Happy snacking

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My former co-worker used to tell me that I was a happy snacker. I would be in the back room munching on something and rotating my torso from left to right. I kind of looked like a five year old just swinging around eating their snack.  Without fail, he would catch me doing it and laugh and say something like, “Hey, happy snacker, whatcha eatin’?” I’d just giggle. Again, I’m actually a five year old.
I love snacks. I, however, am learning the hard way that pastries are not a snack. Apples and peanut butter are, though! I found this brand, Wild Friends, at Wegmans (the best store ever) and had to try it. It only has 5 grams of sugar per two tablespoons, it is Non GMO and it is chocolate. I win! I win!
Seriously, so good! I also buy organic apples. If you buy anything organic, it should be apples. They are part of the dirty dozen.
I also bought myself a plant while I was there. I used to buy little potted plants and put them in the drive thru at Starbucks. My customers loved it. That kind of stuff makes me happy 🙂

What is your favorite new snack?

Enjoy!

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ladies! No belt loop? No problem!

I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this, ladies, but for those that haven’t, this could be a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.  I have not purchased belts that go around my natural waist simply because the end of it just hangs there, swinging in the breeze. I have also cut a belt because I wanted it to behave. I tied a black ribbon around one of my thicker ones to get it to stay in place. Today, however, I put one of those small plastic hair ties on the open end and voila! Instaloop! No more sticky-outy belt!Image

That’s it. That’s all I wanted to tell you.

Enjoy your week!!

My Starbucks “secret menu”

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By this point you have probably heard about the Starbucks “secret menu.” I won’t go too far into my opinion on someone asking for a snickers Frappuccino and expecting me to know the recipe. Let’s just say, you need to come prepared with the recipe. We don’t know them. However, I will go into the fact that these recipes are soaked in sugar. I love sugar, but they’ve gone too far. So, as a barista I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to have a delicious beverage without the unnecessary added sugar.

1. The Pooh Bear
It’s one honey packet, steamed soy milk (or dairy if you prefer) and cinnamon sprinkles on top. If they have cinnamon dolce sprinkles, throw some on there, too. You will want to stir everything together to incorporate the honey. Here is how you order: Tall one honey packet, cinnamon (and/or cinnamon dolce) sprinkle, steamed soy milk.

2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate with a twist
No, there is no alcohol in this. The twist is to use refresh tea. I know, right? Weird. But, it is so not weird once you taste it. To order: Tall, one pump mocha, soy (or other milk preference), no water, refresh tea misto.
*our soy is sweet, so if you use dairy, you may want to add a half a pump of vanilla because mocha is a dark chocolate. Or, get super fancy and do a half a pump of white mocha and half a pump of mocha to get a milk chocolate taste. It’s up to you.

3. Tea misto/tea latte
A lot of people don’t know about this, but you will have one up on everyone else. I recommend sharing the love and telling your friends. This is so simple. Choose any of our teas (except passion tea – milk with passion tea is gross) and just add your choice of steamed milk. The secret behind this drink is that many people order a tea latte without the sugar added. That’s great, but you are paying for syrup that you aren’t getting. That’s silly. Stop paying for that. So, I will give you my favorite: Tall, soy, no water, calm tea misto. Soy is sweet, so no need for honey. If you get dairy, ask for a honey packet and you can add it to taste.

4. No sugar chai tea latte
This is going to sound very familiar. That’s because it is the same as the last one. I made it separate so that you know you have a sugar free option if you love chai tea lattes.  You can sweeten it a little bit if you like. Use honey or my absolute favorite combo is chai and cinnamon dolce. Just ask for one pump of cinnamon dolce (or sugar free c.d. if you are okay with splenda). To order: Tall, soy, chai tea misto. To order it like me: Tall, one pump (sugar free) cinnamon dolce, soy, no water chai tea misto.

* My recipes are for a tall size, but adjust it accordingly if you want a bigger size.

** If you do want something off of the secret menu, I suggest lowering the amount of each syrup that goes in. It will still taste the same.

That’s what I have for now. If I discover more, I will be sure to post it!

Enjoy!!

Puppies, kitties and babies, OH MY!

There are certain things that will always make me happy. My four year old nephew telling me that I am so special to him and he thinks that I am pretty is definitely one of them.  Now, granted, he has also asked me if I wanted to go home when I had just gotten to South Carolina for a visit. When I asked him if he was trying to get rid of me, he said, “yes.” So, him telling me that I am pretty is a big step.

Cute videos of anything small and fluffy will always make me happy. Hearing a baby giggle – oh, I’m done for.  Seeing an elderly couple holding hands while walking down the street – cue the strings to tug on my heart. Watching a kitten playing and something suddenly scaring them making fly into the air – I can’t not laugh hysterically.

Honestly, it’s the little things in life that make me so happy. I’m so grateful to be able to experience all of these things. What makes you happy? What are your “little things” in life?

Enjoy life, friends! I leave you with this video of cute animals.

 

Incredibly on purpose

I have been pretty good about posting at least once a week, if not more. However, March has been really busy for me. It’s not that I haven’t thought about posting, I have, but my time just seemed to be more important elsewhere. Until now. I still have lots to do, but I needed to get some of my thoughts into writing. For some of you, this might get weird. It might make you uncomfortable. I say good. Keep reading.

A friend of mine came to stay with me last weekend. On Friday night we saw Kari Jobe in concert. I even won free tickets through their Facebook event! So, a couple more of my friends got to go. The concert was amazing. It was so great to see so many people coming together from different churches and different places to worship God with Kari. A lot of amazing things happened that weekend.

During one of the songs (I wish I could remember which one) I had closed my eyes and the lights from the stage kept flashing across my eyes, bright and then dark, bright and then dark. At the time, I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing in the dark was real or not, but I strained my eyes to see (with eyes closed still) the image that was forming. There were letters. Huge silver block letters that kind of looked like the surface of those fake tiaras a little girl would buy from Claire’s at the mall.  The last three letters were very clear – IVE. I waited a few more flashes of light to make out the first letter – R. RIVE. Rive? I wasn’t sure that was even a word. So, I Googled it and sure enough, it is a word. Rive means to rend or tear apart, to break into pieces, to split asunder. I was curious why I would see a word that I don’t know. Rive isn’t very commonly used these days. But, I just let it be for a bit.

I told my friend about it the next day and we tried to figure it out, but to no avail. It wasn’t until we got to church on Sunday (we were a little late, oops) and started singing that all of a sudden it hit me. Here are some of the lyrics (and a link to the video) to the song we were singing: Spirit break out, break our walls down, Spirit break out, Heaven come down.

Whoa. That’s it! Spirit, rive our walls down, rive the Heavens apart and get down here! We need it! We need You!

Now, I have never experienced this before. I’ve never gotten words or images that I thought were coming from God. Obviously, I daydream, I play images in my head all the time, but this was different. At one point in my life I would have thought this was crazy and just disregarded it. But, the revelation that I got on Sunday was so clear. When I truly listen to what God wants me to know I get this peaceful feeling – a feeling of rest, like I don’t have to keep looking.

I realize that some of you will probably say that’s just a coincidence, but I don’t think God does coincidences. God is incredibly on purpose.

I think God wants to rive the Heavens open and pour down on us and fill the earth with His presence. I truly believe that God has great things in store for NYC and the church as a whole.  It is pretty awesome.Image

Source: kellymcilvenny.com

 

I’ve done a lot for my stomach today

A friend of mine just said this to me as I told him how I made such a yummy, healthy breakfast and then ruined it by eating Nutella straight out of the jar.

He has no idea how that just hit me.

The past week or so I have done a lot for my stomach. Actually, I would say that most of what I have done this week has been to make my stomach happy. Temporarily happy, that is.

I satisfy the desires of my stomach instead of the desires of my heart. Then I feel guilty. It’s this cyclical habit that I want to break forever. But, man, it is hard.

The good man eats to live, while the evil man lives to eat. Proverbs 13:25 (TLB)

I cannot possibly eat to live without the help of God. I recently came off of a forty day Daniel fast. With the intention of limiting myself for a Higher purpose I was able to eat foods that nourished my body. I was excited to eat foods that would better me. I lost almost ten pounds as a result. Of course, that certainly wasn’t my goal of fasting, but, obviously, with any kind of fast that will be a side effect. I saw that my body had been longing to be healthy. My stomach didn’t need to be the ruler of my life, God did.

My relationship with God is still growing. It is a journey – an amazing, love filled journey. My relationship with food, however, scares me. I have seen what it can do to people. Both of my parents are diabetic, both have heart problems, both are overweight and both refuse to change their diet to save their lives. That scares me immensely. I don’t want to put my children through that. I don’t want them to fear for my life. I don’t want them to watch me fall asleep and worry whether or not I am still breathing.

So, here is my goal: To fill in the blank with something other than ‘stomach’ each day.

I’ve done a lot for my ___________ today.

I pray for courage on this one.

I will keep you updated.

You’re beautiful

Caution: This post is about to get real. For some of you, hold tight, this might make you uncomfortable for a little bit, but read to the end. That’s where it gets really good.

“You’re beautiful.”

That’s what Jesus wanted to tell me last night. Yeah, to the average person, that sounds a little crazy, but I will tell you why it is not.

I am part of a community group through my church that is currently reading and discussing Zack Neese’s book How to Worship a King. This is only my second time in my 27 years on earth (the first time was only this past Fall) that I have ever been a part of a “Bible study” – I put that in quotes because, in this case, we aren’t necessarily studying the Word of God, but rather the worship of God, although, really, you can’t have one without the other.  God has been working diligently in my life to bring me closer to Him. However, it seems as though every time something big happens something else happens to diminish the Joy and revelation that I felt.  On Sunday, I asked God for guidance on something that I just didn’t have an answer for and I heard a resounding NO. That was huge for me. To really feel God’s presence and KNOW that my prayer had been answered. 

So, last night, as we were discussing the second chapter of our book, I listened to my peers referencing scripture, other books of relevance, podcasts/sermons that they were listening to and I started to think, “why don’t you know all this stuff?” “How come you can’t quote scripture?” “Why aren’t you good enough?” “You need to read more.”

These thoughts started to take hold of my attention. Soon that was all I could think about. I was beating myself up for not being on the exact same journey as everyone else. I knew what was happening and how ridiculous it was, but I just couldn’t fight feeling that way.

I knew I needed to intercede, so when it came time for prayer requests, I made sure, as hard as it was, to share my thoughts. I couldn’t leave there without some comfort.  As my friend started to pray for me, the first words out of her mouth were, “Father, I just want Becky to know how beautiful she is.” Now, at first, I heard that and thought, “Oh, that’s nice” But, then another friend told me that he felt God wanted to tell me that I am beautiful. Beautiful? Why that word? It seemed totally unrelated to what my concerns had been. What did that mean?

I went home and kept thinking about it, looking at myself in the mirror, asking if I thought I was beautiful or not because I thought He meant physical beauty. I mean, yes, almost everyday I look at my body and nitpick. I see my belly protruding, I see the love handles that could be flatter, I see the stretch marks that I think shouldn’t be there, I see the keratosis pilaris on my legs that has embarassed me since I was a child, I see the abnormal curvature of my spine that makes me look like a hunchback and I see the dark circles under my eyes that just never go away, even with makeup on. I could keep going, but, honestly, that wasn’t what He meant. Not completely.

The word ‘beauty’ means “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”  Now the word ‘exalt’ means to elevate by praise or in estimation : glorify.

So, beauty, in this case, is the quality of a person that pleasurably exalts/glorifies the spirit.

Wow.

Yes. I am so full of Beauty. I am. I pleasurably exalt/glorify the Holy Spirit. I desire to be more and more beautiful in the eyes of God every single day. God just wanted to remind of that.

So, no more comparing myself to others. I don’t need it. God loves me for me (and you for you).Image

 

Rice cakes excite me

ImageRice cakes don’t have to be boring!! I actually love them! My favorite brand is Lundberg’s – you can find them at most grocery and health food stores.

I haven’t had processed sugar in about a month, so now when I crave something sweet I try to find new ways to satisfy that craving. I don’t have much in the house right now, so I got creative with my rice cake. What you’ll need:

1 ricecake
a few frozen strawberries, warmed up
1 spoonful of peanut butter (any nut butter, really)
A splash of Almond or coconut milk – I used a mixture of both
Cacao Powder
Shredded Coconut

There aren’t many steps to this, just warm up your strawberries, mix your almond milk in with the peanut butter (if it is hard to mix, warm it up a little) and dust on some cacao powder and sprinkle on some coconut. 

Now, this snack is not very sweet, so add your sweetener of choice if you so desire.

How do you like to decorate your rice cake?

 

Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day idea

For those of us that do not have someone to give something to or receive something from this Valentine’s Day, I encourage sending Random Gifts of Love.  When I moved to NYC I decided that it would be really nice to keep in touch with people through post cards, cards and letters. This past Christmas was the first time I had ever sent out Christmas cards. Yes, I know, I’m 27, I probably should have done that long before. Nevertheless, the feeling I had of pure joy and excitement knowing that my recipient would soon be opening their surprise was quite lovely. I couldn’t help but giggle with joy. I believe that doing something nice for someone else is incredibly rewarding. Especially when they are least expecting it. So, this Valentine’s Day, consider sending something special to a friend, a loved one, an acquaintance or even a stranger, maybe your barista or the shut-in down the road.  It doesn’t have to be much – a postcard or even some homemade cookies will do nicely. Sometimes, words of encouragement and love can really help someone through a tough season.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.      2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Take a picture and send it to me on here or on Instagram with #RandomGiftsofLove, @beckybaker6.

A writing challenge

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I never considered myself super smart or overly eloquent. The fact that I am blogging and writing my thoughts down when my thoughts are often too jumbled or lost in space whilst searching for the right word is practically a miracle. Perhaps I sell myself short. Perhaps I am far more intelligent than I think I am. Mind you, I don’t think I’m dumb by any means, but gosh, sometimes words are so hard to come by.  I fumble and falter when speaking. I take awkwardly long pauses when trying to remember a word that for some reason has left my brain in a state of borderline chaos. Ask my friends how long it takes for me to tell a story. I know that eventually they get bored with me speaking (at least, that is what I presume is happening) and move on to a new conversation, new quips, new jokes and a bunch of words that are spoken rapidly in succession. How do they do it so quickly and with such big words?? Then, I just give up on my story. My moment has passed.

Not today friends. My moment is here and at my fingertips. Literally. The Daily Post has given me (and all bloggers) a writing challenge. To write freely about a photo. Whatever it means to us. The photo above is entitled “Relaxation.”  I’d like to subtitle it and call it “Love.”  Yes, I see the peace and tranquility, but when I imagine myself in this man’s place I can only think of love. I think about how my much I loved going to a family friend’s cottage every summer as a kid, taking the paddle-boat out to the middle of the lake and letting myself sway to the movement of the water. I think about my trips to California to visit my sisters as a teenager and loving the breathtaking mountains of the desert. I think about how much I love laying on my back and soaking up the sun in a small park in NYC. I love letting the breeze play with my hair while thinking about everything and nothing as the clouds above me slowly make their way across the sky. I can’t help but think about how beautiful our earthly home really is – when I actually slow down enough to notice it. But, most of all, I think about how much I am loved by Jesus Christ. I know, I totally went there. But, oh man, He is doing some great things lately. I truly believe that I moved to NYC to be closer to Him. He knew all along that I would find Him here. Of ALL places! It would make sense if I had moved to the South! But NYC? He knew that was where I wanted to be, He knew that I wanted to start a life on my own, He knew that I wanted to find a church that I connected with, He knew that I was an actor (still am) and He knew how to get me into church. Especially THIS church. I walked in there and knew instantly. They met at a theatre, red curtains and all. The music was amazing and the preaching was out of this world. I had never taken notes in church before. I used to be so bored in church. I don’t think I ever paid attention. That might be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Yes, I grew up in a Christian home, but eventually we just stopped going for some reason. I believed in God and always did my best to be a “good Christian” but honestly, the thought of actually being a real follower of Jesus Christ scared me. I remember thinking, “I’m an actor, am I going to be able to play all of the roles I want to play?” I didn’t want to be limited. Actually, a friend of mine recently asked me if I feel limited or restricted because I am a Christian. A year or two ago I might have said yes. But, now? No. Absolutely not. Quite the opposite, in fact. I cannot begin to describe the happiness, the joy and the FREEDOM that I feel. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says that the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I would like to add LOVE to that.

I am so thankful and blessed to be living in this city, being able to call Liberty Church my home and seeing all of the amazing things that God is doing in my life and in those around me.  Last night, my pastor Andi Andrew spoke about Jesus’ relentless love. She reminded me that Jesus loved us so incredibly deeply that no matter what was thrown His way (i.e. fasting for forty days in the desert while the devil tried to tempt Him) His focus was always on us and His love for us.  We do not deserve His love. I do not deserve his love. Yet, we have it because we have God and God IS love.
And you know what? Coming back to my original thought, I think that God loves my inability to tell a story sometimes. God knows I cannot always finish my prayers or find the right words to share with Him. It doesn’t matter to Him because He knows what is in my HEART and I love that.

~ I realize that not everyone will share my sentiments. But, that’s okay because we are all at different stages in our lives. I’m certainly not going to push anyone to go Church (but seriously, check Liberty Church out because it is ridiculously awesome and amazing and they have podcasts that you can listen to, vimeos to watch and even a live streaming of the 11am service, just shamelessly plugging) because I know that would totally turn me off. I simply invite you. Do it, don’t do it, ask me questions, don’t ask me questions – the choice is yours and I respect that.

As always friends – Enjoy!