Join us in June for “Living It”

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Our final session of Culture of Wellness, before we take a break for the summer, is on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 6:30-8:00pm in Room 102 of the Grace Chapel Adult Learning Center, 2 Militia Drive, Lexington MA 02421.

The focus this month is Living It.

Freefoto.com

Freefoto.com

In the first three sessions we focused on our inward health.

June 3rd will have an outward focus on caring deliberately. It will be an opportunity to evaluate your progress and share what has worked and not worked for you with eating well, praying honestly, exercising regularly and thinking clearly.

We will ask, where to go from here in caring deliberately for ourselves, others and our world?

 

Nordic Walking/Prayer Walking Class

Nordic Walking is fitness walking with specially designed poles (which we will provide for the class). It allows you to exercise most of the major muscles in the body and it is a good form of cardiovascular exercise.

No experience is necessary. The class is suitable for men and women of any age and physical condition.

nordic walking meNordic Walking Jamie

We will meet at the Grace Chapel’s Adult Learning Center, 2 Militia Drive, Lexington, MA on Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 9:30am to 11:00am. Wear comfortable clothes and footwear suitable for walking. Sneakers are preferable. Please be prepared for rain or shine. Bring water. Any questions and to sign up: email cultureofwellnessministry@gmail.com

Nordic Walking Jamie2Nordic Walking Ken

 

 

Zumba® Class

Our one time Zumba® Class with instructor Ami Stix is being rescheduled to September, 2015

No experience is necessary. Just come along and enjoy the music. Invite your friends.

Location: Grace Chapel Gym, 59 Worthen Road, Lexington MA 02421
Time: 9:15am check-in for 9:30am start
Date: TBA
$5 suggested donation

To sign up and to receive information updates for the class: email cultureofwellnessministry@gmail.com.

 

The blessings of prayer

Destress with prayer pic

 

Philip Yancey in his book, Prayer: Does it make any difference? says prayer can “help a person cope with stress and have a greater sense of well-being, more hope, and a readiness to forgive – all of which affect health in positive ways. And machines that monitor brain waves, breathing, heart rate, and blood chemistry record dramatic changes when a person prayers… People who take quiet times during the day and force themselves to relax learn to control stress in a way that fosters health. A sense of gratitude calms the heart. (On the contrary, fear, loneliness, hostility, worry, grief, and helplessness are enemies of recovery.)”

Have you taken time out to pray today?

Tips for making an exercise and prayer plan

blossom1Spring has finally sprung in New England. And, the weather is perfect—warm and sunny, with a gentle breeze and no mosquitos. Although I know for some of you, this is allergy season.

I got up this morning and opened wide the doors from our kitchen to let in the fresh, crisp air. A bird was singing at full throttle. I knew the little creature was as happy as me this May morning.

It is so much easier to hop on my bike and get some exercise when I don’t have to shiver and shake from biting cold.

Now, is the ideal time to make an exercise and prayer plan and develop those healthy habits.

Here are some pointers to help you:

1. Choose a place outside to walk which you will enjoy visiting regularly. It could be a secluded path through the woods. Or perhaps, like me, it is the running track in your town. Maybe, it’s a route around your neighborhood. If it is, make sure you are not distracted by neighbors wanting to chat.

Make this location your special go to place. When the location is pleasant, you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit.Picture of the footpath to the beach at Embleton Bay, Northumberland.

2. Choose a time of day that fits your schedule. It may be early in the morning, in the evening or even during your lunchtime at work.

3. Decide how much time you can devote to your workout. You can always start with 5 or 10 minutes. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic exercise five times per week. However, they also say something is better than nothing.

Dream big but set realistic goals. If you set a goal too high and you fail to achieve it, you will be less likely to try again next time. Instead, don’t give up. Alter your goal. Make it fit your life. Set yourself up for success.

3. Aim for 5 days a week. If this is too much, choose any number of days that will help you be successful. Start slowly. Small victories will convince you larger accomplishments are achievable. Being successful will make you feel like trying again. If you miss your goal it can be disheartening.

4. Devote your time to prayer. Even if your mind wanders, just turn your thoughts over to God by saying “Lord, I give you all my thoughts.”

5. Find a friend to walk with. By all means chat, but make sure you devote some of your time to prayer, either silently or for each other. Read about my experience last summer.

6. Write journal entries about your exercise and your prayer time. These are great to look back at and see how much you have progressed and how God has answered your prayers.

Most of all, take pleasure in spending time with the Creator of our beautiful world as he delights in being with you.

Leave a comment here about your achievements. Some of you already have a routine. Tell us what it is. This will be a great encouragement to everyone. Remember, it’s easier to learn in community.

 

 

April’s Cooking Workshop: Summer Quinoa Salad

Thank you to everyone that came out to the cooking workshop this past Saturday! We had a blast cutting up asparagus, ripping basil leaves, learning how to cut up avocados, making a delicious basil lime dressing from scratch and sitting down to share our meal together.

Below I have posted the recipe that we used on Saturday. I (personally) like this better using lime instead of lemon, but that is up to you. On Saturday we had fun squeezing fresh limes into this recipe, and we used the extra lime to put in our water! This recipe is very versatile. You could add peppers, onions, chicken, or whatever else you’d like to mix things up a bit. You could even use cilantro instead of basil if that is what you have on hand.

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Peas, Avocados & Lemon Basil Dressing
Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes

A fresh, healthy, and easy salad for spring!

Spring-Quinoa-Salad-3-165x120

Ingredients:

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup frozen peas
1 avocado, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil

directions:
1. In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.

2. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the asparagus. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus and fresh lemon juice. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, peas, and avocado. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.

This delicious recipe brought to you by Two Peas & Their Pod
http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/quinoa-salad-with-asparagus-peas-avocado-lemon-basil-dressing/

Creamy Avocado Sauce/Dip

www.ediblesociety.com

(www.ediblesociety.com)

Here is a creamy, delicious avocado dressing that can be used as a sauce or a dip!

This is an easy, quick way to make a healthy snack or topping. You can make this thicker or thinner in consistency, depending on how you want to use it. It’s very versatile.

 

It works wonderfully on top of Mexican food, as a creamy salad dressing, in tuna salad, or as a veggie dip.

Please feel free to change around these ingreidents- add or subtract, use less or more– all it depends on your taste preferences!

*You can make this thinner to use as a sauce by adding more coconut milk, a bit of water, or a bit more olive oil. Make this your own!

New to using avocados? Find how to choose the perfect ripeness here and how to cut an avocado here (go slowly with this as you practice).

Ingredients for avocado dressing:

  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup-3/4 cup canned coconut milk (varies depending on the consistency you want)
  • 1/4 cup (or more) fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic or more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime (start with 1 half lime and see how you like it)
  • Several pinches of salt to taste
  • Optional: Chopped up jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, to taste (can easily be omitted)
  • Optional: If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, you can use 1/8 cup of olive oil instead– more or less depending on the consistency you’re looking for. Alternatively, add a bit of water + a bit of olive oil.

Directions:  Throw all ingredients together into a blender. Yup- that’s it! Once blended, taste test the dressing and adjust as necessary. You may need to add extra liquid depending on your blender.

Enjoy!

How to Pray for Our Unity

During his last hours on earth, Jesus prayed for you and me, and all people who believe in him.

He prayed for our unity. By this, he did not mean we have to agree with each and be alike, but we should be joined together in love for one another.

Picture of hands held high in worship at sunset.

Photo: Freefoto.com

When you pray for other people, especially individuals at church or with whom you do ministry, then take time to think truthfully about your feelings for each person. We should consider, as we make personal prayer, if there is anything standing in the way of us loving that person.

Notice the emotions rising up inside you. Do you have patience with them? Have you been kind and gentle towards them? Do you want to build them up?

Or, do you wish to tear them down, just a little? Do you sense any anger or “she makes me so mad” kind of reaction? Perhaps you feel bitter or jealous. Maybe you believe you are justified in being hostile to them. It could be their behavior makes it hard for you to be tolerant of them, let alone love them.

Is there someone who pops into your mind right now who you don’t get on well with?

Jesus didn’t pray for our unity so we would be a nice happy family. Instead, he knew our love for each other was vital if other people were going to be drawn to him.

Remember our real struggle is not with other people. The Bible reminds us we are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against the powers of darkness. Let’s not let the enemy get a foothold in our family.

When you receive a prayer request for someone in your small group, or the ministry you are involved in at your church, pray for more than that person’s needs. Spend some time really considering your relationship with them, and pray about how you can love them more.

 

 

Plantain Chips

fit and fed plantain chips

Hi everyone!

Next week is our 2nd Culture of Wellness meeting. We are very excited to see you again! Each week I will make a delicious snack beforehand that we can all share together. Last week, I made homemade Reese Cups. This week, I will be making homemade plantain chips– a fantastic, easy, and nutrititious alternative to processed potato chips. You will find each of the recipes that I make under the “recipe” tab above. Feel free to come a few minutes early to our meetings to chat about how to make these recipes and see how I do it!

You can find the full recipe on the Fed&Fit blog (note: I am not especially familiar of this blog and I chose this because I felt like it had a wonderful description of making plantain chips).

While she uses green plantains (unripe and more “corn chip” like), I love making these with yellow plantains (ripe and sweeter) as well!

Be careful cutting the plantain and take your time! It can be tricky at first, but it gets much easier and faster after a bit of practice. For further directions and pictures, go here.

Enjoy!

Paleo Plantain Chips

yield: ~3 DOZEN  prep time: 5 MINUTES  cook time: 25 MINUTES

Ingredients:

  • 1 green plantain
  • 1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ tsp kosher salt {or more to your liking}

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the ends off and then score the length of the plantain with about three evenly spaced cuts. Don’t cut too far into the flesh, you just want to cut through the skin.
  3. Peel the plantain then slice it on a diagonal as thinly as you can consistently manage.
  4. Toss the plantain slices with the melted coconut oil, lay out on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with the kosher salt.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. {Leave in longer or shorter depending on how your oven heats and feel free to remove the more well-done chips as they start to brown.}