Tag: grace

Health & WellnessUncategorized

Part 1: How I Became Committed to this Health and Wellness Journey

file-sep-06-10-01-36-pmMy weight has yo-yoed, up and down, and it doesn’t help that workouts have not been consistent. When I’ve enjoyed junk food days, I slumber into food comas. I have not welcomed the proper mindset but rather have fallen to temptations of cupcakes, office cookies, wine and martinis. My weight journey has been a roller coaster ride and I have now spiraled down. I am at my all-time highest weight, experiencing not only food comas, but unexplainable itching under the skin, body inflammation, and bouts of low energy.

I finally reached a point where I realized it’s time to make a lifestyle change, not just for me but also for my sons. The change did not come because of the queasiness of the roller coaster ride or the I-will-not–buy-a-larger-size-of-blue-jeans thought. The change was gradual and I didn’t realize it until now that God had been working on me like a coach who guides an athlete.

Now I’m starting on a health and wellness journey, transforming my mind, body, and soul to fulfill the purpose God has for me. I am feeding my mind spiritually, taking care of my temple to see my sons grow up, and nourishing my soul with a balanced life. This journey is not without its challenges and obstacles. With God-inspired words, I am pressing toward the goal.

Feeding My Mind Spiritually

1Over the past year I have been volunteering in religious education classes teaching first graders. I had an opportunity to also attend faith formation classes to become a certified religious education teacher so I decided to enroll. What better way to serve God than to water the seeds he planted in the little ones. Saturday morning classes bring so much joy; I’m wrapped in complete joy when I see their faces, the sparkle in their eyes, and the smiles when they learn about God and his love for all of us. The first lesson is on creation. One day I read Genesis 1:29, “God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food…” This scripture resonated with me in a way it never had before. I paused to reflect on this and it has stayed with me. Wholesome raw food is available for us to nourish our body. I found myself shopping along the perimeter of the store where the produce and meats are placed, avoiding the processed and GMO foods, which are man made.

An assignment I had during faith formation classes was to answer a few questions on prayer and spirituality. What caught my attention were the three elements of prayer: a sense of familiarity with God, persistence, and assurance. Knowing these three aspects of effective prayer provide me with added confidence I need to continue praying in silence the way I do and be more open as well. At the same time, I am encouraged to continue knocking until the doors are opened with God’s will. Our prayers will be answered in one way or another and always with God’s will in effect. “Let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

1I also read in a book, The Ignatian Workout for Lent, that a spiritual athlete has the same preparation, discipline, and artful mastery of his skills as an Olympic athlete or other super athlete. He presses toward the goal in times of obstacles. For me this is my journey of a healthy lifestyle, recognizing that health and wellness is important in all aspects of life whether it’s personal or professional. I must be like the spiritual athlete that daily is mindful of the presence of God and all the good that he shows us in the world. And in times of difficulty, press on and be grateful for the abundance, joy and love that surrounds me while I journey prayerfully to lead a God-inspired life so I may be present for my sons.

So how does feeding my mind spiritually play a role in my health and wellness journey? Scripture was planted on my mind when I realized I was at my all-time highest weight on July 24, 2016. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I realized that with my determination, GRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) and a strong support network, I was capable of living a healthy lifestyle. This time would be different. God had been watering the seeds he planted long ago and I was soaking it in.

Continue the journey and read Part 2: Taking care of my temple and Part 3: Nourishing my soul with a balanced life.

Follow Marisol Barrios, also known as “Eve,” on Instagram and on Facebook @MissGuidedMom. I will be sharing my weightloss journey, reflecting on what I’m learning and how #fitbyGRACE (God Reveals As Coach Eternal) is working in my life.

 

Divorce

When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello to ring in New Year

When life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade and I make Limoncello. With everything going on in the past year, I’ve chosen to close the New Year with a Limoncello martini. Using my own homegrown lemons, this lemon-infused Skyy Vodka is delish! I think you’d agree! Here’s the perfect recipe to turn sour situations into sweeter occasions.

The cocktail concoction takes 10 days for the lemon peels to be infused in the Skyy Vodka. You’ll need the following ingredients:

10 lemons
Skyy Vodka or vodka of your choice
Peppermint flakes
Mint (optional)
Glass container

Simple syrup ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

I take the peels of the lemons and pour Skyy Vodka into my glass container. (You can freeze the lemons to use in a smoothie or make lemonade for the children.) I let the peels sit and only stir once daily. On the tenth day, I remove the lemon peels. Then, I boil water and sugar then pour it into the Limoncello. I let it chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Afterwards, I take my martini glass and dip the rim in lemon juice then dip in ground up peppermint flakes or sugar. Pour Limoncello over ice and top it with a garnishment of mint (optional). You can add a mint leaf if you’d like. This Limoncello martini has been the hit of several holiday parties. And I can’t wait to welcome the new year with this martini!

I’m getting started right now.

Guiding Lesson:

Eve, the Limoncello drink does sound good. I didn’t realize that it took ten days to make.  That is a lot of work so I hope it tastes really good.

When life gives you lemons, what does it take to make something better than what you have been given?  Life is not always fair and throws many unexpected things your way that you can’t throw back.  So what are the secret ingredients of refusing to be stuck with sour lemons?

Well, Eve, I believe you have the secret sauce and it is not the recipe for Limoncello. Eve, it’s your ability to see the solution within the problem. You do this because the problem is not seen as something that is more powerful than you. You see it as another opportunity to use your God-given talents to solve and create a new outcome, a bridge that leads you to a new and better tomorrow. It’s like making Limoncello. The sour lemons are key to making an exciting holiday drinks that you enjoy.  Without the lemons, Limoncello could not exist.

Now this does not mean that you see life through rose-colored glasses because this is not reality. It means that you see the issue, you feel the emotions, but you don’t allow yourself to get stuck in it. You rise up, when you’ve exhausted the emotion and move forward into co-creating a new way of life with God.  It is said that wisdom is found in the very messy and chaotic places of life.  For if you didn’t have the mess and chaos, there would be no need for Wisdom to grace you. Enjoy some Limoncello for me.

Grace

Serenity prayer
Divorce

How Letting Go and Letting God Channeled my Divorce

Serenity prayerBy Caterina Clarke

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer is all about “Letting go and letting God.” It provides perspective when we lose focus and grounds us when we start losing control by wanting more control. It is very powerful when we let go of all false power. So what does this mean during a divorce? Isn’t divorce all about letting go of “what was” and putting the past behind?

In theory, this is correct. In theory, you don’t have to deal with emotions or deep wounds from hurtful words or actions. The reality is it causes those going through a divorce to want to hold on for dear life to possessions, children, territory, identity, and most of all, power. But does it have to be like this or is there hope and steps one can take to move through the process, recognize when you get stuck and move into a new life, one that is better than you imagined?

I had to learn this when I realized my marriage was failing. It ended long before I got divorced. My first inclination was to hold on tight to things that were not meaningful and were a complete waste of time. The tighter I held on, the emptier I was and the unhappier I became. This was not working and I had to take a different approach. I was paralyzed and stuck, not knowing what step to take. This is when I realized that I had to unlearn many lessons so I could learn to walk a new path. I’d like to share a couple of things that were very helpful.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24

This passage woke me up to mystery and power of letting go of what was, letting out my hurts in a healthy way and letting it be, accepting what is. When I tried this, it did feel like dying and falling. I had to be willing to open my hands and lose everything in order to be open and gain something new. It wasn’t about what I could get but about creating space for God to bring about new life. Let it go, let it out, and let it be was my new attitude towards the divorce. This made it easier to live with open arms where abundant life was waiting for me.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust in me.” John 14:1

Trust is key to any relationship. Divorce is the erosion of trust from things you did or failed to do, till there was no more trust left. The solid foundation became a pile of sand that could not hold your relationship. I needed to trust to get through this. I needed to learn to trust God beyond what I thought was good for me and lean on his thoughts and ways. Every interaction with my ex was challenging and I had to keep my focus on trusting God and not placing unrealistic expectations on my ex and the relationship. It was time to trust in the midst of a storm and know that God was there leading me and him out of it. Yes, I had to see that God was on both sides, loving both of us, and wanting the best for both of us. I learned that trust was the path to freedom regardless of how difficult the situation was.

“Change me, Lord.” (from the book “The Power of a Praying Wife”)

“Change me?” I felt I should be praying, “Change him and I will be happy.” But changing me is all I had any control over. It was useless to try to change him and it was humbling to look at myself and pray this. These are words that do not flow easily from a person going through a divorce, yet can transform everything. This prayer refocused me and helped me see the situation and my ex with new eyes. This allowed me to evaluate the past and see where I had played a part that lead to the divorce. It’s true that no one person has the complete power and control to breakdown a marriage. You enter a dance and whether you lead or respond, each step brings you closer or further away from one another. It’s funny that I learned this from the “Power of a Praying Wife” which helped me learn the “Power of a Praying Ex-wife.”

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
“Forgive us out trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12

Forgiveness . . . I know too well that forgiveness will knock on the door if I want to be healed and released from the past in order to love again. When you read this you tend to assume that you need to forgive your ex. But you can’t rush to true forgiveness. It is a process and a journey of the heart and soul. With great humility, care, and compassion, I learned that I could not forgive my ex, if I did not first forgive myself. I was the one who was persecuting myself and holding myself captive to my own anger and frustration for decisions and actions I took. I didn’t have to look to what my ex was doing because all I needed to do is look in the mirror at the one who needed forgiveness . . . and that was me. Learning to first be merciful and gentle with myself was necessary before attempting to forgive my ex. Internal forgiveness was the key to open up the door to see my ex in me. It gave me permission to be human without the pressure of being perfect.

“I make all things new.” Revelations 21:5

After trusting God, allowing him to heal you, and help you forgive yourself, you are positioned to co-create a new future. This journey allows you to stand on the threshold of a new horizon. One that is calling you forward into a land of second changes, possibilities and hope for a better future. It is now that you are ready to take the next step into your new life, with God, with great trust in him, with humility and compassion for yourself and others. Enjoy your new journey as you pray:

God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to change the things I can;
And Wisdom to know the difference. Amen

———————————————–

Caterina Clarke is a Leadership Development Manager in the automotive industry. She is also co-author of MissGuidedMom, offering spiritual direction and insight through Pearls of Grace. She enjoys sipping cups of tea and spending time with her son.

Missguidedmom, Marisol Barrios, Caterina Clarke, New Years Resolution, Pearls of Grace, tips
Magazine

Cheers to a New Year

Missguidedmom, Marisol Barrios, Caterina Clarke, New Years Resolution, Pearls of Grace, tips

I’m on the left of Caterina Clarke laughing as we’re savoring my homemade limoncello while filming our first video.

We’re excited to launch our online magazine providing resources to women who are going through transitional stages of life.  We inspire, empower, and celebrate women through their adventurous journeys, featuring articles in marriage, career, family, divorce, and health and wellness.

This new year we’re starting with the basics, introducing you to who we are. We also have articles on getting back to basics. January seems to bring people hope for a better year with setting New Year’s Resolutions, planning a healthier lifestyle, and setting goals for following dreams, maybe even checking a few items off our bucket lists. Whatever the resolutions are for you, we guide you through one woman’s relationship with food, creating a healthier lifestyle for the family, the five must-haves to maintaining a healthier marriage, getting back into the routine of school mornings, and letting go after a divorce and letting God do the work.

If you like what you read, please share with your friends and follow us on these social media networks @MissGuidedMom:

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Let’s make this new year one to cheer for! So with that, let’s pick up our glass of wine and toast to a sweeter and more joyful year ahead!

Sincerely,

Marisol Barrios and Caterina Clarke