind if I came early, I thought. I was going to move to Florida to live with my Aunt Judy after I’d spent Christmas back in Washington with everyone. I could just go back to D.C. or go there, Florida. I needed to get out of where I was though, I thought. That wrongful living space was not going to work at all. Where was I going to find a place though to live for just two months and have to have all the upfront money, etc? It wasn’t worth it, nor was there a likelihood of this even happening. I’m just going to do it, I thought. I’m going leave. This is too much pressure.

Then, it hit me – the fact that I remembered I was supposed to be there until the end of the term. Not only had I given my word I’d be there at least until then, but God had confirmed for me, for weeks on end, that I was, indeed, supposed to be there, and stay there, until the end of the term, and after that I would be moving to Florida. That was all very clear. Very well, then. I would stay, but what was I to do about the living space, the arrangement in which I currently found myself? What would I do? Where would I go? How would it work?

All of this was running through my mind throughout the sermon of which I don’t think I caught ten minutes of that night. Then, at the end of the sermon, there was a prayer and then a suggestion given up by Pastor Robert. I just remember feeling so incredibly humbled and surrendered. I thought how much I wanted to be a part of Pastor Robert’s family – just the love and salvation part, being connected to God, truly. They were all so good and connected to God. I looked over to my right where I saw Pastor Robert’s youngest son and his wife, and thought of Pastors Robert and Virginia and how lovely and surrendered they are, and, though I had been smitten with their older son, Josh, I did not necessarily want to be a part of their family as his wife, but as their equal – as God’s daughter – in that love relationship – in the love of God always – in His family. I wanted that connection.

I humbled myself in prayer. It was as if by no intentional purpose, it just happened upon me. I realized it, feeling so closely connected to God in that moment as I have never been before. It was awesome. The humility had impressed itself upon me, Him, his truth and warmth – I was so deliberately earnest in my prayer and I loved it. It was a first seemingly, at least in feeling alone. I was praying for that somehow too – the truth –to be connected to the love of God – to know for sure that I was being guided and that God would take care of me and provide for me all the things that I needed. To really let go and let God, and to be surrendered to Him in His truth that He would provide every good gift for me.

In my prayer, I felt God was the truth – that that God would somehow provide for me because I did know the truth, and that was that He wanted me there, and that was Him and not me that made that decision well clear. I was trying to escape. However, I do not ever recall thinking maybe He wanted me in that situation still where I’d currently resided. All’s that I knew was that I was very uncomfortable and wanted to be out of there tout suite, so that is for what I prayed. I knew I was supposed to be in England, but I wanted out of where I was. So, that is for what I prayed.

I turned it all over to Him. I told Him that I knew He wanted me to stay there, in England until December, and that I believed that, and, then, in some sort of knowingness, in that, I was able to trust Him. I gave it to Him due to the fact that I earnestly felt like He was in control. I was finally believing and trusting Him. He was running the show, so He needed to help me, and He would. I asked and sincerely hoped in Him that He would do it, and take care of it in His power and time and ability, to have me in a new place – the perfect place, a place for two months that would be good for me, that would be with a Christian housemate, that would have furniture and no down payment, and have the option for only a two month lease, and…it would be affordable, and…for it to be ready by the end of next week. It was a lot to ask, but my part too was being faithful and trusting, and I think that truly began that night.

“You have not because you ask not,” Jesus told us, along with: “Ask anything according to my will, and it will be done unto you.” God loves our faith too. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God.”

I finished praying and felt pretty good. Trustful. After the sermon, Pastor Robert, as he sometimes did, requested from us that we go around and introduce ourselves, or to say, “Hi” to ten new individuals, and I attempted to do so. I didn’t quite make it to ten, or maybe I did, but I did work my way from the back of the church up to the front of the church saying hello and introducing myself to as many as were apparent. Then, as I approached the front and thought to get a prayer with Pastor Robert, he walked away from me, seemingly deliberately so like he was told, “Don’t talk to her!” I kept moving right along. I finally just took a seat upfront, waiting, even trying to discuss with those next to me, but they weren’t having it either. So, I just sat there feeling a little dumb as I was striking-out with people conversation wise, left and right.

I just sat there waiting for another housemate figuring he’d be awhile. Then, I looked to my right and saw a pretty woman, about my age, whom I’d not previously seen. “I’ll talk to her,” I thought. “Introduce myself, and, say, hi”. So, I did.

Upon my going over to her and making my introduction, she identified me as being who I am – that is, she indicated that she recognized me from the internet, that I’m a teacher, etc. I was perplexed for a moment still not knowing how she would know these things about me because I wasn’t online like that, and then I recalled as she finally mentioned the housemate situation – she remembered me from the site photo I’d posted online along with my profile for the accommodation request I had filled out over a year prior to that, when I was still in the U.S. looking for an accommodation over there. Wow. Okay. That was amazing.

How bizarre. I’d never seen a photo of her though, because I guess she hadn’t posted it, but she was the one who’d contacted me originally. We’d chatted on the phone then, and she sounded great, but the place where she and her housemate, Karine, lived was too far for me to get to work on time, and the bus route would not have gotten me to work when I needed to be. So, because I didn’t have enough money for a vehicle and no bus accommodation working for my advantage, I had to say “no” as being the answer at the time.

I think now of the orchestration of events of our lives. God is so lovingly amazing with his worth and working things out to our good and benefit. His timing is also perfect. It’s amazing. I know I keep using that word. His transitions are miraculous, really, how He knows all this. These aren’t chance meetings. There are no coincidences. God is in orchestration mode all the time working it out in and for us. For His will to be accomplished in us! For Him to know us and make us known to Him, for Him loving us and us loving Him.

When Joy informed me of what she had, I found it quite amazing, all of it, putting it all together. I barely took any time to express deliberately the amazing connection that was occurring, the divine connection that God was creating, had created, had been creating, all this time, His will, coming together, bringing us together, His two daughters (once again over a year later) who’d prayed for Him to help them in her own need in her own way and He quickly made it happen. His expediency is impressive too! Actually, impressive is a word often used by me to describe God. God is incredibly impressive to me!!

From there, in my desperation, and the poor interpersonal skills I had, I quickly made mention of my need, again, for the same thing. I pounced on the opportunity to share with her again my need for a housemate. She, interestingly, also informed me of the same thing! I loved it. She said that she had just been praying that afternoon for a Christian housemate – and here I was. Wow. She expressed that she’d gotten “Holy Spirit tingles” about it all as we were talking, and to her that was the recognition that it was okay that we’d be housemates. How fantastic was that!?? Wow!

She was more mature than I was in terms of Godliness and knowingness and recognizing appropriately what was going on instead of going through all the motions as I always had, and felt I was. I was just desperate feeling, and on top it of it all, not allowing it in. It was inconceivable in some ways what’d transpired, really, too much to make understood. Not knowing how, I just bumbled through it all. I was like a new-comer to all of this. Oh, the God of the universe just so clearly answered our prayers and needs, and also reunited us over a year later to bring us together once again and to make us housemates, after all, and He’s had this planned out for over a year? Oh, okay…J Wow. God is so amazing.

God uses everything, doesn’t He? We had to have had that first meeting in order to have had this second chance to occur in order for us to have had our needs to be met over a year later, when it was more appropriate and timely for us both. Wow. I couldn’t have seen that one coming. I had no intention of working on a room mate as I “helloed” everyone I passed by. God was ushering me along to get me where he wanted me – to talk to Joy – I love it! Also, he was using Pastor Robert as a conduit to get me, us, together, again. It was great!! What a God. What a Father. God is such a good dad, helping, coming to our rescues, yet again, knowing, and allowing for all of this to come to pass, resting us in Him, for us to see that He is trustworthy. Amen.

Trying to act wowed, when it was really too much to take in and comprehend is where I was when interacting with Joy. I didn’t know how to respond other than to say wow and act surprised and wowed, but it was a wow. It was amazing. I wasn’t realizing the will of God in any of it at the time. I was dumbfounded!. I would have been profoundly overwhelmed and expressive in gratitude and solemnness if I really thought about what was happening between us. Totally cool and awesome it was, but how do you comprehend that, truly? Overwhelmed would be a more fully appropriate feeling to consume all of what was about to happen. Awe-inspired. All that God does is amazing. How resplendent really.

In any event, we were to be housemates, and I could move in in a couple of weeks I found out after I called her a day or two later. And, it turned out to be okay to stay in my other place longer because my housemate about whom I was concerned would be going on vacation and would be gone the whole time. Excellent. So, I was relieved by that. Also, I would be able to afford it. I did not need to put a down payment. I would be able to stay for only two months. It was going to be in a supportive environment, and it was fully furnished. What else? That was it! Perfect, God, just perfect. Check, check, check. You are so great. Thank you, Lord.

“God provides above and beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine.” He did. He had provided a place for me before I even left church that night, with every need met, and He gave me Joy who is great too. He is incredible like that.

You know what’s interesting too? Having seen all of the moves and the upheavals that I’d endured while I was there, I no longer wondered why. It was seemingly clear. Though I chose to move to or from a couple of different places for conveniences sake, I had experienced difficulties in others that led me moving from place to place. From a county ordinance, to a financial distress, to a stinky room, to an offensive gesture, I moved right along so that I could get finally get to be with Joy – where God had ultimately intended me to be. He sets everything up that is brilliant. I was finally able to reconcile why all the moves. Why things were “not working out,” they were working out. They just didn’t look that way. We know that looks can be sometimes be deceiving, so despite what the circumstances are, as long as we are walking with God, we should keep trusting Him for the best, because He’s working it out.

In all things, give thanks, I’m reminded of from I Thess 5:8. Things were working out, I just couldn’t see how when I was going through them. That’s where the trust bit comes in and the obedience to giving thanks in all things because God is orchestrating behind the scenes for our own good.

I learned a lot about God through this circumstance. I learned that he hears me. He responds and cares about me. The most important thing to me, and the sacred one, He is my holy father. I learned that I am important. I learned that God orchestrates things. That we ask and we receive, that we seek and we find, that we knock and the doors open wide when we ask according to His will. I learned that he directs our paths and meets our needs. He sets up meetings. He uses others to help us along. He orchestrates. I learned that he uses things that we may deem as bad or wrong to move us to another direction where He wants us to be because otherwise we might not go to where we need to go and we might stay where we need not be. I realized that He gives us Godly connections: friends that love us and help us along the way. I realized that I am His family, his loving daughter, the most important thing. I am his holy daughter whom he loves very much. And, I realize that He does it, He does it through His son, Jesus Christ, through the movement of the Holy Spirit in and upon us, and through us, along with the help of others he calls angels and I’ve called friends, as well as all the heavenly angels He has set up for us in heavenly places to cause us not to fall or stumble, and if we do, they assist us in getting up.

He loves us very much, and He wishes to show up for us and in us, but we have to invite Him first because as our father, a holy father, He is also a gentleman, and we need to ask Him in, to Help us. This then gives us a chance too to see His work, which I love witnessing, and to acknowledge Him and to thank Him as we build a real relationship with Him, the heavenly Father, and to get to know Him and Jesus and the Holy Spirit through all of our circumstances.

I have learned the lows are where real sincerity begins, for me. Through the trials we become close, centered, realize what we need and want, and are serious about going about it, about figuring it out. I have realized that this low in that time was for a purpose – to center me – to build me – to build a foundation for me, and that was on God. On Him I stand. He got me to trust and led me to believe, a God gift in deed. God was building me up by bringing me down. That day was foundational for me. The falling down, the picking myself up, trusting myself and God, then giving my pieces to God and trusting in Him. Then, He sorted everything out, marvelously. 🙂

More on the video and/or audio series.

Enjoy. Holly

src=”https://transparency247.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/joy-2.mp3″%5D%5B/audio%5D

If you want to watch on video, other Youtube options. Hope you can get past the looks on my face:)

Holly

Lightening Struck – My prayer answered for direction

My prayer one afternoon was to be struck with lightening, and without harm, for me to know what God’s will was for my life – would I stay in England or leave? Wanting to leave, I felt to stay, but I did not want to stay. More than either, what I wanted is to know what God wanted, for sure. I wanted to know He was with me. I have come to find that if I believe God is with me, I can handle anything – if I know the path I’m on is His.

I know God is with us whether we make our bed in hell or heaven, but because I felt like I’d been in hell already there, I was looking to depart. If I knew He was with me, and it was His will for me to continue on, I would be able to do so with grace.

Praying my desperate prayer for confirmation, I felt badly right afterwards, for wasting God’s time. Like, what a stupid prayer. Just face up to your responsibilities and do it, if that is what you feel you are to do! Well, He was merciful toward me, and He did not strike me down, but I had my prayer answered. Lightening struck, and I stayed.

Work was better than ever, but more “problems” pursued personally with living situations, but God used everyone of them to show me Himself in my circumstances, only making things better and better every time and growing me and drawing me more closely to Him. Incredible situations presented where I was able to find Him loving me as a Father, Jesus as my brother, and the Holy Spirit as my gentle peace followed by an ever increasing faith in Him. That was the best gift, well, knowing He really cared for me and loves me was the best, and is, but having circumstance after circumstance show me that He Is, and He Is for and with me.

What a great time in my life. All the struggles to find Him. All worth it.

Full story below on podcast.

How Suffering Perfects

So, what I think now is that I must start being obedient again whether or not I agree with my promptings. I fail and succeed at that, but I’m not new at this, and what an incredible gift, honor and privilege it is to be in tune with, and guided by, the Holy Spirit.

“He learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

This verse in Hebrews came to mind today as I had been suffering from both hurting my knee and missing an appointment to have fun because I had failed to following the leadings of the Holy Spirit. I hope this doesn’t sound crazy!

If Jesus had to be made perfect through suffering, I might have to too. These are called the “learning the hard way” folks. 🙂  I’d like to be obedient from now on, instead. No more suffering, small or large!

Today while I was praying, whining a bit, I heard, “Walk.” Now let me say I am not crazy nor do I have schizophrenia, but I often get little directions, like Holy Spirit cues. Many times I follow them and many times I don’t.  Today, I did not obey the cues on a couple of circumstances, and this morning, as I was suffering from hurting my knee while running, I felt I’d been a disappointment again, and gone on a did what I wanted to do without respecting what I was told to do.

I first of all delayed the instruction to walk a bit b/c I had things to get out before proceeding with my day. I guess God was bored with my lamenting and whaling about my past I am working through and trying to heal. “Forget about those things which are past, and heal. Press on! Get outsides and get some fresh air!” may be what he wanted for me instead. Clear your head. Fretting only causes harm according to the bible in Psalm 37:8. I am just really trying to work through some stuff and was letting it all out this a.m. and rebuking and releasing and binding up. The whole works. God was not into that, maybe. Walking happened, eventually.

So, I finish up at where I figured was a good enough spot, got my workout clothes on and headed for the bridge. I got to just about where I would cross the street and head up, and I hear, “Back.” Not wanting to turn back b/c I was coming to the best part of my walk – the water with the sunshine on it in the early morning – I proceeded. I began to smile because I knew what to expect and was so excited to see the early morning sun and to look over the beautiful Stuart waterway. I pressed on. I got to the top, and lingered a bit while aweing the beauty gratefully before I headed back. I did not want to go back the ugly roadway, so I walked through town, defying again.

I began to feel like this walk was way too long. I had plans that morning and felt I might have blown it. My legs were feeling strong enough so I thought I’d run a bit. I was good, but then felt something in my knee collapse a bit. Ouch! It brought me to a halt. I walked from there, almost home.

I return only to find out that the date I had planned on going on this a.m. to meet people for biking would expire in terms of my timing. I was to leave at 8:25 to be there on time, and I walked in at 8:25. I blew that! I got ready anyway. I jumped in the shower, and rushed to make it. I would not make it. My bike was a block away, I had to fill the tires, put on my bike rack and get it loaded. I also wanted to eat breakfast.  I just decided If I had to go alone, that would be acceptable, but not preferred.

Felt disappointed and bothered for God b/c of my response and lack of surrendering. He tries to help me, and I fouled it up! Mad! I was suffering in a way from what I just judged someone of doing to me, too. Oh how we are always reaping what we sow.

Well, I felt once I saw the time and realize my error I was living the verse in the bible that talks about Jesus learning obedience through what he suffered. By not listening, I not only hurt my knee, but blew my chance and fun with others I thought. Pissed a little. Disappointed at me for God. Not sure if he feels that. Now just thought he is infinitely patient so maybe he doesn’t feel disappointed, if he knows we’ll be obedient eventually? Not sure. May need a bit more patience with myself too, but need to step it up, too. I knew better!

Anyway, a hurt knee and missed biking tour were my morning sufferings! Bummer. It was a great day for a bike ride. I was pissed and disappointed at myself. Felt bad for God, like why do you put up with me? I hate disobedience in my students, and I do it, too, still – doing what I want to do and/or just overriding what I’m led to do by the Holy Spirit because I logically reason out of my instruction. I do obey too, a lot, but not always.

I made it to the preserve and there were no bikers around. I hit the trail and headed out to find who I was to meet. I’d never been on a trail like that – so broad and a secluded, long ride through the scrub at  Seabranch Presereve State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/seabranch-preserve-state-park. The bike trail extended way beyond that. I found my people in Peck Lake Park, eventually, gladly, too, about 15 – 20 minutes into the ride, but missed the end result of that walking path which looks very pretty, below.

Jupiter Group Obedient

 

Was so glad God had mercy on me, and I was able to successfully find them at a good spot, despite my being about 30 minutes late. Glad to have found them. It was a good time. It was a beautiful, breezy morning where I met new people, caught up with who I already knew, rode 18 miles (I’m on day 4 of committing to fitness:), and got to take in all new nature sights of 1 Preserve, 2 different parks, I hammock and a tortoise encounter. I opted not to join them for lunch being that I’d just filled up prior to the ride, and I headed home, instead.

Hobe Sound BikingHolly Tamiara River

After I got back from biking, I had a little ice cream and decided to head to the beach. Could use some cold water on my hot body, and it was beautiful beach weather. I jumped in the shower yet again and headed to the beach. Not having enough water or having good, cold water, I thought I’d pop into the store to get some when I was guided not to. But it’s hot and I will drink all this water and would like cold water too was what I reasoned with myself, like it was me against me. I went in against my will.

As I left, I felt grieved – I was disobedient, again, not trusting my instruction, I was swayed this time with reason, not desire, but a little bit of both.  I was heavy, feeling I’d grieved the Holy Spirit and didn’t quite understand. Perhaps I could have bought water at the beach.

Yes, it was small, but we know about the little foxes. If you have kids, think about even the littlest of things you tell them to do for their own good and they think they know better or want more, so they just defy you and do what they want to. It’s annoying and bothersome, at least to me! So, I get to the beach, no water to buy, make my way to a spot and start reading only to have my umbrella blow flat. It is not staying properly poofed-up for shading! I put it down and continue to read after smathering myself all over with sunscreen.

No time later, and here comes the rain! I put my umbrella back up, but I was literally holding it with one hand and reading with the other for about 25 – 30 minutes. Luckily it was not cumbersome at all. I finished a whole article on Neaderthals and a debate about their perceived intelligence. I rarely finish long articles, so I was glad to be stuck, and it pertains to my work a little, so it was relevant.  Shortly after the rain stopped, I’d finished the article, took in the wind and sun for about another 2 minutes and headed out. I packed up and saw my sweating cold water bottle, hardly having any water out of it, and figured I blew it, again. ISo much for my logic. God knows.

So, what I think now is that I must start being obedient again whether or not I agree with my promptings. I fail and succeed at that, but I’m not new at this, and what an incredible gift, honor and privilege it is to be in tune with, and guided by, the Holy Spirit. Its really awesome when you think about it!!

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths,” the bible says. God, our Father, is hear to help us and lead us and direct us in all of our ways – even to get water or not!

In All Your Ways Acknowledge Him

Every little thing matters, and he cares about us and is here to help us. It makes me sad to think how helpful he is and when I don’t listen, I’m grieved. So, despite my mess-ups, I have been reminded to listen because not listening takes me from his protection and the best he has for me!

It is a good reminder too, to be obedient, and to please him in that. God desires obedience more than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22.

I thought about when I left the beach this evening how we are to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. My thought with that is to just be obedient to his promptings. That is honoring him. Why would He keep giving us what we clearly disobey or disregard or distrust? I have learned enough to know He is helping me at all times, and He has reminded me, today. So, thanks for the trials, Father!  Remembering. Thank you. One more thing – in considering I am able to hear from the Holy Spirit, what a blessing and an honor. Thank you, Lord, for that. Thank you for honoring me with your presence and ever present help and aid. I love you!!

What a WOW too, when you really consider we are guided by the Holy Spirit as born again believers. I love it. I am grateful to be reminded of this tremendous! blessing.

Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered. Not sure what all he went through before he became obedient b/c that is not quite clear, but I have felt this before today even. It’s time to listen more reverently and obediently!!

I have learned when I follow the Holy Spirit it is actually more exciting because you never know what’s going to happen and/or it can spare you hurt, time and money lost or any unnecessary evil. Either way, it’s always good to walk in obedience because God has our best interest in mind in all ways.

Holly

May: A Time To Commit… Commit To Fit

What I realized this a.m. was that it is a good time to get into a good habit, especially feeling a bad one looming.
One thing I have learned, if I’m realistic, I will likely achieve what I set out to do, and often even more. Too much is discouraging. 20 minutes is doable, and totally SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

If there is something else I know and like about myself, it is that once I commit to something, I’m in. So, that is my commitment for starters – to make myself do some form of exercise for 20 minutes, 4x/week.

Fit – something I enjoy being. Mostly, I’m pretty fit. But, there’s more to be done. Thighs and hips here we go!

This morning it came to me that it is May 1st. A new month. Commitment is what came to mind. To what must I commit? To fitness.

I came home last night and it was beautiful, and though I was not hungry, I decided to make food instead of going out in the beautiful weather and taking in the evening sun before it parted ways for the day. It would have been a good night for a stroll or a run. Anything, but I opted to go onto my balcony instead. That was a pivotal moment, I felt.

It felt pivotal in the wrong direction! Now, I have been crazy busy over the past many months, and literally have had no time to make for anything, but today, yesterday, and for the next many months, I will have down time finally in the evenings most nights, and with no looming commitments to big time responsibilities at work, I will easily be able to commit to being fit.

What I realized this a.m. was that it is a good time to get into a good habit, especially feeling a bad one looming. A new month, and a new goal. Any goals at this time would be good! I have been out of goals lately.

Being in my new place now for 2 ½ months, I have still had only a little time to enjoy it, and I have not yet begun to establish any routines because my schedule has dictated and dominated most of my week nights.

I have realized how much having enough food in me to keep me going is crucial to not being laid-out once I arrive home. I am prone to feeding my face despite my hunger though because I love to eat! Last night I had plenty to sustain me through my two tutoring sessions after school, and did not arrive home until close to 7. Despite not being hungry, and it being beautiful, I opted for a sluggard’s behavior, instead :(. I felt that was a bad decision, and felt it a bit too coming home tonight, but remembered my commitment idea.

Commit to be Fit

Tonight, I was plenty fueled up on fuel too, but an 11 hour day did not sit well with me running out the door immediately to run or walk or do whatever I was going to do to meet my commitment goal which I was not even concrete on yet. 5 minutes came to mind. No! Too short. Be serious.

I begrudgingly got ready and went out figuring I would be done with it and would be able to relax the rest of the evening.

I walked for a while and then ran for a minute and was sick to my stomach immediately. Not sure why, but I pushed through while also feeling like my joints may come undone. My body feels weak and limp! It was the biggest strain. My mental state likely made it worse! I walked again, eventually, and turned around soon. I got back and had been out for 20 minutes. Perfect! I worked out exactly what I have decided to do. I will likely do more other days as I feel like it, but all I need commit to for now is 20 minutes a day. If that’s all I want to do, great, but I need to get in shape, and I need to strengthen, for sure. So, I just realized I need to go to the gym for that, maybe. Glad its going to be summer break soon – that will make all this easier and more palatable! I have to remember too that once I’m into a routine, it’s easier and more enjoyable!

May is my month to Commitment. My commitment is to 20 minutes a day for 4 days at least, a week. That’s it.  Whatever I can do – walk, ride, run, strength train. 20 minutes. One thing I have learned, if I’m realistic, I will likely achieve what I set out to do, and often even more. Too much is discouraging. 20 minutes is doable, and totally SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).

If there is something else I know and like about myself, it is that once I commit to something, I’m in. So, that is my commitment for starters – to make myself do some form of exercise for 20 minutes, 4x/week. Getting ready for Summer!! Easy! Also, there’s another thing I’ve learned about myself. When I make 1 positive change in my life, it often has a domino effect. So, more into being fit –> more into healthy –> more into life –> more into fun.

Here’s to being fit, and more so, to commitment 🙂

#CommittoBeingFit