Monthly Archives

July 2017

Inspiration and Motivation

Tomorrow is not Promised

July 30, 2017

“TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED”

I know this is a cliché statement that we hear all the time. Nonetheless, the truth is…it’s the truth! We must learn to live and make the most of every moment that we have.

It’s so often that we take life’s moments for granted especially the people around us, even more so the people who are closest to us.

Loving people is one of the greatest gifts that we have been entrusted and it is important that we use this gift to the best of our ability.

Loving people is not identified by simply saying, “I love you”— even though those three words can capture the essence of your Love.

The truest expression of Love is determined by your actions and by the example of your appreciation.

I know I’m not perfect and I have messed up a million times in my life, but one thing that I strive to do better every day is to love people— especially those who are considered enemies.

It is my desire to love not just with my words, but love with my actions. That desire motivates me to make myself available to help people whenever I can. That desire compels me to deny myself many times just to see a smile across someone else’s face.

I want to encourage some one today to love and appreciate the people in your life.

DO NOT TAKE THEM OR WHAT THEY DO FOR GRANTED.

Take a moment to say thank you, take a moment to show your love by giving them a bouquet of roses. Take the opportunity to show your love by cooking a meal, or taking out the garbage, or rubbing their feet. Show your appreciation by returning a favor. Whatever you choose to do—show appreciation.

I love to help people. It’s in my genetic makeup. If there’s something I can do to help you, you better believe I will try my best to do it. I never really knew what it meant to be taken advantage of until I actually got taken advantage of. I’ve been in denial about it for so long, hoping the best and hoping that it’s not true. However, the more I opened my eyes I began to see that I was nothing more than a card that was pulled out when it was time to play the game.

Once I realized that I was nothing more than just an opportunity to be used, my heart was so broken.  I never knew that people could use you and not really care about you or your feelings or about what you are doing for them. I was so hurt that it began to change the way that I viewed the person and it pushed me away from them.

Not only did it push me away from them, but it started to affect my view of them. 

It hurt my heart to accept the reality of the situation, but I did not like the feeling I felt knowing that I was unappreciated.

So long I have allowed myself to be used and abused, but today I decided to take a stand for myself. I have decided to love myself even more.

I will no longer let you hurt me anymore. And you have helped me to learn even more the importance of showing love and appreciation to all the people in my life.  Especially those who are there for me through thick and thin.

So often I hear people say I wish I could have told him how much I love him, or I wish I hugged her more.

Today is the day for you to step out of your comfort zone and love and appreciate the people in your life. I challenge you right now to call that person you haven’t spoke to in a long time. Tell them that you love them and that you appreciate them. Look at your husband and tell him how much you appreciate him.  Tell your wife how much you adore her.  Tell your ‘boo thang’ how much you care about them. Tell your friends, your co-workers, tell the world….

Tomorrow is not promised. 

~ Carpe Diem~

~Candace Mezetin

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

H.O.P.E.

July 27, 2017

I look in the mirror and what do I see…

A person struggling with her own identity.

Ahhh….

 

Who am I really…

What dreams do I want to obtain…

What spools the fire within…

What are my true strengths and what weaknesses cripple me internally.

 

Can I really do this?

Can I make it through?

Can I fulfill my life’s purpose and complete all that I set out to do?

 

Will I rise above the naysayers…

To embrace that pinnacle of H.O.P.E.

Will I run the race of life with everything that I’ve got…

With few to no regrets?

 

I can and I know I will!

You just wait and see because no one on this earth will ever be the true boss of me.

My strength and inner peace originates from the Almighty I am pleased to say.

Again, no one I will ever let have the final say.

 

I love me!

Uh huh…yup I said it, o yes I do.

I choose that road over self-hate…

In order to emancipate and appreciate me.

 

To be Happy…

To be Optimistic…

To be Persistent…

To be Excellent…

 

That is the formula to my real success.

To be free to H.O.P.E.

Yes, the key element that suffices everything else.

H.O.P.E. I embrace you, and thank you for embracing me.

May we never part ways…even after we have entered into eternity.

 

~Contessa Thomas

 

 

 

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

FRUSTRATE EATO! Part 2: WHEN DISEASE HITS HOME

July 23, 2017

Food…food…food.

Eating is one of America’s greatest past times. Food is good.  It makes you feel good too, UGH….food struggles.

Growing up, I never thought about the quality of food I was eating. I just ate because it tasted good and brought joy to my palate.  

Sugary foods, cakes, cookies, candy, rice, chicken, cheese, cereal, milk, soda, pizza, McDonald’s…etc. all of these foods were always on my radar and always in my stomach. 

As I journeyed through school on my health science/occupational therapy path, I was afforded the opportunity to learn of the scientific impact food had on our bodies. I learned more about the obesity epidemic, diabetes, heart disease and other diseases which were all linked in some way to the foods that we eat.

That still did not phase me too much as I continued to eat as I pleasured. With all this eating, you better believe my body was expanding. 

At one point I was so big I did not even recognize myself!!!

As the years went by, I began to take health more seriously. In 2009, I became a vegetarian after learning about the meat industry, and the inhumane way the animals were treated. I also resorted to plant based foods because I learned of the correlation between certain foods and diseases.  

I learned the difference between acid based foods and alkaline based foods and that diseases are fostered in an acidic environment. 

Still at that time, even though I dropped the meat, sugary foods, candy, cakes…etc. were still a major part of my diet.

As time progressed, and as I was getting older, many of my friends or people that I knew were coming down with different diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Crohn’s and obesity. Many of these people sought plant-based healing methods to help them feel better. This included eliminating meat, dairy, processed foods, and other non-plant based items.  

I understood the powerful healing properties of plant-based foods, but there was still a disconnection until a certain disease hit close to home. 

My beloved husband was recently diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS) which is an autoimmune degenerative nerve disease.

Immediately, upon hearing this news I sank into deep despair. You see, his mom passed away in 2008 from complications of MS, and another friend of mine is also sick with the same disease, so I knew beforehand the potential of this disease.

For those who know me, I appear strong, and for the most part I am, but this attacked me at my core and broke me. I did not know what to do. I felt sad, mad, hopeless, hopeful, encouraged, and then discouraged…I was a mess, and in a sense I still am a mess.

I was haunted by the idea of losing my husband (being that I witnessed this thing take his mom) and my heart broke even more.

Doctors confirmed his diagnosis and strongly urged him to start treatment right away. They want him to take immunosuppressant medications (as MS is allegedly a disease where the immune system attacks itself), as well as steroids. 

While doctors are the people that we have come to trust with our health and well-being, I couldn’t fathom that shutting the immune system off and pumping poison into the body could be any good. As with all medications there are side effects, then eventually you need other medications to treat the new side effects and the cycle continues. 

Once my husband received this diagnosis, I knew that our lifestyle had to change. 

I began researching foods and how they affect our bodies. I also researched different foods that heal. 

I thanked God for this knowledge and then hope set in. This was not the end, but actually the beginning of something beautiful and bigger than me.

Before I could understand why certain foods were considered good and others not so good I needed to understand Acidity vs. Alkalinity of the body. 

Here’s a little science for you:

On the PH scale anything under 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline (basic). Anything with a PH of 7 is considered neutral. Additionally, 1 is completely acidic and 14 is completely alkaline. 

According to Professor Blamire (A CUNY school professor) bacteria thrives in neutral PH values (6.5 – 7.0), and others thrive in very acid conditions with a PH as low as 1.0. For more information on this topic, click on the link below.
http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/ahp/CellBio/Growth/MGpH.html

This is not to say that some bacteria may not grow in an alkaline environment, but the longevity of the bacteria is significantly reduced as the alkaline environment is not the best environment for it.

In a 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Health, it was discovered that balancing the body’s PH through an alkaline diet would significantly reduce the onset of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, vitamin D deficiency, and low bone density, just to name a few.

In my understanding, this means that my family would have to consume foods that kept our blood on the alkaline side. So, that led me to research the PH values of different foods.

Best Alkaline Foods:

Fresh fruits and vegetables promote alkalinity.

Alkaline foods include: mushrooms, citrus, dates, raisins, spinach, grapefruit, tomatoes, avocado, summer black radish, alfalfa grass, barley grass, cucumber, kale, jicama, wheat grass, broccoli, oregano, garlic, ginger, green beans, endive, cabbage, celery, red beet, watermelon, figs and ripe bananas.

It is also important to drink alkaline water, which has a pH of 9 to 11. Distilled water is fine to drink as the PH is slightly below 7. Tap water and some bottled waters are acidic and you should be wary of them.  Adding pH drops, lemon or lime, or baking soda to your water can also boosts its alkalinity.

Green drinks: Drinks made from green vegetables and grasses in powder form are loaded with alkaline-forming foods. 

Looking at Acidic foods…
It is an unfortunate reality that processed foods are considered acidic. I know that I have spent all of my life consuming these types of foods:

High-sodium foods: Cold cuts, processed cereals, eggs, lentils, caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Oats and whole wheat products are considered acidic foods because they are now processed. Then we have milk, peanuts, walnuts, pasta, rice, bread and packaged grain products.

So…what now…???

Where do I go from here???

I’ve decided to take baby steps. I have begun slowly omitting foods from our diet that serves as no good and replacing it with foods that will help our bodies to be healthy. 

Ever since we’ve learned about the diagnosis, we have made some drastic changes. For about 4 weeks, my husband ate nothing but bean soups, salads, and brown rice. In addition to that, he has been drinking smoothies and also a lot of water. He initially weighed 188 and this past week he weighed 175!!! He had more energy and felt better than ever. 

This is a personal testament on the power of food, and I am determined to do my best in being a better steward of my body.

Even if you’re feeling frustrated with food, you’re not alone.  Take baby steps. One day at a time.

If you mess up one day, it’s ok.  Get back up and try again.

You got this! 

~Candace Mezetin 

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

Until Death Do Us Part…

July 20, 2017

Sunday, July 16th, 2017 marked my 11th year wedding anniversary. In fact, it was actually on a Sunday that my husband Jonathan and I made the very important vow before God and our family, to love and care for each other forever. What a beautiful day that was 11 years ago.

So how did this love story begin? It began at the tender age of 17 when we met at a church crusade meeting. I remember being very closed off to dating as I was completely focused on graduating from High School and pursing an educational venture in law. However, little did I know that moment would forever change my life and the world, as I knew it. Okay, back to the story. So, that night I vividly remember my prospect husband walking over to my sister and I…so cool with a little swag in his walk, as we waited for our friend to give us a ride home.   I must admit looking back at that time—my husband was pretty smooth indeed. Here, he mustered up enough courage to approach a young lady who looked very defensive and not in the mood for any real conversation. Nonetheless, he broke the ice with casual conversation and even got me to laugh and before I knew it I was giving him my number. What was going on?!? Me giving out my number to any guy was a huge thing for me, as it was not something that I usually do. To also mention, my negative view of men also heavily added to my disinterest when it came to the entire dating sector.

Returning to the story…Jonathan waited three whole days before calling me as I sat eagerly by the phone to hear from this young man who peaked my interest. Later on, when we began dating he confessed that he waited three days on purpose in order to make me think that he was not interested, and then he went in for the kill.   I just laughed when he told me, as I thought this guy had it all planned out. Again, bravo to him…job well done! He had me hooked and there was nothing I could do to resist his charm.

One week of talking and hanging out, turned into two, then three, then 15, and the rest was history. Today, July 20th, marks 15 years to the day when we first met and he took my number. We call this day our dating anniversary. I know…how cheesy right?!? Hey…however cheesy it may seem, this day is equally important to us, as it was the day it literally all started.

At the young age of 21, I became Mrs. Jonathan Thomas, which would be the beginning of the rewarding but also challenging journey called marriage.   I will not sit here and write, making it seem as if my marriage was always a bed of luscious red roses. No, it has not been. In fact, there were points in our marriage where it seemed like we were walking on a bed of nails. However, we persevered and pushed through those difficult times, including the infamous “7 Year Itch”.   Many people at the time of our wedding predicted that we would not last due to our young minds. However, we were determined to prove them wrong and give this marriage everything we’ve got.

We were truly very young, and had a lot of personal changes to embrace, which at times did cause major stress within our union—as it seemed like we constantly had to learn new attributes of each other.   Again, it was not the easiest, and there were a few times when we had to go to counseling, and seek our Creator in sincere prayer as we journeyed the road to marital success.   With me coming from a broken home where two divorces reigned also proved to be a thorn in our marriage’s side. There were moments when, I was going to throw in the towel and embraced the idea of the big D (divorce), as that is what I grew up around.   However, God knew why he brought Jonathan into my life, as he was the polar opposite. He grew up in a house with both parents who were happily married, and who fostered an environment of sheer love. Therefore, Jonathan was never ready to throw up the white flag of surrender. He fought and fought hard for our marriage. In turn, that spoke such volume to me that this man, would fight so hard for us…for our survival. It made me want to fight hard as well. It recharged my dying interest in the marriage and refocused me.   I purposed in my heart to communicate better as that is key to any successful marriage.

Let me be clear…WE ARE NOT PERFECT. The whole point of me being this transparent is to encourage people not to give up on the person that you love and your family. Yes, the situations may not always be ideal, but do not give up. Love is not perfect like how many movies portray. Love is beautiful, but it is at the same time rugged, challenging, at times bitter, unfair, and can break you down. Most individuals like to dwell on the ups of love, while neglecting to fully acknowledge the downs. Remember the grass may appear greener on the other side, but many times it has proven to be only a camouflage…it is actually brown and dying at the roots.   Again, so don’t be so quick to give up…hang in there and give it all you got.

We have 11 years down and many more to go!

To my husband…Mr. Jonathan Thomas,

Happy Anniversary! Please know that I love you so very much. Thank you for loving me even when I proved to be unlovable at times. Thank you for choosing to go on this wild marital journey with me. Indeed, a beautiful union that has allowed us to grow in so many ways—helping to stretch us to our limit, which in turn has propelled us to reach our biggest goals together. Thank you for making my happiness one of your main focuses. Thank you for being you.

Love now and forever “Until Death Do Us Part…”

Your Wife,

Contessa Thomas

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

Frustrate Eato!

July 17, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I have a serious problem! 

I LOVE FOOD! 

In a previous blog, I’ve shared this struggle and it’s still a struggle.  Funny thing is, it’s ok to love food.  Our bodies need the nutrients to sustain its function. 

The issue really is the type of foods that we fall in love with… the type of foods that we consume.

Let’s compare food to a relationship. 

You meet someone who you find attractive (physically). You then decide that you want to explore a little more.  You become friends, learn more about each other, after which you decide you like this person and want to make them your significant other.  As long as the relationship is bringing a sweet savor to your life, you keep it going.  Even with the ups and downs… you keep it going. 

Let’s compare that relationship to a food relationship.

We see a new type of food. We like the way it looks. It makes our mouth water… (picture the Homer Simpson drooling face) …Lol.  So we decide to give it a try, and it actually taste so good! We like it so much that we want to eat it all the time. Eventually, we fall in love with it. We love the way it tastes, the way it makes us feel, it’s perfect! 

(Think about your favorite dish. Why is it your favorite?)

Sometimes, with both a person relationship and a food relationship, we don’t always factor in whether or not that food or person is good for us in the long run.  Without that consideration, we can set ourselves up for a big time failure.

Imagine falling in love with a person and marrying them based on their physical attributes, with a minimal understanding of their character.  Later on you see their true colors and realize how toxic they are for you.

Imagine spending your life eating all the wrong foods; the ones that are really hurting your body, depleting you rather than replenishing you.  It seems ok at first, but then later on you see the effects of your eating through the onset of different diseases. 

My friends…the struggle is real!!!

Food is a major weakness for so many people and if  that’s not your kryptonite I applaud you.  

For me I’m suffering from a condition called Frustrate Eato!! This is a term I created which means I’m frustrated with eating!

So many people around me are sick with cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and neurological diseases to name a few. The more I read and research about food, it becomes more evident that it is one of the causative factors directly related to the onset of diseases.

Doctors prescribe medications to fix the issues, which then causes another issue that will need medication to treat.  Then that new medication will cause a new issue and the cycle goes on and on. 

Hippocrates imparted wisdom upon our generation when he said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” 

This means that we need to consume foods that will heal our bodies and not harm our bodies. 

Essentially it is important to learn what food actually does to our bodies in order to determine whether or not it is good or bad for us. This is something that we will explore next week in Frustrate Eato Part 2.

So wait!! 

Does that mean I have to eat greens all day????

Lolol…No. There are so many great recipes with wholesome foods that can be made and enjoyed.  

While I’m frustrated with food, (not being able to eat the crap my palate craves for…sugar and fats) I’m grateful for the plethora of healthy recipes that now exist, some of which I have used and tweaked to provide my body with clean, wholesome nutrition.

Today, if you’re like me, suffering from Frustrate Eato…lol, let’s explore 2 healthy recipes together that can excite our palate and keep us healthy at the same time. 

I really enjoy recipes from the Minimalist Baker, which provides a great deal of recipes that are healthy and nutritious at the same time.

Try these two recipes from the Minimalist Baker and please leave a comment below to let me know if you like them. Also, feel free to check out some of the other recipes on the website below.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where will delve a little deeper into the food talk.

~Candace Mezetin


Recipes: https://minimalistbaker.com/recipes/

Sweet Potato & Avocado Green Salad

Prep time

5 mins

Cook time

25 mins

Total time

30 mins

A simple yet flavorful and satisfying salad with organic greens, roasted sweet potato, creamy avocado, and a lemon-maple tahini dressing. 30 minutes, naturally sweetened, so delicious!

Author: Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Entrée, Side, Salad

Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free

Serves: 1-2

Ingredients

SWEET POTATO

  • 1 large or 2 small organic sweet potatoes (~200 g), skin on, halved then sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) avocado or coconut oil (or water)
  • Pinch sea salt

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (omit if you prefer a less sweet dressing)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Water to thin (4-6 Tbsp or 60-80 ml)

SALAD

  • 5 cups (~150-200 g) greens of choice (I mixed organic mizuna + spinach)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • optional:2 Tbsp (20 g) hemp seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add sweet potatoes, toss in a bit of oil (or water) and salt, and spread into an even layer.
  2. Bake 15 minutes. Then flip/toss to ensure even baking. Bake 5-10 minutes more or until tender and golden brown.
  3. In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt to a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Then add water a little at a time until a semi-thick, pourable dressing is achieved.
  4. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon for acidity, salt for saltiness, or maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
  5. Assemble salad by adding greens to a serving bowl and topping with roasted sweet potato and avocado. Sprinkle on hemp seeds (optional), and serve with dressing.
  6. Leftovers keep (stored separately) in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Dressing will stay for 5-7 days.

Notes*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 salad with all of the dressing and hemp seeds.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 salad* Calories: 663 Fat: 45.6 g Saturated fat: 6 g Carbohydrates: 49.8 g Sugar: 12.9 gSodium: 275 mg Fiber: 17.9 g Protein: 22.3 g

Recipe by Minimalist Baker at https://minimalistbaker.com/sweet-potato-avocado-green-salad/

 

PERFECT STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (VEGAN / GF)

Prep time

15 mins

Cook time

23 mins

Total time

38 mins

Fluffy, tender, vegan gluten-free shortcake topped with coconut whipped cream and strawberries! The perfect special diet-friendly dessert for summertime!

Author: Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Dessert

Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free

Serves: 6

Ingredients

COCONUT BUTTERMILK

  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) light or full-fat coconut milk (well shaken/stirred so no clumps remain // sub almond or rice milk with varied results)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • optional: 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

SHORTCAKE

  • 1 cup (160 g) gluten-free flour blend*
  • 1 scant cup (100 g) almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp (14 g) cornstarch (non-GMO when possible // or sub arrowroot starch)
  • 3 Tbsp (37 g) organic cane sugar*, plus more for topping (or sub stevia to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp (45 g) coconut oil

FOR SERVING

  • 1 lb (453 g) strawberries, hulled and sliced (organic when possible)
  • optional:Pinch stevia or 1 Tbsp (12.5 g) organic cane sugar to sweeten/create a sauce (to taste)
  • optional:Coconut Whipped Cream or Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine coconut milk, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and vanilla (optional). Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, cornstarch, organic cane sugar, sea salt, and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add the coconut oil and use a pastry cutter, whisk, or fork to “cut” the oil into the flour until small bits remain.
  4. Add ¾ of the coconut buttermilk to the dry mixture and stir with a spoon to combine. You’re looking for a semi-sticky dough, and you may not use all of the coconut milk. I used all but 1-2 Tbsp.
  5. If your mixture looks too dry, add more coconut milk. If it looks too wet, compensate with 1-2 Tbsp at a time of almond flour or gluten-free flour blend. (see photo)
  6. Transfer your dough onto a well (gluten-free) floured surface and dust the top with a little gluten-free flour. Handling as little as possible, form into a 1-inch-thick disc with your hands. Then using a well-floured biscuit or cookie cutter (or narrow drinking glass), cut out circles and transfer carefully to a greased baking sheet (arranging the shortcakes so they touch – see photo). Continue, reforming dough as needed, until all of the dough is used – about 6 shortcakes.
  7. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with coconut milk or melted coconut oil and sprinkle with a bit more cane sugar. Oil will help them form more of a crust, whereas coconut milk will help the biscuits remain a bit more moist. Both work great!
  8. Bake at 400 F for 15-17 minutes or until the outside is crisp and they are beginning to brown slightly. Then increase heat to 450 F (232 C) and bake for another 3-5 minutes to brown the outside (see photo). Watch carefully and be sure not to burn.
  9. During this time, you can prepare your Coconut Whipped Cream(optional) and slice your strawberries. Sprinkle strawberries with sugar or stevia to sweeten + help create a sauce (optional).
  10. Remove biscuits from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Then carefully separate the shortcakes so they can cool completely. It’s important to let these cool and the steam to release or they can be a bit on the moist side. Room temperature is best for serving.
  11. To serve, carefully slice shortcakes in half (optional) and top with sliced strawberries and coconut whipped cream or ice cream.
  12. Best when fresh. Store leftover shortcakes covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Notes

*If subbing your own GF blend or store-bought, know that the final result may differ.
*If nut-free, you could try subbing the almond flour for another gluten-free flour, such as oat flour. However, I haven’t tested it this way and can’t guarantee the results.
*If not gluten-free, sub the gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, and cornstarch for unbleached all purpose flour (or gluten flour of choice). I haven’t tested this recipe this way and can’t guarantee the results.
*You can try subbing the cane sugar for coconut sugar or stevia to taste, but I haven’t tested it this way and can’t guarantee the results.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 6 shortcakes with strawberries and no coconut whipped cream.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 shortcake with strawberries Calories: 188 Fat: 11.6 g Saturated fat: 8.1 g Carbohydrates: 22.2 gSugar: 10 g Sodium: 206 mg Fiber: 2.7 g Protein: 2.4 g

 

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

Nothing New Under The Sun

July 13, 2017

A very wise Israelite King once said that, “there is nothing new under the sun”. My, oh, my, isn’t that the truth. Yesterday, as I was going through Facebook I came upon the memorial video of the Bronx, NY officer killed in the line of duty on July 5th. It was so heart wrenching to watch her children eulogize her. What really broke my heart, while warming it at the same time was her eldest daughter’s (20 years old) speech (she left behind 3 children, and an ailing mother). The daughter recapped her last moments with her mom the night of her murder. In the video, the young lady stated that she asked her mom for one more hug before she left for work, which her mom loving gave her—and she then expressed to her mom how much she loved her. The young woman then told the audience that her last words to her mom were “I can’t wait to see you tomorrow”. Well that moment never came…Ugh!!!! Just the thought of her not ever being in the arms of her mother again because of an ignorant act of violence really rips at my heart.

Reading the comments under the video was even more concerning. One person who commented expressed that it would be great for the innocent people who have gotten killed by officers in the past to have huge funerals like the one given to the slain officer. My heart again twisting in my chest as the following question resonated in my mind… “How long will this hate persist?” Truth be told, this is a vicious cycle that MUST come to an end. Hate for fellow humanity is causing so much unnecessary heartache and pain to a multitude of individuals and families. The taking of innocent lives is just wrong, period!

Yes, there is “Nothing new under the sun”… indeed. Killing, war, and intense hatred within humanity have been occurring since the early years of creation. Will it ever change? Will the majority of people decide to finally choose love or will they continue to hate? I don’t know…I guess time will tell right?!?! Well at least I pray one day that it will (This comment is written with great hope, however an intense doubt settles deep down inside of me). Can we as a human race get it together before we end up destroying each other completely?!?!

So, the story doesn’t stop here, later on in the day yesterday I spoke with a dear friend of mine who was expressing their unhappiness with their current employer. Again, another situation where a lack of love and care for fellow colleagues is demonstrated. Their story included a slew of hounding management and fellow employees who habitually dwell on the petty things. My friend expressed how this type of environment served as a repellent.  I know the feeling so very well, as I was in a similar situation at one time in my career, which actually caused me to resign from my position.

Happiness and love—that is what I want within our world. As I held my newborn son in my arms last night, all I felt was such joy and love.   A love that ran so deep in my heart, it would constantly cause continuous smiles to bloom on my face. I want that for all of humanity. For us to embody a love so deep for one another that all we do on a continuous basis is express it through our actions. Yes, I want us to love each other unconditionally, just like how God loves us.  

Life is just too precious and fleeting. Time is such a delicate commodity, but yet we all are guilty at some point(s) in our lives of treating it like a vessel that has an infinity gas tank linked to it.   Reality check…It Does Not!   We all are on borrowed time in different lengths, and we don’t know when our timer is going to go off.  I have purposed to live each day to the fullest, by loving and caring for others.   I vowed to myself to always smile (no matter come what may) and to first and foremost serve the Creator with all my heart.   Going back to my newborn son, when I look into his eyes, all I see is innocence and joy. Hmmm…o how I wish I could have that mind back again—untainted by the pains of this world.

Nonetheless, I want to encourage everyone to live your life in fullness and with great purpose. For we do not know if tomorrow’s death list has our name on it. Love like it is going out of style, and be kind to people even when you don’t feel like it (I can completely relate to this…Aha). Tell your family and friends that you love them frequently, even if they too get on your nerves. Wake up each day, with an engrained purpose within to put your best foot forward every moment. DO NOT take your time here on this earth for granted…ALWAYS make it count!  

“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” ― Alice Morse Earl

~Contessa Thomas

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

Oh, My Roots

July 9, 2017

Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on your roots?

To dissect the hidden mysteries that serve as the foundation of how you look, how you think, how you feel, how you respond, how you live…

Essentially, what makes you, YOU!

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

It’s one thing to read about the past, and it’s another to live the past in the  present. 

Today, I walked down black history’s lane.

The history that seems like a mystery,  filled with conspiracies, offers no tranquility…..

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

African culture strong, unique, patented, the growth of international trade of minerals, a nation thriving.

Just as the mother land shone, America was growing…Money became the marker for power and success.

It became more profitable to trade humans than goods. 

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

Slaves from Africa… slaves from the  Caribbean…the slave trade horror

Slaves used  as property, inhumane  and worthlessness. 

Beaten, mistreated, depleted, defeated… slaves were nobodies

Chained up, one by one, no space to breathe, no place to be, no privacy, toxic misery…

Days upon days of distress, a black nation…the middle passage 

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

Shout out to Harriet, Sojourner, Frederick and Abraham who had the guts at some point to contest the distress, all the mess the slaves endured for what seemed like forever. 

As much as we would love to believe that we were really free and equal…such fallacies were told.
Jim Crow….just so you would know created laws that said we were to be segregated but equal, but as we know…that was not so. If you compared what the whites had to what the blacks had you would see a clear, distinct difference.  

And as if segregation was not enough, the hate for the black race was so strong

The Klu Klux Klan sought to destroy the black man…

Lynchings left and right…

Oh, what a painful sight…

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

Hate so strong, hate so detestable, hate so alive, hate that killed a 14 year old youngster….truthfully a prankster,  but innocent at heart.

He was black.

Brutally murdered…martyred…just because he was black.

His eyes gorged out…my heart could not bear to imagine the pain of his mother as she looked upon his face.

I look at my own son’s faces… MY HEART

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

Martin Luther king Jr. took a stand to represent the black nation. He did not stand alone.

Fearless he was. Ready to die for a cause he believed greater than himself. He saw the future of his children, he saw the future of the nation and knew he had to take a stand…

Oh the roots …my roots…my black roots 

We cannot change what happened yesterday,  but we can influence what happens tomorrow with the decisions we make today. 

Black, Yellow, Red or White
take a stand with all your might
To be true to yourself. 

Don’t let one’s skin color fool you.
All blood runs red just like yours
All can feel just like you
All can cry just like you
All can love just like you

Know YOUR history, as you write YOUR story.

Know your roots….

~Candace Mezetin

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

To Be or Not To Be…

July 6, 2017

To be or not to be…hmm the question that has reigned for thousands of centuries.

Happiness, sadness, wealth, poverty…what will it be?

Truth be told many have lived their entire life without ever having gained control over their daily choices that lay the foundation for the To Be’s or Not To Be’s.

Life is always full of many surprises, but that does not mean that we are to throw in the towel and forfeit all of the potential prizes.

What do you deem worth fighting for?

Is it happiness, optimal health, wealth, a family, a forever lasting inner peace…what ever it is…don’t give up hope.

Hope, there goes that word again.

As cliché as the word may sometimes seem, it is the key to open doors.

So keep the faith and don’t give up.

So when it comes to answering the question that boggled many for many centuries,

In confidence you can stand assured and openly embrace your To Be’s without any regrets.

 

To BE Happy…

 

To BE Loved…

 

To BE Financially Established…

 

To BE Peaceful…

 

To doubt one’s self only leaves room for the “Not To Be’s” and who wants to BE bothered with those anyway.

So, whatever you it may BE…believe it, claim it, and openly receive it!

 

~Contessa Thomas

 

Share This Article
Inspiration and Motivation

Death Before Dishonor

July 2, 2017

One day, I was talking to a friend of mine and we were discussing the tattoos on his arms. The one that stood out to me the most was the one engraved on his forearm.

It read:  “Death before Dishonor “

Those words struck me like a lightning bolt and the hairs on my head stood up. 

I kept on repeating those words to myself… “death before dishonor…”. That was so deep.

I pondered on the meaning of those words for a day.

It is an unfortunate reality that the concept of honor and integrity has been degraded and belittled within our present society.  

Dishonesty has become a norm for our present day society, which has caused a dramatic increase in crime, infidelity, backstabbing and a lack of love.

Dishonor is the root of many evils that we are faced with on a daily basis, and unfortunately dishonor will be the demise of many.

What is dishonor?
I believe that dishonor is portraying a behavior that goes against your core values and beliefs. It is a misrepresentation of what you know is right. In the simplest terms, it’s choosing to do the wrong thing even when you KNOW what is right. 

Dishonor can be exemplified in so many ways—it’s unbelievable. For starters, a portrayal of dishonor is someone who lies, someone who steals, who bears false witness, who hurts people…etc. Anything thing that goes against morality falls under the umbrella of dishonor; dishonor to God, to society and ultimately dishonor to oneself.
Have you ever looked at dishonor this way?

Dishonor can  also be cheating yourself or denying yourself of what is good and right for you.

You may be wondering, “What is this girl talking about???”

We know that eating a well-balanced,  nutritious diet is good for us.  Plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and clean meats (proteins) are all good for our bodies to function at its best.  Even while we know (should know) that this is true, we still opt for the processed, packaged, acidic foods that essentially hurt us. A poor decision in eating is a form of dishonor to our bodies.

I fall guilty in this category almost every other day. I know what I should eat, but there are times I allow my greed, and lack of self-control to get the best of me. Then I fail. The good thing is that when I mess up, I make the choice to get it together and try again to be better and make healthier choices; living with honor.

Another instance where I experienced dishonor was last week. I was so convicted about my dishonor, hence came this blog. (Some may not agree with me, but this is my personal conviction) I’m a gym guru and I believe that it is important to take care of my body and exercise. One-day last week… probably on Tuesday, I didn’t want to exercise. I was mad (in that moment) that I signed up for an exercise class. All I wanted to do was go home… get a tub of ice cream and watch TV (lol).

It was at that moment, that I was reminded of the commitment that I made to myself to lead a healthier life, and also of the commitment I made to attend that class.  Personally, reneging from my commitment was a form of dishonor.  I immediately got it together and went to work out.  

How often do we bring dishonor to our name by going back on our word/commitment? 

How often do WE start a task… only to abandon it and leave it in the dust?

How often do WE limit ourselves from reaching our fullest potential because of fear, and jealousy?

How often does laziness take precedence in our lives? 

All of these things bring dishonor to our name…. It taints who we are.  

Another example of my personal dishonor is my journey with playing the bass. The bass is an instrument that EXCITES me!!! I truly love learning and playing it.  Truth be told…I haven’t picked it up in 3 weeks!!! 
3 weeks is a LONG time for an aspiring bassist.

Being that I have not been able to receive bass lessons, I’ve allowed this halt to discourage me. Additionally, I’ve allowed myself to fall back on the commitment that I made to myself to learn.  Again, in essence this is a personal form of dishonor. 

Understanding this has awoken my desire to follow through… being honorable to my word. 

Have you made commitments to yourself, like to go back to school…to perform better at work…. or to accomplish some great thing, but due to circumstances YOU have stopped? 

I want to encourage you today to get back up and finish what you’ve started.  Thinking in terms of death before dishonor means that you would rather die than bring shame and dishonor to your name.  

This mindset will keep us striving to be on our A game 100% of the time.  

Dishonor comes with a host of consequences that can destroy our lives. We let ourselves down and we also let all those around us down, especially those who are looking up to us.

Death before dishonor is actually a Marine Corps saying that means you will die before you dishonor God, your country or the Marine Corps.

It also means that you would die before bringing dishonor to all the things that hold great value to you. You will die before going against what you believe in.

https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/32611/kanji-that-represent-death-before-dishonor-meaning/32614

Live your life full of honor and integrity. Stand for what you believe in—even if it means death. Live, love and seek to be your best. All of this will bring honor in your life!!!

 

~ Candace Mezetin

 

Share This Article
Please wait...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Want to be notified when our article is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.