Monthly Archives: July 2014

L mouth procedure dark beach PM

Share Your Story

Share Your Story

My TRUE STORY of what happened to me, when faced with a male stranger, inside a parking garage. Please share with everyone you know, and then share your own story.

(I originally wrote this letter to my friends 1 year ago. I felt called to share it today, to mark the 1 year anniversary. This story is personal and true. )

L mouth procedure dark beach PM
Friends,
Many of you know that my baby “L” had two procedures on her mouth right after she was born. The mouth care was around the clock and for the first months of her life I had to rub her mouth and do mouth care every 2 hours / 24H a day. No sleep, screaming baby, painful mouth care, difficulty feeding, aspirating, plus caring for the rest of our family of 5. My spouse was working a very long hour job, medical expenses were a huge concern, life was difficult. It felt like it was the “not perfect” storm. So we pressed into the Word and read James ALOT. We were very purposeful about spending time with strong, faith-filled people. We continued meeting with them, even when we did not feel like it. Just when we needed it most, another seed of faith was planted in our hearts by one of them.
 
night walk on beach thumbnailEvery time I had to wake up in the middle of the night to do L’s painful and exhausting mouth care I listened to a song by Meredith Andrews, “Not for a Moment will He forsake Us” a song about God’s faithfulness. Some nights the only way I could continue on was because I had this routine of hearing that song and praying through the painful procedures I knew I had to do. It was a time when I felt completely depleted.
 
1491597_721398001226349_1676029990_nBut today I left the Children’s Hospital after L’s 6 month check up. It was the first “Normal” check up she has had. It took just a few minutes, all was well, and we were on our way. Hooray! 
 
Leaving the hospital, I stepped off the 5th floor elevator, and I heard music. “Not for a Moment, Will He Forsake Us” the same song that got me through so many difficult nights for procedures and care while coming to this hospital. I glanced over my shoulder, and the Children’s Hospital Security Officer was playing the song out loud, on his phone, as he stood his post. I smiled and kept walking.
 
I continued on my way, got in my van, and the seed of faith that was planted during that trial took root. I felt peace in my heart urging me to just go and talk to that man. That was not what I had in mind, so I began to leave. I got halfway down the parking garage and stopped. I came through a trial and actually believed that God brought me through it, then was that trial only for me? Could more good come from the hardship? Was I changed during the process of the storm? Or was I simply the same? Did I have more faith? Or less? I felt in my heart a huge peace- that I should just go and talk with the Security Officer. 
 
Reluctantly, I reversed my van. Honestly, I hoped the man was gone. But there he stood, still at his post.
 
I rolled down my window, and said, “Sir, may I speak to you?”
 
The about 50 year old Black gentleman with a strong appearance rode his bike toward my window, reservedly.
 
“Sir, I just want to tell you that when I came off the elevator and heard the music you were playing, it reminded me of my testimony and what God did in my family, and I wanted to thank you. Thank you for playing that song, at that moment.”
 
He looked surprised. “Well, he said, “God is always good. So I was playing this music.” His words said the response of faith, but the fatigue in his voice said he was barely hanging on. 
 
I asked, “How are you doing?” 
 
He went on to explain that he is going through many difficult trials right now. Family problems, trials, hardships, burdens, the list went on and on and on. He was exhausted from it. Even though he was a believer, the weight of this battle was so heavy, he did not know how he could go another day. He was crying out, trying to remind himself that God was faithful even though it did not feel like it right now, and so he turned on the song.
 
So standing there, in the 5th floor of the hospital parking garage, I simply shared with him God’s testimony in my life. 
 
As I shared with Him the testimony of faith that the Lord took our family through the last few months, including how hard it was and yet how faithful God always is, his whole body, heart, mind, were visibly changed. Yet, he had a huge wall of discouragement, pain, and depletion, and just could not lift himself out of it.  After we spoke, I did not know what else I could do. He still had so much pain. So I told Him that I will definitely be praying for him. And prayed for Him there. His name is Jim. I told him, thank you again Jim, for keeping the faith, and playing that song, to remind me of God’s testimony. You could have given up, even if you are barely hanging on, you are still keeping your faith. It was great to meet you today Jim, I had better get going now. “By the way, My name is Joy.”
 
Looking back, now I can see, the man that stood before me at his post was strong. He was not a new believer. He was believing, but he was barely hanging on. He was at a place in his faith where he was faithfully obeying and yet he at the same time his heart was crying out at the top of his lungs, “DON’T YOU HEAR ME?!?! DON’T YOU SEE ME?!?! I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN WITHSTAND THIS STORM!!!!!!!!” 
 
And, even though he listened to my testimony, and I could tell he desperately wanted to open his heart to the seeds of faith, he had built a wall around his heart so thick that joy, hope, emotion ~ could no longer pass through. Yet, he was standing his post in faith.
 
I did not know what else I could say, so I prepared to leave and simply for courtesy said, by the way – “my name is Joy.” That instant I said my name, tears filled his eyes. He finally, for the first time, in the conversation smiled. A huge smile. A smile etched forever in my soul. I cannot explain the presence of God’s peace that filled us in the parking garage in that exact moment. It was as if the world stopped, and God’s peace stepped in. 
 
In near disbelief through joyful tears he said, “My….my….my…. Daughter’s name was Joy.” “Wow.” He kept saying that over and over. Then he was speechless, and simply received a blessing from God that I had no idea he even needed.
 
Then he looked me right in the eyes and said, “I….. I….I…thank you for just talking to me.”
HoneyMoon 086
 
One busy, stressed out, dirty mini-van driving mom was going about her own life, and this faithful God – put so much peace on my heart to look around after a trial and talk to others who may be hurting. The peace was so strong I reversed my van, came back in the parking garage and shared God’s testimony with him.
 
Coincidences? 
* I have never, ever, before met another person with a daughter named Joy in my life. 
* The song he played, at the exact moment I stepped off the elevator, was the same song that I committed to God would always be a reminder in my life of God’s faithfulness in difficult times.
*That hospital visit at the Children’s hospital was the LAST hospital visit I went to (after going over and over) because right after this happened, our family was relocated.
 
What if I didn’t reverse my van? 
 
~~~~
 
God is always good.
 
Sometimes we think our trials are only about us. That we are only supposed to endure them. But, what if they were about being used for so much more? 
 
I learned today that what God brings us through- even the horrible storms – can be used for HIS plan, HIS purpose, HIS will. If we just stay faithful, do not give up, and then open our hearts to sharing how he has worked in our lives. 
 
Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
 
Somewhere, someone in life is struggling, yet not giving up on their faith. They are standing their post. They are worn and raged by the storm. They may feel nothing. Yet they choose to stand their ground and choose to still believe. Lord, I pray that you give us all the courage not to look down in defeat, while we are in hard times ~ but instead look around, for who may need to be blessed by the testimony of what God has done in our life. Even if it means reversing our vans, changing our plans, and simply sharing a story of what God has done in our lives. 
 
 
If you were inspired by this story, share it with others. Then go and share your own with the world.
 
~ Joy
 
More encouragement here: Why I Believe in Joyful Faith
 
 
 
 
SDFM

San Diego Family Magazine

Product Review: San Diego Family Magazine

SDFM

When we found out we were moving from another state to San Diego, we had about 2 weeks to sell our home, pack up, and arrive in our new city. It was a big move for us. Within days of arriving here I was at the local library. I sat in an over-sized comfortable chair and wished I felt as comfortable in my new city as I did in that armchair. I did not know anyone. I did not know pediatricians, dance class recommendations, a kids eye doctor, a pediatric dentist, fun things to do around our new city…….the list went on and on of what I did not know!

I looked over and there was a blessing. A magazine caught my eye. The cover had been handled, as if someone before me had also become very comfortable walking through the pages. On the cover were the words, “San Diego Family.” I will never forget reading those words. I did not yet feel like a “San Diego Family.” I felt like someone new in town, new to the city, new to the smells, sights, color, and feel. Yet – this was our new home. I desperately wanted to etch out a comfortable path for our family to walk. I wanted it to feel as inviting and comforting to my family as the over-sized library armchair felt to me that day.

SDFMWhen I opened the pages of San Diego Family Magazine, that is exactly the warm reception I received. Instantly I was directed to local spots that my family and I could experience, and many, for free. Local dentists, eye doctors, dance classes, festivals, and community events were all depicted for me right there on the pages. I longed for a path for our newly relocated family to walk, and when I opened the pages of San Diego Family Magazine, I felt for the first time, at home.

I sat in that library chair reading every word, feeling like it was written specifically for me. I looked up and almost 40 minutes had passed by. I will never forget that day. There are some things that happen when we relocate to a new city. First, our determination gets new wings. Second, our hearts get a bit homesick. Third, we find someone to come along side us, and make our new unfamiliar city begin to feel like home. That is what this magazine did for our family. After reading it, we knew what was going on in our new neighborhood. We were filled with referrals for services we desperately needed. We felt connected in a new way to the people right next door. 

Now, as a local San Diego family, I am so proud to be part of this warm and welcoming community. To feel at home here and be able to say we are a “San Diego Family” is such a milestone for any family who has moved to a new city. 

For us, it all started that day in the library when I sat down in a comfortable chair, and saw a magazine. I opened up the pages. Little did I know San Diego Family magazine would etch out a path for my family, to settle into our new neighborhood, new community, and new home. 

To connect with San Diego Family Magazine click here: www.sandiegofamily.com

~ Joy

bk burito wrapPM

Breakfast Burrito

 “Food Allergies are Real! Snacks that avoid them are Fun @ ibelieveinjoy.com  TM!”

Breakfast Burrito

No Eggs, No dairy, No Gluten option, No Nuts ~ Delicious and Healthy!

Printable Recipe Below: SCROLL DOWN TO PRINT

Bkfast Burrito no egg PM

I just LOVE making breakfast burritos, breakfast salads, and healthy breakfast cookies. All with my own fun, allergy friendly, yet still healthy spin.

I also LOVE using all my resources and not wasting anything.

So, last week I was at the store and saw London Broil on sale for an insanely low price with insanely great quality. We eat red meat only about once every two months, and this would be the week!

I cooked the meat with 1 sliced onion and some pepper in the crock pot while I taught one afternoon in the community and did my wellness consults by phone at the beach. When I returned home the smell was amazing. It drew me up the stairs and right to the kitchen table. We used the protein for our dinner that night: lettuce wraps with meat, onions, avocado, peppers, and tomato. It was delicious. But I still had a good portion of each left over.

Luckily, our whole family is in the routine of being creative and finding new ways to gain joyful nutrition since we started Complete Transformation. We have been including as many whole foods as possible, in unique ways. We aren’t perfect, but every week we simply try to do a bit better than the week before. So far combined we have lost 85 pounds, gained strength and energy, and found a new joyful wellness in our home! We are creating a lot of joyful food inventions around here!

So, that night we had the lettuce wraps but I had ingredients left over. The next morning, I looked in the fridge, and here is what I had:

Bkfast Burrito no egg PM

2 cup of cubed and cooked potatoes

2 cup of chopped sweet peppers

2 cup of London Broil

1 ripe mango

1 handful of cilantro

That sounds like a pretty awesome No Egg Breakfast Burrito to me! I gave it a try and it was fantastic!!

bk burito wrapPM

 

Getting a healthy start to the day makes such a big difference. With different members of our family being allergic to different things, we have found such joy with being a flexible team at meal times. Some people ate the ingredients with salad that morning, others in a gluten free wrap. Still others in this over-sized tortilla. We have found joy by making a meal starter plate such as this one, and then finding a way it can fit our budget, allergies, health goals, and taste buds! This No Egg Breakfast Burrito definitely passed all the requirements! It was full of flavor and gave us a great energy start to our day!

Bkfast Burrito no egg PM

 

Breakfast Burrito
No Egg breakfast burrito is full of flavor and gives a great hearty start to the day. "Food allergies are real! Snacks that avoid them are Fun @ ibelieveinjoy.com !"
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups protein (we had London Broil left overs)
  2. 2 cups sweet peppers chopped
  3. 2 cups cubed and cooked potatoes
  4. 1 mango diced
  5. 1 handful cilantro chopped
  6. Pepper to taste
  7. Optional wraps: gluten free wrap, tortilla, or lettuce
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients.
  2. Divide amount according to age.
  3. Add ingredients to breakfast wrap, tortilla, or lettuce of choice depending on allergy and preference needs.
  4. Use any protein left over from dinner and make it a great hearty start to the day!
I Believe in Joy! http://www.ibelieveinjoy.com/wordpress/